Monday, May 2, 2011

"Xappy Birthday from da Tsicago office."

Belly dancers play a pretty big role in my life, from going to the Egyptian Gardens and the Port Said in NY during the 50’s and the 60’s to various birthday parties as well as events that completely embarrassed me.

A friend sent a belly dancer to my office in London, it was 1967, I have to admit I lost it; I was absolutely a stuttering idiot.

This is something I have done many times to other people, but I could not handle it at the time.

If you take the piss out of people you usually are not very good at having the piss taken out of you.

When we were in Chicago, about 1963 or 4, my boss was Jeane Bice, terrific boss. The head of Interpublic at that time was the great Paul Foley. Interpublic was in NY in the Time Life Building.

Paul’s Birthday was that week and all the offices were obviously sucking up and sending “creative” birthday wishes. Billboards in NY, ads in the NY Times, radio commercials etc. Jeane says come up with some ideas. Great! Here is my chance to be noticed or fired.

My group comes up with all the normal ideas and then we remember Paul was in Turkey during the war and loved that part of the world.

Here is my chance to look good. “Why don’t we send him a belly dancer to the office?”
“Great idea, organize it.”

I call the Egyptian Gardens in NY and tell them what I want. It will cost $300, but I have to pay before she will dance, none of this ‘bill me later crap’. I have to arrange the head of traffic at NY McCann to meet the dancer, Zoroumba, in the lobby of the Time Life building and give the money to the drummer, who will be there with her.

It must have been a rather sinister sight…money being handed over to some big guy with a drum and a heavily made up girl in a trench coat, in the lobby of the Time Life building at 3 pm.

We were not there, we are in Chicago, and the head of traffic calls up and tells us we are a big success. Detroit had a stupid ad in the Times, LA did a radio spot, a poster from Atlanta…but ours lasted two hours! Paul kept throwing money at her and later went to the Egyptian Gardens with the IPG directors.

I wonder if that is why I got promoted and sent to the London office in 1965?


  1. Very funny story. Too bad the Egyptian Gardens aren't there anymore. I'd ask you to send her to my office but we're both too old.

  2. great story!! i remember you telling it to us on the way to PH!! thought it was great then too!!

  3. Was a Great Idea, still is a great idea and always will be a great Idea....I've used it many times when you have least expected it, thank's to you my love!!