Actors often work as waiters in Hollywood.
On Wednesday, however, they worked as waiters on Skid Row, serving Thanksgiving lunch al fresco to more than 3,000 of the down-and-out who may never have set foot in Beverly Hills.
Outside the Los Angeles Mission, Jeff Bridges, Rose Marie, JoAnn Worley, Earl Holliman and Katherine Helmond spent a couple of hours dishing out the standard Thanksgiving bill of fare to men, women and children. Today at the Midnight Mission, at least three members of the Los Angeles Kings hockey team have volunteered to serve the midday meal.
Out at the Los Angeles Zoo, it wasn't life styles of the rich and famished. Zookeepers simply tossed pumpkins, apples and bananas into the open maws of two hippos, and pitched one cattle femur bone each to three Asian lions. The zoo-born orangutans were briefly intimidated by their first durians, which are green, pine-cone-shaped fruit favored by orangs in the wild. The Thanksgiving "beastly feast" is movable; last year, it was elephants and tortoises who shared the fare.
When the music turns to "There Goes the Bride"--or the bridegroom--and the engaged couple breaks it off, Wedding Wizard can help.
Brides can find something simultaneously old and new in the boutique, which sells never-worn (or once-worn) gowns out of a converted garage in Simi Valley. Joy Tamblyn offers the frocks at discounts of 30% to 50%, making happy both the not-quite-bride who never wants to see the dress again, and the bride who winds up getting her $900 gown for $585.
"My mother was a little less thrilled," said the bride-elect. "She thought it was a bad omen that the dress had been bought for a doomed betrothal. I say: 'How can such a great deal be anything but a good sign?' I see it as a preview of all the money I'll be saving my husband in the future."
The first thing to remember is, don't "ho ho ho!"
"It scares the children, it really does," cautions Santa trainer Tammy Goodson, who this week put about 30 seasonal Santas through their training paces for Western Temporary Services in Los Angeles.
In the Kringle commandments, "Santa doesn't drink, smoke, or flirt," nor call the little ones who gather at his red-clad knees "jerky kids." Western, which has been supplying Santas to stores, shopping centers and civic groups nationwide for nearly 40 years, has refined the training program to the point of providing each Santa hopeful with a scrapbook "that they are to go home and study," brushing up on the names of all eight reindeer (and not confusing them with the seven dwarfs). They are also instructed to endure Saturday morning cartoons and commercials to acquaint themselves with the latest in kiddie Christmas wishes.
The tact part can't be taught from a book, like how to handle seriously ill children who only ask Santa to make them well. "Santa never promises anything, and he listens very carefully," Goodson tells them.
"About every 20th girl asks Santa for a baby brother," he said, and the company line is, "That's strictly out of my department."
It's brick-red, 49 million miles away, and so far, 190 very important people think mankind should go there, if only to visit.
The Pasadena-based Planetary Society has begun circulating its Mars Declaration, urging human exploration of Mars during the next century, and among the diverse luminaries who have signed it are Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon, Western writer Louis L'Amour, composer Quincy Jones, former CIA director William Colby, scientist Linus Pauling, Penn State football coach Joe Paterno, "Tonight" show host Johnny Carson and Clyde Tombaugh, the man who discovered Pluto.
Whoever is elected President next year will be presented with the petition, which declares, in the words of Planetary Society President Carl Sagan, that putting humans from many nations on Mars has "powerful scientific, technological and political justifications." Society officials are not shooting for a goal of billions and billions of signatures. Just 100,000 will do.