Friday Flashback #72

The new tax bill signed by President Trump may devastate Newman’s Own Foundation. Since 1982, the Westport-based organization has donated $512 million to charities helping veterans, children with cancer, low-income students and many other causes. (Click here for the full story.)

That news reminds us of the actor/food and lemonade manufacturer/automobile racer’s enormous, longtime impact on our town.

From the time he moved to Coleytown in the late 1950s — attracted here by the movie “Rally Round the Flag, Boys!” — he and his wife Joanne Woodward — were good, giving neighbors.

From the Westport Historical Society and Westport Country Playhouse to speaking with middle school students about substance abuse, the couple did plenty for all of us.

Everyone who’s lived here a while has a Paul Newman or Joanne Woodward story.

But I’d sure like to know the one behind this photo, taken shortly after he moved around the corner from the elementary school:

(Photo courtesy of Dave Parnas via Facebook “Exit 18” page)

27 responses to “Friday Flashback #72

  1. Looks like he’s pushing present day Bill Clinton!

  2. Dan Lasley (Laz)

    A copy (original?) of this photo was on the wall at Riverside Barbershop for many years.

  3. Mary Cookman Schmerker Staples '58

    I did a double take, not because of the Clinton look alike but because of the License. While I knew the person in the car was not my grandmother or the car one of hers but her License plate was three letters beginning with an “E”.
    Clicking on the picture clearly showed the plate and the Bill Clinton look alike no longer looks like Bill Clinton. Surely there is a way to research the license plate and perhaps that way learn the back story.

  4. Janette Kinnally

    That is devastating to a non profit and an organization that has done so much good. His legacy. Really hoping something can be done about this.

    • Dan’s Post is in error in this regard; the new tax bill does not “do” anything to the Newman foundation, it simply failed to provide a fix to a problem they were experiencing under the existing tax code.

  5. The Newman’s Own Foundation has been a great supporter of Aspetuck Land Trust! This change in the tax law would be devastating to ALT and so many other worthy organizations that are supported and sustained by the generosity and legacy of Paul Newman.

  6. Hanne Jeppesen

    Being Paul Newman, just giving a helping hand (push) to someone, whose car broke down. I lived in Westport for almost 2 years in the late sixties, and much to my regret never ran into to Paul Newman (did see Joanne Woodward years later when I went back for a visit). Before I even came to Westport as an au pair from Denmark, Paul Newman was one of my favorite actors and I had seen several of his movies. He was of course handsome beyond belief, he was also a class act. His charity has done so much and it would be a shame if it does not continue, not sure what the reasoning is behind the loss of the tax deduction for charities, does not make sense. Could be the people who drafted the bill does not understand the spirit of giving?

    • The charitable deduction has not been done away with…

      • No it hasn’t. But with the increased standard deduction, there will be less incentive for those who don’t itemize to give to charities.

  7. This is a picture from a poster (about 11″ x 18″) that appeared in every Main Street store window in the late 50’s. It was meant to illustrate community involvement and concern for each other. I’ve often wished I’d snagged one at the time, but they were pretty much taken for granted.

  8. The Photograph should be credited to my mentor, Robert Satter, who we recently lost. Bob was hired by the Chamber of Commerce to make the photo to illustrate the neighborly attitude of even our most famous residents. The “Clinton” look alike was one of Westport’s many eccentric residents: Leon Hunt, who owned several Model-A Fords which littered his front yard. Mr Hunt would come into town every so often to by $3.10 worth of gas (10 gallons) at the Flying “A” station where I worked when in high school. Regardless which “A” he drove, it always had the same “EXH” license plate on the back. When I asked Mr Hunt about that he told me “I can only drive one car at a time, so what’s the point of having more than one license plate?” I later learned he was a millionaire. P.L. Newman was another one of our regular customers who used to stop by with some pretty interesting cars that always let to some “tire kicking” at the pump. They each had their own license plate.

    • Mary Cookman Schmerker Staples '58

      Thanks for the back story. Also, I regret not mentioning the potential devastation to the Newman’s Own Foundation as well as so many others that may experience a decline in donations caused by the new tax bill. Charlie and I were discussing that same thing this morning.

      • Is the “potential devastation to the Newman’s Own Foundation” a result of the new tax bill….or as the “full story” states….a 1969 tax law?

