Monday, November 26, 2012



P.O. Box 1533
Avalon, CA 90704-1533
310-510-8401 (voice)
310-510-8402 (fax)

Wednesday, December 29, 2010



Now, that Christmas is past and the New Year 2011 is close upon us...the next hurdle of Great Anxiety is my birthday...May 24, 2011...a date which will live forever in...well, you know!

I'm going to continue with my Countdown to my birthday and 64 life lessons I have can search ALL of them under the heading "catalina island man". Enjoy the next 5 months and here we go...

55. Work as if you don’t need the money...Love as if you’ve never been hurt AND Dance as if nobody’s watching.

56. If you can walk, you can dance. If you can talk, you can sing.

See you on the other side of the 2011! Chuck

Saturday, December 25, 2010




Peace on Earth...

To ALL men of Good Will!

Friday, December 24, 2010


That evening, when I drove her back to her home in the Santa Monica hills, she asked me to come into her home to talk, as we hadn't had much private time to talk at the concert. I went into her kitchen where she immediately brought me out a plate of brownies that she had made earlier that day and went into her refrigerator and brought out a pitcher of milk and offered me some brownies and an glass of ice cold milk. As I was drinking it, I suddenly felt very surreal! I told Barbara how strange this felt and she seriously didn't seem to understand what was so special about this. "You have got to be kidding!!", I said. "Do you have ANY IDEA the thousands of dollars that 'yuppies' around the world would pay to have this ‘once-in-a-lifetime, everyone's dream, experience' of eating brownies, made by 'Mrs. Cleaver', and drinking ice cold milk in her kitchen!?" She seemed genuinely surprised by my reaction, which only made me feel even more "guilty" as I realized that she thought of me more as a friend, and not simply one of her "Baby Boomer fans". Well, I couldn't help it! I was living a childhood dream. I quickly got over my feeling of awe and we had a very nice long conversation.

About 10 years ago, Barbara was hoping to join a number of other celebrities who were planning to come to Catalina to help raise money for the Museum Society. However, she had other commitments, but she wanted to donate "something" for the silent auction that most of the celebrities were providing. She told me that she had "no idea" of what to provide, but I told her that I had the perfect "Mrs. Cleaver" item. I suggested that she make up a batch of her "famous brownies"! She said, "YOU'VE GOT TO BE KIDDING!!!" I told her that I was perfectly serious and that I had another idea. "Do you have an apron that you can spare?" "Sure", she said, looking at me with very skeptical eyes. I suggested that she get the apron and along the top border write, "Now all you need are the pearls!" and sign it…June Cleaver…

Now she KNEW that I had lost my mind, but had to admit that she couldn't think of anything else. I was planning to come back in a few days, on Friday, to pick up the brownies for the Saturday auction. When I knocked on the door, knowing that I had to rush to catch the next boat over to Catalina, she handed me the tray of brownies, covered in aluminum foil, and informed me that there were 48 brownies there. I told her that that was "great", but why tell me how many? "Because I expect 48 brownies to make it to the Island for the auction, that's why!" Although she said it as she would have to make sure that "The Beaver" didn't get his suit dirty before going to the friend's birthday party, she still had a slight twinkle in her eye, so…I didn't take it all that seriously.

When I arrived on the Island, Stacey Otte, the Museum Director met me and, I assumed that she intended to pick me up and drive me and brownies to the museum. "Take the aluminum foil off of the top of the brownies and give them to me.", she said", in an unusually direct tone of voice. I asked her why, and she said that Barbara had called soon after I left her home and told Stacey to make sure that there were still 48 brownies, in case I had been tempted on the boat trip back over to Catalina. "Oh come on now", I said, "you know that you can trust me!!!" "Barbara gave me strict orders to count the brownies and that is what I plan on doing!" Count them she did and then she rushed them back to the Museum, leaving me to walk back to the house! "Mrs. Cleaver's
Brownies" had made it to the auction and, as I had predicted, had provided a pretty sizable donation to the Museum!

