When Dorothy Chandler stood before 30 carefully chosen women on June 26, 1968, at a tea at the home of Virginia Ramo, she was carrying turquoise blue beads given her by an African acquaintance. If she wished for something good, he had told her, rub the beads. Her wish, she said, was to form a dedicated group of charter members to support the Music Center with far-reaching programs.
Thus was born the Blue Ribbon 400 (with a target membership of 400). Twenty years later, the group has metamorphosed through the Amazing Blue Ribbon 400, and now it is the Music Center Blue Ribbon with a membership of 650. Along the way it has raised $18 million for the Music Center and staged the annual Children's Festival.
Last week, members joined in intimate luncheons in homes and clubs. The luncheons were the first in a yearlong series of celebrations. Though Mrs. Norman Chandler, the founder, was unable to attend any of the luncheons, she was present in absentia through surprise scrolls, wrapped in turquoise grosgrain ribbon, distributed at dessert time at the luncheons. On them, Mrs. Chandler hand wrote: "Dear Blue Ribbon friend, I am very happy to join with you in this way to celebrate our 20th anniversary. We have certainly come far and accomplished great things for the Music Center. You mean so much to me. Thank you for your wonderful effort. Warmly, Buff."
The events were Keith Keischnick's farewell after three years as executive president. She hosted a luncheon at her Mediterranean villa at Palos Verdes Estates. New president Joanne Kozberg co-hosted a luncheon with Andrea Van de Kamp. First co-president Anne Douglas (who served with Grace Salvatori) was a guest at the luncheon hosted by Erlenne Sprague at the Los Angeles Country Club. Anne Douglas recalled that the goal of Blue Ribbon "was to grow slowly and be a group of women who are really interested in doing things for the Music Center." Helen Wolford, now living in Maui, succeeded the two as executive president, followed by Maggie Wetzel and Nancy Livingston and Keischnick. Longtime Blue Ribbon member Esther Wachtell is now Music Center president.
For Dori Pinola, hosting a luncheon at the Regency Club, the day was special. Her husband, Joseph, chairman of First Interstate, had just been named the chairman of the Music Center board of governors. He'll succeed Daniel Frost. "Do you want to know what we're having for lunch?" she asked. "Warm duck salad with raspberry vinaigrette and lemon souffle--that's it. Just a summer luncheon, not too many calories." Her tables were lavish with blue iris and columbine, pink peonies, white asters and lilies.
Guests, like those at all the luncheons, were randomly chosen so that Blue Ribbon members could become better acquainted. Betty Anderson, Nanette Forester, Ruth Roman, Adelaide Hixon and Terry Hirst were all getting acquainted at Mrs. Pinola's event.
Belle Owen organized the luxury bus that carried guests to the Peninsula for the Keischnick luncheon by the pool. Marian Brown and Alison Luckman met on the bus and discovered they lived a block apart. Original member Margaret Hancock, Harriet Gorman, Anne Nicholl, Audrey Greenberg, Edna Weiss, Toni Webb, Ingrid Mitchell and Barbara Schneider sat around flowered chintz-clothed tables, dining on Oriental shrimp salad served on mulberry cabbage leaf plates and recalling the multitude of Blue Ribbon events over the years, events that encompassed First Ladies and royalty, singers and actresses, political figures, symposiums, on-site rehearsals and visits to museums and universities.
They also gave themselves a pat on the back for reaching this year's goal--$1.5 million toward the Music Center Unified Fund goal of $13 million.
PAST PERFECT: Well, Beverly Hills is an unusual city: The annual yearly household income after taxes averages $122,003. It boasts the incomparable Rodeo Drive and 30 beauty/health salons, 126 restaurants, Greystone Mansion, Virginia Robinson Gardens, Pickfair and Beverly Hills High School with its own oil wells that annually pump nearly $1 million in royalties into the school district.
The city was also fortunate to have the late Burton E. Green, who bought out the bean fields, struck water (not oil) and brought New York landscape architect Wilbur Cook to town to plan a new city, which ultimately spawned the crown jewel, the pink stucco Beverly Hills Hotel, famous for its Polo Lounge power breakfasts.
So why shouldn't Beverly Hills have the glitziest of 75th anniversary birthdays the other night? We thought the Diamond Jubilee Diamond Extravaganza by Radio City Music Hall Productions simply wonderful, particularly the "Shoppin' " sequences and the Beverly Hills Hotel sections with the cabanas, valets and maids.
Beverly Hills can revel in its individuality: It bought $100 million in war bonds in World War II (more than any city in America, says Dinah Shore). But for a vote of 507 to 337 in 1923, it might have been annexed to Los Angeles.
ALFRESCO: Milo Bixby will create an Italian courtyard and Somerset will stage an Italian buffet for the Costume Council's alfresco party Monday evening after Saks Fifth Avenue presents Louis Dell'Olio and his fall 1988 Collection for Anne Klein & Co. at the County Museum of Art.
Betty and Ken Morgan, Stephen and Marcia Cannell, Peggy Parker and Walter Grauman and Suzanne and Irwin Russell are among the early acceptances. . . .
And nostalgic fashion accompanied by antique photographs will be the hit of "Reflections," the Southern California History Council's costume/photo exhibition at El Molino Viejo in San Marino this afternoon. Fashion expert and California History Society trustee Margaret Murray and Bobbie Galpin are involved.
WHOOPS: Due to an editing error, Dr. Paul Mac Cready's Sunraycer was identified in On View on July 3 as a solar-powered aircraft; it is an auto.