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SAMUEL PROCTOR ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at
the University of Florida.
D--We're doing an interview with Bernice Freiburg in her home in Baltimore,
Maryland. The date is Jan. 31, 1988 and the interviewer is David Dodrill.
Bernice, tell me a little bit about you background even before you went
to work for the Rosens. Like where you were born, and a little bit about
your educational background.
B--I was born in Baltimore and I became a secretary after high school and
worked two or three jobs, not too many because I always got very in-
volved where I was. And the job that I had prior to the Rosens was
a ccmmnmity organization where Leonard and Jack were very active. They
along with 25 other board members at this organization always said, "If
you ever decide to leave here, please come to work for me." And as time
changed, Leonard was the only one who really wanted me. So I went to
work for him in the early 50's. That was prior to Gulf AMerican. But
I had known the Rosens from childhood. WE were neighbors. And Leonard
and Jack were older than I was, so we were never kids together. My
sister was actually closer in age. Then there was another daughter.
There were two boys and two girls. Do you know this?
D-I know some of this, but I'd like to hear it again.
B-One daughter was the oldest who died at a young age. The youngest was
about a year or so older than me.
D--What were names?
B--The oldest was Edith and the youngest was Sylvia. Sylvia was married to
Saul Sandler. He was in the organization for number of years. Our mot-
hers were young, raised a family and running little businesses. And
Leonard and Jack were real bad kids. You know, they were into every-
thing. There is a picture of Leonard and Jack sitting together and
Leonard's right leg was broken and Jack's left leg was broken. You
know, it was kid stuff. So we kind of grew up knowing each other. Our
mothers were girlfriends and remained girlfriends until Fannie Rosen
died. She died a number of years before my mother.
D--What kind of businesses were they?
B-They were little grocery stores. And they were tough businesses. You
had to be up at 6:00 in the morning and get the milk in from outside.
And we sold coal and wood and kerosene. And in those days, all the
children worked in the business. When you were four years old they
would put you up on a box and you would weigh little bags of sugar
on the scale. And we all worked hard.
D-Did Leonard and Jack work in those family businesssed too?
B-They must have, but Leonard was older. Leonard may have already been
on the raod. He was always pitching something. He pitched at state
fairs. He pitched everything including Lanolin and that was the begin-
ning of the Charles Antel business. And on of his very close friends
who became some kind of partner in Antel was a man named Charlie kash-
er who was a national figure. Did you hear that name?
D-Yes. How do you spell his name?
B-Kasher. Jack was really very, he was brilliant, Leonard was the one
with all the excitement and the runner and the doer, and the promoter.
And Jack was really a deep thinker. Both of them were self-taught.
Jack might have gone through some books sometimes. Jack's friends, he
attracted I gues what you would call an intelligent circle. One of his
friends was Colonel GRay who was a Colonel in German Warfare. One of
his very dear frineds was the second man in the ARD program to India and
to Pakistan, that aid program. So he had, in addition to the old friends
and the normal kinds of friends that they would be attracted to, he
Really associated with people that --. They would never make small
talk.; Jack was very terrible with small talk, terrible. It was all
business or all deep or all issues or all philanthropy or all something.
You could never have small talk.
D-Did both Leonard and Jack graduate from high school, or go to college?
B-Jack was constantly taking courses and probably Leonard did too. I don't
S know. Leonard was much older and off and married. Don't put this in,
but I used to date Jack. And he would wear me out and he would never ask
about anything. He would be talking about, one of the things he said was,
"How would you like it if you had a little car and you could go to any
of the stores in America And charge things the way you do in a depart-
ment store. And of course, that idea became the diners club, which he
never got into. He was a very conceptual person.
D-A lot of new ideas.
B-Did they go to college? No.
D-Did they have any little businesses when they were growing up? Did
they get involved in anything before Charles ANtel.
B-The earliest that I know was theri installment business. They had a
big store in Baltimore and I guess a warehouse. And in it.....Oh, and
Dorothy, who was Leonard's wife, she would go inside one of these things.
Leonard would be out on the road teaching people how to sell. They had
salesmen going into the Carolinas. They had the installments. They'd
carry a hurricane for a dollar and he'd knock on a door and say, "how'd
you like hurricane lamp for a dollar?" Today it's like siding men. Af-
ter he sold them that lamp for a dollar, he sold them furniture or a
refrigerator or whatever. They had a lot of black men who worked for
them. That whole crew, of course I never worked there, but that whole
crew for someway at one time worked for Antel. We had a guy named Les
Deckman who would tell us these stories. He'd say, honey I got a dress
for you $5.95."
D--What kind of things would this business sell?
B-Appliances, furniture. A black man named Winston could pick up a
refrigerator with two arms and sling it over his shoulder. He came to
Antel, he moved all the furniture. We were always moving. It kept
getting bigger, bigger, We needed more space, more space. There was
a man who was associated with them from the pitching on the road days
named Charlie Finkerstein. Did you hear about him?
D-I've heard that name, but I don't remember
B-Charlies was what you would call a -- character today., And I remem-
ber one of the stories, Leonard or Jack or somebody was selling coat
hangers. And Leonard would pitch the coat hangers and Charlies would
say, "Can I have two?" And Leonard would say, "I'm sorry. Only one to
a customer." Charlies would say, "But I really need two., One for my
brother-in-law." And Leonard would say, "You better get out of here,
I'm going to call the police. Only one to a customer." And they created
the pitch excitement. And all these people would say, give me two, give
me three, Charlie Finkersteing worked for Leonard and Jack all the years
that I was there. And all these people, the names I mentioned would kill
for them. I mean, such loyalty,
D-Why do you think that was?
B-Because they were always running to do the next thing. If they found that
could carry the ball on something, they would let you do it, go hang your-
self. Do it well, do it bad, but do it, and they're on to the next thing.
D--So, they gave people a lot of latitude to carry out different things?
B--Which was how I got to the point that I did in the company. I was Leo-
nard's secretary. And I guess I'd been working with him a year or two.
Oh, I hated it. The first week I was their, I gave them notice. And I
said, I don't think that I'm going to like this job, but I'll stay 2
weeks, until you find somebody. And he said, "Don't do me any favors.
