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A Chronicle Of The Passing Scene


Making a Difference, Piece by Piece

Thousands of squares are descending on Sherman Oaks from all corners of America, and it's not a national nerd convention.

It's a phenomenon called Warm Up America, a movement that helps provide comfort and comforters for the needy and homeless.

Evie Rosen, who owns a small yarn shop in Wisconsin, asked the handicrafters in her state to knit or crochet squares. She thought that the squares could be made into afghan blankets for people in shelters and homes for battered women, and the poor.

The project was so successful that it was featured last fall on TV's "The Home Show." People all over the country wanted to know how they could contribute.

Sherman Oaks-based House of Fabrics, with 700 stores across the country, agreed to collect and assemble the squares for the national effort, which has resulted in more than 500 afghans being put together and distributed nationwide through local charities.

People who do not have a House of Fabrics in their neighborhood send their handiwork to the Sherman Oaks headquarters from all 50 states, said Sharon Smith, who is in charge of the project for House of Fabrics.

In addition to the handmade hats, sweaters, mittens, scarves and quilts she has received, she has received enough squares to make more than 300 afghans.

A Wild West Ride on a Walk of Fame

Five film stars--most of whom are familiar with the business end of a movie camera and a six-shooter--will be honored March 27 at the barbecue and ceremony for the Walk of Western Stars in Newhall.

They are Stuart Whitman, Jack Palance, Woody Strode, Sam Elliott and Katherine Ross.

Strode is thought to be the first black to saddle up and star in cinematic shoot-'em-ups.

Ross held her own with a couple of legendary gun-slinging actors in "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid."

Elliott, her husband, and Whitman have spent most of their careers in the oater genre, as has Palance.

The 11-year-old walk, lining San Fernando Road from Lyons Avenue to Hart Park, features terrazzo squares with saddles. John Wayne, Gene Autry, Tom Mix, Roy Rogers, Dale Evans, Dennis Weaver and Amanda Blake are among the 37 already immortalized.

The barbecue, featuring steak, chicken and the fixins, begins at 6:15 p.m. at CalArts, 24700 McBean Parkway, Valencia.

The honorees will mingle with the crowd. Another highlight will be square- and line-dance exhibitions. Several bands will play, including the Grateful Dudes.

Ticket sales are not brisk, said City Councilwoman Jo Anne Darcy, executive director of the Walk of Western Stars Foundation, although she says 500 people are expected.

People these days, she noted, are slow to part with their money. Especially when the top tables for 10 were going for $2,500. Darcy hastens to add that tickets are available in the $40 to $100 range.

Cooking Up Some Sales

You know about those crafty real estate agents who put a turkey or cookies in the oven when they show a home to a prospective buyer.

We don't need Mike Glickman to tell us this is a wily sales tool that tends to make the shopper confuse hunger for acquisitor's lust.

Well, there is a new twist on this crafty little selling come-on.

The people at California Kitchens Inc. in Burbank actually feed their prospective clients.

They hold open house on specific days to show off the latest for those looking to smarten up their cooking space.

Some of their clients include Goldie Hawn, Jay Leno and Steven Spielberg.

The menu for the 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday open house at the Burbank showroom is chicken wings, Italian sausage and, of course, cookies.

The Passing of a Lonely Legend

Alcide Chaisson, 72, died recently at Antelope Valley Hospital Medical Center from injuries suffered when his motorcycle collided with an automobile.

For Antelope Valley pilots and some members of the law enforcement community and the local judiciary, his passing was probably noted with a shake of the head.

Chaisson was a local character who could have been the prototype for Michael Douglas' character in the movie "Falling Down."

He was a man, enraged, driven to unusual acts.

Chaisson--described in the press as a reclusive retired contractor from Reseda, kind of a Robinson Crusoe of the desert--didn't like glider planes flying over his trailer, which was parked near Llano on a lonely seven acres that he bought in 1986 for $13,000.

He loved his solitude. He liked the quiet.

Unfortunately, Chaisson's patch of earth was directly in the path of pilots landing and taking off from Crystallaire Airfield, a tiny strip near Pearblossom Highway and 165th Street East.

Chaisson inwardly raged over the noise that prevented him from listening to his portable radio. But instead of developing an ulcer, he hatched a diabolical plan.

In the mid-1980s, he began shining a 4-by-4-foot mirror directly into the eyes of the pilots. According to George Thomas, who flew tow planes used to launch the gliders, "it was like having someone shine a mirror in your face when you're driving a car."

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