Monday, April 02, 2007

Sportsmen's Lodge

One of Tim’s coworkers got married this past weekend to Joe McDonnell, a well-known local sports talk show host. Although they work for rival radio stations, employees from both organizations were thrilled to see the couple tie-the-knot after watching their relationship blossom over several years. What really got tongues waggin’, though, was whether or not LA sports royalty, like former Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda, would go to the wedding. As it turned out, the most famous person there was Fred Dryer, former Rams football player and star of the 1980s police drama “Hunter.” But no one seemed to mind as Dryer graciously posed for photos with several of the wedding guests.

We didn’t attend the ceremony, but we did go to the reception afterward. Tim was in his glory pointing out all the local radio personalities and minor sports figures.

“Who’s that guy with the bad comb-over and sunglasses,” I asked, while munching on my taco salad.

“Oh, that’s Johnny Ortiz, former boxing promoter they used to call ‘The Downey Flash,’” he replied.

“The Downey Flash?” I asked incredulously. “Why did they call him that?”

“Well, rumor has it there wasn’t a woman in Downey, during the 1950s/60s, he hadn’t slept with.” And, sure enough, a while later we saw him dancing with a sweet young thing, even though he must be 105 years old by now!

Other luminaries celebrating Joe’s nuptials included Mark Thompson, of the nationally syndicated Mark & Brian Show, KLOS deejay Joe Reiling, Lew Stowers, Orange County sports reporter for KFWB, and Doug Krikorian, Long Beach Press-Telegram columnist and McDonnell’s on-air partner. Like I said, Tim was in his glory.

The reception was held at the Sportsmen’s Lodge, the wedding and bar mitzvah capital of the east San Fernando Valley and site of Tim’s ten-year high school reunion, 30 years ago. Located in Studio City on the corner of Coldwater Canyon and Ventura Blvd., the kitschy Lodge is conveniently close to Universal Studios and Hollywood. A few years ago, it was threatened with demolition, but the LA Conservancy’s Modern Committee saved it from the wrecking ball. Having spent part of my own youth in the Sportsmen’s Lodge, I was happy when the Mod Com interceded. I must admit to being a bit conflicted, however, when we returned to the Lodge this weekend. Walking into the lobby was like stepping into a 1970s time machine, but not in a fun, nostalgic way. The place is in serious need of a facelift.

Still, we had a good time mingling with Tim’s coworkers and dancing the night away. I am convinced that as long as wedding deejays play “Wooly Bully” and Jr. Walker’s “Shotgun,” we baby-boomers will never grow old. Now, if only there was a similarly easy way to revitalize the Sportsmen’s Lodge...


1 comment:

Ginny said...

My date took me to the Sportsmen's Lodge for dinner after the Senior Prom in 1960!