Actors and Others for Animals Toast to “Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In”
I want to talk about toasting the people who helped America laugh for years (and still do). This group guarantees fun. Stars and guest stars of this sensational show will pack the dais at A&O’s November 14th “Celebration of Caring.” Joining Actors and Others President Jo Anne Worley will be George Schlatter (who created the show), Arte Johnson, Gary Owens, Alan Sues, Barbara Feldon, Nancy Sinatra, Rip Taylor and Fred Willard. Dear Dolly Martin and Marla Pennington Rowen will bring memories of Dick and Dan. And the M.C. will be the incomparable Bruce Vilanch. (Jon Voight, who once did a comedy act with Henry Gibson, may surprise with some memories of our darling Henry.)
The Universal Hilton’s ballroom will be packed with celebrity and citizen animal lovers. And those attending will enjoy the cocktails and silent auction, which is always full of items one can’t purchase anywhere else. And please get your opportunity tickets from me (that’s my job): a chance to win a trip to Fiji or New Zealand. A pretty good day!
Award of Caring
I want to talk about why we, at Actors and Others for Animals, care about caring. Our upcoming luncheon is called “Celebration of Caring.”
The special Award of Caring has honored known and little-known people whose basic goodness and conspicuous caring has elevated the level of helping animals. This year, we honor Dick Van Patten, whom we all care about a lot!
Dick Van Patten
How much do we love him? Let us count the ways… As a child, his mother led him and his sister Joyce to the world of acting, and the working has been unswerving. Being consistent, Dick has been married to the adorable Pat Van Patten since 1954. They have three very spectacular sons: Vincent, Nels and James.
He started his career as a child actor on Broadway in 1937 as Dickie Van Patten. He grew up acting and moved on to television and movies with the series Mama (that ran eight years) and as patriarch Tom Bradford on Eight is Enough, also appearing in many guest shots and movies.
But in 1989, an amazing thing happened. “I started a business,” says Van Patten about his company Natural Balance Pet Foods. “I was a guest on the John Davidson Show and he had a band, and at lunch time I sat next to his drummer and we started to talk. The drummer told me how he rescues dogs and cats, and I told him when I was a kid I had a complete menagerie. I had snakes, alligators and every kind of animal you could imagine. I had like my own pet shop. Anyway, we talked some more and he had an idea of making a health food for dogs and I said that I played tennis with a woman vet and I could ask her about it. Well, I did and her eyes lit up and she said I could make up a food with nothing bad in it and I asked her what that meant and she said no filler, no wheat, no corn, no soy and no by-products.” At first, the new company lost money but then slowly, as they expanded their markets, things picked up. “Then all of a sudden we got into Petco,” says Van Patten, “and they put it in 625 Petcos and it’s going through the ceiling. Now we’re in Korea and Germany. It’s a real Cinderella story.”
All meat in Natural Balance is human-grade USDA approved, and all ingredients are grown in the United States of America and all grains used in the food are certified free from genetically modified organisms.
Paying It Forward
Now Dick Van Patten’s company is known for its generosity. They help numerous rescue groups and show up for national emergencies. They are large contributors to guide dogs. They are caring and, like Dick Van Patten, deserve our applause.