L.A. Stories / The Roving Eye


L.A. Stories

Chick Picks

Councilman Nick Pacheco, whose 14th District includes the Staples Center, is leading the drive to have 11th Street between Figueroa and Cherry streets named after legendary Lakers announcer Chick Hearn, who died Aug. 5 at age 85.

As of last week, more than 2,000 fans had cast votes for their favorite Hearn-inspired names on a Web site (www.lacity.org/council/ cd14) established for the cause. Voting ends Sept. 15, after which Pacheco will present the most popular choice to the full council for an official vote.

Chick Hearn Court led in the voting (33 percent) among the four names listed on the Web site, followed by Chick Hearn Dribble Drive (27 percent), Chick Hearn Lane (17 percent) and Chick Hearn Place (11 percent).

Fan suggestions accounted for the final 12 percent, but Pacheco’s staff was not wildly impressed with the submissions. Alternatives included Nothin’ But Air Drive, Jiggle Drive and Refrigerator Lane.

“I think the mustard’s off the dog on those,” said Mary Duffy-Petersen, Pacheco’s communications manager.

Blowout Sale

When a Washington-based news service erroneously reported that an executive at VCA Antech sold stock worth almost $500 million last week, the Los Angeles operator of veterinary hospitals wasted no time issuing a press release clearing up the matter and blaming the news service for inaccurate reporting.

The service, which claims to have made no error, was none too pleased. It pointed the finger right back at the company.

According to the report filed by the Washington Service, Carol Johnson, a VCA Antech vice president, filed to sell 36.7 million shares of company stock. Such a sale, at about $13.50 per share, would have been worth about $495 million, or the entire market value of the company. Johnson actually sold 10,000 shares for $135,000.

A spokesman for the Washington Service declined comment on VCA’s press release, but he faxed a copy of the form recording the sale to the Business Journal.

“You decide,” he said.

According to the faxed version, either Johnson or her broker did, in fact, jot down her intent to sell 36.7 million shares of VCA stock.

“All I know is an error was made and it has been corrected,” said Tom Fuller, VCA’s chief financial officer.

Nothing on TV

The folks over at Fine Living Network have come up with an unusual lineup for Labor Day: nothing.

Well, not exactly. On Labor Day (Sept. 2), Fine Living will offer relaxation-challenged viewers footage from Hawaiian beaches, complete with a lounge chair and words of wisdom scrolling on the lower portion of the screen.

“Not everyone can go to the beach on Labor Day, so we wanted to bring the beach to them,” said Fine Living President Ken Solomon.

More than a stunt, Solomon said the tranquil images offer a reminder about making the best of one’s time that goes to the core of the network’s message.

“There is definitely a wink and a nod but there’s a real point of view behind the images,” Solomon said. “Whether it’s the chairman of the board or the guy who delivers the newspaper in the morning, the blinding pace of modern life makes it hard to let go.”

Back in Cowbell Country

Two members of the champion Los Angeles Lakers basketball squad recently returned to Sacramento home of their biggest nemesis this year, the Sacramento Kings.

But this time, it was a more friendly occasion. Lakers Brian Shaw and Mark Madsen accepted a state Senate resolution congratulating the Lakers on their third consecutive basketball championship.

The Lakers defeated the Kings in June to gain entry to the NBA Championship Finals, but only after a dramatic series that stretched the full seven games.

“Both Brian and I on the way up here got 20 offers for bacon cheeseburgers, but we had to refuse,” Madsen told the Sacramento Bee after accepting the proclamation.

The Lakers reserve was referring to the food poisoning incident that hit star Kobe Bryant on the eve of the team’s first playoff game in Sacramento.

David Greenberg, Conor Dougherty, Darrell Satzman, Howard Fine.

The Roving Eye

Dying is Easy…

Documentarian David Zeiger might have called his latest film “Tuesdays With Frank.”

Instead, he went with the title “Funny Old Guys” for the 40-minute documentary about a group of friends many of them producers and writers for some of television’s most popular sitcoms that deals with the death of one of its members, Frank Tarloff.

The film is set to premiere on Wednesday (4th) at the Museum of Television & Radio. The screening will be followed by a discussion with Zeiger and some of the group’s members, including writers Bernie Kahn (“Maude”) and Bernie West (“All In the Family.”)

“Funny Old Guys” is also scheduled for a limited engagement later this month at the Laemmle Theatre in Santa Monica.

It was Zeiger’s father, Irving Zeiger, who invited him to attend the group’s Tuesday lunches a weekly tradition that was started at least 15 years ago.

The documentary’s focus took a turn during filming when the group discovered that Tarloff had cancer. Tarloff was a blacklisted writer who worked on “The Danny Thomas Show” and whose screenwriting credits included the 1964 comedy “Father Goose,” for which he won an Oscar. He died in 1999.

“It became much more a piece about dealing with and confronting old age,” Zeiger said. “Frank had kind of an epiphany when he realized that he was actually dying and that he could become his friends’ guide into what it would be like to die.”

In one scene, Tarloff is talking to his wife about death and then asks her if it’s 5 p.m. so he can have a scotch. “On his deathbed, he had to wait until after 5 to have a scotch,” Zeiger said.

Claudia Peschiutta

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