A few years ago, Barbara planned to come back to the Island as part of the Museum celebrating "Hollywood Mothers". We had planned on having June Lockhart ("Lassie" and "Lost In Space"), Marion Ross ("Happy Days") (I will share my stories about Marion Ross in a later blog), Beverly Garland ("My Three Sons"), Florence Henderson ("The Brady Bunch"), and Shirley Jones ("The Partridge Family").

Unfortunately, Barbara broke one of the vertebrae in her back, while doing some floor exercises, to strengthen her bones, and that was pretty much the beginning of her down slide to the end of her life. We did do a telephone hook-up over the sound system in the Casino Ballroom so that everyone could hear her voice and tell her how much she was missed. Only June, Marion, and Beverly were able to make it.

I trust that this shows some of the many sides of Barbara. I have a lot of personal stories that could also be shared, but I don't see the need to. They will have to stay in my mind and soul.

A few weeks before she died I called her and suggested we get together for lunch. Although she was bedridden by this time, she said that she would love to have lunch brought to the house and we could eat in her garden patio. She would make a special effort to get out of bed and get into her wheel chair.

She died just four days before our planned lunch!

I can’t help feeling a bit guilty for having put off making the time to see her until it was too late, but at least we got to talk over the phone and I am glad that she had been thinking about our getting together one more time.

This only brings to mind the thought that too many of us have put off seeing old friends and relatives for too long, sometimes until it is too late. Take this chance to tell those around us how much they are loved and appreciated! I would hope that all of us, whenever we feel the desire to visit, phone, write, or simply pray for someone who means something to us, do so before it is too late. A lot of people care about us and want to hear from us and, who knows if this might be our final chance to visit!

She died on October 16, 2010, at the age of 94 (she would have been 95 on December 22).


Wednesday, December 22, 2010


I kept in touch with Barbara and in 1997, when the "Leave It To Beaver" movie was released, using only Barbara out of the original cast (BAD DECISION, as the movie never made it at the box office). I had invited Barbara to the "Hollywood Bowl" for one of their special music and fire works programs. We arrived late because I had to drive all the way to Universal Studios to pick up Barbara after she attended the, "Leave It To Beaver", movie premier, then drive all the way across the County to the Hollywood Bowl…in heavy Friday afternoon traffic. I arrived a bit frazzled, to say the least.

We were meeting Tony Dow, and his lovely wife, Laurin, at a beautiful little park across from the main entrance to the Bowl. This is where many of the Bowl patrons would have their "picnic" meals before going to see the show (primarily the folks who did not have Box Seats).

By the time that we finally arrived at the park, all of the tables were taken. I left Barbara off with Laurin; and Tony went with me to park the car. The parking lot was nearly full and when we arrived and we sat in a long line as we waited to enter the gate and pay the young female attendant a $5.00 parking fee. She took one look at Tony, said "Weren't you 'Wally' on television?" "Yes", he said with his typical boyish, yet handsome smile, and the young lady, after a bit of a sigh, she motioned us on, WITHOUT PAYING!! I asked Tony, "How often does it happen that you get ‘comped’ (complimentary) in these situations?" Tony said, "Most of the time." I said, "I need to have you with me MORE OFTEN!", “You just saved us Five Bucks!!”

When we got back to the picnic area there was Barbara with Laurin sitting at their "own table”! I asked them how they were able to get a table when the whole area was full just a few minutes before. The girls told me that a family, who was using two tables, saw Barbara and they immediately offered her one of their tables and doubled up at the other one. “BOY, IT’S NICE TO HANG OUT WITH CELEBRITIES!” (Barbara and Tony were nice enough to pose for photos with that lucky family)

After dinner we walked over to the entrance of the Bowl. The way up to our seats was a long, steep, winding, hilly walkway. Barbara had recently had foot surgery so I suggested that we find one of the VIP golf carts to take us to our seats. At that point, Barbara virtually took me by the arm and dragged me up the incline to our entrance gate. That woman was NOT about to let anyone see her as wounded and needing help!

