By the shiny white invitations with the crisp plaid ribbon tie, you knew this was not the ordinary Olde Fashioned Christmas Celebration that Pam and Peter Mullin were hosting. To begin, it was black-tie, with an RSVP card enclosed for cocktails and dinner.
Then, the sleighs didn't skid up, but sleek autos and limos to be met by valet parkers. The pillars were amassed with poinsettias planted in imported real snow.
However, there was no lack of traditional warmth at the front door. Lots of old-fashioned and new-fashioned hugs and kisses from the host and hostess, who were surrounded by pretty young daughters and a crop of cousins in velvet and lace and smocking and patent shoes, taking furs and gliding about on the polished floors among an abundance of furry bears over all the mantels and tucked in sofas.
One friend describes Pam Mullin as "a wonderful wife, mother, friend, Peter's right arm--and right foot." She had called for the 12-foot vivid red poinsettia tree on the patio, at the entrance to the back gardens which had been covered with a clear tent, criss-crossed with sparkling lights and shadowing a big oak. For a party this size, there's nothing to do but cover the pool and set tables atop. It was a secure spot for Maude and Dick Ferry, Larry and Mary Tollenaere, Lynn and Hugh Evans and Barbara and Francis X. (it stands for Xavier) McNamara, the president of the United Way.
Walter and Darlene Gerken came up from Newport Beach, joining a raft of their handsome sons and daughters--Beth and Peter Logan of San Francisco, Gina and Dan Gerken of Westwood and Ellen and Rob Mainthow of Brentwood--all beach chums of the Mullins. Mo and Shirley Benson (he's chairman of Good Samaritan Hospital) were up from Sunset Beach. Judge Matt Byrne escorted Gail Feingarten.
In the upstairs powder room waiting line, actress Linda Evans, her hair piled high and wearing a bangled top and a knee-length skirt, was captivated by the exuberant conversations of the Mullin youngsters, who, in turn, were captivated by her. Her escort was Richard Cohen. John Forsythe, with his wife, Julie, attended, too, and his sometimes tennis partner, David Ludwick, and Ginger Ludwick.
Close to the dance floor all evening were Sally and Stephen Keller, Dick and Jill Riordan, Freeman and Dottie Gosden, Hovey and Lee Harris and John and Susan Shumway, who kicked up a storm to Bob Gail's Orchestra, whose marvelous male vocalist was a hit of the night.
More in on the fun were Peter and Mardee de Wetter, Suzanne Peck with John Cramer, Lou and Gladyce Foster, Harry and Berdie Bubb, David and Inez Bradley, Steve and Jeanne Bilheimer, Bruce and Raylene Meyer, George and Grace Fritzinger, Dave and Birdie Ghormley, Dick and Sarah Gilman (he's president of Occidental College), Jon and Cindy Hall, Mike and Tory Harahan, the John M. Heidts and Tom and Esther Wachtell.
When it was time to leave, guests were presented the mugs that had been used for the soup course. They were inscribed "1985 Christmas Love from the Mullins." Youngsters Darcy, Timothy and Brian Mullin were accounted for, but Courtney, 11, was missing. She was fast asleep under five mink coats.
James H. Zumberge and his Marilyn are back in the social swing after his surgery. The USC president will host an intimate dinner for 25 Thursday evening at the president's residence in San Marino to honor William F. Kieschnick, immediate past president and chief executive officer of Atlantic Richfield.
The affair celebrates the establishment of the $1.5-million Arco-William F. Kieschnick Chair in the Neurobiology of Aging at USC's Ethel Percy Andrus Gerontology Center.
Kieschnick has long worked on behalf of the elderly and has served on the White House Conference on Aging.
Harp music and holiday catering by L.A. Celebrations are planned in the library of the former Seeley Mudd estate residence.
The guest list includes wife Keith Kieschnick; son Michael Kieschnick and his bride (coming from San Francisco); Dr. Caleb E. Finch, first to hold the chair at USC and an international authority on aging; Dr. Simon and Virginia Ramo; Eugene Wilson (head of the Arco foundation) and Mrs. Wilson; Donald and Alice Murray of Arco, and Roberta and Carl Hartnack.
Mr. and Mrs. Sammy Davis Jr., through the services of Renta-Yenta, are bringing Santa to town with a sled and live reindeer for the Candy Man Land Holiday Party presented by the Ladies of Variety Club of Southern California.
Santa and the reindeer (let's hope it's not raining and they change into raindeer) will hold court Saturday at the Project Six, Therapeutic Group Homes administrative campus, 13130 Burbank Blvd., Van Nuys.
Entrance fee for children will be a bag of pennies (any amount) and $2 for adults.