SI Vault
Edited by Coles Phinizy
August 23, 1976
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August 23, 1976


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His blazing slap shot, his zest for scuffling with rivals and officials, his unfettered use of four letter words on and off the ice are all part of the past, but the Canuck charisma and the lovely fractured English of Bernard (Boom Boom) Geoffrion live on. After finishing his coaching career with the Atlanta Flames, Geoffrion, the Boomer from Montreal, did a TV commercial for Miller's Lite Beer. As you may recall, after making a specific pitch for the beer, Geoffrion says, "When you play hockey the way I play hockey, you make a lot of enemies." Whereupon a pack of irate players comes through the bar door after him. A lot of Canadian viewers objected to the ad because it suggested that hockey was a violent game.

Perish the thought.

In his present job as marketing vice-president for the Flames, the Boomer has made two more 30-second commercials, which few Canadians will have the opportunity to find objectionable—they are broadcast only around Atlanta to attract fans to the Flames' games. In both ads Geoffrion looks more out of place than Joe Namath does plugging cologne and corn poppers, and therein lies the charm.

One ad has a Bicentennial theme. It opens with the Boomer dressed as an adult George Washington, complete with wig and Continental uniform, hacking away at a cherry tree. An off-camera voice says, "A message from one of our founding fathers...." Geoffrion turns from his chopping to urge viewers to watch the Flames play "da best game in da whole world." As he finishes the spiel, the cherry tree topples behind him, and the Boomer exclaims, "I didn't do dot."


As anyone who has traveled with them knows, family pets that are not house-broken can be a nuisance on the road. The larger the pet, the greater the problem. Because the elephants, llamas and camels in its retinue are not house trained and its jungle cats are far from fastidious, the Ringling Brothers, Barnum & Bailey Circus used to have quite a problem on tour, until one employee, Charles Fox, had a bright idea.

Last summer Fox suggested the circus people could simplify the task of leaving each town as clean as they found it by informing home gardeners through local newspapers and radio that exotic manure was available at no cost. When the first public offering was made in Houston last July, the circus exhausted a one-day supply in two hours and had to turn 20 gardeners away. This year in their travels across the land, from Jacksonville to Boston to San Diego, Ringling's two troupes are finding that the demand for exotic manure is exceeding production capacity. Indeed, the circus is thinking about packaging and marketing the byproduct, using the sales pitch "pachyderm powered," because elephants are the major source.

Old P.T. Barnum, who was famous for his ability to turn problems into profits, is no doubt smiling proudly down on his successors.


Call them what you will, Chinese Nationalists or Taiwanese, two teams of inscrutable, almost unbeatable baseball boys from the island once called Formosa are back on our shores, taking on the best of the rest of the world's Little Leaguers. The Taiwanese first made news in 1969 when they won the World Series of the Little League's most popular division, the one for 11- and 12-year-olds. By the time the Taiwanese kids had won four more World Series, racking up football scores and pitching no-hitters, the press was describing their opposition as "token resistance." The dominance of the Taiwanese has been such that they made still bigger news last week (and rocked their home island) by losing to a Japanese team, thereby failing to make the World Series for the first time in seven tries.

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