I didn't have the money, or the political pull, to get the "box seats", so we sat in the "nose bleed" section of the 15,000 plus seat outdoor Hollywood Bowl Amphitheatre. There seemed to be at least a five second delay between the action on the stage and when we finally heard the music in our section of seats (we were possibly in an entirely different zip code than where the "action" was going on). Anyway, YOU GET THE PICTURE!

I was sitting with Barbara to my left and a large family to my right. The father, sitting next to me, looked over and whispered, "Isn't that 'Mrs. Cleaver'!?!" I knew that he would pester me if I didn't tell the truth, so I confirmed it. Then he said, "Well, what is she doing in these crumby seats, way back here?" A bit defensively, I explained to him that she was my "date" and these were the best that I could afford.

Barbara heard the conversation, as I am sure that EVERYONE in our section did, and the "other side" of her, in a way that June Cleaver NEVER would have, she pointed to the orchestra box seats, several ZIP codes below and said, so that everyone could hear her, "THAT is where I normally sit, when I am invited to the 'Hollywood Bowl'!

I know that she didn't mean to embarrass me, but simply to, "shake my cage", which she accomplished! She noticed that I wasn't taking her jest very well and so she followed it up quickly with, "But I never knew how much BETTER these seats are, rather than being SO CLOSE to the stage. I’m sure that the fireworks display is going to be better, seen from here, instead of having to bend my neck to look straight up!"
Nice try, but I still felt I had let her down. Boy, the guilt, even passed out by a TV mother, is universally felt by kids everywhere.
More to follow........

Monday, December 20, 2010


Back to the Floating Light Parade:

Barbara knew that part of the duties of, "Grand Marshall", was to take a yacht around the harbor, on the day of the parade, and visit "Ports O' Call Village", and the hotels and restaurants along the route to have their pictures taken, sign autographs, you know, the usual. We all had a special lunch on the W.W.II (Kaiser built) ship, "Lane Victory", and when we got back on the Grand Marshall’s yacht, it started to rain…it poured. By the time we pulled up in front of the first restaurant, we were told that because of the rain, it didn't look like we were going to have many, if any, people; not as many as were expected at the other locations. We arrived at the, "Ports O' Call Restaurant", and we were told that only two people were there. Tony, Ken, and the others said that they preferred to stay on the yacht, but Barbara said that she would be happy to meet "whoever showed up". I, of course, escorted Barbara and we were greeted by, yes, only two people.

I immediately focused on the lady standing there. She must have been in her late 30's or early 40's, but she had the look of a young girl. She was poorly dressed, showed quite a lack of personal hygiene, and looked as if she had really had a "hard life". The man she was with looked quite normal but he sort of stood back from her.

When Barbara and I saw the camera around the man's neck, we naturally assumed that they wanted a picture and probably an autograph. When Barbara asked them what they wanted her to do for them. The lady simply said, "WOULD YOU PLEASE JUST HUG ME!?!" That seemed like a strange request and the man moved even further away from his companion. Barbara, without a moment of hesitation, put out her arms and embraced the enthusiastic "fan". I was standing where Barbara's back was facing me, so that I could see the lady's face. I didn't plan it that way, but was glad that I did. The man never toughed his camera, but simply moved further away, almost trying not to see what was happening. Barbara gave her a REAL HUG, not a, "Hollywood hug", but a "Motherly Hug", and kept the lady in her embrace for over a minute.

Now, I know that I like to romanticize things, but seeing the look of euphoria on the young ladies face, with her eyes closed, I couldn’t help doing some speculating. It seemed to me that the way that the lady was dressed and her basic demeanor indicated that she came from a poor household and probably didn't have much of a relationship with her family, maybe, especially her mother. She seemed to feel as so many "Baby Boomers" in the 1950's felt, when they saw the "epitome of Motherhood", like "Mrs. Cleaver", and so many of the other "Mothers" like June Lockhart, Donna Reed, Jane Wyatt, etc. When our own mothers fell far short of this make-believe stereotype, this young lady probably had always felt that somehow she was switched at birth and that "Mrs. Cleaver" was her "real" mother and that the other, often abusive and neglectful, mother was someday going to be replaced by her real TV mother. After all these years, they were finally REUNITED!

