Talk about curb service. "Celebrity waiters," participants in a benefit for the American Lung Assn. of Orange County, were nothing less than aggressively helpful at the "Celebrity Waiters Luncheon" on Tuesday.
Guests were barely out of their cars in the circular driveway of the Four Seasons Hotel when they were "hit" for beverage orders by the "waiters."
"It reminded me of one of those beach landings we made during the war," said Orange County Supervisor Tom Riley, honorary chairman of the event,
"I was supposed to sell kisses today. Instead, it cost me $20 for a 7-Up before I got to the front door," added the retired Marine general and 1986 Christmas Seal chairman.
But making tips was the whole idea behind the event chaired by Barbara (B.J.) Stewart-O'Neill.
The waiters, divided into seven teams and headed by a captain, wore custom-designed aprons identifying them with their names spelled out in felt fabric.
For two hours, prominent businessmen, politicians, sports figures and entertainers switched careers to make money for the association's programs. More than $10,000 was netted from the event.
Rep. Robert E. Badham wore a flight suit with a "hornet driver" name tag. "I only wore it to be comfortable," he joked. "Give me a jet and I'll go anywhere."
Celebrity waiter Spider MacLean of KWIZ radio didn't conform to a dark suit as many of the guests had. Instead, he dashed about taking orders in a T-shirt, short shorts, sneakers and a Santa's hat.
Former restaurateur Geril Muller, the most professional-looking waiter by far, said, "This (serving) takes me back to my childhood."
Although MacLean was on Beverly Thompson-Coil's winning team--they brought in $1,090--the most tips brought in by an individual was the $855 garnered by Jamie Sparling.
Emcee Paul Salata kept up the antics during lunch, wisely served by the hotel staff.
Programs on the table offered suggestions on "How To Treat Your Waiter."
"They are brave," read the opening line. "Be creative. Your wish is your waiter's command."
Further instructions went on to say: "Keep tipping. Ask him to sing, do a boogie or have a photograph taken with him."
Also available for photos was Kristy Koala, the Christmas Seal mascot created by Disney Studios and official greeter of the party.
Wolf Stern, a waiter team captain, read a spoof on letters from celebrities, mostly world leaders, who were invited but regretted.
Darrell Miller of the California Angels and Ken Howell of the Los Angeles Dodgers drew business cards, placed in a bowl for a price, for prizes.
The luncheon, timed precisely to last two hours, left little time for Carol Kawanami, RN and president of the National American Lung Assn., to say much more than a thank you to the audience for attending.
Earlier conversations with Louise Della Bella, RN, president of the Orange County chapter, and Pearl Jemison Smith, past president, centered on some of the goals of the Christmas Seal people.
Both Della Bella and Smith spoke of ALA's aim to have smoke-free families by the year 2000.
"We are hoping to incorporate it into the school programs so that children will tell their mothers and fathers not to smoke," Smith said.
Said two-term president Della Bella: "We are into the prevention of lung disease. Assessing the environment and doing something in the workplace itself."
Other programs are SCAMP, a weeklong program for children with severe asthma, and the Better Breathers' Club, a program offering educational and social support for patients with chronic lung disease and their families.
Welcoming guests at the Newport Harbor Art Museum next Thursday will be Herman Dehennin, Belgian ambassador to the United States, and the museum board of trustees.
The black-tie opening ceremonies and the reception afterward at the Hotel Meridien will celebrate the opening of an exhibition entitled "Flemish Expressions: Representational Painting in the 20th Century," at the museum.
Open to the public, the $250-per-person event will include the ceremonies and reception beginning at 6 p.m.
Cocktails, dinner and dancing commence at the hotel at 7:30 p.m.
The music will be provided by two bands, the Bill Tole Orchestra and Peanuts Hucko, a swing-jazz quintet.
Information may be obtained by calling the museum at (714) 759-1122.