Elvis Presley, in the person of performer George Thomas - who has co-starred on the NBC hit, "Las Vegas," and performed at the 75th birthday of Mikael Gorbachev, among his credits - entertained at Saturday's Fabulous Fifties-themed 25th annual Volunteer & Major Donor Recognition brunch, and he didn't disappoint.True to expectations, Thomas, clad in loud, outlandish showbiz garb, swiveled his hips and gyrated wildly to the tune of, first, "You're Nothing But a Hounddog," secondly, to "Heartbreak Hotel," and, lastly, to "Jailhouse Rock" as part of the program that also marked the 50th anniversary of the Downey City Library. To the delight of the large audience that included Mayor Mario Guerra, Mayor Pro Tem Anne Bayer, and City Council members David Gafin and Luis Marquez, and other distinguished guests, Dr. Mary Stauffer had to be cajoled into attempting a whirl or two with Thomas, who had by this time succeeded in inviting Bayer, literacy volunteer Freddie Hawkins, and fellow volunteer Arlene McArthur to the front for a little 'hopping' fun. The episode with Stauffer provided a lot of laughs as she repeatedly failed to respond to Thomas' ministrations (apparently he didn't have an inkling of who she was and the esteem she's held by the community) as he persistently addressed her left ear (she can hear better with her right ear, it turned out). Julie Anderson, Downey High School alumna and currently a student at the Music Institute of Hollywood, also sang. She is the daughter of Christina Anderson, referred to by city librarian Nancy Messineo, who delivered the welcoming remarks, as her "right hand." Master of Ceremonies was literacy coordinator Claudia Dailey, who orchestrated the giving away of certificates of appreciation to the scores of library and Friends of the Library volunteers, as well as the library's major donors over the past year. The sumptuous brunch was underwritten by the Friends of the Library and held at the Rio Hondo Event Center.
********** Published: April 10, 2009 - Volume 7 - Issue 51