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R S V P / INTO THE NIGHT

No Place for Criminal Types

October 06, 1994|BILL HIGGINS | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

The Scene: The Los Angeles Police Department's 125th anniversary gala Tuesday at the Century Plaza. The evening was also a tribute to "Dragnet" star Jack Webb, whose minimalist acting style was best described by Ron Glass as "straightforward."

Who Was There: With a strong law enforcement community turnout, this certainly was one of the safer black-tie dinners of the season. Also among the 800 guests joining Chief Willie L. Williams and organizers Richard Kalk, Quint Villanueva and Arthur Kassel were two-dozen actors who have played police roles. They included Ed Marinaro, James B. Sikking, Kent McCord, Max Gail, Dennis Franz, Ed Holliman, Angie Dickinson, Robert Stack and Erik Estrada.

Uniquely LAPD: One of the more eye-catching silent auction items was a .38 Colt Detective Special. It's not often one sees a gun laid out on a table at a benefit gala. One officer wrote a note on a bar napkin saying: "Please do not remove pistol from display case." This would seem like a good idea. With about a zillion cops standing close by, this was no place to be waving a .38 around. It sold for $500.

Money Matters: With tickets from $250 to $1,000, more than $200,000 was netted for the Los Angeles Police History and Community Education Center in Highland Park.

"I got real enthused about this when I found out they were going to use it as an educational center for young people and a meeting place for seniors," Williams said. "It brings together two of our most important groups: Our young people, who we're trying to save, and our seniors, who in a sense have saved the world for us."

Best Advice: Bruce Weitz of "Hill Street Blues" on the secret of a successful TV cop show: "It's like the secret of any other show," he said. "Follow 'Roseanne.' "

Most Left-Handed Compliment: While speaking about "Dragnet," the narration of the Webb video tribute said: "And he would shoot an entire episode in one day with no rehearsal." Perhaps it's even scarier to consider that Webb might have rehearsed.

The Program: Emceed by John Beard, it included performances by Jay Leno, Linda Eder and Scott Record. The Jack Webb Award was presented to philanthropist Robert Ahmanson (son William accepted) and law enforcement consultant Donald Santarelli.

Just the Facts, Ma'am: Of Santarelli's long-winded acceptance speech, one woman said wryly, "He was certainly more verbose than Jack Webb."

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