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George Christy Talks About John and Joan Hotchkis, Palm Springs International Film Festival and more

John and Joan Hotchkis

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Never met a joke he didn’t like. He collected them.

Always incorporated a funny reference or two in the early paragraphs of his quarterly newsletter, Economic Notes.

John Hotchkis.  People You Should Know.

A fourth generation Southern Californian, born to Katharine Bixby  and Preston Hotchkis, who instilled in their children a love for the Golden State and its history. 

“This influenced my passion for local philanthropy and dedication to our grandparents’ Rancho Los Alamitos homestead in Long Beach.  Which our family deeded to the city with its original adobe ranch house, barns, and gardens designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, who created Manhattan’s Central Park and the Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, plus innumerable other grand landscapes.

Rancho Los Alamitos is a museum now and an educational center, where children may experience the early California ranch life.

A business strongman and financier, John founded the Trust Company of the West, Hotchkis and Wiley Institutional portfolio managers, which he sold to Merrill Lynch, and later to Ramajal LLC.

A philanthropist beloved for his loyalty and love and enduring support for the LA Phil.  Along with his beautiful and born-to-elegance wife Joan Hartley, a native Californian from the wine country of Sonoma.

He has chaired – or been a member of – numerous business and charitable organizations, serving twice on the UC Board of Regents.

“A lifelong daredevil with a zest for adventure,” as he described himself. 

A sportsman extraordinaire, John loved participating in all sorts of sports. Including tobogganing!  

On December 14th, we lost John Hotchkis, 86, to liver failure, who had written his obituary, from which we have quoted a tad here and there.

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“JFK never smoked cigarettes,” writes Pulitzer Prize-winning and politically savvy Peggy Noonan in her always – rewarding weekly Saturday column in The Wall Street Journal. About President John F. Kennedy’s erroneous portrayal in The Crown.  “Many other lies!” writes Peggy about the drama’s flaws.  “So vulgar, and dumb and careless … it is disrespectful not only of real human beings but of history itself.”

In Steven Spielberg’s film, The Post, Peggy finds disturbing lies.

“The movie is a celebration of The Washington Post for printing the top secret Pentagon Papers, which revealed U.S. government lies about the Vietnam War.   But it was The New York Times that showed the greater enterprise — it got the story first and the greater valor, because its editor could not fully guess the legal repercussions and would presumably have to handle them on their own.

“But what the heck: it’s still a good story, and the Post did show style. 

“What is bad is the lie that President Nixon is portrayed as the villain of the story. And that is the opposite of the truth. Nixon did not start the Vietnam War, he ended it.   His administration is not even mentioned in the Pentagon Papers, which were finished before he took office.”  

There’s so much more, adds Peggy, admonishing those filmmakers who mess with history.

“Why does all this matter?  Because we are losing history … when people get their history through entertainment … when they absorb the story of their times through screens then the tendency to fabricate is more damaging.

“Those who make movies and television dramas should start caring about this …

“It is wrong in an age of lies to add to their sum total.  That’s right.  It will do harm.”    

Will it stop? Not likely.

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