Probably the highlight of my remembrances involve Rudy Thalmann's attempt at the reproduction of an entire 40-minute Victor Borge monologue in the 7 minutes allotted to him. It was a remarkable tour de force even though it took almost an hour. George Gates was always available to entertain in his fine mellifluous and sophisticated voice and for years we used to have a "Name that Tune"" contest. Chuck Berlin would get up and play excerpts from various tunes; members of each table would compete for how well they could identify the tunes, and a bottle or two of high-class "recreational liquids" was their prize. Perennial winners often included Bill Stebbins who had an encyclopedic knowledge of Jazz, as well as Bob Dobie and Paul Guth who distinguished themselves as very careful listeners. One year we had a "Name the Artist" slide show along with the music, and another year actually had a classical string quartet presenting the evening entertainment. The special events included the presentation of an "end of the great affair" t-shirt from Chuck Berlin to Bob Ruben to celebrate the end of their traveling around the country to the same meetings for years on end, the presentation to Dr. Joseph Hawkins of the well-deserved Superman t-shirt, and the ultimate depersonalization of the t-shirt awards by having members, as they come in, draw the number under their ash tray at each table to receive the particular award being given at the front of the room. Bob Dobie’s superb tenor saxophone renditions, and the introduction of cocktails and hors d'oeuvres instead of a banquet were the most recent major changes in the social events.
Through it all we gradually managed to change the banquet from a somber award giving ceremony with incidental entertainment to a happy evening that followed the more serious awards.
Chuck Berlin, Ph.D.