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If you ask Charles Goren, as many have and more will, "How do you feel about people as kibitzers?" he will look you in your twinkling eye and say, "Best people I know."
If the answer takes you by surprise or you give the least glimmer of not getting his point, he will say further, "How could I possibly teach bridge if I didn't have someone leaning over my shoulder?"
This is by way of introducing this week's illustration, which might be captioned, "How do people feel about Goren as a kibitzer?" For right after Easter hundreds and hundreds of the customers of the Jordan Marsh Company, Boston's largest department store, had their perfect chance to express an opinion on this hardly controversial matter. The general impression was easy to come by: "Goren is the best kibitzer we know."
It all happened in Jordan Marsh's new and commodious Fashion Center during a week-long program called Play Bridge with Charles Goren. The daily schedule included bridge movies in which Goren acts as commentator; a Goren lecture followed by a period for questions from the audience; and bridge parties for the ladies every afternoon, and on Monday and Wednesday evenings for the whole family. At these Goren took on the formidable task of kibitzing some 200 players at once; but to watch him do it, it seemed so simple—and as much fun for the master as for the pupils.
During the pre-Easter week, tickets for party tables were distributed without charge in various sections of the store to customers who came in to request them. To no one's surprise, but certainly to the gratification of both Jordan Marsh and SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, which sponsored Goren's appearance, they were an almost immediate sellout, if such a word describes what's free.
This was the first time bridge has been the featured event when SPORTS ILLUSTRATED has joined forces with a leading retailer to demonstrate the advantages of selling with sport. But it was only the latest in a long array of marketing innovations SPORTS ILLUSTRATED has had the pleasure of sharing with merchants.
One store official described the program: "As effective as a grand slam, doubled and vulnerable."