You can leave now." And I was so hurt that I started crying. He said,
"Look, I'll tell you what, we're old friends. You stay here a month and
if at the end of a month you don't like it you can go. But don't leave
because the way things are happening." So I stayed and by the end of the
month he was always getting involved in something where he would miss a
train. Here;s the list, and interview these ten people for me. And I'11
be there later." Sometimes he would and sometimes he wouldn't., He would
dictate piles and piles of mail, In addition to things he would say tell
them yes, tell them no,, tell them .I'11 send, tell them maybe., And there
was no way to So -To-endeared a gTrl from the other office, and
~i-' CC'Y' / j-,t|9/"1.-Z.'Z '
I would pile everything on her., And I had her stashed away., Whenever
we'd catch up with Leonard he would say to me, "You're fantastic, how do
you get all this done?" And I would say, "Nothing to it." When we got
to the point where he was always giving me a raise., I never asked for
a raise anywhere I worked, never asked for one there., And I was up to
$100 a week, which was big money for a secretary. So, at one point, he
said, "Listne, you dod very good at what you do and you could be a sec-
retary for the rest of you life and over the years make another $100, but
look around, there is so much going on. Find yourself a niche someway.
Because you could be good in this company. Do you know what you want to
do?" I said, "I want to do what you do." He was buying the time and
the networks and all that. It that's kind of how it evolved.
D-Well, tell me a little bit more about Charles Antel.
B-Charles Antel started mail order. It was Lanolin. You bought the
shampoo and you got the lanolin. And if it didn't do all the things
it told you it would do, send it back and keep the jar or whatever. And
it cost you absolutely nothing, so what do you have to lose? Nothing but
your hair perm. O.K. This was a 30 minute T.V, pitch.
D-What time of the day would it come on?
B-You know this. It was after the sign off. After the star-spangled
banner. This was the early days of T.V. There was nothing on but
Howdy Doody, puppets and at 12:00 after the news and the flag and the
prayer, that's when we would go in and buy this cheap time., And it was
a 30 minute pitch that would start off like .a mystery story, The young
fellow that ws the narrator was Ricky -Loue-led. And he would say, "Pull
up a chair because I'm going to tell you a hair raising tale.," And then
for 30 minutes, everybody would settle down because they thought it was
going to be a story. And then he'd say did you ever see a bald headed
sheep and that would never happen because lanolin makes the hair grow on
sheep and it was all curly hair,. That went on for a half hour or maybe
15 or 20 minutes and the last 10 minutes was telling you how to buy it.
Send the money to this address:; And the orders jsut kept coming in.
Lots of money, -i ^
D-When was this? When did this start?
B-I don't remember the years., So they named the stuff Formula 9.,, That
was the name of the stuff tht made your hair grow. Something about
olives, but I forget that., They started with the Formula 9 which was the
hair creme. By the time the hair spray rolled in, it was retail., You
could buy it in the stores. It was forced by demand into stores, What
happened was, people saw it on T.V. and they would run to the drugstore
and want to buy it and the drugstores couldn't get it because it was
only mail order. Until finally, they set up the wholesale and distribu-
tion system with the warehouse in California and Indiana, They would,
a few years later, there was another Antel product. It was liquid make-
up. And that was a 30 minute pitch five times a week at 10:30 in the
morning, before soap operas got on. Did anybody tell you about taht?
B-Well, somehow, you see ideas used to come in., People making offers to the
Rosens all the time. Someone had Ern had made up the parts to the
story on selling this liquid makeup. But the pitch on this was, "You
would get eyebrow forms that you would draw like a stencil." What else
was in that song? O.K., now this mail order program was, you bought the
makeup and you got all these little forms for free., The forms you
couldn't buy anywhere., Ern Westmore was the cameraman and all these
forms were pattened by him. In this 30 minute pitch he had a lady
2 i 7
sitting in the damn chair for 30 minutes, Can you imagine getting rid
of that crap today? He had the lady sit there, He'd be making her up
for 15 or 20 minutes and then would show the before and the after.,
Charlie Hepner, may or may not have been with us at that point, I think
that's where Hepner got involved., Hepner was a film producer, He
didn't tell you?
D-I guess he did, I must have misunderstood him,
B-During my big training period where I was going to become this big media
person and didn't know anything, we were connected with a New York ad
agency and Les Persky, who now is a film producer,. He makes big movies.,
You see his name on T.V, That's where I went to train, in Les Persky's
D-Now, when they would do this half hour pitch, were they live or were
they recorded and used again and again.
B-Filmed. Everything was filmed. And you'd put everything into making this
one film., It would take forever to do it. Leonard and Jack always needed
it tomorrow. I never got involved with the production end. I'm not
sure Hepner was there. And I'd be on the phone trying to buy all the
half hours I could on T.V., and the people that I would be buying from
at the stations, usually a general manager because a salesman had no
authority to sell you a half-hour for a pitch. And they'd say, "well
how many of these do you have? And I would say 5, but we only have one
ready. When will you have the other four? Very soon., And we were on
all the big stations.
D-So, were general managers pretty much eager to get stuff like this or did
they not want it.
B-They loved the money, And, well people thought it was hard to buy the
time, but I thought it was easy because it-was money to test., If you
were on a half hour at 12 at night or 1:30 in the morning and you paid
$500 for a half hour of tv. time and you filled about 500 orders, how
smart did you have to be to buy more time?
D-I guess that's true.,
B-Then that went over the counter, Again, people ran to the drugstore
and grocery stores to buy it and it wasn't there., And they'd call,
and finally that was sent into distribution. But by then, it was a
little classier business,
D-Let me ask you a question about the Charles Antel products, Were the
products themselves significantly different or unique or was it just
the way it was marketed., In other words, could people have gotten lan-
olin shampoo elsewhere?
B-Well, lanolin is an age old product. It had never been promoted, I
think the use of lanolin was so great it probably changed the whole
world market in that product., You maybe you used this much lanolin
in the world market beofre Charles Antel and the manufacturers drove
the market up that much. Was itunique? I would say that when you
are selling this kind of stuff and you've got to go through FDA, it's
got to be good., Compared to everything else, it may be better. We
had a lack in Baltimore with the factory where they were making some
of this stuff., And overall we could prove it. But up until Gulf
American who was always doing something by mail. After Antel there
was a diet thing. The same principle that's used in all diet pills
today. It's some kind of --. You take the pill and it's some
kind of sponge. When you put it in water, it expands so you have a
lot of your stomach filled. That was pretty successful. There was
one that made you sad. That wasn't too successful. A lot of these
things, we didn't even have the product. It was an idea and a pitch.
It wasn't just television. In fact, radio was first. Radio was first.
D-Would they use newspaper ads and stuff?
