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October 11, 2002 - Image 96

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2002-10-11

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

The Best Of Everything

Keeping
Memories Alive

Vicky Oakie's book about husband Jack Oakie
recalls wonderful times in showbiz.

Her husband, Marc Sonne,
he may be in her 90s,
passed on almost two years
but Victoria Horne
ago, and their two sons,
Oakie, better known
David and Keith, work for
as Vicky Oakie, for-
the same company, Fanfare
mer movie actress-wife of the
Media Works in Valencia,
late film character actor,
Calif. - ... David is a vice presi-
singer and comedian, Jack
dent, and Keith a regional
Oakie, has lost little in her
vice president ... Another
memories of the wonderful
DA NNY
son, Barry, was killed in 1991
years (34) she had with him.
RAS KIN
in a motorcycle accident.
Her book, Life With Jack
While living here, David
Oakie (Five Star; $25.95), is a Local Columnist
was instrumental in the early
tribute to those marvelous
1970s' creation of Greektown's original
years ... and certainly to him ... He
Trapper's Alley ... which came about as
passed on in 1978.
just an idea when he and Gus Anton,
Living in California, Victoria Oakie
owner of New Hellas Cafe on
is the friend of former Detroiter
Monroe, were discussing the opportu-
Frances Sonne, who was a fixture at
nity ... at about 3 a.m. while eating
the Jewish Community Center when
omelets made with lamb chops, feta
it was on Meyers ... from the day it
cheese and tomatoes.
opened ... and transferred to the pres-
Frances helped until the Trapper's
ent locale on West Maple Road in
Alley project was sold in 1974.
West Bloomfield.
- Today, she lives at Encino Hills
Frances' front desk was her office for
Terrace, an assisted-living facility in
almost 35 years ... before being retired
California ... On Monday evenings
at age 80 after a roll-over accident
Frances is the movie hostess ... and in
while on her way to work.
July was voted its
queen.
Several years ago,
David and his wife
Pamela, who have been
friends of Vicky Oakie
for more than 15 years,
introduced Frances to
her.
Mrs. Oakie lives in
Beverly Hills and for
the past 24 years, has
preserved the memory
of her husband and his
career.
Among the many
anecdotes she writes in
Life With Jack Oakie is
how songwriter Harry
Warren came up with
Jack's favorite song,
"You'll Never Know,"
which he wrote for
him at Twentieth
Century Fox.
"Looking around to
be sure they were
alone on the rehearsal
Vicky and Jack Oakie in 1958

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stage at the studio, Harry said, 'I'll tell
you a secret.'
"Harry played the first few bars of
`You'll Never Know.'
"'You like that?' he asked.
"`I love it, Harry!' Jack answered.
"'Well,' Harry said, 'Listen closely.'
"Harry played the first few bars of
`Oh, What a Pal Was Mary.' 'You
remember that?'
"'Yes,' said Jack, listening.
"'Well, you just take that and play it
backwards.'
'And he did, and 'Oh, What a Pal
Was Mary' became 'You'll Never

Vicky Oakie's anecdotes of the real
Hollywood and its great actresses and
actors are so many that it would fill
volumes.
Juicy experiences like this one dur-
ing the Second World War ... "Ken
Murray had a very successful shoW
called_ The Blackouts. It played at the
El Capitan Theatre on the west side of
Vine Street just a little north of
Hollywood Boulevard.
"The El Capitan was owned by Sid
Grauman, the man who also owned
the Chinese Theatre where the hand
and footprints of motion picture stars
were put in the cement of its forecourt.
"Ken, Sid, my husband and I were
having dinner at the Hollywood
Brown Derby. The restaurant was
down the street from. the theater on
the east side of Vine and a little south
of Hollywood Boulevard. Those were
the days when it was Bob Cobb's
restaurant and one of our very frequent
eating places. Ken was bewailing the
fact that he could not go to Las Vegas
for two days and leave the show.
"Being Ken Murray's landlord and
interested in its continued success, Sid
Grauman felt free to make sugges-
tions, and said, 'Let Oakie take over
for two nights.'
"Ken grasped at the idea immediate-
ly. lack, please would you do it? he
asked. He knew that with Oakie, it
sure would be a good show.
"Jack said, 'Yes,' and at the table
that night, I was invited to do a
Blackout show with my husband, and
I sure said,“Yes!' I, too, had been on
the stage and loved it.
"Marie Wilson, Ken's leading lady,
was lots of fun. Marie was a wonderful
actress who was naturally endowed
with the kind of figure today's gals go
after with an abundance of implanting.
"One of the biggest laughs in the
show was when Marie tells the audi-
ence that she was born in a grapefruit
grove. Jack, staring at her chest, says,
`Oh, that explains a couple of things ...'

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