Watch for an unusual arrival from the skies tonight--a couple of Martians who plan to drop by Griffith Park Observatory and "do our Christmas shopping on Earth."
Observatory officials have billed the coming of the Martians as "Martians on a mission of interplanetary trade" to celebrate the official public opening of the observatory's new Space Stop, a sales counter featuring astronomy books, posters and other celestial merchandise.
Actually, the Martians are two Hollywood-based artists named John Phelps and Lou Patrou who create 3-D photographic sculptures. They call their firm "Architects from Mars," Phelps said, "because of all the weird things we build."
Friday evening, Phelps and Patrou will be dressed in "very, very elaborate" Martianwear and will be autographing their special poster that the new gift shop will sell. The poster depicts a Martian's view of Los Angeles; it is a photographic reproduction of the original sculpture currently on display at Fisher Galleries at USC.
The visiting Martians also plan to present earthlings attending the event with a four-foot high by four-foot long cake that is said to be a replica of Olympus Mons, a volcano on Mars that is the largest in the solar system, about the size of Texas.
Ribbon cutting ceremonies for the opening of the shop--with Santa Claus doing the honors with the scissors--are scheduled at 5:30 p.m. ETA for the Martians is 7:15 p.m. Because of the hilly terrain of Griffith Park, the Martians plan to leave their spacecraft elsewhere and drive up the hill to the observatory in their special spacecar.
Heston Takes "Journey"
Speaking of flying, they made pilgrimages by the hundreds to Van Nuys Airport last weekend to see a 42-year-old B-17 Flying Fortress named "Sentimental Journey." Veterans who had flown it. Youngsters who had only read about it. Women who had assembled and riveted it. Wives who had watched their men go to war in it.
And actor Charlton Heston.
"I'd read the View story about it and thought to myself: 'I've just got to go out and see that airplane," said Heston, who served as a radio operator aboard B-25 bombers during World War II. "The B-17 wasn't my airplane, but that certainly was my war."
So, Heston drove to Van Nuys to see the B-17--currently owned by the Arizona Wing of the Confederate Air Force, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of World War II aircraft--and meet its crew.
"They asked me if I wanted to fly with them the next day and I asked them: 'Do bears sleep in the barn?' I even went home and dug out my old flight cap, something I haven't looked at since 1945, to wear it for the flight."
Sunday, with Heston aboard, "Sentimental Journey" led a formation of warbirds in a series of flyovers commemorating the 45th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.
"It's the first time since the war that I've flown in formation," he said. "We had a B-25 and two P-51s on our wing and made low level passes over every base in the area.
"The guys even let me drive it for a while. And I was 19 years old for a while."
Tree Cheers Children
Youngsters who are patients in the Pediatric Pavillion of County USC Medical Center will have a special Christmas tree again this year, thanks to Guy Greengard of Mr. Guy men's clothing in Beverly Hills. On Dec. 24, Greengard will send the hospital an 18-foot flocked tree decorated with 60 pounds of candy and $2,500 worth of toys.
Packaging a Special Gift
Feliz Navidad to actress Carmen Zapata, who came up with an unusual Christmas gift to children who are patients at Orthopedic Hospital in Los Angeles. She gave them a play that she wrote, and later, a holiday party.
The bilingual play, "Rainbow Red," is about Don Quixote helping a little girl find the color of red because it seems to be missing from the rainbow. The play was presented Thursday afternoon in the hospital's auditorium to about 50 children by a theatrical group from Teatro Para Los Ninos.
Teatro Para Los Ninos, a permanent bilingual children's theater that is a program of the Bilingual Foundation of the Arts, was founded 11 years ago to promote Hispanic American culture. Zapata and Estela Scarlata, the co-authors of the play, and Margarita Galban started the foundation.
Adopt a Christmas Whale
Looking for unusual gifts for the coming holidays?
How about a whale?
The Whale Museum in Friday Harbor, Wash. has an Orca Adoption Program for the 77 killer whales of the Greater Puget Sound. For a $20 tax-deductible donation, you can adopt a whale for yourself or for a friend. The proceeds will be used for the museum's research on Puget Sound whales and its con-servation and educational programs.