My column last week about the Happy Hollow Foundation receiving a record $1 million donation brought back some elephant-sized memories for Empire Broadcasting President Bob Kieve and longtime broadcaster John McLeod.
When KLIV was a Top-40 station in the 1960s, a program director who went by the moniker "Captain Mikey" suggested that the station create a fundraiser to donate an elephant to Happy Hollow Park & Zoo, calling on listeners to donate in return for a song request.
McLeod recalls that they raised a good amount of money and delivered it to the park. But Happy Hollow had no way of finding an elephant -- and the $1,000 or so that they raised probably wouldn't have bought much of an elephant or anything else, even in the '60s.
And -- to let no good deed go unpunished -- Kieve recalls being summoned a few weeks later by a city commission that was very unhappy that the station didn't clear the fundraising effort with them first.
"We survived the dressing down, but so far as I know, in the intervening 50 years, nobody has even thought about donating an elephant to Happy Hollow," Kieve said. "I don't think we should try again."
START SPREADING THE NEWS: I was surprised to hear that after writing and composing for the musical stage for more than 30 years, Ted Kopulos was getting his first view of Broadway this week. He's in New York because one of his songs is a finalist in the inaugural Davenport Songwriting Contest, named for Ken Davenport, the Tony-award winning producer of "Kinky Boots," the revival of "Godspell" and several other shows.
Kopulos' entry, "We're the Only Real Actors in This Show," might even have a chance. "If you can judge a song by its title," he said, "mine might be the only funny one out of the 10 finalists." And what a treat to hear it'll be performed Thursday night by a pair of transplanted San Joseans -- Gary De Mattei and Craig Waletzko.
"I've been blessed to have incredibly talented friends singing my material here in the South Bay for over 20 years," he said. "Now I get to hear two of them sing one oh, so close to Times Square. It'll be great to finally see New York, especially escorted by old friends who are now a part of the city."
FELINE GOOD: Judy Conner emailed me with last year's numbers for the 13th Street Cat Rescue, the downtown San Jose-based group powered entirely by volunteers since it was founded in 2005. In 2013, the group found homes for 222 stray cats, and were able to spay or neuter 233 cats. Still, there are plenty of cats downtown and elsewhere that seem to be roaming around without homes.
That's why the group is actively seeking foster home volunteers and will conduct workshops throughout this year. Go to www.13thstcats.org/info/index for more information.