        “Foundations are barred by a 1969 tax law from owning more than a small stake in private businesses to prevent wealthy people from using foundations as tax shelters. That tax law imposes a 200 percent excise tax on foundations that don’t unload their businesses after five years”

    • Thanks for the background. Seems our society may be way overdue for similar reminders to be courteous, kind, respectful and helpful to each other.

  9. Arline Gertzoff

    I have the picture signed as Newman was a customer at my father’s cleaner.Thst might be a Coley in the picture


  10. With the reputation that Newman’s Own has, I would think it would be fine, with or without the new law.

  11. Michael Calise

    Its not the new tax law but a long standing requirement applying to foundations as explained above by Bob Stalling. As any carpenter will tell you measure twice cut once!

  12. Charles Stebbins

    Curious Dan why the new tax plan will be more devastating to Newman than the many other charities that are cringing with worry? Thanks C

    Sent from my iPhone


    • I believe the tax cuts don’t apply to charities even though they are Large businesses because they are charities. So sorry if you like this plan just wait to see how it helps the middle class too

  13. I honestly don’t see a resemblance to BC, however, the man in the driver’s seat reminds me of a guy who was a RE agent at Raveis in Westport in the 90’s- they called him “Boomer.” Can’t remember what his full name was….anybody remember?

  14. Bonnie Bradley

    I remember Leon Hunt very well – he and my father were best buddies and we were often back and forth between our houses when I was a little girl. One memory: Leon and his wife Etta lost their house in the village of Valley Forge (CT) when it was taken over to be flooded and used as the Aspetuck Resevoir. Then they moved to Easton Road. Another memory: one cold & snowy night in December, when I was 6 years old, Leon came to our house and the next thing I knew he picked mother up in his arms and carried her out into the dark, stormy night… and drove her to Bridgeport Hospital where she had an emergency appendectomy… and then my sister Debbie was born on January 8th, less than 3 weeks later! Looking back, that seems really risky at 8+ months pregnant, in 1945, but that’s what happened.
    Still can hardly believe it.

    Surprising to learn that Leon was a millionaire – their Easton Road house and property were a typical little “old Yankee” mess as the previous comment on the old cars, in various states of disrepair all over the front yard, attests to. But, Leon and Etta were wonderful people, with true hearts of gold, millionaires indeed.

  15. Awesome picand love the comments as Bob Satter took the pic. Bob Satter and Paul Newman were 2 of Westports best! That being said, charities like Hole in the Wall will hopefully stand strong. My fellow board member of Catch A Lift Fund for Combat Wounded Veterans, Andy Berman, began a huge annual event for Hole In The Wall Gang and all agres should come! Levitt Pavilion in the beginning of June, in 7 or 8 years he has raised 500,000 with our towns help! Push up for kids for the Hole in The Wall, come support!

  16. These collective, generational stories, along with the many timeless photographs, are the best reasons to read “06880”,
    a route home for many. Happy New Year! All done, full circle.

  17. On a different top…sorry…does anyone know what’s going on with Christie’s country store? It’s been closed for about 3 weeks…no sign posted. Thanks.

    • I emailed Christie’s owner John Hooper. He says: “We have been open every day except Sunday. Normal winter hours are 6:30 to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday; Saturday 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Holiday week we close at 3 every day. Interestingly breakfast has been heavier than normal this cold week….must be the roaring fire. Shortly we will reopen Sundays with a brunch.”

      Hope that answers your question — Happy New Year! – Dan

  18. Eric William Buchroeder SHS '70

    Whatever the impact of the tax bill may be, and as Nancy would say: “You’ve got to pass it to find out what’s in it.” I think a couple of points could be noted: 1. Charity is its own reward with or without the deduction. 2. Since the mid 60’s, the government has taken most control of charitable giving from the individual in favor of the state, thus creating social engineering..I’m not a Libertarian, I’m a centrist, but is there not at least SOME validity to the idea that the government really shouldn’t be doing what individuals can and should be doing for themselves? Lastly, I’m sure we all will be waiting to find out if the new tax code will take any action to curtail the “used underwear deduction” that has proven to be so popular in Little Rock and Chappaqua.

  19. Kathleen Dehler

    Susan I think Boomer was Evan Baker