2008/03/03

"Notorious" Seven

That rascal, the Moody Minstrel tagged me - his way of thanking me for referrals to his blog. ;^)

I don't usually do tags (I say that every time I do one), but I'll do this one because I found it interesting.

The "rules":

* Link to the person who tagged you.
* Leave a comment on their blog so that their readers can visit yours.
* Post the rules on your blog.
* Share the seven (7) most famous or infamous people you have met. Or go with the original 7 weird things about yourself. Or with Sandra's change and list your 7 favorite writing websites. Lots of choices!
* Tag 7 random people at the end of your post.
* Include links to their blogs.
* Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

Seven weird things about myself? No way. I wouldn't know where to begin. 7 favorite writing websites? I don't have a single one. Nope, got to be the 7 most famous or infamous people I've met. Even this was a bit of a challenge because I've actually met quite a few famous people over the years who worked in politics, economics, music, history, aviation, or acting. So, I've selected seven based on fame, but also on their influence in their field, and I've also tried to include people from a variety of fields. I decided to write about only one person in the truly "infamous" category, and he is included only because of his historical importance.

1) Gabe Baltazar - In the 1990s I played in big bands on Maui a few times backing up Gabe as the featured soloist on his alto saxophone and have spent a little time talking with him back stage before the performances. He was nice enough to shrug off the time he hired me to play 1st trombone and I totally laid a brick on a solo! Oh man, I felt about one inch tall, but he was gracious about it. He is a very warm person and awesome jazz performer (when it was hip to be hep, he was hep) who became famous as featured soloist and arranger for the Stan Kenton Orchestra in the 1950s. He is not only in total control of the horn and demonstrates his mastery of it, he keeps it lyrical and pleasing to the ear. He has spent most of his career in Hawaii, touring the islands and performing with his combos and bands and visiting California to record with other artists. He is very supportive of other musicians and in the late 90's he donated the dozens of the big band arrangements he had done for Kenton to the MSO (Maui Symphony Orchestra) Big Band. Like, wow, man. We dig you the most!



2. Hugh Beaumont - American baby boomers know him as "Ward Cleaver", the father figure on the TV sitcom "Leave it to Beaver" (cast photo shown here). He also had a very successful film acting career going back to 1941. Hugh Beaumont lived in the neighborhood where I grew up and for a time directed the choir at the church I attended. When I was in my early teens, he once gave me a ride to church when my mother couldn't do so. People make a cynical jokes about the "perfect families" shown in 50's TV shows, perhaps especially Leave it to Beaver, but ironically Hugh Beaumont fit the part. He was a father in real life, soft spoken, and seemed kind and sincere to me. Not at all like your contemporary stereotypical movie or television star, he was a graduate of the University of Southern California, and had a Master of Theology degree.



3. Fredrich August von Hayek - Nobel prize winning economist of the Austrian school of economics (proponents of free market capitalism). He was also awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1991. While at the University of Redlands studying, uh, would you believe, economics?, I went to listen to him lecture at UCLA. At that time he was visiting from his job as professor of economics at the University of Freiburg in Germany. I was interested in the works of Ludwig von Mises at the time and Hayek had done similar work to his, in fact had studied with him. After the lecture I went up on stage, met him and had him autograph my copy of his book "The Road To Serfdom", which I still have in my library. Disclaimer: I no longer support the ideas presented by von Hayek.



4. Murray Rothbard - Egad, another economist! Rothbard was a contemporary of Hayek and also an economist of the Austrian school and himself had studied under von Mises, but he had an anarchist political bent as well. He was famous for his critiques of author/philosopher Ayn Rand, his fellow Austrian economists, and politicians.

He was a prolific writer and very active in the libertarian political movement, which is how it came about that I met him. In 1980 I was running for a seat on the Maui county council as a Libertarian Party candidate. The party held a state caucus in Honolulu and we were joined by the presidential candidate, Ed Clark, and Murray Rothbard. So, I had the opportunity to spend some time with him discussing politics and economics. Although I no longer hold the same views, Rothbard was brilliant, not afraid to tear apart his fellow economists in his essays, and as a person I found him to be quite a character. Disclaimer: I no longer support the ideas of Mr. Rothbard.

5. Don Ho

Don Ho was a world famous Hawaiian entertainer who, as noted on this blog, passed away on April 14th, 2007.

He was perhaps most famous for the song "Tiny Bubbles" and known locally as "Hawaii's greatest ambassador".

I remember my mother listening to Don Ho albums back in the 60's (I listened too) and I got to see him perform live a couple of times back then. His style was not "traditional" Hawaiian, but more a mix of Hawaii with 50's and 60's style crooning. Many of the songs Don made famous were written by Kui Lee, including Tiny Bubbles, I'll Remember You, and The Days of My Youth. When I met Don, I was chairing the Buddhist Education Committee for the Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii, and he was one of a handful of people that year to receive the Hongwanji's "Hawaii's Living Treasures Award" for his life-long service to the community. At the time, he seemed to be rather perplexed by all the attention and the award, as if he didn't feel he had done anything special. As I shook his hand to congratulate him, my memories of his performances that I had seen or heard over the previous thirty plus years flashed through my mind. To me, and I am sure very many other people, he will always be very special.



