I was shocked to read Randye Hoder's article (Times, July 31) on the Banana Club. In my view, this article was negative, not very accurate, misleading, and I'm insulted and embarrassed.
First, she missed the entire purpose of the club, which is to "keep people smiling and exercise the sense of humor daily." She failed to mention that for years I have donated my time to entertain thousands of people at Banana Club events, which are all family oriented.
We have been featured on 25 or more TV shows in the past five years. The last two years, I have even been a part of the L.A. Children's Museum "Banana Day." All for "fun," at my expense.
The article implies that all I want is to "cash in" and be a "spokesman" for a banana company? Not once did I use the word! I told her, "I would be available (even on a full-time basis) if one of the companies would tie in with the Banana Club concept" and that I'd like to be the "Banana Man" for Dole or Chiquita.
She went out into left field and over the fence and made it appear that I was some kind of a nut. She mentioned "dust-filled room," but failed to mention that an L.A. County fire engine crashed through the front of the building and closed down the club for 14 months.
She also mentioned that I "tell terrible banana jokes and guffaws." There aren't any funny banana jokes, and I do not tell banana jokes. It also states that I've "convinced 8,500 people to pay $10?" That is not true, and I did not tell her that.
The fact is, I have given away several thousand memberships to cheer people up; some paid $1 over 18 years ago, some paid $7 over 15 years ago, some paid $5, and now it's $10 to join (all to cover expenses).
The Banana Club is a "for real, fun social club," which is family oriented and has been since 1972. In conclusion, I feel the club and myself got a bad rap, and I'm embarrassed.
L. KEN BANNISTER