Monday, June 14, 2010
REST IN PEACE: JIMMY DEAN
In 1970 he was launching his sausage line, and he and his brother, Don, were in Little Rock for the kick-off. Why Little Rock ? Well, what most never knew, or have forgotten in the interveneing years is that Little Rock's HOLLAND-ROTHMAN Advertising Agency handled the Jimmy Dean Account WORLDWIDE in those days.
It was a small, hand-picked group and we not only had "Breakfast" with Jimmy...but he cooked it himself ! In addition, he was the most affable, intelligent, humorous, and nice individual that you'd ever want to meet. I knew that he had a couple of TV Interviews to do, but I asked him if he could come by KAAY that afternoon so that I could do one with him. He couldn't have agreed faster ! Jumped at the chance because he remembered how much airplay KAAY had always given his records. That afternoon Alan Rothman brought him by, we went into a Production Room, and Jimmy Dean & I spent about an hour together.
He was just fantastic ! And, when I say he was a true All-American I mean it: Again, this was 1970, the Vietnam War was still raging on, our brave soldiers were in-the-fight everyday, and the casualty lists were mounting daily. Well, somehow, something was said that triggered his thoughts of Vietnam, the war, etc, and Dean gave me, in no uncertain terms his feelings about "hippies", "flag burners", "draft card burners", "the protest movement", "Draft Dodgers/AWOL's" moving to Canada, and anything else he considered TOTALLY UN-AMERICAN ! (In fact, in those days, and being 50,000 Watts and a part of LIN Broadcasting, there were a few choice words/phrases we had to edit out before I ran it. However, times have changed, and you will probably hear most of those words/phrases on almost ANY TV Show tonight.)
He was also impressed when I told him, small "bad-word-for-1961" or not, I always used his ORIGINAL version of "Big Bad John", and not the re-cut. Again, this WAS 1970, and he laughed and said that the re-cut version had been in the Pop Domain for so long that many had forgotten - or, even HEARD- his original. Again, my musicology background had come to the fore, and it struck a very responsive chord with him. Said that "it made his day !". (Have YOU ever heard the un-cut version ? )
Dean was also excited about his role in up-and-coming James Bond Film "Diamonds Are Forever"...he knew the strength of the Bond Films and what "cult classics" they'd become. In addition, it was the return - for one more Official Bond Film - of Sean Connery. Connery had agreed to do one last film if the producers would donate his salary to his Scottish charity.
Jimmy came to town a number of times after that to work with the Agency on various spots & promotions. And all of those who worked with him had a very high regard for his commitment to the Agency, the Product, and, his customers. (Sadly, a few years later, he severed relations with his brother, Don, who was the Vice President of the JD Meat Company. Don, was mishandling the funds and had to be let go.) Being the Ultimate "Saver-Of-All-Stuff-That-Crosses-My-Path" I still have Don Dean's Business Card that he gave me that day: May 21, 1970.
PS: If you're reading this in the St. Louis Area and the name Alan Rothman seems familiar to you it should. Alan was also from St. Louis, and his Dad & Uncle founded the Rothman Furniture Company a long-running, still in business today company, many, many years ago.
Posted by at 2:38 PM