Every now and then, what should be a good fund-raiser turns out to be a good time. That was the scenario at Monday night's dinner at the Beverly Hilton, netting more than $155,000 for the Constitutional Rights Foundation and honoring Richard Eamer, chairman of National Medical Enterprises. It could have been Judge William P. Hogoboom's refusal to follow the pat introduction of the honoree. Instead, Hogoboom, chairman of the foundation's board of directors, whipped around "a typical L.A. resolution" which, he kidded, normally had five "whereases, but Dick Eamer gets seven." The good time also could be credited to more serious stuff--like the very personal presentation by Warren Fletcher, a senior at L.A. High and one of 150,000 California students involved this year in foundation activities.
But, in memory of all those trapped in ballrooms while after-dinner speakers drone on, give credit to CBS News President Van Gordon Sauter. Starting with apologies that his father-in-law, former Gov. Edmund G. Brown Sr., was going to hear the speech for the fourth time, Sauter managed to entertain and to inform. (So that's why he's in TV.) He said people need to use books, magazines, and newspapers and stop placing "far too much reliance on TV." What TV sells is credibility, he said, and the electronic media binds the nation together. Sauter's message was that the First Amendment did not guarantee a good or an accurate press--but that "it speaks only to a free press."
Sauter said that before his and CBS' recent experiences with lawyers, he was convinced that attorneys were "pod people," aliens like those in the "Invasion of the Body Snatchers"--and that he spent time every day in "elaborate ritualistic denunciations of lawyers." Since dealing with attorneys like those from O'Melveny & Myers in recent cases (and since his wife, Kathleen Brown, is now an attorney at that firm), "I now spend hours in elaborate ritualistic denunciations of MBAs."
At tablesides were KCBS-TV anchor Jess Marlow with wife, Phyllis; anchor and commentator Bill Stout; dinner chairman John Argue with wife, Liz; attorney Howard and Maggie Weitzman; Dorothy and Allan Jonas, and foundation president Raymond Fisher with wife, Nanci.
MINI-SERIES--Standing in a tent in the back of Ted and Barbara Field's Holmby Hills home, Maryland Rep. Barbara Mikulski told about her TV ads in her $1-million-plus primary campaign for the Democratic senatorial nomination. She related how she told media consultant Bob Shrum when she was not happy with a particular concept: "Look, I want these ads to help me achieve two ambitions--I want to be a U.S. senator. And I want to be a mini-series." OK, at 4-foot-8, Mikulski is diminutive, but Barbara Field, Lisa Specht and Mimi West had put together a dinner--and a brunch the next day--that netted her a total of $80,000. Songwriter Marilyn and Alan Bergman brought along their buddy Barbra Streisand and Richard Baskin and singer Don Henley brought Carrie Fisher . . . Expect a lot more political fund-raising action from the Fields. They've purchased the Harold Lloyd estate in Beverly Hills and a staff person said it will be the location next year of several fund-raisers for Delaware's Sen. Joseph Biden, a much-talked-about presidential candidate. Field, a movie producer and the owner of Interscope, is a new and very major rainmaker for Democratic candidates.
VERSATILE--Everybody knows that Pat O'Brien covers sports for CBS. But now he's also doing straight news for the CBS Morning News, prompting him to explain to an old friend: "I'm the only network reporter who covered the NBA playoffs and the Libyan crisis in the same week."
MAGIC TOUCH--Jodie Evans, who performed fund-raising miracles when she worked for the junior former Gov. Edmund Brown, did her stuff Saturday night. But this time it was for the Hereditary Disease Foundation. Crowding Rebecca's (the Venice restaurant opened twice last week) were the likes of Max Palevsky, a Hereditary Disease Foundation trustee and Evans' constant; John Travolta; Atty. Gen. John and Andrea van de Kamp; trustees Julie Andrews and Blake Edwards; Coastal Commissioner Mark Nathanson with Jennifer O'Neill; Sally Kellerman. The Hereditary Disease Foundation, in its own words, is in the "forefront" of the "genetic revolution . . . freeing us from the tyranny of passing on defective genes out of ignorance."