THE YEAR OF LIVING DANGEROUSLY: We don't know about you, folks, but 1990 certainly was a year of change for this columnist. First off, who'd have thought we'd meet our future hubby on a street corner downtown? Much less marry him but a few weeks later!
But as you'll read, 1990 was indeed a popular year to walk down the aisle, as evidenced by all of you who did just that.
For some folks, however, the past year left a bad taste in their mouths. Local developer-entrepreneur Wayne Gioioso summed it up this way: "The wine was sweet in 1990, but the year was sour!"
Eyes Only chooses, however, to pluck out only the sweetest morsels from the past year, which we invite you to digest. Have a happy New Year! Read on.
ALTAR-ED STATES: As we said before, 1990 was the year to get married. Some local notables who took the marital plunge included: WMAR-TV's anchorwoman Sally Thorner and Hopkins doc Brian Rosenfeld, who married in June after a whirlwind romance. (They're expecting their first baby by tax deadline day -- April 15.) Hall-of-Famer Jim Palmer finally made it official when he married photographer Joni Pearlstone in a small ceremony at his home in Brooklandville shortly before Orioles opening day at Memorial Stadium. "Cry-Baby" star Traci Lords said an emotional "I will" to prop master (and native Baltimorean) Brook Yeaton in September, the lovebirds having met on the set of the John Waters film.
ALL IN THE FAMILY: Former TV-anchor-turned-radio-personality Rudy Miller took on a new role as publisher of the new Maryland Family magazine, which debuted in September. . . . WJZ-TV's Marty Bass and wife Sharon had their first baby, a daughter named Savannah Lee, earlier this month.
ALTAR-ED STATES II: The dazzling Vanna White was on hand at the wedding of TV cohort Pat Sajak, but she wasn't saying her, ah, vowels. Annapolis native Lesly Brown, a dazzling brunette model, got to say her vows, however, to the --ing "Wheel of Fortune" host. State tree planter Wally Orlinsky married former lobbyist Judy Taylor in Bolton Hill, then honeymooned in Puerta Vallarta.
Local developer Mark Caplan surprised all when he eloped with Linda Wilson, a statuesque blond ad exec, after a whirlwind romance. Despite the fact that World Travel's Jennifer Morales had her heirloom wedding gown stolen days before the ceremony, her marriage to Jimmy Vitale was smooth sailing right down to the horse-drawn carriage that took the newlyweds from the church to the reception.
ICY STARES: Movie directors who popped into town to scout locations for potential films included George Lucas, who scoped out the Cap Centre and the Baltimore Arena for a film about ice hockey. . . . There was a rumor that another Hollywood Wunderkind, Steven Spielberg, was checking out the area, though it proved to be little more than just that.
ALTAR-ED STATES III: Valentine's Day was the day WXYV-FM personality Jean Ross chose to walk down the lane with pro bowler Howard Marshall 2nd. The Water Street Exchange's popular owner, Bruce Schoeberlein, and Mary Carol Wittelsberger's wedding was followed by a blowout reception at the Governor's Club. Gourmet's Alan Pressman married Regi's bartender Brooke Hagerty.
Syndicated writer-columnist Lois Wyse married Baltimore's Harvey Meyerhoff. Restaurateur Germano Fabiani of Trattoria Petrucci married Piper and Marbury attorney Cyd Beth Wolf after a long courtship. Developer Norman Rockwell honeymooned with new bride, Helen, in Bermuda.
DEAD LINES: Comedian Lonnie Shorr got a chuckle from the crowd at the Save-a-Heart Foundation's 14th annual Golf Classic when he singled out the organization's founder, Stanley Levinson, of Levinson Funeral Home. "If Stan is concerned about your health," he quipped, "you should be worried!"
WEST MEETS EAST: Zap! Wow! Fans clutching Batman comics enthusiastically greeted TV's Batman, Adam West, when he attended the premiere screening at the Senator of the thriller "Maxim Xul" in which he starred and which was made by local filmmakers. Claiming "luck" for his longevity, West remarked, "If you hang around long enough, this happens!"
NAME DROPPING: Familiar faces who dropped into town for various reasons: CBS' Mike Wallace paid a visit to University Hospital for a piece he was researching. Designer Pierre Cardin was spied dining at the Polo Grill with a fashionable crowd. Ditto Colt 45 spokesman Billy Dee Williams.
Actor Robert Duvall, who came up from his farm in Virginia, dined at Obrycki's, explaining to owner Rose Cernak that his fiancee's (we haven't a clue who she is, though we hear she's a dancer) parents live in town.
Singer Joan Jett slinked into Sabatino's after an O's game. Bill Macy of "Maude" fame attended his son's graduation ceremonies at Hopkins, then grabbed a bite at the Mount Vernon Saloon.
BY GEORGE!: Actor-comic George Burns dined at Germano's Tratorria Petrucci in Little Italy with Lifesongs organizers after appearing at the benefit show, in which he recalled his last previous appearance in Baltimore in 1927 at the Hippodrome: "After 63 years, they asked me back!"
