After Lively Night, Walls Came Tumbling Down

One of the hottest bands ever assembled blew into town Saturday for a one-night stand at Club Galaxy, a recherche little nightspot so exclusive that few in the crowd of 350 had ever heard of it.

They will be talking about Club Galaxy for a long time to come, and with good reason. But don't try to go there. When the Bob Haggart Club Galaxy Orchestra blew its horns for the final time, the walls came tumbling down.

And that's a pity. Club Galaxy may have been the closest thing to a Copacabana or El Morocco that this town has ever seen. Set up inside a white tent, the room was littered with so many palm trees tipped with blue-dyed feathers that it looked like a chic oasis for ostriches. And there were enough notable faces there to keep "Life Styles of the Rich and Famous" on the tube for years.

Club Galaxy was just a spoof, but for one magic evening it materialized on the back lawn of Nissan Design International, picked by party chairman Carol Yorston to house "Stars Around the Globe," a gala benefit for the Old Globe Theatre.

Nissan Design International, the Golden Triangle complex where the Japanese auto maker develops new vehicles, does not make a practice of welcoming the public, and to say that security there is tight is to put it mildly. It is a grand complex, one that most guests were eager to explore.

Although welcoming cocktails were served on a front terrace, a few courageous explorers tackled the labyrinth of passages inside the center, and those with sufficient charm or chutzpah were able to get through the guard-controlled sliding panel that gives access to the design studios.

Eventually, everyone on the way to Club Galaxy passed through the Red Studio, where Nissan design chief Herry Hirshberg displayed the new Pathfinder truck, which had not been revealed to the public until that moment.

Guests also paused in the studio to pick up some of the most deliriously silly party favors of recent memory. Called "cymid" sticks, these plastic tubes glowed in the dark and were looped around necks, wrists and foreheads with as much delight as if they had been composed of gold and jewels. Then the oddly glowing group proceeded to Club Galaxy, where most, once they heard the music, headed straight for the dance floor.

And what music! Bill Muchnic assembled the band by "calling a few pals," and it must be nice to have such buddies. Bob Haggard led the orchestra with his bass; the former member of Bob Crosby's Bobcats wrote "Big Noise from Winnetka." Guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli riffed through such numbers as "Lady Be Good," accompanied by drummer Nick Fatool, who was an original member of Artie Shaw's Grammercy Five. Also in the group were cornetist Warren Vache Jr. (who played with Benny Goodman), clarinetist Abe Most, trombonist Dan Barrett, and on tenor sax, Tommy Newsom, co-leader of the orchestra on the Tonight Show.

The orchestra alone could have made the evening, but Yorston and her cohorts (Judith Smith was co-chair, Tonnie Moss designed the decor, and Suzanne Figi planned the menu) designed a flashy blowout that entertained on many levels. The dinner began with gazpacho served in avocados raised at Yorston's Los Gordos Ranch in Fallbrook, and continued with grilled chicken and Anna potatoes. Caterer John Baylin saved his best effort for last: Dozens of waiters hit the stage to construct a cake that was an edible replica of the Old Globe.

Globe artistic director Jack O'Brien then introduced a showy procession of Globe performers who, since this was the Club Galaxy, put on a floor show. The cast included Michael Byers (the largely Republican crowd enjoyed his singing of the "Ronnie Reagan Rag"); Linda Hart singing "Ain't Nobody's Business If I Do"; Bob James offering variations from the Globe's current hit, "Emily"; and Amanda McBroom performing Hoagy Carmichael's jazzy "Baltimore Oriole."

The guest list included John and Sally Thornton, Jack and Carolyn Farris, Hal and B.J. Williams, James and Diane Bashor, Mark Yorston, Hal and Joann Clark, Richard and Mary Adams, John and Grace Barbey, Arthur and Jeannie Rivkin, Victor and Sondra Ottenstein, Don and Darlene Shiley, George and Martha Gafford, Charles and Barbara Arledge, Doug and Betsy Manchester, Old Globe executive producer Craig Noel, and Mike and Carol Alessio.

LA JOLLA--The Old Globe, when it gets into a party mood, usually jumps in with both feet. Many of the guests at Club Galaxy warmed up for that event by attending the Sept. 8 farewell party for former Globe community relations director Bob McGlade.

Some 200 members of the Globe Guilders turned out for the casual cocktail reception given at home by former Old Globe President Dixie Unruh and her husband, Ken. It was a sentimental evening since the popular McGlade, whose first involvement with the Globe was as a member of the 1952 cast of "Mister Roberts," was departing after 24 years. However, McGlade has not wandered too far afield; he has been named director of planning and development for the San Diego Civic Light Opera Assn., a move that prompted Craig Noel to comment, "We haven't lost an employee, we've gained an organization."

On hand to applaud McGlade were theater board president Sister Sally Furay; Jim and Dolly Poet; Wally and Marian Trevor; Dick and Annette Ford; Connie Hedges; Delza Martin; Don and Lois Dechant; Jane Stillman, and Globe Guilders president Nancy Bayer.

RANCHO SANTA FE--The Country Friends, the countywide philanthropic group that for 32 years has dispensed more than $2 million to area charities, never seems satisfied merely by equaling its past accomplishments.

Thus it came as no surprise that the group again went for the gold with the Sept. 9 version of its annual "Appearance of Autumn" fashion show, this year entitled "American Style" in honor of the American-made styles presented by Nordstrom. Last year's attendance--which had surpassed all earlier records--was broken, this time by a guest count that exceeded 1,900, enabling "Appearance of Autumn," held on the front lawns of the Inn at Rancho Santa Fe, to maintain its crown as the largest outdoor fashion show in the U.S.

Many details repeat from year to year at "Appearance of Autumn," which is one reason that many guests greet the event's arrival like the visit of an old friend. The location never varies (those lawns have seen a lot of fashions modeled over the years), and rituals like the preshow box lunch served under the eucalyptus trees remain enormously popular. And the day often does offer the first breath of the change in season, although this year, autumn failed make much of a showing, having been muscled aside by a still-vigorous summer.

The show always begins with a parade of celebrity models, and this year more than a dozen previous Country Friends fashion show chairmen strolled the runway. The fashions in this segment were bright and varied, in contrast to the dark, simple clothes presented by guest designer Mary Ann Restivo in the show's professional segment. The audience tended to hold its applause, possibly because of sentiment shared by one guest who said, "These clothes are like the Ford Model T. You can get them in any color you want, as long as the color you want is black."

Guest models included Johanne Wenz, Sis Goodrich, Betty De Bakcsy, Leith Clotfelter, Alyson Goudy, Jan White, Jinx Ecke, Pam Allison, Joan Hamrick, Marilyn Pratt, Country Friends president Mary Ann Fitch, and fashion show chairman Sue Bubnack.

Laurie Peters served as co-chair, with assistance from a committee that included Nancy Salisbury, Lynn Adkison, Flo Bible, Pat Wood, Jennie D'Agosta, Midgie Vandenberg, Ann Horne, Jean Newman, Maureen Blackmore, Donna Fields, Sandy Kucha and Beverly Boyce.

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