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Polly Ober oral history interview, January 21, 1998

 Item — othertype: Oral History
Identifier: M157_OberP

Scope and Contents

Interviewed by Chris Paton. This interview, which took place at Mrs. Ober's home in Newport Beach, California, begins with a discussion of Mrs. Ober's first acquaintance with Johnny and Ginger Mercer on Lido Isle in the 1950s, including brief mention of a fundraiser at the Hoag Hospital that the Obers and the Mercers participated in. After a short reference to Mandy Mercer's debutante party in Savannah in the late 1950s, the conversation moves to various reminiscences, inspired by photographs that Mrs. Ober shows to Ms. Paton. Among the topics of discussion are a poem Johnny Mercer wrote about Lido Isle entitled "Oh, that Lido" the friendship between the adults of the two families, and the friendship of the children, especially Jeff Mercer and Mike Ober. She also speaks about Ginger Mercer's involvement with community affairs. The photographs also inspire brief discussions of Johnny Mercer's Academy Awards, an award from the Orange County Press Club, Johnny Mercer's relationship with the children of the two families, the Mercers' dogs, a crowning of Miss Newport Beach, Christmases in Savannah, the Mercers' trip to Hawaii, and the Mercers' Christmas cards. Several subjects recur during this conversation. Frequently Mrs. Ober returns to the subject of her husband's death in 1965 and the Mercers' subsequent efforts to take care of her and her children. She often talks about the Mercers' social activities on Lido Isle during the 1950s and 1960s, including the names of other friends and some specific social occasions. She frequently reflects upon personality traits of both Ginger and Johnny Mercer. At several points the discussion turns to Ginger Mercer's life after Johnny's death, mentioning contacts between Mrs. Mercer and Mrs. Ober that took place from 1976 until 1994, the year of Ginger Mercer's death. On the second tape there is a brief discussion of Johnny Mercer's memorial service in Savannah, at which Mrs. Ober's son Mike, who became an ordained minister, officiated.


  • Creation: January 21, 1998


Restrictions on Access

Oral history available for research.

Biographical Note

Polly Ober was born in Des Moines, Iowa. In 1942 she married Colonel Matt S. Ober, Jr. (d. 1965), who was a professional Marine with service as a Marine pilot in World War II and the Korean War. Although the Ober family were stationed in numerous locations, they resided on Lido Isle for a period of years in the 1950s and again during the 1960s, where they became close friends with Johnny and Ginger Mercer.


2 item(s) (audio (1:04:08 duration) transcript (41 pages))

Language of Materials

From the Collection: English

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

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