As promised last week, we are going to pay homage to the nation’s greatest columnist, Herb Caen, by trying our hand at emulating his patented three dot journalism.
THE PLANET OF THE MAPES. Herb once identified Charles Mapes as “Tarzan of the Mapes”… When The Mapes Hotel first opened, the ceiling of the Sky Room featured Styrofoam clouds affixed to its structure. When Herb first visited the hotel, he wrote, “The Sky Room has clouds on the ceiling that look more like veal cutlets.” After that item appeared, the clouds were quickly removed…When Frank Sinatra’s son was kidnapped and Frank Senior got the ransom demand late at night, both Mapes and Bill Harrah loaned the singer the cash in small unmarked bills which totaled slightly over $200,00
CELEBRITY SAYINGS. On one occasion, I received a call from Clint Eastwood to meet him at the Reno Airport, where he was awaiting a delayed flight. As we sat in the lobby and shot the bull about tennis, one of his fans stopped by and asked if he actually did the mountain climbing in the movie “Eiger Sanction.”Clint replied that he had indeed done so. When the fan asked if he enjoyed it, Eastwood said, “I wouldn’t do it on my weekends.”… Many years ago, at the inaugural Sportswriters and Broadcasters banquet, Max Baer Sr. was our featured speaker. Following the dinner, the newspaper photog took a picture of honoree Ted Contri, Baer and myself. When the photographer asked us to get a little closer, I put my arm about Baer and was surprised to feel what I thought was a back brace. When I asked him if his back bothered him, he replied, “Don’t tell anybody, but it’s really a corset!”… One of the annual events that occurred in the San Francisco of yore was the Snail Race at the Le Trianon Restaurant. The year that The Mapes entered a snail called Lucky Pierre, I was on hand as his trainer. As the crowd watched the glacial-speed contest, I heard a voice behind me say, “This is the only race I’ve seen where the entries become entrees.”Turning around, I was surprised to see the speaker was none other than Ed Sullivan
… My most embarrassing situation occurred when I escorted Shirley Temple during the filming of Mr. Belvedere Goes to College. Following The Dinner Show in the Sky Room, she turned to me and said, “Aren’t you going to ask me to dance?” I replied that Terpsichore was not my forte and besides she had danced with all the great dancers in Hollywood. She insisted and as we approached the dance floor, I asked her if I could “lead.” She replied with a four-letter word. Following the dancing, we adjourned to the Sky Room bar and I asked her if she would like a Shirley Temple. She pushed me aside and said, “I’ll order the drinks.” And we quaffed down a couple of Stingers in the Rough.