The Onlooker Social Column: "Pearls Shine Up Benefit" No Lacka Lacquer

Forget that dog is man's best friend and a girl's best friend are diamonds...that jazz.

At the Surf Club on Monday night, pearls came to the rescue. Over 70,000 animals were cared for last year by the Humane Society. Thanks to the Japanese Cultured Pearl Gala benefiting the Humane Society Auxiliary that animal kingdom will find even more friends this year.

Phoebe (call her Perle Mesta) Morse, who ran the show, played down her own pearl jewelry "because I have to shake so many hands." More than 400 shelled out for ducats and took home enough souvenir loot to overflow a doggy bag.

"I've got 1 1/2 million dollars' worth of pearls. I can't sit down or stand still," said Phoebe, who ambulated with a cane. "After our robbery, I got so much uric acid in my system, I have to use the cane."

After an Oriental flavored dinner, models sauntered through the room showing the unique pearl jewelry from the Japanese Trade Center.

"I'm wearing the only pearl dress here," said Tania Fay. "It cost $1,200. And I'm going to give it to you so you can auction it off," she told Phoebe. "Right HERE?" asked Ted Blum, whose ruddy tan, he said, comes from surfing every weekend.

Up strolled Herb Booma, escorting Leonora Baruch, to say, "I major in kindness and fun, especially to widows." Therese Beckman, who was chosen "Miss Universe" chaperone, said she spent a thrilling time in the pits for the 24-hour Daytona speed race.

Saki served in tiny white cups caused a wag to say, "Here's Murine in your eye." Floating atop the oyster stew was a Ritz cracker centered by a hamagi pearl. That's really putting on the Ritz.

Jeweler George Skaf was asked, "How can you tell a real pearl?" He said, "You rub it on your teeth to see if it is rough," he said, doing so, and nearly swallowed the tiny gem. The Vet Set was represented at the Morse table by Dr. Robert Knowles and his wife Melle. The Herb Kings were there, Henry and Jean Sinclair, Nick and Maxine Carter. Only ones not seen were the Chun Kings.

Yellow forsythia and spider mums flowered the tables, plus Oriental dolls for lucky ducks. Blanche Swift Morris (meat packing family),
Jan and George Marks -- a former star on Broadway -- applauded Jan as a pearl model.

Janis and Austin Burke dug into the Beef Teriyaki, bean sprouts and boiled rice. (He wore only one jacket the whole evening; on his TV commercial his schtick shows a human artichoke.)