All 'The Presidents' ' Good Works

The 300 guests at "The Presidents" dynamic gala in the unfinished penthouses of the new La Tour Wilshire last week looked down on the city from amid gray insulation, open ductwork and the steel and glass of the condominiums.

"It makes me dizzy," said Ann Johnson, stepping away from the balcony rail after peering down upon the cars along Wilshire Boulevard.

The party was one super wow--all Mary Jones Marshall's doing. Cocktails were in the $6.5-million north penthouse, the sit-down dinner in the adjacent $7.3-million south penthouse. (Those are the asking prices.)

Guests mingled among green palms set in steel tubes. Hanging on puckered walls were huge blowups of photos of old Los Angeles donated by Martha Chandler and executed by Art Center College of Design students. Centerpieces were corrugated throwaway tubes with dried flowers 5 feet tall.

At the height of things, Marshall announced The Presidents had raised $400,000 net for the Children's Bureau of Los Angeles and its work to aid abused children.

Two pals took the stage for praise.

Said Alyce Williamson: "I have never known anybody who has worked so hard to make an evening so special."

Said Natalie Robinson: "There are lots of presidents, but Mary really did it." (The Presidents is a group of women who have been presidents of organizations.)

Manhattan's Alex Donner flew in to lead his band in rollicking tunes like "Bye, Bye Blackbird."

On the dance floor throughout the evening were Bob and Betty Strub, Mary and Reese Miller, Donna and Bob Tuttle, Gerry and Robin Parsky, Billie and Roger Converse, Rosemarie and Bob Stack, Dody and Otis Booth, Craig and Jane Gosden, Jack Warneke (the architect who's consulting on the 30-year plan to revitalize Waikiki) and Marjorie Miller, Jenny and Loring Rutt, Ellis and Lisa Jones, Tom and Debbie Tellefson, Gloria and Ed Renwick, Kenneth and Betty Morgan and Marion and John Anderson.

Comedian Ray Fell of the Las Vegas Tropicana entertained.

As they departed, guests including Matilda Stream (who flew in from New Orleans), Cherry and David Bianchi, Simon and Virginia Ramo, Arletta and Don Tronstein, Pat and Walter Mirisch and Beverly and Chase Morsey drove out over the building's shiny granite driveway.

CHAIN: Italianate floral decor by Sylvia Tidwell and Caryn Harb added to the charming Hancock Park gardens of Norma and David McIntyre Saturday at the 32nd annual Children's Chain dinner-dance. The end-of-summer party has evolved as a thank-you to the Children's Chain friends who support Childrens Hospital financially.

Cypress trees dressed in twinkling lights bordered the dance floor. Violins serenaded as guests nibbled on Brazilian coconut shrimp prepared by Somerset Catering. Welcoming the guests were Children's Chain chairman Josselyn McAdam with husband Jim and dinner-dance chairwoman Cuchi Clark and her husband Alan.

For dining, the tennis court took on a white-on-white Tuscan look with stone urns on each table.

In the crowd: Brooke and Jim Young, Margaret and Tom Larkin, Judy and Ernie Getto, Pat and Tom Rauth, Nancy and Ray McCullough, Casey and Steve Olson, Cheryl and Peter Ziegler, Vicky and Neil Martin, Christy and George Farmer and Christian and Edie Frere.

Most guests downed the toffee pecan chocolate torte that climaxed the menu planned by Kathy Russell and Laurie Griff.

The dance benefits the Comprehensive Vision, Hearing and Speech Center at the hospital.

WITH LOVE: Francesca Paley Sukman, an accomplished pianist, organist and artist and the wife of Oscar-winning composer Harry Sukman ("Fanny"), died last year of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's disease).

Monday at the Four Seasons Hotel, her daughter Susan McCray, orchestrated "Francesca's Fashion Fantasy" dedicated to Sukman. McCray plans an annual benefit and fashion show to raise funds for the quest for a cure for the disease.

Fashion designer David Hayes narrated his fall collection. Among the honorary chairmen were Cindy Landon (widow of Michael Landon), Steve Allen and Jayne Meadows and Harry and Pamela Flynn.

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