The Valley Line: Having a beastly good time at the zoo

An evening of lions and tigers and fundraising, oh my!

July 20, 2011|By Jane Napier Neely
  • TV's "Hot in Cleveland" series costars Jane Leeves, left, Betty White and Wendie Malick visit during the Beastly Ball, for which White served as chairman. (Photo courtesy of Jamie Pham)
TV's "Hot in Cleveland" series costars…

Wow! Most of us made it home safely, even though “Carmageddon” threatened to bring us to a standstill. At least the various media outlets gave us enough warning that we might want to experience an “at-home mini-vacation.”

With the shutdown of the 405 Freeway for an entire weekend, traveling to the west side of the greater Los Angeles basin was absolutely verboten — unless one was to hire a private helicopter to get them there.

Now, if somebody wanted to travel from Burbank to Long Beach (avoiding having to depart or land at LAX on that crunch weekend) JetBlue came up with a clever bit of merchandising by offering flights between the two cities for $4 each way. For heaven sakes, the peanuts that airlines hand out cost more than that. Within three hours of the airline tweeting the offer, all tickets were sold out. I can hardly believe that such a deal was made available. This absolutely must have made some kind of aviation history. I wish I had been on JetBlue’s tweet list; I would have gone to Long Beach just for the heck of it.


Now that all has been said ad nauseam about Carmageddon, with round-the-clock media coverage, is anybody drinking from an “I survived Carmageddon” coffee cup this morning?


It was another hugely successful Greater Los Angeles Zoo Party, with more than 1,000 people attending the 41st Beastly Ball in order to talk with the animals and to raise more $1 million dollars for the zoo.

The party, sponsored by the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association (GLAZA), is one of the most popular summer events held here in the L.A. area. Connie Morgan, a longtime La Cañada Flintridge resident, is president of GLAZA. She was welcoming guests, along with her son Ben. I bumped into Connie’s husband Matt, who is a scientist with Jet Propulsion Laboratory, by the gorilla exhibit. He had started the morning off in Lisbon, Portugal where he had been attending a week-long conference. He was more than a little jet-lagged after coming directly from LAX, and was trying to catch up with his wife and son to say hello. It was a happy reunion when they did find each other.

Actress Betty White, a trustee and chair of GLAZA, was showing off her beloved elephant, Billy. This magnificent elephant reigns supreme at the zoo’s newly opened “Elephants of Asia” exhibit, along with his harem that includes elephants Tina and Jewel.

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