UNBELIEVABLE — But true. About 400 lawyers got together at lunch in downtown Los Angeles on Wednesday and had a really wonderful time. It must have been the object of their affection--attorney extraordinary Maynard Toll, the honoree at the first Maynard Toll Luncheon, sponsored by the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles. The house came down when former Asst. Secretary of State Warren Christopher said Toll, a partner of his at O'Melveny & Myers, had been his leader, his mentor--then reminded the audience of the Sgt. Preston principle, that "the scenery changes only for the lead dog." City Councilman John Ferraro quipped that "for someone who likes to eat, there is no greater honor than to have a luncheon named for you."
There was also serious praise for Toll--Legal Aid Foundation President Barbara Y. Johnson calling him a "driving force" behind the creation of federal funding for legal services. Praising Toll's efforts, state Atty. Gen. John K. Van de Kamp said that for many poor people, living close to the edge, a simple mistake like an error in a Social Security computer is critical--"Without a lawyer's help, simple mistakes can be a matter of life and death." Toll, known for his avoidance of public notice, admitted at the close of the lunch that "I'm really enjoying every bit of it," and then reminded the audience of "the joy and responsibility of rendering community service."
GARNER FILE--Only in "Rockford" does James Garner live on the beach. So there's no vested interest in the public-service TV spot with Garner that will soon be showing up, in which the actor speaks out against coastal and offshore drilling. High on his priority list is stopping the Pacific Palisades drilling approved by the L.A. City Council early this year. "It's just kind of slapdash," Garner said. "It's not like we need the oil. There is a glut of oil. Dr. (Armand) Hammer is just determined to get his way, and we are just as determined to see that he doesn't. We're going back to City Council."
DINING OUT--The Webster Career College, the Nancy Wilson Foundation and the National Council of Negro Women host a dinner, auction and fashion show tonight at the Hyatt Regency. . . . Vidal Sassoon gets honored at the Medallion Carrousel Ball at the Beverly Hilton Saturday. The annual fete benefits the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and provides research funds. . . . His buddies will formally welcome that old smooth talker himself, Gary Owens, back to a.m. drive time (on KKGO) with a party Tuesday at the Sheraton Premiere Hotel.
ALOHA--When Jerry and Jane Weintraub wrapped up the Hawaii shooting of his "Karate Kid II"--and wanted to thank the locals, like Honolulu Mayor Frank Fasi--they flew in two California institutions--chili from Ronnie Clint at Chasen's and former Lt. Gov. Mike Curb. . . . This weekend, about 15 couples from the President's Club of Vista del Mar fly to San Francisco for a wine-tasting fund-raiser organized by Dr. Roger Lewis and spouse, Hope Boonshaft-Lewis. PSA donated the transportation, and the Four Seasons Clift Hotel provided the 15 swank suites. . . . In San Francisco Saturday night, the McGuire Sisters sing at the St. Francis Hotel, fund raising for The City's Children's Hospital. Bob Hope emcees and Danny Thomas, Shecky Green and Gloria Loring entertain.
WALKING--The Gordon's Diamond Walk for the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, chaired by actress Gloria Loring (she is busy), is this Sunday, starting at Lincoln Park in Venice. Loring is involved because her son, Brandon, has had diabetes for more than six years. She's organized dozens of soaper stars to be on hand, and promises that anyone wanting to sponsor a star in the walk should just show up and meet that star at 10 a.m. "My boyfriend, Don Diamond, from 'The Young and the Restless,' has already raised $2,500 in sponsors," she said.
BUSY, BUSY--One would think that Kathy Moret, the director of Prosecutions Support Operations for the L.A. County District Attorney, had enough to do, since she's also the mom of two small kids. But on her lunch hours and after work she's put together the massive fund-raising dinner for Assemblyman Richard Alatorre on Nov. 2 at the Crocker Center. Of course, it keeps it all in the family, since she's the wife of Louis Moret, who's managing Alatorre's campaign for the City Council's 14th District. To make it extra familial, Richard and his wife, Sandy, were the witnesses for the Morets' wedding, several years back.
IF YOU WERE WONDERING--Whatever became of the junior former Gov. Brown, he'll be getting together with the folks he appointed as judges Wednesday night. It's the third annual such affair, and it's set for the Friars Club.
SHOP EARLY--How perfect for L.A. Christmas giving--Jane Russell's autobiography, "My Path and My Detours," and you can catch her at a party at Brentano's in the Beverly Wilshire on Nov. 4. . . . For the 62nd year, the Boys Republic's Della Robbia wreaths are on sale. One has hung in the White House at Christmas time since the days of Calvin Coolidge. . . .
PASSING THROUGH--The people who bring America high-tech elections get together Nov. 13-15 for the American Assn. of Political Consultants conference at the Miramar-Sheraton in Santa Monica. On the agenda--direct mail, computer technology, an analysis of network news, reapportionment. All you need is a candidate. . . . Wally's Steve Wallach noticed a familiar sign in Victoria, British Columbia--"Spago." There was even a blow-up of a picture of Burt Reynolds and Dom DeLuise enjoying the Spago food--only when Wallach asked the proprietor if he had any connection with the Sunset Strip spot, the fellow just shrugged.