Article from the 12/9/2016 Catalina Islander

Since becoming "Catalina's Official Greeter", March 10, 2014, when the Chamber Of Commerce assigned me to greet cruise ships and cross channel boats, I have answered 60,576.
The 3-hour PBS documentary, "WEST OF THE WEST", covering the history of the eight channel islands, with a very good segment on Catalina (including yours truly), is only available in Avalon at the "Steamer Trunk" and the "DC-3" (Airport).  If you don't live on Catalina, you can send me a check for $23., P. O. Box 1533, Avalon, CA 90704, and I will send you a DVD.
Last week two anonymous "friends" paid for meals at "Mr. Ning's"!  I AM HONORED.  I try to do the same and it makes ME feel so good, especially when it is someone who might be having financial problems.  With Christmas coming, WHAT A SPECIAL GIFT, EVEN IF YOU DON'T KNOW THEM!
For those businesses that have faucets that you push down on the top and the water comes out on its own, and you can't turn it off when finished, PLEASE adjust them so as NOT to stay on longer than 2 seconds.  One at the Mole's Men's Room lasts 8 seconds!!!  WASTE OF WATER!
While driving two Chinese friends from Indonesia around the island this week, we found an Orthodox Jewish Rabbi lost near the Wrigley Reservoir.  AND I MEAN ORTHODOX:  Long beard, braided hair, black hat, and long black robes.  He had to catch the evening boat back so I drove him into town.  He had been looking for an "Island Historian" and so we are meeting up the next time he comes over with his wife. 
If you want to catch up on any of my old article submissions, www.catalinaislandman.com.  Each week it is kept up to date by my GREAT friend, Rocky Wall!
 
GEE WHIZ, WALLY!
Last week two dear friends, Tony Dow, and his wife, Lauren, were on the Island cleaning up Tony's family home on the East corner, Whittley/East Whittley, getting it ready for sale.  It had been in the family home for many years and seeing it being readied to change hands marks an end of another friend's connection to the Island.  Two years ago, native Islander/actor, Gregory Harrison, sold his family home just a few blocks up on Whittley.
In case you don't recognize the name, Tony Dow, he played everyone's favorite big brother "Wally", on the iconic T.V. series, "Leave It To Beaver", which aired from October 4, 1957-June 20, 1963.  It is reputed to be the LONGEST RUNNING SERIES IN HISTORY as it is found being rebroadcast "somewhere" in the world almost every day!
Tony was born on April 13, 1945 and started coming to the Island with his parents, John and Muriel, and his brother, Dionne, when Tony was only 18 months old, which was just before I was born here, May 24, 1947.  The Dows and Liddells were friends from the beginning so I don't remember a time when I didn't know Tony.  Dad and Muriel remained good friends until Dad died in 1981.
Although Tony was ALWAYS on the shy side, and still is, his mother, Muriel (Montrose) was once a "Mack Sennett Bathing Beauty" and the stunt woman for the lead of the silent movie serial, "Perils Of Pauline".   Muriel could CERTAINLY be called a "Stage Door Mother" as she wanted EVERYONE to know about her son, Tony, and his many physical accomplishments.  He was a great swimmer, diver, and remarkable gymnast.  He could often be seen diving off the "Bath House" high platform, where the basketball/volley ball courts are being renovated on Pebbly Beach Road, and doing some remarkable moves on the trampolines that were once at the Metropole Market Place, approximately behind and to the East of the "Ristorante Vila Portofino", 101 Crescent.  My mother, Betty Jean, told me that once, when she, my brother, Billy, and I were on the Pleasure Pier, and a major storm and waves were hitting the bay, Muriel wanted to show off how strong a swimmer young Tony (around 8) was and so instructed him to jump in the surf and show how he could fight the waves!
Early in 1957, my mother got a phone call from Muriel asking her to bring Billy and I to Long Beach, Carson Blvd., to see Tony diving, along with Olympian Pat McCormick,  at the opening of a new dive school conducted by two time Olympic gold medal diver, Sammy Lee (later to become the dive coach for Olympian, Greg Louganis).  Don't remember any other Islanders being there.  During the introductions, it was announced that Tony was going to co-star in a new T.V. series, "Leave It To Beaver"!  We hadn't heard about this, but later found out that Murielle's dream for her son's fame had really skyrocketed as he was offered four roles that year:  dive in the Junior Olympics; become "Boy" on the new T.V. series, "Tarzan",
become a "Mousketeer" (trouble is, Tony could neither sing nor dance, but he would have been able to wear those "ears", much to the delight of the "Teenie Boppers"!), and, of course, the role of "Wally"! 
Tony denies the following discussion, BUT IT IS THE TRUTH!  If Tony wants to write his own book to refute it (NOT A BAD IDEA, Tony), then go for it.  After the diving demonstration was over, Tony and I were on one of those "two person" devices that they had at carnivals and fairs where you would pump back and forth and go around and around faster and faster (I am getting sick again, just remembering it!).  While we were showing off how fast we could go, I asked him what "Leave It To Beaver" was about.  His answer, "Heck if I know, I think it has something to do with an Indian!" 
Once the show debuted, somehow EVERYONE seemed to know that Tony spent his summers on Catalina, probably because of "Teen", and other magazines were featuring Tony and showing him at his "haunts" on the Island. His "groupies" were doing their utmost  to track him down.  With the town of Avalon  being a little more than a square mile then, Tony couldn't be too hard to locate, if they only knew where to look!  SOMEHOW they found out who his friends were and many times Girl Scouts would come to my family home, 330 Descanso, and beg me to disclose where Tony lived!  ALTHOUGH I WAS OFTEN TORTURED,  I NEVER TOLD!!!!!   O. K., ONCE!  Who could turn down those damn cookies!?!
I would sometimes sit with him watching movies in the Casino Theatre, but, of course, all of the attention was directed to him and rarely the screen!  He always handled it very well, by allowing his privacy to be continually violated with autograph seekers and photographers.  He was ALWAYS very "NEAT" and accommodating to his fans and still is!
As my older cousin, Betty Jo, was an only child, when she came to visit us, I acted a bit like her "older brother protector".  She was 4 years old than I!  Tony, and the rest of us kids, would always "hang out" at the "El Encanto" Youth Center, which is the present location of the "Island Spa", Crescent/Marilla.  There was ALL KINDS of fun things for youngsters to do to keep them out of mischief  (PAY ATTENTION AVALON ):  dancing, ping pong, pool, TV/chat rooms, etc., supervised by the Community Church's Pastor Arthur Felkley, his wife, Margaret, and their children.  My cousin BEGGED me to introduce her to Tony so that she could dance with him.  I set it up and she was on "Cloud 9" (do people talk that way anymore?), until we came home and I informed her that she as over a year older than Tony!  BOY, WAS SHE EVER EMBARRASSED AND UPSET!  I lost my chance to become Tony's "cousin-in-law"! LOL!
I found it a bit confusing watching him on television as "Wally", and then knowing he and his "real" family outside of the small screen.  It is harder now for he, his beautiful wife, Lauren, son, Christopher, and his two grandchildren ("Wally" is a grandfather!), to find time to come to Catalina and I don't visit him on the mainland much any more.  When/if you ever meet him, PLEASE call him "Tony" not "Wally".  He has come quite a long ways since being "Beaver's" brother.  He was a well known TV  producer and director (among others, "Coach"), and sculptor (one of his pieces is in the "Louvre Museum" in Paris!). GEE WHIZ, TONY!!!
Contact me directly, chuckliddell.catalina@gmail.com