B-Not until it was retail. There was another retail product in the
Charles Antel days. It was a child's bike-and that was really
revolutionary Those were real respectable, legitimate. One minute spots
like everybody else. And the little girl who did the commercial was
Patty Duke. The girl who was playing in the blind story. Now, I know
Hepner was involved then. Because he was the director of the commercial.
D-They tried marketing for various things when somebody came up with an
B--When somebody came up with an idea, Leonard or jack, that's where all the
ideas started. Now they may have been out picking other people's brains
or other people giving them ideas, like we're sitting around.
D--How big did Charles Antel become through their different mail order oper-
B--Charles Antel was the top ten product in drugs and cosmetics. It was
sold in every major chain in Florida, Walgreen's and Eckerds. And in
the department stores like Jordan Marsh. Sold in every major chain. I
know that Leonard and a man named WentworthVwho was about 6'7", they
would go out on the road initially to get the product into the stores.
Do you know how that business works? You've got to get money for adver-
tising, you've got to give them this, you've got to give them that. A
cash register display or wahtever, there are all kinds of deals. And
Leonard went in on it with Wentworth.
D--Do you have any idea of the dollar amount?
B--I don't remember.
D--Do you have any idea of how many employees they had?
B-Don't remember. I really don't. There were jobbers in a lot of cities.
D--Was it a public sales corporation or did Jack and Leonard own in themselves?
B--Jack and Leonard. What happened was they went into a television ad cam-
paign which was another fantastic idea. The numbers today are sort of
meaningless when you think today that a 20 second spot on the Superbowl
is 650,000 dollars, it's unbelievable. We could buy a network spot for
like 30 thousands. We would go on the Today show, you could buy five days
a week for 35,000. But what we did to get all this time, we went to a
time-trading operation. O.K. Let me see. Suppose I go to a television
station and I want to buy their first class time at ten spots a week.
That's going to cost me a thousand dollars. Well, it's all published
on a rate card. And I want to buy 10 spots for a thousand dollars a
week. And that's under prime time. If I want to go to a not so good
time maybe those ten spots are 75 dollars a piece. If a want to go on
a really-strange time, maybe 50 dollars a spot. So, what we did was, we
went out and bought films from film companies, half-hours that today
would compare to Cheers, Family Ties, that kind of thing. We would buy
them, not outright, but buy them for a run, 39 films. We would go out
and buy those from film distributors. At their rate and sell them to
a T.V. station, not sell it. We would give it to them if they would
give us time. By circumventing with the films we could get say 500
dollars, we could get 1500 dollars worth of time for 500 dollars that
we paid for the films. I give you the film, you run it whenever you
want, you just give me back ten spots or whatever our contract is. But
don't give me the fringe time. Just give me whatever's open. So we
took some bad ones with the good ones. Jogging all over the country,
doing that, plopping these films. And this film library that we had
access, to, some bad, some good.
D--How many stations would you be on?
B-Oh, maybe at least two in the top markets which would have made it 50
or 75 stations in the off markets. I guess we were on over 200 stations.
And when we sold Charles Antel we sold them a lot of the time that we
D-Do you know how much Chales Antel sold for?
B-I don't remember. It was a big number to me then. It's all realtive.
D-Did the Rosens still own Charles Antel when they had started Gulf?
D-Tell me a little bit aoubt the start of Gulf American and how that hap-
pened from waht you saw.
B-Leonard, I was in the agency for a long time. Leonard Rosen went to
Florida. The rumor is that he went because he had arthritis. Whether
he did or not, I don't know. And he mentioned to Jack that people were
donw there subdividing tracks. And they take d about it for a long
time. Then he said to me, "Do me a favor, there's somebody selling some-
thing in Indian River. Go see what they are doing." So I went into the
Indian River office and I went in there pretending to be a customer and
7 they were doing absolutely nothing. They gave me a purple piece
of paper with prices and maybe a little four page handout of somesort.
What really happened was he ran into a man named Milt Mendelson. And
D-So Leonard was the one that got in on it.
B--Leonard was always the one running around, but he never did anything with-
out Jack, never. Jack never did anything without him. And over the years,
people would always say to me, "Which one is really smarter?" And I
would always say that one has one thing and the other has the other and
together they are an unbeatable combination. And after Jack died it
seemed to me that Leonard was like half a person.
D-Did he seem to have trouble doing business things?
B--No. He was doing them all but, I guess he needed certain playback and it
was all different.
D-Well, did your job change when Gulf came along? Or when did you become
involved in that?
B--I was always involved in th advertising for Gulf. I think after Antel
was running at the time and we would both be setting up time schedules,
part for Gulf part for Antel. For Gulf we had 15 minute little things.
Then when we were buying network. We started the Today Show when they
started with that little monkey. Faye. Dunaway.,
D-I'm too young to remember all that.
B-Well, Dunaway was the first M.C. on the morning show. And he had a
monkey on there. Have you ever seen a monkey doing the weather and
everything? And we did live one minute spots. Over the years, we
used the smae spot. And something like because of the tremendous inter-
est in the state of Florida and the West Coast in particular Gulf Ameri-
can pulled Florida Digest and facts and figures and all that., And you
sent into the network for your free book. And-
D-Was that pretty successful?
B-For Gulf we used 20 or 30 different ways to advertise and the purpose, of
course was toget the name out, but primarily to get people calling in.
You've got to really sit there and take to somebody and tell them
two or three times. So, you use t.v. and newspaper and magazines. Went
to all the state fairs and county fairs and all the trade show. The
garden show, we were in every world's fair in a five year period or may-
be a ten year period.
D-Now, I remember seeing that.
B-There was a Seattle fair, a Montreal fair. And I went to every one of
them. I was in Montreal, in Seattle, and New York was the -- when we
had five or six different exhibits in five or six different buildings.
Also, the sales department had set up salesmen in the hotels and motels.
They put people in their cars and they ran them over to hospitality areas,
like a party. And with all these exhibits which were manned by shifts,
they were on 18 hours a day at these fairs. There would be couple men
and pretty girl and you signed you name for this free book. And they
would give away a trip to Florida. And an airline.
D-So when the people went to those hospitality rooms were they actually
selling property there or were they jsut-they were actually doing the
B-Then when we decided to chase more of them into Flordia, well we're get-
ting a little ahead. We were getting all these leads, millions of leads
a year. You'd go out with the sales officers. You'd have big sales meet-
ings all the time., I'd get up there and talk about the advertising, and
everybody got leads. Somebody in an office would get on the phone and
call these people and try to set up appointments. Before they did that
Jack said, "You call a guy from Florida, a super salesman named Bernie
Musket. You all go to Philadelphia and don't try anything in Baltimore.
