The cards on the 1968 catch are all in, and the fisheries biologists have again learned a lot—not so much about salmon as about the fishermen. Some of the lucky anglers sent in copies of well-punched cards with notations like: "Would appreciate it if you would accept this facsimile of my salmon card. I'm having the original framed."
More pungent comments have come from the losers. One unpunched card had written on it a checked-off grocery list with the notation: "This is what we ate instead of the fish we didn't catch." A disgruntled sportsman drew a red arrow to the single punch on his card and wrote, "This little hole cost me $17.50. Who says there is no legalized gambling in Washington?" Another fisherman scribbled, "Total cost of 10 pounds of salmon: $150. The Russians have got all the fish." One asked the Department of Fisheries, plaintively, "Can you recommend where I should fish? I'd really like to punch these holes."
And one wrote, simply, "Quoth the raven, 'Nevermore.' "
Don't know where Philadelphia got the reputation for being so quiet. Now there is a contretemps going on in that town over the promotional devices being used at 76er basketball games. Pat Williams, business manager and director of promotion, has come up with things like Blind Date Night, Victor the Rasslin' Bear Night, Wally Jones Valentine Birthday Party Night, Earl the Pearl Night and Think Mink Night.
"It stinks," sneers Eddie Gottlieb, the onetime mahatma of pro basketball in Philadelphia. "The whole thing stinks. This stuff isn't necessary. An occasional promotion is O.K. But a doubleheader plus bears, plus alligators? Who needs it?"
One promotion—Blind Date Night—bombed; 60 single people bought tickets to sit in a special section, but only four were girls. Undaunted, Williams countered with Victor, who was billed as "the kind of rebounder the 76ers need." Victor—6 feet, 500 pounds—wrestled six volunteers and beat five. When Earl Monroe played at the Spectrum, Williams gave every lady in the crowd a pearl necklace. On Think Mink Night, he gave away a mink coat. Richie Allen, the Phillies' slugger, appeared with his swinging group, the Ebonistics. A week's vacation in Florida was given away, a new car, a color TV.
"Look, don't get me wrong," says Williams. "I'm not a booking agent for wrestling bears. But it's like the lady who buys meat at the butcher's, and the butcher tosses in a bone for her dog. She's going to go back to that butcher."
Gottlieb is unimpressed. "You take the history of any sport," he argues. "You'll find winners can draw without this stuff, and losers can't draw with it. He'll tell me it helped Bill Veeck. Well, it didn't help Veeck enough to keep that team in St. Louis. There's no substitute for winning."
Williams, a Pat Boone type who came to the 76ers from Spartanburg, S.C., says, "They told me this stuff was corny, that it would never work in Philadelphia. Well, to me the most beautiful sound in an arena, next to people cheering for the home team, is laughter. This whole thing is designed to make 76er fans happy. When people are rolling in the aisles at the bear and applauding Richie Allen, I get a lump in my throat."