It was a really big show when the Los Angeles Rams--along with their wives and Rams cheerleaders--modeled spring fashions at Saturday's Gala'Rama at the Irvine Hilton: Rams' tackle Irv Pankey wore size 54 extra-long.
Jan Cassen, president of Las Amigas de San Jose, a support guild for St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, which sponsored the benefit, said, "We originally had a six-foot runway, but when we saw these guys, we made it eight feet wide."
KCBS-TV sportscaster Jim Hill served as emcee for the black-tie affair attended by 320 guests. At $125 per person, an estimated $35,000 was raised for the hospital's new Regional Cancer Center.
So what if the players occasionally were unsure of the benefit's cause. When Jack Youngblood called the hospital "St. Jude's," Cassen said: "It doesn't matter. They (the Rams) have done enough for us."
And when Rich Saul spoke of "cancer research," Cassen said, "That's close."
If anything, the audience seemed impressed by the men's willingness to contribute so much time to the cause. Said Youngblood: "What better do you have to do? Go to the movies? If we can help raise $10 that's going to help someone with cancer, it's worth it."
Radiation oncologist Dr. Judith Harrison said proceeds will help purchase linear accelerators for radiation treatment of cancer. "An estimated 30% to 40% of all cancer patients need radiation therapy," she said.
Dr. David Margileth, director of cancer services for St. Joseph, said the 20,000-square-foot center will provide psychological therapy, pain control, biofeedback, dietary therapy and social services.
"Much of our work will be devoted to the psychological and spiritual aspects of cancer treatment," he said. "For most patients, that is an important part of their care."
Sandy Kay, fashion chairman of the event, mobilized the unusual, and occasionally reluctant, fashion models for the show. Kay's husband Rick, a retired linebacker, was among them.
But Irv Pankey got cranky before his turn at the ramp. He refused to slip into his ensemble until the very last minute. Dragging his jacket behind him, he slinked down the ramp, tossing his sunglasses into the crowd. Defensive end Gary Jeter didn't remove his sunglasses all night. Quarterback Jim Everett, introduced as Orange County's most eligible bachelor, debuted in sportswear. (During dinner, Everett said he had just bought a home in Newport Beach.)
Rams guard Dennis Harrah appeared with the seat cut from his pants. But no need to worry. He wore red briefs underneath.
When auction time rolled around, Harrah commandeered the podium. Encouraged by Harrah's auctioneering finesse, Dr. Tyson Cobb purchased Eric Dickerson's jersey for $500. Dr. Ivan Turpin paid $500 for an autographed football.
Gala'Rama chairman Shirlee Heidler, whose husband, George, bought Jeter's jersey, counted 12 committee chairman who staged the event. "It was not a one-man show at all," she said.
Chairmen also included Judy Houlihan, Judith Haslett, Deborah Mullin, Judi Allen, Michele Manning, Jana Burwell, Rina Santora, Shirley Mullen, Shirley Edelman, Clare Knauer and Colleen Casciari. Fashions were from Saks Fifth Avenue.
It was a boys' night of man-size proportions Tuesday night when Jack Youngblood was named "Sportsman of the Year" at the Irvine Marriott. Nearly 400 men showed up to pay tribute. The honor was bestowed upon the former Los Angeles Ram by the Padrinos, a men's support group for Childrens Hospital of Orange County.
The occasion was the group's sixth annual membership mixer. Members and prospective members were welcomed by event co-chairmen Doug Forde and Jay Brown, who said the Padrinos raise nearly $250,000 annually for the hospital.
Marty Lockney recalled founding the group in 1978 because there had been 13 women's guilds for the hospital but no support organizations for the men. Lockney said the group has grown from 250 to 700 members.
During the cocktail hour, Padrinos and their guests perused the auction prizes, which included autographed baseballs, football jerseys, fly-fishing equipment, golfing trips and tickets to a preseason Rams game.
The menu, featuring courses such as "Mrs. O'Leary's Cow," translated as meat and potatoes. Comedian Roy Firestone provided after-dinner entertainment.
In honor of St. Patrick's Day, shamrocks dotted the room, green helium balloons floated from the centerpieces and Irish minstrels played. Dessert was green--mint ice cream, topped with a candy clover.
Youngblood, along with the other men, wore a green carnation.
Padrinos President Gary Weaver said the organization was honoring Youngblood for his athletic achievement, support of Childrens Hospital and involvement with other charities, most notably the John Tracy Clinic for deaf children. Weaver recalled the recent hospital tour taken by Youngblood and Rams quarterback Jim Everett, who also attended Tuesday's event.