You go to Philadelphia, you make those appointments and go to people's
houses." so we tried that. We'd all break off and go to these appoint-
ments. By the time you would unfold the flat in somebody's house and
they would want to t1k it over, you'd make it then. He would talk to
his brother-in-law and he would asay "Are you crazy?" Buying something
before you see it? Anyway, they set up a big film team, salesmen all
over the place. And started running this film in the homes for couples.
So they did that and then somebody said, "let's have a party." "It's just
as easy to talk to a lot-of people as it is to talk to two people." So
the first party we tried to do that way, five buyers, five new people,
five people that already owned. And the guys came from Florida. They
did that for a while. Finally they said, "Let's have a big party."
That was when Connie Mack came up. We did that in Washington and we
invited all these leads. It was set up there. And Connie made the
pitch. I didn't lend my name to this if I didn't think that it was
good. Well anyway, after the pitch.... We had that big plot on the
wall. After the pitch, the people were so enthralled to meet Connie
Mack, such a celebrity, nobody bought anything. They were up there shak-
ing his hand. Then we said, we need to have' a little party. And the
In the beginning it was a crude system but we tried to, I mean crude
technically. Where we would get a location to hold the party which
was usually in a little restaurant and try to key the people that we
would invite into a certain radius that the party was held. That was
crude we had a demand from the post office on a part-time basis. It was
done by zip codes. And it was after tht the big mailers set up their
mailing lists that way on big computers. So that we could actually key
people in so that they wouldn't have to dirve more than five or ten miles
V A\ A^ 2
to aprty., And that was the party plan de resistance. It was scientific,
it was marvelous, it was a film a speaker.
D-How many people would be at a party like that?
B-Well, they experimented with a lot of different numbers., It finally came
down to a science like 20 people or whatever it was. My part in all of
this that I've told you was very normal because I was not changed that
much. I was not involved in the selling as much as I was in the testing
of the number of these programs. And all these names were done in our
agency. Whcih meant that you had to be designing the invitations. So
it would constantly be something new to the people who were getting it.
At one point we had celebrity parties. In Baltimore it would be a Colt
player, pardon me, the Colts are dead. It would be a Ynkee or a Giant in
New York, or.... It was geared to the town so that in some cases people
would come because they would like to meet a celebrity who would get up
and say a few words and leave. That was the end of him.. All of these
parties were done out of Baltimore. All the leads, all the names, all
the mailing. At one point we used to set up the locations and every-
thing but with the sales set up around the country through brokers,
they would start handling it on theri own. There wer some good brokers
in Chicage, Ohio, a lot of places had some real good brokers.
D-Well, what time period are we talking about? Is this still late 50's?
B-The first shuffle, as they used to say, was thrown in '57. At which
point I started running to Florida. Well, because no one there was
really trianed fro anything, everybody ran to do something.
D-So when you went to Flordia woudl you got o Miami or would you go to
Miami or would you go to Cape Coral.
B-Well, it depended. If I was doing something.., .,.There was a Florida where
we had P.R. people Interesting the twist to take a trip to see the property,.
And the way we would enlist these people was trh6ugh a P.R. program. We'd
go around to where tourist would be and get into a conversation., And
in the beginning I'd go up and sign up some hotels who didn't want us.
Try to get into the back with the cabanas and chairs were and there you
could do a little business because the cabana managers were always
looking for a little handout. And so I went with the Florida shark-es.
He was the one who took the payoff part. And I would be the one that
would talk the legitimate part. Nobody was under any obligation to buy
anything and that was the truth. You would get a dirty look if you
didn't buy but you always got you chicken dinner. So I was busy in the
beginning of that program. I seemed to be busy in all the beginnings.
As we got involved in a lot of the P.R., bringing the editors down, we
would do that. We used to do all this stuff from Baltimore. Get on
the phone and call the editors and say, "Come on down and go fishing."
D-So all the promotion and everything came out of Baltimore?
B-W-ell, it all started in Baltimore.
D-Where was the headquarters here?
B--We were on Charles adn 25th street. But I guess it started in one
thing and ended up in eight things, four this way and four this way.
So it all started there. The P.R., I think one of the reasons why a lot
of this stuff stayed in Baltimore, plus the fact that Jack ddin't want
to move to Florida at the time, was because there were no phone sys-
tmes in Cape Coral., If you wanted to make a long distance call you would
have to wait maybe 30 minutes. We had WATTS lines. We just called any-
body anywhere. So we would send out at least an editor a week. I said
to Ray Mar, at first I'd got to Jack and say,"we get an house in McCall'5
magazine if you'll build it." So Bob Finkernagel would come up and we'd
go to McCalls and he would sit and in five minutes he'd be up on the
guy's desk, And we would take about how much the thing would cost and
how you would do it and the McCall house inparticular, A bunch of ladies
D-So, what was the deal with that?
B-We built it., They had a big seminar. We built that thing in like one
yaer. First thing at a seminar, what do women do? What do women want
in a house? The whole theory was men design houses but women have to
live in them. So we had all tese women come,, Women decorators, mothers,
and they designed what would be the perfect house., With the perfect
kithcne and all that kind of ting.
D-So the desing of this house and everything was featured in articles in
B-Well, that was the whole deal., We got about six pages and like a million
reprints and we printed like 6 million more reprints, I gues we were
spending at least 10 million a year. I guess my prime function was
about how much money we spent and where we spent it. And how. Jack
in the last several years of Gulf was the man that I mostly went to. I
would say to Jack, he would say, "took, I'm going to give you 2 million,
but I would have to design a one year plan with 2 million dollars. And
I would present it to him and he would be too busy and he would say to
do it for a few weeks and see how it goes. He never looked at this little
thing and that little thing. Just do it. A lot of the bad things you
didn't take about too much because you did too many good things. But
D-But you think that at the peak they were doing about 10 million dollars
a year in advertising?
B-I told you in 19G8 they sold downstate until all the turnover was made.
So we're now taking about nearly 70. So it was 18 years ago. O.K. So
in Baltimore we had the editor's program. I had a young guy with me
named Mike Reichgut, who was the most amazing kid you ever met. Couldn'
get started but when he did he was good. So I'd start the editor's program.