KEEP ON JAMMIN': Pop singer Billy Joel turned up at the 8x10 club on Cross Street for a jam session with his old buddy Billy Price. Later he turned up at Da Mimmo, where he sang a few tunes for a delighted lounge crowd. "He almost outdid Tommy Joy!" a hostess laughed.
MORE NAME DROPPING: Though they would later bow out of the Lifesongs benefit due to a conflict, husband-wife acting team of Jill Eikenberry and Michael Tucker turned out for a wedding rehearsal at Corbi's Restaurant for attorneys Stephanie Glass and Mark Lipton.
Perky "Soap" star Diana Canova zipped into town to pick up an award from the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Chicken maven Frank Perdue did a narration of "Peter and the Wolf" at the Meyerhoff. Actor Danny "The Color Purple" Glover took time out to visit students at Morgan State while in town promoting his film "To Sleep With Anger."
Rap star M. C. Hammer shot a music video in town for a group he discovered. And Johnny Carson band leader Doc Severinson turned out at Chiapparelli's to chow down.
AD-DLED PITCH: The local ad folk were all atwitter when, back in March, a billboard sprang up touting that "On March 21, Foote Cone and Belding Will Be in Baltimore." Assuming that the New York ad agency would be opening a branch here, FC&B;'s Big Apple offices were flooded with resumes from would-be employees.
The teaser, though, merely meant that FC&B; Vice President Jim Helberg would be speaking at an Advertising Association luncheon.
BRAIN FOOD: TV viewers literally pan fried 98 Rock's ad campaign, which made waves when it featured a fish (probably rock or grouper) being tossed into a blender and subsequently pulverized before their eyes with the line: "This is your brain on 98 Rock!"
W. B. Doner slipped into a similar predicament when a TV campaign it shot showing the Energizer bunny getting run over caused an outcry from the animal rights folks and had to be plucked from the airwaves.
CRYING JAG: Sweethearts Winona Ryder and Johnny Depp, who teamed up in "Edward Scissorhands," turned out for the world premiere of John Waters' "Cry Baby" in which Depp starred. At the bash that followed at the Baltimore Museum of Art to benefit AIDS Action, Winona burst into tears after being hounded by flashbulb popping pressies who wouldn't leave them alone. Her head on his shoulder, Winona and Johnny were led back to the confines of the VIP room by security.
OTHER PEOPLE'S STOMACHS: Actor Tony LoBianco, who was in town starring in "Other People's Money," proved himself quite a chef when he cooked up lotsa pasta for about 30 guests in his suite at the Tremont.
LoBianco dished that he may be marketing his sauces a la Paul Newman. Asked whether Baltimore audiences were as savvy or as perceptive about the play as New Yawkers, the actor quipped, "Absolutely. Even the blue-haired ladies got it!"
THE INN CROWD: The Inn at the Colonnade opened in February with a gala fund-raiser hosted by owners Howard and Richard Rymland to benefit the Peabody Conservatory of Music. Though some guests complained about the seating (or lack thereof), vocalist Roberta Flack put on a super show.
The Inn's Polo Grill, run by restaurant-catering vets Gail and Lenny Kaplan, would rapidly become the place to be "seen" in the Big Crab -- the security camera monitor in the ceiling notwithstanding.
REEL PEOPLE: Baltimore was a hub of activity for both local and out-of-town filmmakers during the past year. Local filmmaker Rob Treganza, whose first film, "Talking to Strangers," was critically acclaimed, finished up "The Arc" in town and hooked up with Film Four International, who did "Mona Lisa," et al., for distribution rights.
Writer-director David "House of Games" Mamet wrapped "Homicide," starring Joe Mantegna and wife Lindsay Crouse, shortly before Thanksgiving. Cutie Kevin Bacon and Elizabeth Perkins spent some time in town shooting the movie "He Said, She Said."
MOVIE PREMIERES: Barry Levinson's "Avalon," Steve Yeager's "On the Block," John Waters' "Cry-Baby" and the thriller "Maxim Xul" debuted at the Senator Theatre.
SWING SHIFT: Rossville's Bob Kulacki proved himself impressive on the links when he shot a hole in one at Pine Ridge in September, winning a trip to the Orioles Fantasy Camp as his prize. "I was just hoping to clear the water!" he laughed.
FIT TO BE (BOW) TIED: The Club Charles, a popular hangout for the city's avant-garde, was the scene of a segment of "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous" featuring Baltimore's own John Waters.
As a kibitz, Waters asked his chums to show up for the taping at the Club Chuck in black tie, which caused a bit of stir at the usually casual watering hole. Odds are the high-pitched chronicler of the rich and famous, Robin Leach, would have felt right at home regardless.
GOOD SPORTS: Many stars made appearances for charitable concerns throughout the year, including former boxing champ Muhammad Ali at a benefit screening of "Glory," who urged all to say "No" to drugs. Another former champ, Sugar Ray Leonard, played grand marshal in the Preakness parade.
Opera singer Beverly Sills spoke about her life experiences at the Pimlico Restaurant for the North Oaks Retirement Center. Comic Henny Youngman deadpanned his way for "Comedy Care '90" at the Hyatt.
