For the Town’s 90- and 100-Year-Old Residents
If you attended the “Eat, Drink and Be 90” birthday celebration on Saturday, and you knew the correct answer to one of the trivia questions below, you might have won a door prize. The questions included:
The Year was 1929.
- Who was president of the United States?
- Who was the pipe-smoking character who first appeared in a cartoon?
- Who was the most popular husband and wife comedy duo?
- What was installed for the first time in the White House?
- Who were the World Series Champions?
- What participation game was created by Edwin S. Long?
- What first came to Las Vegas, Nevada?
- Who received the most votes for “Best Actor” in the inaugural Academy Awards presented at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel?
Many of the answers were easy for the more than 50 nonagenarians who attended the festive luncheon at the Woman’s Club, but nobody knew the answer to question 8. (See answers below).
Pacific Palisades Co-Honorary Mayors Billy and Janice Crystal told the honorees, caretakers and family members that they have attended numerous community events in the last year and a half, but “This is our favorite: your spirit and laughter make this the highlight.”
Longtime resident and former Palisadian-Post editor Bill Bruns was the featured speaker and he noted that he has attended all 23 luncheons.
“The tradition started in 1996 in Dr. Margaret Jones-Kanaar’s backyard on Via de la Paz,” he said. “She was celebrating her 92nd birthday and she wanted to have a big party. So, we ran a story in the Post, inviting all the town’s 90 year olds. Honorary Mayor Eddie Albert was the guest speaker.”
Jones-Kanaar hosted the lunch for two more years before the Junior Women’s Club took over and eventually the Woman’s Club.
“Thank you to our honorary mayors—Billy and Janice, who have been more active in town events than any mayors I can remember,” Bruns said. He saluted Fay Vahdani for organizing the guest list for the past seven years, and her co-chairs, Julia Winter and Josie Tong–“as well as all the Woman’s Club members, their spouses and children who pulled it all together.”
Bruns, who likes to recount the town’s early years in his annual talk, reminded the audience that Pacific Palisades was founded in 1922 after World War I and was envisioned as a town of peace, anchored by Via de la Paz.
Ninety years ago, in 1929, the town had only about 225 homes and barely 1,000 residents. But it was growing in prominence with the opening of the Riveria Country Club and the development of Castellammare and the Huntington Palisades.
Bruns recapped five local events that took place during 1929:
- In August, the German airship Graf Zepplin was making its first round-the-world journey. After crossing the Pacific Ocean to San Francisco, it came down the coast and at 4:30 a.m. on August 26, it passed over Pacific Palisades at around 500 feet before landing at Mines Field, now LAX.
- The two-lane Roosevelt Highway, now Pacific Coast Highway, was dedicated on June 29. The governor rhapsodized about the “50 miles of virgin seaside beauty” that was now available for motorists between Santa Monica and Ventura.
- The UCLA campus opened on September 20, and professors began buying homes in the Palisades.
- The cornerstone was laid for the Methodist Episcopal Church on Via de la Paz on August 18. At the time, this was the only church in town.
- Pacific Palisades acquired its own fire station in 1929, and police coverage was expanded. A motorcycle officer was assigned to make nightly visits. According to the Palisadian: “Riding a saddle-seat made out of horse hide ‘the officer’ sputters through here over Beverly Boulevard about 11:30 each evening. Remember then the hour of Paul Revere’s ride! He comes and goes at 11:30. Schedule your misfortune, tragedy, hard luck, or whatever it may be accordingly.”
Moving on from history, Bruns announced the three couples in the audience that have been married the longest: Sarah and Irvin Moskovitz (both 92) have been married 71 years. Colonel Dick Littlestone (96) and Doris (89), married 70 years. And Fred and Cynthia Baskin, married 69 years; he is 94 and she is 89.
Then it was the “royal crowning” of the oldest male and female attending the celebration.
This year, Colonel Dick Littlestone, 96, and Anne Lewis, 100, won the honors.
Lewis, who was a theater actress, starred in several Theatre Palisades productions, including “Driving Miss Daisy.” She and her late husband Herb celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary by flying on one of the Concorde’s last flights to London and then returned to New York on the Queen Elizabeth.
Littlestone, who has lived in the Pacific Palisades with wife Doris since 1972, was one of five men honored as Fourth of July parade marshals in 2015.
He worked to get the left-turn signal installed at Mandeville and Sunset, the streetlights in the Huntington Palisades upgraded, a safer student drop-off plan adopted at Paul Revere Middle School, and the nicely landscaped island at Alma Real and Ocampo.
Littlestone is also largely responsible for the Columbarium that is now being constructed at the VA (burials were halted in 1978 for lack of space). “They tell me it will now open in December,” he told Circling the News at the party. “All the rain caused delays in construction; I’ll have to hang on until then.”
Major sponsors of the event included Luxe Home Healthcare & Hospice, Ronald Reagan American Legion Post 283, Michael Edlen, Dr. Bernard Katz (UCLA Health), Dr. Max and Cerissa Moncayo (Palisades Dentists), Rony Shram, Atria Senior Center and Josie Tong.
Businesses and individuals who helped support the party were: Dr. Maria Tapia (Dentistry by Design), Trish Bowe (State Farm Insurance), Palisades Compounding Pharmacy, The Yogurt Shoppe, Dave Power (CHEAR Physical Therapy), Dr. Nasreen Babu-Khan (Palisades Dermatology), Pharmaca, Brownie Troop 6445, Nancy Niles, Robin Weitz, Julia Winter and Scott Schaffer.
Answers to trivia questions: 1. Herbert Hoover, 2. Popeye, 3. George Burns and Gracie Allen, 4. Telephone, 5. Philadelphia Athletics, 6. Bingo, 7. Neon lights, and 8. Rin Tin Tin (the only answer the audience didn’t know).