SHE MISSED THE CALL
To herald the birth of their daughter Karla Lee, Henry DeVries, a San Diego public relations man, and his wife, Vikki, sent out announcements with a horseracing theme. Karla was identified as the entry of "DeVries Stables," the "post time" was given as 12:51 a.m. on Aug. 10, and Mom and Dad were referred to as jockey and trainer, respectively. All very cute, but also rather puzzling to a friend of Karla's paternal grandmother. After receiving the announcement, she called to express surprise that Henry and Vikki had bought a racehorse.
NO BUCKS IN THAT BRONCO
Normally, Bill Braman wouldn't be caught dead with a bumper sticker on his car, a Celica he calls Red. "Bumper stickers are too tacky," he says. But Braman, 31, operations manager for a Denver closet manufacturer, didn't figure on so many people in the Mile High City apparently feeling exactly the same way. And now he'd do well to ask his employer for a good deal on a closet—one big enough to store exactly 2,492 orange-and-black START ELWAY bumper stickers that he's stuck with.
Braman's rear-end collision with the law of supply and demand began shortly after John Elway's triumphant off-the-bench debut in the Broncos' preseason opener against Seattle on Aug. 5. Braman phoned a local printer with his idea to put on the backs of cars what was on the tips of Denverites' tongues. "He started jumping up and down on the other end of the line," Braman says. "I decided to go for it."
But he knew not what he'd gone for. Braman anted up $700 for 2,500 stickers, hoping to sell them for $1 each. He considered putting in an application for a vendor's license, only to discover it would take days to process, by which time Elway could already be first-string. So, with three licensed hawkers hired and ready to take a big cut of potential profits, Braman unveiled his wares at the Broncos' Aug. 20 preseason game with Cleveland. "People walked past and saw the stickers and said, 'Yeah, great idea, start Elway,' " he says. "But no one bought them."
Actually, eight people did. The next day Braman took the rest of the inventory to a flea market, slashed his price to 50 cents—and sold no stickers. When a policeman asked to see tax forms, which Braman couldn't produce, the officer reevaluated Braman's stock, took pity on him and walked away. The next morning Bronco Coach Dan Reeves named Elway as his starting quarterback.
"I started Elway and I got sacked," says Braman. "I got hit with the $700 loss." Even Elway's recent misfortunes—he played poorly before suffering injuries in his first two regular season games and had to give way to erstwhile starter Steve DeBerg—haven't convinced Braman that his idea deserves another chance to pan out. "I just moved into a new apartment," he says. "I think I'll wallpaper my bathroom."
DEBT AMORTIZATION, PHILLY STYLE
After failing to win an expected NBA championship in the 1976-77 season, the Philadelphia 76ers adopted the slogan "We Owe You One." These instantly famous words brought the Sixers a lot of ridicule when they went on to endure five more title-less campaigns. But now, after the team's all-conquering '82-83 season, Philly fans in considerable numbers are displaying a poster indicating that such derision is a thing of the past. The poster shows Moses Malone and Julius Erving and bears the inscription PAID IN FULL.
RICH WOMAN, POOR WOMAN
Merrie Rich said she was a believer in miracles when KABC, Los Angeles' No. 1 radio station, announced last spring that she had won its fiercely promoted Sportstalk Talent Search (SI, April 25). The 38-year-old New Yorker, who used to sing the National Anthem before Knicks and Rangers games at Madison Square Garden, was selected from more than 1,800 applicants to become a commentator on KABC's three-hour, afternoon call-in sports talk show. But the miracle has hardly materialized. On May 5, just four weeks after Rich was hired, KABC General Manager George Green fired her, citing "philosophical differences." She, in turn, has sued the station, asking $10,000 for breach of contract and another $10,000 in damages.