I made a couple of phone calls and they didn't want to come. You don't
have to write about us, write about the station, just use the dateline.,
A lot of them would come back year after year., So I would like to work
out the presentatation as to when we'd get them to come and design a
whole package to maidl to them, whether a fishing editor or a sports
eidtor or a housing editor, or a youth editor when we set up the teen club.
You know how newspapers all with all these different editors. And what-
ever was going on we would find that editor to come down., When we sud-
denly realized there were about ten churches there and 10,000 people we
started bringing in the religious editors. I would really start up all
these things and then Mike owuld set them up. At one point Mike had let-
ters going out and editors calling him asking him when they could come.
He got the easy part,
D-So this would provide free publicity.
B--One year we had five magazines featuring our houses with another theme.
/>"/' At one point, I was very busy doing -. We were running back and
fort to New York. We would make the rounds and go everywhere. Then
we had a lot of people coming down to make commercials, Bob told you
abut that. Some would come in to us. But Bob and I had a marvelous
time together. If ever a female had a unique job in this country, it
D-Were you all the time the only female in a high position like that, the
people you were working with and al that?
B-Only, other women.
D-IIow do you attribute to the fact that you were there?
B--I never let anybody say no. I really learned, I guess you have to have
something allittle innate that will do it., I'm sometimes compulsive.
Once I want to do something I won't stop. That may have been part of
it. I was just so lucky to be in the right place at the right time with
-\tho people who let do it., I became the executive vice-president of the
tho people who let me do it. I became the executive vice-president of the
agency because not only was I was compulsive about myself, but I became
what you would call kind of a motivator, and there is nothing harder to
motivate than a bunch of creative people. You know, not film, that was
in New York, but all the brochures, you can't motivate creative people
because they can't get an idea when the office says that they need to.
They get it over a drink or laying in bed at 12:00. And they really
were difficult, But BoB and I got along great. Oh, we had some hot
chats, but he was going to be the one person who could get it all done,
D-How many people would work in the ad Agency?
B-Maybe 30 or 40.
D-So all advertising stuff came out of that agency pretty much.,
B-Everything. All those brochures, big Sunday supplements, eight pages.
Isn't it a shame that we don't have any of that? It's all gone. I
doubt that even Paul would have it.
D-what else was done besides the advertising and promotions? WEre there
any other functions that happened in Baltimore? As opposed to doen
in Miami. Was is all just advertising and promotion up here?
B--All of the slaes in the state of Florida went through Baltimore because
Jack headed up all the national sales. Every broker, sales manager, every
meeting. Everything was done in Baltimore. We had tremendous computer
systmes. We had the IBM 360, when only people like Westinghouse had 360's.
We had like 10 million names on those disk things. We could do mailings
to the third black of ---- if you wanted it. That's how defined every-
thing was. Very able people in their data processing. Aguy named DAve
Ivrick. Somebody named Marty Furlong. Everything came out of Baltimore
except Florida. Florida sales and advertising were run out of Florida
because it was a whole different ballgame. Throughout the county the
sales were parties. In Florida it was all concentrated on getting peo-
ple to the property. But we used to have people from the real estate
/ convention. WE would have people that would run back and forth to
like on a shuttle almost, EVery piece of advertising was hand-carried
practically from Baltimore to Lake Worth where the commission was. We
had a man named Jack Payne, He was very good at P,.R., good ad man. And
he would go down and fight with the commission about..,.,First we used to
maild it and they would send it all back with pencil, Jack came back and
would pack everything up in this huge portfolio and off he went. And
he would sit there and talk to them and tell them why it shouldn't be
penciled. Somewhere along the line, somebody said there's a big market-
Oh, I bet Jack went to europe one day., He said there's a lot of Americans
and a lot of soldiers running around over there. Let's sell them some
land. That became another operation, the European thing.,
D-Was that run out of Baltimore also?
D--Who headed that up?
B-A couple people. We had a big nine foot guy named Ted--- or some-
thing. He'd been with another land anpany in Canada. I think Jack found
him selling land in Canada, And this guy knew Europe. So I went over
there. Jack said, "You go over there with all the material and you find
an agency or somebody to translate it." But by the time I got there, he
had sent about 20 guys before me finding an fofice and hiring salesmen.
And all that. So, I went over with all the material to find an agency.
L-' At Antel and Gulf we always had, in addition to we always had a
Maddison Avenue ad agency that would do things that Jack said we didn't
know how to do like institutional advertising. Where we'd promote the
name of Gulf American. There would always be somebody around doing
something. The name of P.R. firms that would be getting the stories in
Fortune because he said that we didn't know how to do it. Of course,
we'd be breaking our neck everyday getting stories.
D-Was there any particualr ad agency that they'd use?
B-Yes. I'd go up in interview the top ten agencies and then we'd find one
that was on 47th Street instead of Maddison AVenue., Not everybody
wanted us., They'd read the newspaper and Jack decided that he needed
a big New York P.R. firm. So I went up to find a P.R. agency and they
would all say the same thing. Your reputation in Florida is so bad.,
D-That must have been towards the middle. -
B-We became too successful., That's why we needed a P.R. agency. So we
finally found someoen. So I did the same thing when I went to Europe.
I went to Germany. That first year I must have been there five times.
I'd spread it out a little. Because while I was there I'd take a week-
end and travel. When I finally learned I could do that. And Jack
would ay, "You're so dumb., Whay don't you go to Greece and go here
and go another week and do this and do that?'
D-There was a lot of the advertising that ya'll would sent somebody with
the advertising down in Florida.
D-They kind of worked through that.
B-Yes. Life became very difficult. I or we had no fault with that. It
was there to protect the buyer and it was a great selling point with
us on land. They would say, how do we know tat land is there? How
do we know that it's what you say? And we'd say because the state of
Florida says that it's there and the state of Florida allows us to say
it. The little things in the very beginning that we soon got out of
the way like copy letters. That was the easy stuff. WE went....our
national advertising was mostly with the Today and the Tonight Show.
At one time, years back, there was also the Afternoon show. It hosted
by Barbara Walters. And someone named Arlene Francis, Steve Allen. All
those people started it. Those were our, mainstays. Offering that book.
Through a one minute spot.
D--Now, what would this little book say?
B-It was like a 30 page book and it was, it had a lot of statistical
information, how many people had moved to Florida in how many years, the
tourist places. It wasn't a travel guide. It was more about the geo-
graphy, the history and current statistics that people vacationing would
wnat to know and people planning retirement would want to know and peo-
ple who were planning to live there today would want to know.
D--Did it have a name?
