Jan 23, 200603:44 PMThe Life
Still feisty after all these years
Jan 23, 2006 - 03:44 PMFormer mayor Frank Bogert (PSL covers: 1963, 1983) is a cowboy through and through. He's on a book tour these days, so you might be able to catch up with this active nonagenarian at the FOPSL event on Sunday, February 12 at 2pm. Yesterday, I had the rare privilege of speaking with him for a few minutes:
You've hobnobbed with the rich and famous. Did you ever look forward to meeting a celebrity, and end up disappointed?
Gary Cooper was a great movie star [High Noon, The Plainsman], and I had always wanted to meet him. Well, he finally came to the El Mirador, where I ran the stables, and he wanted to go riding. But when he came out wearing jodhpurs and a beret, all dressed up like an Englishman, it nearly broke my heart. I thought he was a cowboy, and here he turned out to be a damned dude!
What do you remember about the 1930s gambling clubs?
Al Wertheimer came here and talked to the Coffmans, Warren Pinney, all the important people, and said he wanted to start a gambling joint. And they all said, "Great idea! Something new for the people to do." And he ran the finest club in the world. I mean, New York steaks like we never saw before, a quartet—the Animal Boys—that played great music, very high class, everything. First high-class thing we had in town, y'know? In those days, he was paying the sheriff, and it was illegal. Then the One Thirty Nine Club started, and the Cove started and they all ran by payin' off the sheriff. And finally, they got so many complaints that they closed 'em down. But Wertheimer started up again, and went to jail for thirty days!
In front of City Hall, there's a sculpture of you, on horseback. How do you feel about that statue?
Well, I feel fine, except every time I go by there, the birds have covered my face with white stuff. So I call the City Manager and raise hell. The funny thing is, there's a statue of John F. Kennedy about fifty yards away, but the birds never do anything on him. I guess they're all Democrats...
Even though he's 96, this guy refuses to get out of the saddle. Click here to hear Frank talk about his recent riding experiences.