Uncle Tom’s Gabbin’
Wednesday - March 29, 2006
WOLFGANG PUCK is probably the most successful chef-restaurateur in America, if not the world. On any given Friday in Beverly Hills, luminaries from both sides of the camera gather for lunch at Spago, flagship of Wolfgang’s fleet of eateries. A couple of Fridays ago I found myself there for a business lunch.
At almost every end-of-the-week Spago talkfest, only the most notable clients make the cut that allows them to sit on the exclusive skyview patio in the center of the restaurant. This Friday was different. The area was experiencing record-breaking rain.
One of the reasons I was in L.A. was to meet with Glen Larson (I’ve mentioned Glen before - he’s the mastermind behind Magnum P.I., Battlestar Galactica, Quincy, Knight Rider, etc.). I first met Glen years ago when I introduced the Four Preps to Hawaii at the old Civic Auditorium. Besides Magnum P.I., Glen’s Hawaii-based credits include episodes of McCloud with Dennis Weaver, Hardy Boys with Shaun Cassidy,a two-hour TV movie that starred Weaver, Sharon Gless, Robert Vaughn, Bernadette Peters and Dick Jensen, a pilot starring Bill Conrad that was based on Hawaii’s most famous murder trial, the Massie Case, and most recently a series called One West Waikiki with Cheryl Ladd and Richard Burgi (currently starringh in Desperate Housewives).
Since I’d been involved in various capacities on Glen’s shows, we decided it was time for us to bring another show to the islands which would, in the spirit of Magnum, capture that Hawaii magic and solid international ratings.
So here we were, Glen and I and several of his associates: Missie Hughes, producer; Buckley Norris, film financier, Sadie Katz, aspiring actress, and Judy Strangis, a stunning woman who doesn’t look a day over 20 despite having retired some time ago after her hit show, Room 222. If you recall, the large patio was closed, so we were all cozily but happily crammed together ... not just our table but all the tables in the restaurant.
The beautiful Angela Bisset was in the booth next to us, flanked by producer Norman Lear. On our opposite side was Andrew Sugarman (producer of Steve Martin‘s Shopgirl), who had to bow out early to meet with Sandra Bullock on a new project.
Among those who stopped by our table was Helen Grayco, whom I hadn’t seen since she performed with her husband Spike Jones at the old Civic Auditorium.
An aproned man was making his way through the celebrity-laden tables. It was Wolfgang Puck himself, whose charm and personal attention to his guests explains why he will always be Chef to the Stars.
The meeting about the new show? It went well ... sort of. Lunch at Spago is a great way to talk business, create shows, dine luxuriously, and meet old and new friends. On the other hand, it’s hard to accomplish everything you’d like in one, continuing party. It’s the perfect excuse for a return visit.
Thanks, Wolfgang. Thanks, Glen. Let’s see how fast we can get the new show up and running ...
This week in 1971: James Taylor, with then-unknown Carole King (performing music from her newly released Tapestry, which became one of the world’s best-selling albums) at Blaisdell Arena. The No. 1 hit in Hawaii: Joy To The World by Three Dog Night.
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