I’ll never forget a few of the “stars” of the day who I met. There was Frank Gorshin, the “Riddler” on the Batman television series, who I invited home to dinner. He said he was busy, and I’ll bet Patty was glad. There were singers like Johnny Mathis, Tom Jones, Frankie Avalon, Jack Jones, Lou Rawls, Edie Adams, Brenda Lee, Roger Miller, and many others. Rich Little checked in late one night and as I took him up to his room I was so tempted to ask him to do Richard Nixon.
But the most memorable to me, at least in the sense of a lasting impression, was J. C. Penney. He was getting on up in years. I was told that as he was beginning in the department store business, out in the Midwest, he worked tirelessly to make it successful. Before closing his store at night, he would go out the door and look up and down the street. If he spotted someone that could be a customer, he would keep the doors open.
Many years ago, a shoe manufacturer who decided to open the Congo market sent two salesmen to the undeveloped territory. One salesman cabled back: "Prospect here nil. No one wears shoes." The other salesman reported enthusiastically, "Market potential terrific! Everyone is barefooted."
© 2010, John C. Fitts, III. All Rights Reserved. Reprinted from Grace Drops, Volume 8 (2010).