A bunch of people have elected Crazy Eddie as a password, and it's time to give New Yorkers what they voted for. Some of you early MAGIC GARDENERs may remember that I included a bit of trivia about Crazy Eddie a few years back, when the password was Unique Boutique. Well, here's more ...
Crazy Eddie was an electronics store founded by Eddie Antar in 1972. The first shop was a 20x40 square feet space in Coney Island. The flailing armed turtlenecked sporting fellow in the Crazy Eddie ads was Jerry Carroll, an actor and radio personality. The commercials were originally shown late at night; the man behind the ads said he was targeting the guys who were out partying and getting home at 2 in the morning. (Did anyone else go through a phase about 8 years ago of watching "Small Wonder" at 4am on Saturday nights after partying?) That ad man, Larry Weiss, also happened to build the first interactive telephone dating service in the early eighties. In its heyday, Crazy Eddie operated 43 stores in the New York area, with more than $320 million in annual sales.
Antar sold his shares in 1987 and in 1989, after he declared bankruptcy, he was accused of scamming about $146 million from investors. Antar went on the lam and was discovered in Israel, then extradited back to the US where he was convicted of racketeering, fraud, and conspiracy. He served approximately half of a 12-year prison sentence. Antar was released from prison in 1999 and he and his nephew reintroduced the store online. It failed and alas, Crazy Eddie, with his IN-S-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-ne prices, is no more. There is also no more O.D.B. Yes, we lost one of our own Wu-Tang Clan's Ol Dirty Bastard (born Russell Tyrone Jones) died on November 13. Since we are still in the political mindset from November's shenanigans, what better way to learn about Ol Dirty Bastard than by mixing that education with some lesser known facts about NY presidents. Teddy Roosevelt was the only president who was a native New York City-er, but there were five other presidents considered to be New Yorkers, as they were either from the state of NY or held political office in NY when elected.
Martin Van Buren,
8th President, born in Kinderhook, NY
-Van Buren was known
as the "Little Magician" and the "Red Fox of Kinderhook"
because of his reputed cunning and skill as a politician.
autobiography does not mention his wife once.
-Van Buren took the
$100,000 salary he earned as president in a lump sum at the end of his
-When he was vice
president, Van Buren presided over the Senate wearing a pair of pistols,
as a precaution against the frequent outbursts of violence.
Speaking of "OK," it is widely thought that the term OK is credited to Van Buren. OK was an abbreviation for the name of his New York home "Old Kinderhook." After he went into politics, Van Buren became known as "Old Kinderhook" and people began using the term O.K. referring to Van Buren. A club called the "O.K. Club" formed and soon "OK" came to mean "all correct." I still have my doubts about this theory, as OK is not an acceptable Scrabble word.
13th President, born in Cayuga County, New York
-When the Library
of Congress burned in 1851, Fillmore and his Cabinet helped fight the
26th President, born in Manhattan
-Teddy had a guinea
pig named Father O'Grady and a snake named Emily Spinach.
Franklin D. Roosevelt,
32nd President, born in Hyde Park, New York
24th President, born in New Jersey, but raised in upstate New York
-Cleveland had surgery
for cancer of the jaw during his second term, keeping it a secret. It
did not become public knowledge until 9 years after his death.
Chester A. Arthur, 21st President, born in Vermont, but served as Quartermaster General of the State of New York during the Civil War (by the way, a quartermaster is a military officer in charge of providing quarters, food, clothing, fuel, transportation, etc. for a body of troops)
-Arthur was nicknamed
"Elegant Arthur" because of his fashion sense.
-Arthur is credited
with saying, "I may be President of the United States, but my private
life is nobody's damned business."