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And along came Kenner Products with a personal service contract that calls for TV commercials and provides a royalty for the O.J. football games. The Juice also serves as official spokesman for Hyde Spot-bilt shoes. And makes Schick commercials. And commercials for Foster Grant sunglasses that include Marguerite and the children. And commercials for Trau & Loevner, Inc., makers of T shirts and other "soft goods," that are supposed to include members of the Buffalo line, with Guard Reggie McKenzie saying, "I'm a member of the Electric Company. We turn on the Juice." And he has TV and movie jobs. And gets $2,000 for speaking at a banquet.
"But a lot of appearances O.J. makes, he does for nothing," said Marilyn O'Brien. "We're directing the life of a legend, you know. He knows he owes something to society."
O.J. Simpson is a pretty good gin-rummy player. He is said to have laid heavily into the wages of many technicians during the filming of The Klansman. The great thing about playing with him this day on a flight to Saginaw, Mich., via Dayton and Flint, was that it was the tornado season and the plane moved in bounding leaps, and the cards kept flying into the air, thus slowing the game to a reasonable pace.
And what was O.J. Simpson doing being hurled through boiling Midwest skies? Was he on his way to address a used-car-dealers rally for his $2,000 fee and a year's supply of spare parts for the Cadillac and Mercedes that he and Marguerite garage back home by the big house where visitors hang around as if it were a hotel lobby?
As a matter of fact he was going to Saginaw because a friend, Jerry Patton, who played defensive tackle for Buffalo before he was traded to Philadelphia, had asked him to. Patton's idea was to get O.J. to come in for a day and visit around with a lot of kids and talk them into playing football instead of basketball. That may sound like a peculiar way for a star to spend his time, but O.J. appears to value a friendship and he appreciates what Jerry Patton has done for him. "I'll tell you one thing about Jerry, he's a tackle who never lost a game for us," O.J. said. "He may not have always beat his man, but Jerry would never make you lose a game because of it. I was sorry to see him traded."
"Well, I've got to go around the world to throw this card, but at least it's safe."
"With all this traveling I've been doing, I'm looking forward to going to training camp. At camp they tell you where you're supposed to be at what time, what you can eat, what time you go to sleep and get up. You never have to worry about an airplane ticket or a hotel room, you just go where they point you. There's something comforting about it."
"Did you really say gin?"