From the Hall of Fame, Weissmuller went for lunch to a restaurant named Stan's, where he ordered a Bloody Mary and a Reuben sandwich, heavy on the sauerkraut. No sooner did the drink arrive than two men did, too, seating themselves at Weissmuller's table as if they were old friends. It turned out that Johnny had never met them before.
"Got something I'd like to talk to you about, Johnny," said the older and heavier man, whose initials were monogrammed on his apricot-colored shirt. In a slow, deliberate voice he proceeded to tell Weissmuller that he had been involved over the years in orange groves, insurance and many other business ventures—he had also been in "Uncle Sam's Navy"—and was now active in construction. By way of explaining his itinerant ways, he added: "I try to follow the trend of the market."
Lately, the trend of the market had taken the stranger into fiber-glass coated, lightweight concrete, a building material that had proved efficient in the construction of low-cost modular homes. Handing Weissmuller a stack of photographs to examine, he suggested that concrete cum fiber glass might prove feasible for building backyard swimming pools for as little as $400.
Weissmuller inspected the photos with great interest. "Only $400, you say?" he murmured. "Could be good."
The two men told him to think over their proposal, left phone numbers and excused themselves. "You know, he's talking sense," Weissmuller said when they had gone. "I like the idea."
In a moment the younger man reappeared with an additional phone number. "Say the word, we'll get the pool designed, price it and we're off to the races," he said.
"We'll go to town on it," said Weissmuller.
He tucked away the phone numbers to turn over to Allen Davis, his business manager. Despite the openness with which he had talked business with Strangers in a bar, Weissmuller professed to have learned a hard lesson from his past. "My trouble is that I believe everybody," he said. "They promise me a million dollars and I sign the paper where they tell me to."
"Johnny has been too eager, too easy to get to," agrees Davis, who has handled Weissmuller's business dealings for the past year. A handsome, well-mannered man who favors silver ties against white shirts and tools around in a milk-white 1964 Lincoln Continental, Davis transacts business with full awareness that Weissmuller, natural resource that he is, is threatened from all sides by depletion and exploitation.
As a kind of personal Secretary of the Interior, Davis has in recent months steered Weissmuller into the massage-chair deal, vetoed a proposed tie-in with a Jungle Hut fast-food chain, prepared to move him into a land-development scheme and a chain of family resort centers and, finally, canceled plans for a Tarzanland tourist attraction that had become bogged down in legal entanglements. In considering future commercial tie-ups, Davis expects to favor any that, like health food and vitamins, will "relate directly to Johnny's background as a physical-type man."