Actress Debbie Reynolds, in town for the "Unsinkable Molly Brown," appeared on behalf of United Cerebral Palsy at a reception, enchanting all. And "L.A. Law" star Larry Drake spoke on behalf of the handicapped at "Applause After Dark."
MASTER OF DISGUISE: Actor Tom Selleck quietly slipped into town a couple of times this year by using aliases and altering his look. In September, he reserved a limo under an assumed name and turned up sans "Magnum" mustache to take batting practice with the Baltimore Orioles.
In a more elaborate scheme, the actor reserved a table at Da Mimmo under the name Peter Mitchell (the character he plays in "Three Men . . .") to foil his buddies and the restaurant's owners, Mary Ann and Mimmo Cricchio.
They were doubly surprised when their friend arrived wearing glasses and slicked back hair. "He played Liar's Poker all night," Mary Ann divulged. No wonder.
COS AND EFFECT: Despite a horrendous thunderstorm, comedian Bill Cosby went on to kick off the 10th annual Harborlights concert, telling the crowds that it was a "law" to eat crab cakes in Baltimore. "The mayor held a gun to my head!" he joked.
CLOTHES ENCOUNTERS: Staffers at the Stouffer Harborplace Hotel got a chuckle at the histrionics encountered when talk-show host-turned-casino magnate Merv Griffin and "love" Eva Gabor checked out of their presidential suite at the hotel where they'd weekended.
Merv, you see, had sung the national anthem at an O's game. As for Eva? Bellmen packed up two limousines with suitcases containing her expansive wardrobe! Nothing like being prepared.
GOING TO THE DOGS: The first ever benefit for Pets on Wheels, spearheaded by the fund-raising champ and animal lover Carole Sibel, was held at the Pimlico Race Course's glitzy sports palace to an enthusiastic response.
The cat's meow, however, was a song featuring certain society ladies "barking" in unison, while doggedly circling a fire hydrant.
TRAFFIC STOPPER: Gordon Boone 3rd got a crash course in politics when he ran for clerk of Baltimore County. While rallying with supporters during rush hour on the corner of Joppa and Harford roads, a terrible crash was heard as one car struck another.
In a flash, the handsome candidate was on the scene to help pull one of the victims from her car. Boone would later lose his election bid, proving even Good Samaritans have bad days.
CAPTAIN COURAGEOUS: Fox 45's "Captain Chesapeake," in real life George Lewis, threw out his anchor for the last time when he announced he was retiring after a long, long time at sea. At a goodbye bash at the Inn at the Colonnade in April, the Captain's fans waited for hours for his autograph. Asked how he'd be spending his leisure time, he laughed, "On my boat -- I haven't taken it out since 1988!"
HORN OF PLENTY: Sippers nightclub at Loch Raven and Taylor was the scene of the premiere party of "Rock Live," a cable TV show by Fil Sibley Productions featuring local bands. United Cable's Jim Murphy surveyed the contemporary rockophiles in attendance. "I remember when this place used to be the Golden Horn!" he sniffed.
MARES DAY OUT: Months before former Mayor Clarence "Du" Burns announced his plans to run against Mayor Schmoke in the mayoral race, he was spied at another race -- the inaugural running of the Frank De Francis Memorial Dash at Pimlico in which guests were entertained by the famed horn blower Al Hirt. At day's end, Burns boarded the elevator smiling. "Got the Brinks truck waiting?" he winked.
ANIMAL MAGNETISM: It was a busy year for local vet Dr. Kim Hammond. First off, he unleashed "About Your Pet," a new television segment for national syndication. Later he wound up as Cosmopolitan's "Bachelor of the Month" and received a slew of steamy letters from panting females throughout the country.
FIRST BLOOM: 18-year-old Baltimore School for the Arts grad Seth Bloom debuted his film "Nightflight" at the Hyatt Regency. Describing it as a postmodern, retro thriller, black-comedy drama, Bloom explained: "I wanted it to be well-rounded!
WALKER, DON'T RUN: All ears tuned into WBSB-FM one muggy summer morning as former local radio personality Johnny Walker did a guest stint, filling in for the vacationing Glenn Beck. There was speculation that the mighty Walker, living a reclusive life in West Virginia with wife April, might be making a comeback. Though there was definite interest on G.M. Jim Fox's part, apparently Walker wanted no part of another full-time radio gig, even though the phones rang off the hook during his air time.
CRUISE CONTROL: Though rumors persisted that actor Tom Cruise had been spied about town, the closest we could get to him was through eye doc Gary Cassel. The Towson doc worked with his brother in New York, Dr. Mitch Cassel, to create a special effects contact lens for the actor in "Days of Thunder."
OPEN MOUTH POLICY: WPOC-FM's general manager Jennifer Grimm proved to be a sweetheart with staffers, who frequently would drop by her office to talk shop. Grimm revealed part of the secret to her success, however, was coated in sugar. "I keep a jar of M&M;'s on my desk!" she laughed.