SB-Yes. It was called The Florida ----. I dropped a piece of gum in at
store looking at a table cloth and I shouldn't have said anything, I
should have kept my mouth shut. My gum is in there. She freaked out.
One of the very important things that we did in the advertising was the
Price is Right which was the number one T.V. show. We would give away
houses on that. No matter what we did people would say, "Oh, that's the
one on the price is Right."
D-How many houses were given away? Ten?
B--Maybe 10 or 12 over a period of a couple years. They were spaced out.
And all the houses....not all the houses people actually took. I think
the program would buy the houses from us and give them money. It didn't
make a difference as long as we got the advertising on that program, which
D--Let me ask you a question. When you come up with an idea like that, would
you say let's go with this thing and if it was some promotion on the pro-
perty would you call Bob Finkernagle and he would set it up or would
sometimes he come up with an idea?
B--It didn't matter. Nobody cared. It was the biggest bunch of unself-serv-
ing people that I worked with. There was no competition as far as I was
concerned. Bob and I just worked together.
D-So ideas would go both ways, from the property or the Baltimore office?
B-Right. Wherever the idea started, if it was something that they started
and they carried the ball, fine. If it was something that we had to con-
tinue with we would do it. And everybody worked so hard and nobody knew
knew it. We worked all night.
B-Well, I guess at the time I thought that I was making all the money in
the world. Today, not so great, but by those standards it was great.
By standards today women are making 150,000 dollars a year. I never
saw that. Of course, in the beginning of Gulf Amercan, I bought stock
and I was an original owner in the financial plan and I guess you just
thought it was yours. And it was just something about Leonard and Jack
that if they would say, "You really did that great," you felt like one
million dollars, you didn't need the cash.
D-Was there a sense that it was kind of like a big family?
B-It was with me. You see, I went to work for them as a young girl. I was
hardly in my twenties and I was there about 20 years or more, and didn't
get married, I was having such a good time. And making all that money
and running around. Can you imagine the influence they had over may
entire life? More so than with the men. The men came and they were get-
47- < ting married and having families. Then they ---. Did you listen to
any of that? Oh, I feel sorry for you having to listen to that?
D--Tell me a little bit about how decisions were made. In other words, high
levle decisions. Would Jack call some of the higher level people into
his office, and talk about different things, or would he just come to
some conclusion and just tell you to do this.
B--He never said just do this. He was a great one for meetings. And on
important he was tough, tough, tough. But he was very creative. Hle would
say, no do this instead of doing that. He'd say "What do you think of..."
of or "what would happen if..." He thought that asking the top man of
any place if that was a good ideahe would say go to the top person. He
never thought small, but neither one of them ever did. You see, neither
one of them like to fool around with details. They would get the over-
all concept and say "O.K. Let me know what happens."
D-If Jack had a new idea or something that he wanted to talk about or bounce
off of different people or wanted some input, who are the people that he
would call into a meeting like that?
B-Well, he could call the janitor. Remember the time that President Carter
said, "Even my daughter, Amy thinks sos and so." Sometimes Jack would
say "My ten year old daughter could do better than that." Hepner was
by his side all the time. There was another guy who was a creative per-
son that they were friends as well as business colleagues. Maybe a cheap
psychiatrist because he like to tell Jack the things that Jack liked to
hear. Not even going to tell you his name. Who else? he would call the
heads of all his departments. You see, before he would ever get to taht
point, he would have hashed it and rehashed it with one person at at a
time and then maybe two people at a time and then he'd call in the
whole group. When the whole group came in you knew that he had already
chewed it up and spit it out.
D-Who were the heads of osme of the different departments that he might
B-there was Hepner.
D--What was Hepner the head of?
B-Hepner was probably running national sales, with all te brokers and what
we call of O & 0 offices, owned and operated. Who else? Whoever was
head of the party division at the time. It might've been a guy like
Mitzberg. He would have a lot of regional managers who were on the road
a great deal. Those people knew what was happening on the firing line,
where the sales were made and the parties were held. I have your address.
If I think of something, I'll mail it to you.
*You probably in you lifetime have not met people like He and Leonard. I
think that they were recognized as, maybe top ten business people of th
country. Fortune magazine came and spent a couple of weeks with Jack and
his family. To do a big feature.
D-Really. Do you have any idea when that feature came out?
B-It didn't. They sent theri photographers and I'll tell you, they really
lived with Jack. He wasn't too happy about the story because it was
going to be kind of a rags to riches thing and he didn't like it be-
cause it was past the point of look who we are, we came from the bottom
and now we're at the top. And he didn't want that pitchman's associa-
tion anymore. But what happened was a child a general development was
kidnapped for five days, do you remember that? The Mackal family. They
kidnapped the girl at college or whatever. She was ultimately saved and
when Jack heard that and they had taken pictures of his family and his
children he said, "No way, do I want my name and my family publicized."
And all the money and the millions and whatever, so the story never ran.
So, while we were probably never a Fortune 500, maybe we were. I don't
remember. And they were recognized as leaders of industry in the coun-
try. They were unique.
D--You mentioned a little bit about the sales operations and national sales
was run out of Baltimore. And that different sales ideas started with
the selling in homes of people, and go to the party idea. Were any
other sales ideas generated over the next couple of years? TWhen did the
idea come up of using the telephones?
B--That was from Florida. And I think as soon as there was a big enough
bank of homesite owners that you could call and tell them that their
property had depreciated, it was probably then that it started. Because
that way you could get returns and you could start having on properties.
D--So there was homesite owner which you called and told them that their
land had depreciated, basically and they would try and sell them additional
B-Right. Or try to trade them up, you know, trade in what they had. Things
were happening all the time. They would call and say, htis is what's
happening in you section. And in the next section we are going to start
developing and give them a reason why they should trade up.
D--Who was the head of sales in Florida?
B-For the state of Florda? It must have Bernie Musket. It could've benn
Ed Pacelli at some time.
D-When did the idea come about of adding additional properties besides
B-I think as the perfect land became available for sale was when they said
let's start a new development.
D-Did it just come down the line one day, or did the Rosens ask anybody for
B-They never asked me.
D-Were the properties marketed and promoted through the Baltimore office
B--Which was another reason for being for the telephone operation because if
you had a happy property owner in one development and it has increased
in value, they were natural to buy another piece. And also a homesite
owner party and we would present this property to them. So while every-
thing was hard-sell, it was also a good P.R. technique for people who
already owned property to hear what was happening with the company,
what development was going on, and what new development was getting
D-Some people have said that Gulf American did more to promote the state
of Florida than the state of Florida.
