The floats are back in storage, the marching bands are quiet and the crowds have long gone home. But questions remain about the celebrities who promised to participate in last Sunday’s San Pedro Centennial Parade.
Namely, where was Wilt?
Where was Alf?
And where was the community’s beloved Bess Akerson, an 84-year-old local celebrity of sorts who was supposed ride in a car as the centennial committee’s honored guest?
The answers are as follows:
Basketball great Wilt Chamberlain showed up late and missed the car he was supposed to ride in. “We were gone,” said Fred Kennedy, who arranged for Chamberlain to appear. “He was sorry he was late.”
Alf, the little furry TV character, got sick. No kidding. “The individual that carries the part became ill, physically ill,” parade Chairman Jerry Gaines said.
And Bess Akerson got lost on a street corner. “We just couldn’t find her,” said Gaines. “She was supposed to be in front of the Warner Grand (Theater) and unbeknownst to those of us running the parade, she was on the opposite side of the street.”
Bess watched the parade from the sidelines.
And according to Kennedy, Wilt went to Traini’s Restaurant, the local hangout for sports figures and sports lovers.