Every year I check the list of departed celebrities to see if I had personally interfaced with any of them.
For 2017 and 2018 there was a surprisingly large number. Among them were Hugh Hefner, Don Rickles, Glen Campbell, Rose Marie, Keith Jackson and Jerry Van Dyke.
Of all of them, I probably spent the most time with Van Dyke. I first met him when he was one of the celebrity tennis players who faced off against Bobby Riggs at the opening of Bob Weise’s tennis complex midway between Reno and Carson City. The second time was in Las Vegas at a Caesar’s Palace floor show starring Frank Sinatra. The occasion occurred when we had an open chair at Bill Raggio’s ringside center table. The maître d’ approached me and asked if we could accommodate Van Dyke at the empty seat. I replied that we could, but that Van Dyke would have to mind his manners. The third time was several years later when Van Dyke showed up at the Tahoe Racquet Club at Incline Village and participated in an active doubles match where his partner was entertainer Jerry Sun and my partner was my college roommate Pete Pridgen.
I had occasion to meet Hefner during the John Tracy Clinic Invitational tennis tournament, the finals of which were held at the Playboy Mansion in Holmby Hills in LA. It was shortly after midnight as I was waiting for the final shuttle bus to take me back to my vehicle at the nearby UCLA campus. A fellow approached me wearing pajamas and a robe and smoking a pipe whom I instantly realized was Hefner himself. We chatted about the tournament and the fact that we both started our publishing careers in the same manner. While he was pasting-up the early editions of his Playboy Magazine, I was doing the same thing on Reno This Week, a local entertainment guide.
As for Rickles, I had a verbal confrontation with him when he appeared at the Riverside Hotel showroom. He castigated me for having booked Sammy Davis, Jr. in the Mapes Sky Room opposite his (Rickle’s) show. I replied that the only reason we were at his performance was that Sammy’s show was sold out and there were plenty of empty seats at the Riverside for me and my friends.
I recall cutting up touches with Glen Campbell when he was a participant in the Clint Eastwood Celebrity Tennis Tournament at the Racquet Club in North Tahoe. Campbell was appearing at Harrah’s Tahoe on the South Shore. He joined a slew of celebrities the likes of which had never been seen at the Lake.
I chanced to meet Rose Marie in the coffee shop of the Mapes Hotel when she was dating one of the managers of the facility.
I first met sports caster Keith Jackson in Seattle when a contingent of us went up to solicit the Gold Cup Hydroplane Races for Pyramid Lake. At that time, Jackson was working for KOMO broadcasting. He would soon graduate to network status and eventually appeared in Reno at the National Championship Air Races for Wide World of Sports.
Word came last week that the Reno Convention and Visitors Authority, which has had a multitude of problems in the past, is on the verge of outsourcing their convention business to another company. Stay tuned for further developments.
Congratulations to Roger Federer on regaining the number one spot in Men’s Professional Tennis due to his victory in Rotterdam. He is now poised to defend his number one ranking at the major tournament which begins in Indian Wells next week.
Also congratulations to David Wise of Reno for bringing home the Olympic Gold once again.
Potential congrats to the University of Nevada Basketball Team for a great season. Coach Musselman has done a tremendous job with a few superstars and an extremely short bench.
Recently the Reno City Council has been given a lot of front page treatment in the local daily about ongoing sexual harassment charges. The one that received the biggest treatment was the infamous Clinger case. The Reno City Hall imbroglio is a microcosm of the “Me too” movement. That movement probably received its most national exposure during this year’s Golden Globe Awards event. Hollywood distaffers exhibited their herd mentality by the wearing of black dresses. Many of those creations sported cleavage that was cut to the waist, exposing as much frontal skin as possible. As for their male counterparts, they sported facial hair that ranged from ugly stubble to full beards. The event may well have been subtitled, “Bosoms and Beards”.