B-That is true.
D-Tell me a little bit why.
B--well, we spent more money in the state of florida. Now, don't hold me to
this because I'm very fuzzy on it. But there were figures published as
to what they spent to attract industry and to attract tourism. But they,
it was only in later years that the state of Florida seemed to have a co-
ordinated campaign that you could do all these things in Florida. But we
were spending like 8 or 10 million dollars a year and that's probably
jsut indirect advertising, that didn't include all the parties and what-
ever. They probably weren't spending that. Also, nobody knew that there
was a west coast of Florida. I remember when we first started promoting
the fact that the tourism rate was, the highest months were July and Aug-
ust. Nobody knew it,. And we of course, wanted to do it because we wanted
to get people down on their vacations. To come to Florida to see the
property., Nobody knew any of that. I'll bet you that I guess we put
out millions. We did more to promote the state of Florida than the
state of Florida.
D-Back to you again, did you ever have a job title?
B-I was the executive vice president of Paul -- Associates. And it would
sometimes get a little sticky because I was the only person in the com-
pany that could say, "I work for Gulf American"if I had to. If I would
go out to work some kind of promotion, people would say, you're with
the agency, how can you speak for Gulf AMerican. I'd say that I could
speak for Gulf American and I did. How I got to be just an ordinary
vice president of the agency, I gave that title to myself. I went to
California to train myself and the station manager--I was really gutsy.
You know, I go into this meeting room and there are like five big men
there and little old me with my white gloves. And yes, they wanted the
films and they said, they didn't want our contract. They had prepared
their owne contract and was I in a position to sign it. I said, "OF
course." They said, "Are you an officer?" I said, "Of course."
"What are you?" And I said, "I'm vice president." They said, O.K. Come
back later an we'll have the contract prepared. So I quick went to the
pay phone and called Jack and told him and he said that he would write
up some papers to make me vice-president. And that was the first pro-
motion that I got. You're not going to put that in your book are you?
D-You were telling me a little bit before about the bringing of Waltzing
Waters to Cape Coral., Tell me that story again.,
B-Jack had been to maybe to the fair or Radio City where he had seen a small
one. That might have been Radio City New York where they actually had
put this little unit on stage., And he said, wouldn't it be nice, no
I'm getting ahead of myself. He sat their dreaming one day, I was never
at the real dreamy meetings..... There were two main personal friends of
Jack that were also part of an arty world that he like to be involved
in. You know, Gulf American had that big art collection., They would
supervise adding a room to his house or buying a painting for his house.,
And they were old, old friends. But they also worked for the company.,
One was MIlt Kessler and one was Sylvan Abrahms. Abrahms is now dead.
Milt, I think, lives in Florida. Milt is the one that got that-the board
-in-the-un from Mt. Rushmore, and got that original modeal. The Pieta.
See, Jack would conceptualize and do all this creative dreaming with
those two guys a lot, or maybe he did htis with Leonard, I don't know.
And they said, we've got to get more people to the west coast of Flordid.
When people come to florida, they go to monkey jungel, and then there is
nothing to do until you get to Marineland and the biggies in the Miami
area. And he said to me, you take a trip through Florida and find out
where all those attractions. So I took a trip. I don't remember who
dorve me but we drove up and down and through the middle of the state of
Florida. Which I also had to do when he decided that he wanted bill-
boards in the state of Florida. And he wanted the best kind of attractions
just to bring in tourists because the tourist came to see that garden, and
that's how all that stuff started., And he said, let's get those people
and they will fall in love with the community. And everything was a
statistic. If x people see it, x people will take the tour and x people
will buy. Just get the best attraction that you could possibly make.
So I went around and I brought back a report of what everybody was doing.
And then somebody said that they had seen this fountain, called a Sphlitzer.
They had seen this at Raido City or at some ice-escapade and he had
somebody who had invented it. And somehow, I don't remember, he found
out that the man lived in Germany. So he said, go on you next trip. When
you go there ,to set up the advertising, go find those people, I want to
buy the Sphlit-zer.
D-So, you tracked him down.,
B-Yes, in the Mercedes.
D-And you met with Otter?
B-Veryplain, unassuming people in a big country plain house. Nothing
average. They made the deal, they gave me the price on this. I maybe
got half of it negotiated to pay for 'oming over.
D-So you were the one that signed the contract?
B-Not really. I made the deal. They had to draw up all kinds of papers.
It was avery technical thing, how would it come, how would it be assem-
D-Do you have any idea what the deal was for?
B-The price? I don't remember. It wasn't cheap. It may have benn 50,000
or 100,000. I don't remember. But when that thing opened, what excite-
metn. It was really pretty. If you saw it twice you'd go crzy. Do you
know what dancing waters are? Not only did I go down there to see all
the attractions, I went to the DuPont place in Wilmington. THEY have a
Schlitzer. You see, we always wanted the biggest of everything because
of the advertising, it had to be the biggest and the best and the first.
And the one at --- outside of Wilmington was really huge. And it didn't
have colors, so we said that we wanted colors. And he made it like 20
feet longer. We did that with the rose gardens. Those people called us,
the Perkins rose Company. I don't remember where it was originated. And
we decided that we were going to have a rose garden and then we decided,
we were sitting around and Bob and I went up to the farm where they grew
the roses in a place called Newark, New York. Way up in New York. They
were selling 35,000 bushes to some place in Ohio and it was going to be
the largest rose garden in the world., And Bob and I looked at each
other and said, "vell, if we bought 40,000 would we be the largest?' He
said, no question. So we bought 40,000., It took a lot of water. Roses
up north regenerate themselves, in the winter In Florida, they never
stop. They are always growing and dying. Anyway, we had the largest
rose garden in the world.
D-YOu mentioned that on one of trips around the state of Florida to look
at all the attractions, you were also sent around to look at all the
B-That was all a part of getting people into the property., You have to
remember, Cape Coral wasn't too easy to find. Also, there was another
development going in and people had billboards as you would get to their
property. They would say 5 miles. Jack decided he wanted billboards
covering the state of Florida, on every major road and the inland roads.
So, I flew down to Jacksonville and I lined up the sign distributors in
each major place. I had somebody pick me up in Jacksonville and he would
drop me in the next town, I don't remember what it was. And then the
next salesman would pick me up, from the sign company and we did the
entire state of Florida. It must have taken well over a week, it could
have been even longer, but I couldn't ride another five minutes. Iow
D-How many signs did they buy?