The look on the lady's face was one of a child being hugged by an angel, her loving mother! Barbara never stopped hugging her, but kept the embrace until the lady let go. I have NEVER seen a happier, more "complete" look on anyone's face, as I saw in the face of that woman/child. After a few moments of silence, she joined her companion and left. I accompanied Barbara back to the yacht.

I was in a major daze! I sat next to Barbara, who acted as if nothing unusual had happened, but it took me a few moments to break the silence. "Can you believe what just happened!?!" "What?", Barbara said. "That lady ONLY wanted to HUG you!!!" "So?", Barbara was now getting a bit surprised at my reaction. "Does that happen very often?" Barbara smiled and said that it happens quite a lot. In fact she said that she has been hugging countless Baby Boomers since the show began and is STILL doing it whenever someone recognizes her!

I realized that those "perfect" T. V. families of the 50's did not represent the reality that most kids were facing at home and so many of them fantasized, as this lady most likely did of what it would be like to be "truly loved" by their mother, i.e. "Mrs. Cleaver". I then saw what a truly sensitive woman Barbara was and what a service she had performed over the years in allowing so many of her "kids" to act out their most basic need to be loved!

Even with the intermittent rain, the parade went off quite well. Well wishers along the bank were excited to see the cast members of "Leave It To Beaver" and yelled out to their favorite characters, Barbara getting her fair share of the enthusiastic response.
More to follow...

Sunday, December 19, 2010


A personal tribute to Barbara Billingsley

Most people knew her as "Mrs. Cleaver" or the "jive talking" lady in the 1980 movie, "Airplane", but I had the honor and privilege of simply knowing her as "Barbara".

I first got to know here 18 years ago this month.

I met Barbara in 1992 shortly after I was contacted by two of the officials who were arranging the, "Floating Light Parade", in San Pedro Harbor. The boat owners compete in having the most decorative boats and float in procession through the harbor while people line up on shore, or watch from their homes, cars or restaurants along the way. They always have a, celebrity as the "Grand Marshall" of this parade of boats. Since I represent and know, "celebrities", they thought that maybe I could help them.

I immediately thought of Tony Dow, who played "Wally" on TV show, "Leave It To Beaver". I called him and asked him if he would be willing to participate. He was willing to do it, and he wondered if he could ask a couple of friends to join him. That seemed a bit irregular, but I said "Sure, who are he suggesting?” He said that he wanted to ask Ken Osmond, who played "Eddie Haskell", his best friend on the T.V. series and Barbara Billingsley, who played his mother, "Mrs. June Cleaver". I think I have discovered the shortest pause in history (I need to contact the Guinness Book of World Records people)…that was the amount of time that it took for me to say "Great"!”

The regular, "Leave It To Beaver series”, lasted from 1957-63. Now they were performing in a spin-off TV series called "Still The Beaver". The "Beaver kids" had all grown up now, and had started their own families. "Mr. Cleaver", Hugh Beaumont, had died (he passed away before the new show started), as explained in the series, so June Cleaver was now running the roost and also trying to ‘get her life together’. Shortly after Barbara and Ken Osmond agreed to join Tony in this “gratis” venture, Ken wanted to know if his real sons, who were now playing his sons on this new TV series could come along and I of course agreed. Why not, we now had a Celebrity Entourage for the Floating Light Parade!

We all met, and got to know one another, the day before the parade and I immediately fell in love with Barbara. She was just like, “June Cleaver”, but without the pearls and with a bit of a sense of humor that rarely showed up on the series. Tony and I grew up together on Catalina Island; so, I had known Tony, literally since I was born. Additionally, I was relieved to know that that Ken and his sons were really down to earth and fun to be around.

By the way, I probably shouldn’t tell you this, it may be bad for this television image, however, Ken is NOTHING like the Eddie Haskell part that he played in both of the TV series. He was probably the best actor in the cast and he was a really nice guy, he was a Christian and he went on to become a police officer. Did I say he was a real NICE guy?
Back to the Floating Light Parade: