With Valentine's Day approaching, Art Purcell recalled the time his Santa Monica Oceanaires played an unusual gig. The Oceanaires are male quartets who deliver singing valentines.
"On this particular occasion we were sent to an auto body shop," he said. "We had an order to sing to someone called Peaches. The rather gruff males working there just looked bewildered and annoyed when we asked for Peaches.
"Finally the manager came out and asked what the problem was. I asked him if there was someone working there named Peaches. He reddened visibly, and said, 'Maybe.'
"So we serenaded him, as he turned a deeper and deeper shade of crimson, while his assistants tried to pretend they weren't noticing. Needless to say, we didn't stay around to find out how he liked his valentine."
ON THE ROAD: In Oregon, Robin Voorhies of Santa Ana came upon a sign with a less than restful message (see photo). She added: "The rest stop was no longer there--maybe a big rig wiped it out."
DINING GUIDE FOR THE ADVENTUROUS: May we start you off today with a very dressy shrimp, which was discovered by Lisalee Anne Wells of Long Beach? Next, George Riggins, also of Long Beach, found some files that are edible--byte by byte, one imagines. Finally, Leon Salter of L.A. noticed some Caesar salads at kingly prices (see accompanying).
GUERRILLA COPYREADERS' REPORT: More unusual bits of writing spotted by column readers:
* A scanner that can "crop images in minuets" (contributed by Glenn Cole). Dancing pictures, apparently.
* A plumbing service that says, "Stoppages Guaranteed for 6 Months" (Bill Hutchinson).
* A commercial property that sits in a strip mall "with good parking and exposer" (Terry Brady , Lakewood).
* A coupon offering "2 Litter Soda" (Warren Erikson and Gail Berg), which goes great with junk food, I bet.
* A personal ad seeking a "complaint" female (Herman Pfauter). Reminds me of the old saying of being careful what you wish for. . . .
L.A. INSULT OF THE DAY (HISTORICAL): In the 1930s, Harold Ross, the founder and editor of the New Yorker, was a financial backer of fledgling L.A. restaurateur Dave Chasen. Being a New Yorker, Ross naturally worried about the resources in the primitive West.
"Letters From the Editor," a new collection of writings by Ross, contains this 1937 lament:
"It seems there aren't any good steaks on the Pacific Coast, except a few imported by the first-class places from a man named Davis in New York, who ships them out from here by train."
Somehow Chasen's survived for several decades. Thanks, Davis, whoever you were.
HANG-UP: Pfizer is not the only company that became inadvertently confused with a phone sex service. (Pfizer, you may recall, printed the wrong phone number on a patient survey form for a skin product.)
Hershl Hartman of West L.A. sent along a Sprint "User Guide" that contained a Southland phone number that the long-distance carrier had discontinued. The phone number, Hartman was told by a Sprint rep, was grabbed up by a porno line.
So anyone calling it is greeted by a recorded voice saying, "Welcome to Intimate Connections."
A different approach to filling long-distance needs.
A finalist in Roto Rooter's "Plumb Crazy About Bathrooms" contest was a San Diego woman who related how she hit her head on her bathtub after fainting and ended up marrying one of the firefighters who came to her aid. But she wasn't the winner. No, that honor, reports San Diego Union-Tribune columnist Diane Bell, went to a Chicago woman who wrote a love sonnet to her bathroom, "Ode to Old Commode."
Steve Harvey can be reached at (800) LATIMES Ext. 77083, by fax at (213) 237-4712, by mail at Metro, L.A. Times, Times Mirror Square, L.A. 90053 and by e-mail at email@example.com.