The Interesting Birthday Party

In 1975 I graduated from UCLA with a Masters in Public Health/Hospital Administration.  My first paying job as an administrator was as an assistant administrator at Santa Monica Hospital Medical Center.  One of my departments supervised was the Les Kelly Family Clinic for the community.  Quarterly I met with Les personally and gave him an overview of operations and how many clients we were able to serve as a result of his generous donation for which we named his clinic.  

You will likely know of Les indirectly as he founded a service to evaluate the value of used cars known as the "Kelly Bluebook". He was a nice guy and he also built the lake for the Bell Air Country Club so he ran in celebrity circles.

The story is about a birthday party we hosted for Les at the hospital Auditorium.  I won't bore you with the details but one example is while walking through the group I bumped into a guy that looked familiar playing an accordion which turned out to be Lawrence Welk.

At some point we all sat down in unassigned seating and I recall having your basic light enjoyable lunch conversation with people next to me and across the table.  After desert, the hostess made several comments and we all sang happy birthday to Les.  Then the hostess said she wondered if she could call on a good friend to sing some songs for us and I started looking around wondering who would be doing the singing. 

To my utter shock the nice guy on my right stood and sang to us for about 20 minutes and you have already guessed that my lunch partner was Howard Keel the male star of Oklahoma.  It was a pretty special memory.


  1. I found this very interesting. Looking forward to your other posts.

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