in which he swore he saw the sand crabs below scampering to get out
of his way -- he headed to work. While leaning over to serve a cup of
onion soup to a customer, he said, a half gallon of seawater poured
from his nose into the cup. The future jurist, a comedian even in his
youth, asked the startled patron if she'd like to have her soup
-- Steve Mitchell, managing editor of the Newport Communications
Sorry to hear of Bob Gardner's death. He was a good drinking buddy
of many OC Press Clubbers over the years.
Right around 1968 and '69 he had a case in Superior Court that
went back to a massive roundup of The Hessians outlaw motorcycle gang
members after they'd seen one too many reruns of "The Wild Ones."
Cops all over Orange County were involved, and they busted a bunch of
these bikers on all kinds of stuff growing out of a raid on a Costa
Mesa duplex where ringleader Thomas "Wild Mouse" Rundle shot a guy in
the face after losing a pool game earlier at some low dive.
They went so far as to cut the phone lines before kicking the door
in, so it seemed not a spur of the moment affair.
Rundle was a parolee already, so he was in deep, but when he
finally showed up before Judge Gardner for sentencing, he was
clean-shaven, short-haired, clad in a new Montgomery Ward suit and
clutching a Bible.
Gardner listened politely, if skeptically, to Wild Mouse's spiel
about recognizing the error of his antisocial ways and seeing clearly
now by the light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The judge then
observed that that load of crap might have sounded great to anyone
who didn't have Wild Mouse's rap sheet on the bench in front of him.
He gave Rundle -- a very small guy -- two to 10 years.
Wild Mouse made a comment. The female court clerk turned crimson,
but Gardner missed it. He asked her what Wild Mouse said. She turned
even more crimson and hesitant and finally asked if she could whisper
it into the judge's ear.
Gardner broke into a broad grin as she repeated the vulgar
message, and she turned ever redder as it crossed her lips.
Gardner declared with a big grin, "Ladies and Gentlemen, this
court has just been asked to do the biologically impossible!"
-- Art Vinsel, who worked at the Daily Pilot from 1961 to 1963;
1964 to 1965 and 1969 to 1981