Extraordinary excitement about the 36th annual Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance on Aug. 24 at the Lodge at Pebble Beach is drifting southward. Most particularly, the most elegant of Mercedes-Benzes will be in a glimmering light that weekend on the Monterey Peninsula, inasmuch as the event will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the invention of the automobile and of the Mercedes.
Altogether more than 100 pre-World War II American and European classics will be displayed, as well as antiques, custom European cars, and a special class for the American Underslung. Tickets are $20 through the United Way of Monterey Peninsula (408) 372-8026, but the exciting place to view will be the Signature Restaurant, where seats for the duration will be $175 per person. Saturday evening before the show, donors, exhibitors and judges will be honored at dinner; the Beach and Tennis Club will dance to the One O'Clock Jump from Boston, and there's a private luncheon Sunday.
San Franciscans Lorin Tryon, wool broker, and Jules Heumann, retired furniture designer, are co-chairmen for the 15th year. Southern Californians play a major role: among honorary judges are Strother MacMinn of Pasadena, Otis Chandler of Los Angeles, Henry Haga of Westlake Village, Phil Hill of Santa Monica, Bill Dobson of Azusa, Briggs Cunningham of Rancho Santa Fe, Dean Batchelor of Woodland Hills. They join the category alongside Walter Bodack of Montvale, N.J., president of Mercedes-Benz of North America, Hans-Jurgen Hinrichs of Stuttgart, West Germany, head of worldwide sales, Daimler-Benz AG; Hank Ketcham of Pebble Beach, Donald E. Petersen of Bloomfield Hills, Mich., chairman of Ford Motor Co., and racing champion Jackie Stewart of Begnins, Switzerland.
Greg and Ferol Henkels of Pasadena will show their 1934 Lincoln Murray Town Sedan, Robert Achor his 1940 Packard 2807 Darrin Convertible Sedan, J. B. Nethercutt his 1913 Mercedes-Benz and 1932 Rolls-Royce PII Brewster Convertible Coupe. For starters.
It's amazing how much excitement a little chafing dish smoke can create. There the Rococo Caterers were, merrily preparing veggies and poached salmon with caper butter sauce, on the spot for the al fresco post-party at the Royce Two-Seventy New York Philharmonic Orchestra opening night benefit starring Leonard Bernstein. Then, the smoke detectors of Royce Hall at UCLA buzzed. Fire rules say evacuate. Thus, it was, just as the third movement of Tchaikovsky's "Pathetique" was about to begin that the crowd had to file out quietly--and got a preview peek at the pretty Ahmanson Terrace supper party planned by Mimi Feldman and Marcia Frazier.
Afterward, Roy Aaron (there with Teri), president of Royce Two-Seventy whose membership of 500 annually raises more than $200,000 in memberships alone to support the UCLA Center for the Performing Arts, said, "It's extraordinary the way people handled themselves." Commented Zubin Mehta, the Philharmonic's permanent conductor, who sat in the audience with his wife Nancy (they're enjoying a new beach house at Malibu, but are still neighbors in Bel-Air to Edye and Eli Broad), "In New York, where I come from, you only have bomb scares." He also said it was "nice to listen (to his own orchestra) when the acoustics are so great."
Chancellor Charles Young ("I want you to know, I am responsible for the sensitive fire alarms"), there with Sue, sat next to Henry and Ginny Mancini (so vital in the recent Royce Carol Burnett tribute benefit, and they're now off on a cruise to Alaska). At the party, Young and Dean of Fine Arts Robert Gray, escorting pretty Spaniard Assumpta Serna, star of "Matador," which premiered at UCLA, saved a spot for Bernstein, but he was enthralled with fans backstage and never showed.
That didn't daunt the fun. Fred and Joan Nicholas joined the Aarons. Dudley Moore, the Gerald Oppenheimers, Barbara and Marvin Davis and the Jack Elliotts were among friends joining the Mancinis. The Walter Mirisches were at the chancellor's table. The Armand Hammers attended the concert in a prize row, but were missing post-alarm.
More in the crowd of 475 benefactors were Shirley and Isadore Familian, Marilyn and Robert Ehrman, Steve and Kitty Moses (just back from Deer Valley), Lenny and Bernie Greenberg (back from Seattle), the Franklin Murphys, Olive Behrendt, Arthur and Merril Park, Bob and Jo Kroger (back from Washington, where they had attended a White House dinner), the Richard Koshaleks, the Gilman Krafts, Betsy Lesser, Glenn Dicterow, the Chester Firesteins, the James Hodgsons, Pascal and James Regan, the Stanley Sheinbaums (back from Mexico), the Norman Trentons, Pebbles Wadsworth, Patti and Rick Wilson, the Frank Wyles, Randall Lewis.
They all heard Aaron say that Royce Two-Seventy is on its way to an endowment of $10-12 million. "I was going to say, 'Watch our smoke,"' he quipped.