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July 08, 1988|JACK JONES | From staff and wire reports

Arthur Bart says he promised his father, just before the 92-year-old man died in April, that he would try to repair some of the damage done by a story in The Times.

The item ran on July 16, 1941.

"It may have been only three paragraphs," says Bart, 64, a retired aerospace industry statistician, "but it got around."

The story concerned the complaint by a woman that her 19-year-old son and two of his friends had been charged $6.50 for a round of sandwiches and Coca-Colas in a La Brea Avenue club called the Pirate's Den. That seemed outrageous to her.

She sent her accusation to the Los Angeles Police Commission after reading that it was delaying renewal of the club's entertainment license because of a complaint from one customer--who happened to be a Superior Court judge--that he was manhandled and kicked out by a bouncer for objecting to the tab for three beers: $6.

What made the Pirate's Den newsworthy was that it was owned by several Hollywood personalities, including Rudy Vallee, Bob Hope, Tony Martin, Bing Crosby and Johnny Weissmuller. The public, Arthur Bart notes, quickly concluded that the place was a clip joint.

That became a problem for his father, who had just taken over as manager and then as owner--only to lose everything as the club went out of business.

Bart emphasizes that the episode involving the three boys, at least, occurred before his father was connected with the club. Apparently a dishonest waiter had failed to return with change for a $10 bill, which bothered them more than the $6.50 charge. "The story," Bart says, "made it sound like it had just happened, when my father was manager. We were dumbfounded when we read it."

He said he had not realized until the deathbed conversation how much it had bothered the old man for 47 years.

The prices, of course, do not sound half bad now.

An effort by the Boston chapter of Tall Clubs International to do away with the Miss Tall International competition has failed at the organization's 50th anniversary convention here. The protesters contended that women--even those 6 feet, 4 inches tall--should not lower themselves.

The move failed.

The vote to continue the annual contest came Tuesday evening, the same night that Susan LaPierre, 37, who was Miss Tall Philadelphia, won this year's national title. She is the mother of two, teaches French and Spanish, and entertained the crowd by portraying an actress speaking in both those languages.

Some of the bigger convention action Thursday was the volleyball tournament at Redondo Beach, where towering spikers made it dangerous to be a short person at the net.

The owner of the stripping telegram outfit that had two of its employees doing a 72-hour off-again, on-again performance in a Melrose Avenue store window said he will sue the Guinness Book of World Records for refusing to list the feat as an official record on the grounds that it was pornographic.

Tom Crispo made his announcement at a press conference where Delane Balliott, 22, and Newcumb Munt, 28, did it again to show that it wasn't.

Guinness editor David Boehm denied in New York that he had said any such thing.

The Little Old Lady From Pasadena, who gained fame in the spiels of used-car dealers and then in song to become a symbol of caution, thrift and other conservative qualities, apparently is not to be patronized any longer.

A pamphlet celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority contains a quote from airport director Tom Greer that reads, "If we can get Grandma parked and into the terminal smoothly, then just about everyone should have a good experience at this airport."

That did not sit well with Jo Heckman, former mayor of Pasadena and current member of the airport authority board. She is 74 and has eight grandchildren.

"There are a lot of grandfathers--and fathers, for that matter--who would have more trouble getting into an airport than some of us grandmothers," Heckman contended.

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