Even though the Super Bowl was five days ago, New Orleans is still partying. This past Tuesday, an estimated 800,000 people attended a parade, which included lavish floats. The celebration was referred to as “Lombardi Gras.”
With Mardi Gras just days away, it’s possible the partying won’t stop until Easter. You can sense a city loves to party when one of its main streets is named “Bourbon.”
The game itself was great as, after the first quarter, the Saints literally went marching in. The entire country was rooting for New Orleans, unless you bet on the Colts, or your last name was Manning.
The TV ratings were through the roof. Super Bowl XLIV is officially the most watched program in American television history. The repeating ka-ching sounds you might have heard during the broadcast were CBS cash registers.
Nielsen says that 106 million people in America watched the Super Bowl surpassing the record set by the final episode of “Mash” in 1983. With so much airtime to fill, they even interviewed Alan Alda. Talk about pointless.
Watching the game I discovered two things. (Other than Megan Fox in a bubble bath is rather eye-catching.) One, that Peyton Manning is fallible. Witness the horrendous interception that he threw in the fourth quarter. It turned into a 70-yard touchdown run which sealed the Saints’ victory. I can only imagine how much money Vegas lost on that one play.
Discovery number two concerned the halftime show featuring The Who. It seems to me that having 65-year-old men, with beer guts and wearing glasses, sing about “teenage revolution,” is probably not a great idea. Some categories of music might benefit from older musicians, i.e. the blues, but rock ‘n roll is not one of them.
The Who had many of their hits as far back as 1965. (One was “Happy Jack,” a natural favorite of mine given my first name.) Having The Who perform at the 2010 Super Bowl would be akin to, at the first Super Bowl in 1967, having Rudy Vallee, croon with his megaphone. (Wondering how many readers will get a Rudy Vallee reference. Answer: not many.)
Among the 106 million Super Bowl viewers was my friend Jerry Rosenblum, who’s 88 going on 48. Jerry’s so youthful for his age, I was going to suggest that he have his own infomercial. Then I discovered that his mother lived until age 102, so apparently it’s genetic.
I visited Jerry the night before the Super Bowl, as he wanted me to look at his humorous, and often touching, memoir, “Guess Who I Met Today.” It consists of a hundred plus vignettes and accompanying photos detailing his 50 years in the men’s clothing business and the celebrities, and infamous people, he encountered along the way.
Jerry is a mensch, which is Yiddish for “a stand-up guy.” He and I met through a mutual friend who introduced us because of our similar fascination with the “Black Widow Murders.”
The case involved two female septuagenarians who, in 2008, were convicted of murdering two homeless men to collect $3 million worth of life insurance policies they had fraudulently bought in the men’s names. Helen Golay, a grandmother, and the so-called brains of the duo, was a successful real estate agent, who lived and owned income property in Santa Monica. She’s currently appealing her “life without the possibility of parole” sentence.
Jerry has lived in Santa Monica since 1971. He worked for 12 years at Mike Caruso’s, which was an upscale men’s store on Wilshire and Fourth Street. Many of the celebrities Jerry chronicles in his book were ones he met while working at Caruso’s. The list includes: Jerry West, Mark Harmon, Alec Baldwin, Martin Sheen, Kurt Russell, Chick Hearn and William Webster, a former Federal Judge and Director of the FBI. It seems that anybody who was anybody in Santa Monica, Jerry sold a suit to.
In addition to being an author (a description that would embarrass him) Jerry is a professional singer and proud of it. He has a deep, clear voice, not just for his age, but for any age. He has performed in theatres, on cruise ships, and in karaoke bars. This Sunday, he will be singing at the Israel Levin Center at 201 Ocean Front Walk, in Venice.
The event is a party entitled “Nifty 90s,” so named because it’s honoring 24 Israel Levin members who are 90-years-old and over. At only 88, Jerry might be considered the whippersnapper. (Rudy Vallee and “whippersnapper” in the same column, apparently I’m not going after the youth demo.)
The “Nifty 90s” starts at 11:30 a.m. For reservations, call (310) 396-0205. Jerry is going to perform a medley of 1950s show tunes and is volunteering his services. As I said, the man is a mensch.
Jack can be reached at Jackneworth@yahoo.com.