6. Art Scholl
- the greatest aerobatic pilot I ever saw, period. Shown here with his dog, Aileron, Art put on absolutely stunning performances and introduced the US to a maneuver called the "Lomchevak" (the Czech word for headache) during which the airplane literally tumbles - out of control - through the air. (Talk show host Johnny Carson once rode with Art and was asked what he thought when he did the Lumchevak. Carson reportedly answered, "I wanted to throw up, but I didn't know which way 'up' was.") Art Scholl may not be a household name, but in aviation and film making circles he was certainly very famous - the top of his profession.

At the time I met him - early 70's - a friend and I had put a deposit on a new Bede BD-5 airplane (a tiny single seat "pocket rocket", a jet version of which was later featured in the James Bond film Octopussy), for which Art was a dealer. He was building one in his hanger at an airport about ten miles from where I lived at the time, and we went over to see it. His version was a "home built" kit, but we were buying an FAA-certified factory version. He was a very busy guy but took time to introduce us to his dog (it was a big dog, before he had Aileron) and showed us around the plane. Later, the Bede Aircraft Company went bankrupt, so we never got our plane (or our deposit back) - obviously nothing that Art had any control over.

Art Scholl's aerial camera work appeared in hundreds of television shows and films, including The Right Stuff, The Great Waldo Pepper, Blue Thunder, The A-Team, CHiPS and Top Gun. During the filming of Top Gun, on September 16 of 1985, he put his Pitts S-2 biplane into an inverted flat spin for the second time that day to film background for the movie, but this time he could not recover and radioed "I have a problem - I have a real problem" before he crashed into the Pacific Ocean. Art had over 14,000 hours of experience. His body and the wreckage were never recovered, so the accident remains unsolved. Top Gun is dedicated to the memory of Art Scholl.


7. Richard Milhous Nixon - yep, "Tricky Dick" himself, shown here giving his resignation address.

My then SO (significant other) and I had been out sailing with a friend on his yacht out of Dana Point, California. Nixon had his "Western White House" in neighboring San Clemente. This took place after he had resigned his office (which he did in August of 1974)- and I think it was sometime in 1975 that we bumped into him.

After sailing, we went to a Mexican style restaurant for dinner. As we waited for a table, two Secret Service agents ushered the President into the the small entry and there we were, less than a meter from the man. We smiled, said, "Good evening, Mr. President" , he smiled back and said hello, evidently pleased to not be cursed at. My SO shook his hand saying something like "pleased to meet you" - I declined.

As we were walking away to be seated, the door open again and more Nixons, and Secret Security people, came in. At the time we thought it might have been Julie Nixon Eisenhower and husband David, but we didn't really recognize them, so I'm not sure. Nixon was said to be 5' 11" tall, but to me, that night, he looked small. Maybe it was his posture. Maybe it was the effect of humiliation over Watergate. If so, he deserved it. For that, and much, much more. It was interesting to meet such a historical figure up close though, even if his memory is one to be despised.

Well, let's not end on that cheery note! (D minor 7th chord)

Here's the 7 random people I tag - ha ha ha!

Well, I'd list them, but none have blogs, so what's the point? If you feel left out, consider yourself tagged!

(Rules are made to be broken) Don't you feel relieved?

Trivia: Notorious (1946) is the title of a great Alfred Hitchcock movie which starred Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman, and Claude Rains. Bergman plays the daughter of a Nazi and is used by FBI agent Grant to track down Nazis, like Claude Rains, in South America. But Grant and Bergman fall in love. Great stuff! Damn, they knew how to make movies then. The story is ironic, because in reality, the FBI and the rest of the US government bent over backward to bring Nazis to the USA and protect them as part of Operation Paper Clip.

13 comments:

K & S said...

I've never met Don Ho, but seen him in Kaimuki, he had this aura about him. Great meme!

Pandabonium said...

Thanks K & S. Don Ho was a great entertainer. Knew how to give people a fun evening.

Don Snabulus said...

That is an eclectic bunch. Moody tagged me (and/or Ladybug) too but my circles are considerably smaller.

After recovering from my computer debacle, I may look into it.

PinkPanther said...

we all know M.M. is a notorious rascal. *^o^*

Robin said...

yeeeks...

tagging..

(I am still looking for my metal table)

ladybug said...

These are very entertaining and diverse group of folks! Thanks for all the observations and personal stories, they are the most interesting to me!

Now I've got to think on mine...but I don't think I've ever met anyone remotely famous, I'll have to think on it.

Pandabonium said...

Snabby - didn't I see a picture of you with Bill Gates on the cover of Wired?

PinkPanther - that he is, but he covers it up with his serious, moody demeanor. Can't fool us though, can he?

Robin - have no fear of tagging from me, but if your metal table gives you comfort, go for it.

Ladybug - I'll be you know a lot of interesting ~ fame is very relative. You know Snabby, Moody, and Swinebread just for starters.

Swinebread said...

amazing, that's a very diverse bunch.
I have nothing to compare

Pandabonium said...

Swinebread - I've got a lot of years on you. Besides, you know all those super heros!

Happysurfer said...

Wow! What a famous lot, PandaB.

If I do this tag, it's going to be my very first tag though I'm not sure if I've met seven famous/infamous people.

Did you say "Rules are made to be broken?". hmmmm.....

Pandabonium said...

Happysurfer - fame is a relative term. Of course you could always do the seven most weird things about yourself if you prefer. Now, that I'd like read about... ;^)

Happysurfer said...

lol - weird things about me? That's tougher!

You may be right about fame being relative.

Pandabonium said...

Happysurfer - indeed, who could be more weird than ourselves?