With her bid of $6,000 and auctioneer Sunny Stewart announcing "going once, going twice . . . , " JoAnn Jones of Newport Beach could see herself on a trip to London and Paris with the bachelor of her choice, James C. Schroeder Sr.
Her dream ended when a bid spotter yelled out, "6,025!"
The upset was one of many occurring on Monday night when more than 700 women attended the March of Dimes benefit, "Bachelor Bid," at the Hotel Meridien in Newport Beach.
According to Peggy Corr, March of Dimes coordinator, the $39,000 netted from the benefit exceeded all other Southern California area "Bachelor Bid" events to date.
"We have another event in Long Beach next week, but I doubt if it will top this," Corr said.
Here's the way it worked.
Corr and the Bachelor Bid Committee invited 50 prominent Orange County bachelors to participate. The 21 males who obliged put together date packages ranging from one-day outings to the elaborate six-day trip that Schroeder offered.
Each bachelor and his date package were put to bid before the audience.
Celebrity bachelor of the evening was John Beard, co-anchor of the Channel 4 News.
Arriving after broadcasting the 6 o'clock news, Beard was set to hear bids on his package--a tour of NBC studios along with attendance at a performance of "The Johnny Carson Show," dinner at Spago and drinks at the Beverly Hills Hotel.
A few male "looky-loos" like Rod Soderling, Steve Cloobeck and Steve Schorer, came to the event out of curiosity.
Cloobeck and Schorer expressed interest in participating next year. "Tonight," they chorused, "we're up for zero bid."
Potential bidders got the chance to meet the bachelors during a reception. The reception also offered taped interviews of the men on closed-circuit television.
As guests took seats in the ballroom, bachelors waited in a private room and exchanged experiences that happened during the social hour: "I've never had so many telephone numbers stuffed into my pockets," said an amazed R. Kevin Bossenmeyer, a human resources manager. Publisher Benjamin S. Epstein said he was asked how he could participate, comparing the event to a meat market. "I said, 'Well, in the meat market of life, the bachelor bid is foie gras !' " Scott A. Hart said women tried to slip him checks before the event even got started.
Advertising executive Martin Sanborn mentioned that several of his ex-girlfriends were in the audience. "There's a little bit of the past and future out there (in the ballroom)!" he quipped.
Schroeder was asked what he would do if his date was unattractive. He answered, "I can make the most out of any situation."
A videotape, "The Time Is Now," gave a summation of the work done at the March of Dimes before the bachelors returned to the ballroom.
Master of ceremonies Tom Wilson, of "Back to the Future" fame, introduced Carol Hammond, chairwoman of the event.
Hammond reviewed the rules and added, "No bachelors are for sale here. We asked their mothers, and their mothers would not allow it."
The noise level reached maximum when the bachelors, in alphabetical order, entered the ballroom.
Seated in the front rows, the women could watch auctioneers Carol Nuss and Stewart take turns seeking the highest bids possible from the audience.
Janet Terry of Newport Beach paid $3,450 for the date with Beard. She paid from the $10,000 she had won on the Rick Dees KIIS radio show.
Mary Forenza of Encinitas in San Diego County made a collection of $4,000 from various sponsors and added the balance from her own pocket to pay $6,025 for Schroeder's package.
Laura Betor of Irvine donated $1,000 to the March of Dimes if Bossenmeyer agreed to go out on a separate date. He agreed.
Donald Solsby, president of Pacific National Bank, footed the bill for bids made by three of his employees, Mary Jane Strathman, Judy Miller and JoAnn Jones.
Jones, a vice president and cashier of the bank, missed out on Schroeder, but replaced him with two other dates.
"The bank donates a lot of money to charity anyway," said Jones, "and Don thought that this would be a treat for us--and it is tax deductible." Other bachelors helping March of Dimes research and educational programs were Thomas S. Bakman, Dr. James R. Brinkley Jr., William F. Cohen, Ronald V. Cribbet, Fred Droz, Michael Gooing, Roger A. Grable, Ronald L. Graves, Dr. Gordon C. Gunn, William J. Havlicek, Gilbert R. Hess, George F. Norwine, Richard W. Nimmo, Joseph Spector and Eric W. Stuhr.
Given a tube of hot-pink acrylic paint and asked to donate a work of art that would make a lot of money for the Laguna Art Museum, what would 125 California artists create?
The answer to that question came on Saturday night at the Laguna Art Museum's "In the Pink" fund-raiser.
Probably the most whimsical approach was artist Candace Gawne's shocking pink high-heeled pumps atop a shoe box. A pink neon-tubed tongue came out of the shoe. It was entitled "Eat and Run."