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The atom bomb was not built of simple materials or by ordinary men. To make it there had to be brought together, under the right conditions of time, temperature and pressure, extraordinary materials and men. It also required somebody who was willing to get up around $2 billion.
The making of this preposterous fight required a similar combination—physical, spiritual and financial. A Rademacher, a Gannon and a D'Amato were, to be sure, a combination to be reckoned with in any enterprise of this nature, but they were made unstoppable by the addition of Mike Jennings.
It has been Jennings' conviction ever since he was commander of an armed guard in the Pacific during World War II that youth needs the inspiration of incentive and that it is not easily come by in these times. He believes that the Boy Scouts and the boys' clubs do splendid work but that their work is not enough. He believes a commercial enterprise can fire the imagination of youth by presenting the notion that the impossible is not to be feared but sought out. In doing so, he thinks, the enterprise can make a decent profit. That is the idea behind Youth Unlimited, the corporation of which Pete Rademacher is vice-president and Mike Jennings is president. It is Jennings' idea, something he has thought about for years.
A man like that had no difficulty persuading D'Amato, with an assist from Rademacher, to reconsider. Cus conceded finally that the idea was not so much "ridiculous" as "fantastic." He consented to the match, provided Jennings could raise $250,000 as a guarantee for Patterson. Jennings had no difficulty finding a score of wealthy friends to put up the money in sums ranging from $5,000 to $25,000 apiece.
The ultimate catalyst in this strange combination of men and events was Jack Hurley, the Seattle boxing promoter, a fellow who performed the miracle of building Harry Matthews into an acceptable opponent for Rocky Marciano. He was selected to promote the fight in Seattle where, since he is a native son of Washington, Rademacher is a bit of a hero.
Rademacher is coming into this fight, then, not as any ordinary prizefighter but as an executive of a company which has an inspirational idea to be sold and eventually will sell some products built around that idea. In getting this fight, Rademacher's company has done the impossible, and Rademacher himself has done the impossible. So youth, to which Rademacher will now be presented as an inspirational hero, will have something to think about as it buys Youth Unlimited merchandise. Few vice-presidents have gotten off to a better start.
One of the impossible products Youth Unlimited will sell is a BB gun. This toy is founded on the concept of impossibility. It will be named after a man who not only does the impossible, but teaches his art to others. That man is Lucky McDaniel.
Lucky was born in the hills of Georgia and shot him a quail when he was only 5. It was the first shot he ever fired. He has been shooting birds, like all normal Georgians, ever since. A natural snap shooter with a shotgun, he applied the loose and delinquent principles of this kind of shooting to the rifle and pistol. When using the rifle he does not sight, hold his breath and squeeze the trigger. Using the pistol, he shoots from the hip. Sometimes he shoots the rifle from the hip. You don't have to aim a rifle or a pistol to hit your target, Lucky says. You just look at the target and thoughtlessly pull the trigger. Lucky can knock a dime out of the air with one shot from a .22 rifle.
This is not altogether wonderful. Some other professional shots can do it. What is truly wonderful is that Lucky can teach anyone, even a small child, even women and even you, to do the same thing in less than an hour. He charges $25 for such a lesson, recommends two lessons so that the teaching will stick. He also teaches police departments the quick draw and accurate hip shot, with such success that the Mobile, Ala. police have forbidden him to teach this phase of marksmanship to any but police-approved civilians.
In 90 minutes, having a slow student, he taught me to draw a .22 revolver and knock a pine cone down a red-clay Georgia road with six shots and never a miss, shooting from the hip. I fired as fast as I could pull the trigger and sometimes was impatient for the pine cone to land so that I could hit it again.