So it’s just a little after noon as the Ol’ Dog scampers down the 101 in the Black Beauty, stogie in hand, heading toward the lovely Radisson Wilshire Plaza. (It’s a union hotel)
Now, I intended to sign up for a Question and Answer slot, and usually had to show up before the cows come out, ah, or is it in,ah, make that chickens get up, to get a spot, but I ain’t in no big hurry ’cause I have been tipped that there is valet parking. Alright! Not! When I finally arrive at Wilshire and Normandy, there’s a block long line of cars waiting for that Good Ol’ Valet parking! Screw this! I’ll find my own parking. Not!
So, I pull up to the end of the line! No biggie, I’ll call my nephew on the Ol’ cellphone and smoke my Punch Rothschild while he dazzles me with the wonders of his recent fishing trip. Right! By the time I FINALLY got around the corner onto the Wilshire entrance to the Valet Parking, my nephew was down to telling me about how he smashed beer cans as he cleaned up the camp site.
Ouch, the dam cigar flipped out of my fingers and onto the floorboard. Something for the cigar smoker’s guideyou can only smoke a five inch stogie for so long!
As I sucked my thumb to cool it off, just before my turn to enter the lot, a big Ol’ security guard put out the “Lot Full” Sign!
With a few choice words, I headed to the corner and got luckyA PARKING SPOT! All right! No tipping!
Once inside, and in the second floor lobby, it was greetings all around from the usual suspects. You know the, folks that always show up for their union. I signed up for a spot on the questions’ rosterYikes! I was 21 on the list! By the time I got to the mike the only person listening would be the janitor! Ah, what the hell at least he’d be union man.
Well, at our last annual membership meeting we probably had about a hundred attendees, so you can imagine my surprise when I walked into the grand ballroom and it was packed with several hundred members. I mean it was standing room only. (They reportedly had to turn away another hundred)Fortunately, a little old lady got up to go to go to the bathroom or something, and I managed to snag her seat!
Let the festivities begin!
The meeting chaired by 1st Vice President Anne Marie Johnson, who was funny and efficient, got started with the usual stuff, pledge of allegiance, introductions, etc.. She graciously forgoed her 1st Vice President thingy, so as to have more time for the Q&A!
It was right into the 2005 Ralph Morgan award presented to former SAG President Kathleen Nolan. I must say that I weren’t all that interested. Okay, great honor, but lets get onto the good stuff Q&A? That’s when the real action takes place.
Well, the more the award presenter, eloquent, Kent McCord, spoke about this remarkable, gutsy woman, the more interested I became. Then after a touching letter from Kevin Spacey read by President Gilbert we were all treated to this lady of many firsts, highlighted by her tenure as SAG’s first female President.
Ms. Nolan spoke of many things from chairing SAG’s first Woman’s Committee to her high regard for Kent McCord, but the theme intertwined in her spunky reflections was the one of strength–not weakness. She worked for SAG’s most valuable asset–POWER! As she continued to speak, I was particularly struck by the contrast of this former SAG President and our current President seated on the dais directly behind her. Ms. Nolan while serving as our president followed the philosophy of then SAG National Executive Secretary the incomparable Chet Migden:
“No Risk! No Change! And you end up with the status quo!”
A couple of other words of wisdom from this grand lady, On contracts: “It takes years to get back what we give up.” Ms. Nolan went on to warn us all that we may again just be on that “Slippery Slope!” Getting back to the “take it or leave it days!”
When she finished her acceptance speech, which was interrupted several times by loud applause, she was greeted with a well-deserved standing Ovation!
She had ignited this crowd of Stand-ups who for the last several years have seen their union and income eviscerated by the “go-along-to-get along” attitude of the current Leadership
After hearing Ms. Nolan I must say that perhaps what our beloved union needs is not new leadership but
A.L. Miller SW Editor & Chief
Coming soon to the Watchdog, the really juicy stuff as we get to the fiery Question & Answer Period! Below: Toward the end of the meeting, a group of excited members wait for the Ol’ Dog to step to the mike.