The casing, known as E-Z Mark Nojax, was developed by the Chicago-based Viskase Corp., and several hot dog makers are considering using it. A message is printed in reverse lettering on the inside of the casing, which is wrapped around a heated hot dog, tattooing the frank with the message. The casing is then removed and discarded. Viskase envisions the day when fans at, say, Wrigley Field will be munching on dogs that read GO CUBS! or perhaps more likely, buy chevy trucks. "The length of the message is limited only by the length of the hot dog," says Viskase spokesman Brian Samuels.
Frankly, even some concessionaires think the billboard dog may be too commercial. "It's a little gauche, isn't it?" says John Morley, vice-president of operations for Harry M. Stevens, the caterer for several big-league stadiums. "There are certain lines I don't think we would cross. I can see a New Yorker looking at his hot dog and saying, 'Hey, buddy, what are you trying to sell me?' and throwing it back in the vendor's face."
JUST SAY NYET
Mercifully, a 21-game exhibition tour of Soviet club teams through the NHL ended on Jan. 9. The competition was unexciting and attendance was soft; games against the New York Islanders and New York Rangers drew only 5,514 and 5,697 fans, respectively. The NHL Players Association was reaping the profits, yet NHL regulars too often yielded ice time to minor leaguers. And many of the games were nasty. Stick-wielding Soviets injured three Red Wings and boiled the blood of Detroit coach Jacques Demers.
NHL president John Ziegler meddled in the series, requesting that the Buffalo Sabres not play Alexander Mogilny, a Soviet defector, in their game against Dynamo. Mogilny sat. Hard-line Toronto owner Harold Ballard at first refused to let a Dynamo-Maple Leaf game go on in Maple Leaf Gardens and then threatened to start it at 2 a.m. Ballard later relented, but charged $50 a ticket.
Actually, that's not unreasonable for a good farce.