In a doctor's waiting room the other day, Fran Roberts ran into Long Beach character Ski Demski and said I should ask him about his latest project: a phone directory that's impossible to lose.
Demski, a frequent candidate for local office and owner of the world's biggest flag (505 feet long), explained to me that he got the idea because he has a heart condition.
I visited his house, where he bared his chest to reveal the tattooed words, "In case of emergency."
Beneath that, Demski, age 71, had the phone numbers of three of his doctors tattooed, as well as his blood type (B negative).
Alas, Demski added that during a recent exam, his cardiologist, Dr. Alan Hermer, looked at his chest and said: "I hate to be the one to tell you this, but you have my phone number wrong."
Hermer, it turned out, had stopped using that number. No problem. Demski had a new number tattooed beneath. And the outdated one? He had the artist draw a red line through it.
Wacky wheels: And now for this column's first annual Really Rare Car Show (see accompanying), comprising such treasures as:
* A Subaru that predated the Model-T Ford (Bob Trounson of Sierra Madre)
* A one-of-a-kind Thunderbird (submitted by Charles Rollins of Corona).
* Acura's secret attempt to make a Volkswagen clone (Hong Trinh of Pasadena)
* A Dodge pickup truck that is only a few inches long (Ula Pendleton of West L.A.).
He knew from Shinola: Mentions here of broadcast bloopers prompted TV veteran Jack Narz to write: "In the early '50s, I was the announcer on the 'Bob Crosby Show' on CBS-TV.
"Once each week, when coming back from a station break, Bob would ask the studio audience to be extra quiet because 'Jack has a special announcement to make, and we all want to make sure that he doesn't goof.' Then he and the Modernaires and the entire cast and crew would stand in a circle around me with their hands held in the air with fingers crossed while I read: 'And now back to the "Bob Crosby Show," brought to you by General Foods--makers of Rit and Shinola.'
"Followed," Narz added, "by wild applause and shouting from audience, cast and crew after a blooper-free reading" of the dye and shoe-polish names.
Which partly explains why he went on to have a long career in television.
miscelLAny: The police log of the Seal Beach Sun said "a resident reported people were shooting air guns at each other and filming it."
The participants "turned out to be from a church, filming for a sermon."
Of the gunfire-and-brimstone type, evidently.