D--What would a typical sign say?
B--Waterfront Wonderland. That was the Cape Coral logo. And mostly a pic-
ture of the point before the yacht club. And directions. Did I tell you
about the orange juice stand? That was at 41 and PIne Road. It had been
an orange place, that was the big office. And we had cars there and
people would finally get there and they would say, where is cape Coarl
and we would say five miles that way., Then I think that through the
drivers get in the cars, They would be buyin orange juice to cool off.
D-Would the billboard signs be advertising Cape Coral or would they be
advertising some of the other properties too?
B-I think that we did it for Cape Coral in the beginning to get the name
known., I don't remember. Probably not.
D-You mentioned the art collection. HOw did that come about?
B-The art collection was in the Gulf American building, Leonard did all
that. You know, Leonard was somebody that knew how to bargain, And he
wound up with a five million dollars collection. Today, five million is
nothing., People spend 50 million on one thing.,
D-Did he ever say any time why he did it? Did he just want to do it?
B-I think he like the idea of owning something that would only increase
in value. I think he like the are for itself. His wife like art as
I reacll. The Gulf American building in Miami was so tremendous and it
was something to publicize and it just snowballed. But it was quite a
colelction. The only piece of art that we got involved in was one that
was bought on a satellite. There was an auction in London or Paris and
you could buy it from here by satellite. And that was, so he said, the
first painting ever bought by satellite. Anythin that was the first.
We didn't really get involved in Baltimore.
D-I understand the Rosens were pretty big philanthropists. They would
give to different charities and stuff. Tell me a little bit about that.
B-Anything tht they ever got involved in here in Baltimore, the whole com-
pany got involved in.
D--What do you mean?
B--Well, we all made phone calls to everybody, we planned invitations and
printed material. They totally absorbed everybody.
D--what type of things would they absorb everybody in?
B-Leonard and Jack both went to the Hebrew Day School in Baltimore. When
they went it was a poor little struggling school with maybe two rooms.
Leonard, in Miami got involved with the day school there which is probab-
ly very fashionable and his youngest child went to that school and they
got involved there. The fact that they went to this little one in
Baltimore as children and the place was always begging for money and the
director was always in Jack's office pleading for money, And finally
Jack said that you have to run it like a business. You can't wait
until the payroll is due or the roof leaks to run out and beg for money,
YOu've got to run it like a business with money coming in all the itme.
And you have to get big money, you can't go after this piddlin money.
It was Jack that made this place fashionable. Jack started a whole alumni
assocaition, by the time Jack did it, the alumni were lawyers, doctors,
judges. The prominent Jewish people of Baltimore. He got all them
to become an alumni assocaition. Adn he's the one that started
bringing in the fashionable speakers like Roosevelt, a chief justice and
giving out awards. But everybody got involved. When Leonard would get
involved in a charity, he would like, just leave the business and just
be doing charity. Be running around fundraising all the time (not in
the early days).
D-What tyep of charities dd he get involved in?
B-A lot of UJA, United Jewish Appeal. Always supported financially the
community efforts. The community fund and all that. Once he even got
involved in politics. There was a campaign going to eeoleet re-elect
three city councilmen and I don't remember if it was Leonard or jack.
They went with the camping like you were going to elect three Presidents
of the United States. There was a machine. Everybody was making phone
calls and doing all kinds of things. Those guys got elected, and one
of those three is our famous mayor who just became governor. But again,
they'd turnover all the office. We'd always have a million phones in
the phoneroom. All kinds of people would be making calls. William
donald Schaefer., He was a city manager. ie 's the governor. He was
running as a council member.
D-How did, did Leonard take care of all the financing for the corporation?
B-I don't know that., He may have gone off and done something and then said,
Oh, Jack, by the way..,,.,You just sign., I dare say that the two of them
told each other everything all the time.
D-YOu were with the corporation from Antel all the way up through the sale
to GAC. Any other things that you did through that time that you
haven't told me already? Any other jobs that you had with the corpora-
B-Yes. I took Ronnie to the library, to the dentist., Ronnie is Leonard's
son. He was a little kid. Dorothy was still in the install ment busi-
ness when we were all Antel. And somehow, Ronnie would get downtown
and Leonard would say, take him these places. I bought time and space.
I trained the timebuyers that we had. I trained, and of course I
learned a lot from P.R. people. We used to keep all kinds of stat-
istics. Like, howy many leads did you get from radio, how many did
you get from network, newspaper. It was very elaborate. And we would
know then from that number of leads how many sales were made so tht
their was always a lot of analyzing. The fact that you got a lot of
leads, they may not have been the quality that you needed to make the ,
sales. My big jobs were, the budgeting, it was a constant, constant new
way to get leads, and evaluating the kinds of leads that we got. I'd go
out on the road and try out new things. I nas once a carry-on a T.V. show.
During Antel we had a national giveaway show and loenard was the star.
It was an auction show. It was just terribal. And I would carry on the
item that he was going toacution. It was so bad. Paul may have the one ,/
existing tape. I carried on writstwatch or something. What else have
you got there? I would take visiting dignitaries down to the property.
Mostly, I don't know. Not editors. I once took these two bank people
down, I would take these agency people down. The outside agencies.
D-Who were the bank people, why were they taken down?
B-Well, the one that I told you about, this often-caused, he was supposed
to be a entry to a bank or whatever, but he had to see it before he would
do whatever. I was like the rest of the gys. Whatever they asked you to
do, you did. My function was advertising and P.R. and budget., It seems
like I was always interviewing people. Jack would be hiring people and
he would always ask me to meet them., After a while, he got very sophis-
ticated in his interviewing and hiring. He'd have people tested, but he
never seemed to trust it. He wanted all that, but then he wouldn't
trust that. I was always checking references on people. I always seemed
to be checking on people to see if they were telling the truth.
D-A little aside from that. Why do you think Leonard and Jack eventually
sold the business?
B-To get the moeny and run.
D-They were just ready to do other things?
B-Also, it was tiring. It was a constant battle/
D-Jack had been sick hadn't he?
B-Jack was a cardiac patient from before. Over a period of years. And
a hypochondriac. If he met somebody that said eat boiled fish and that's
going to do this taht and the other, he'd have the maid going down to the
Chinese restaurant everyday and bringing him back boiled fish.
Vitamins, oh my god. He had so many. They were really characters. If you
ever met either one, you'd never forget them. And you've heard all the
crap about Leonard and his tennis shoes and never having any money.
D-So once Gulf sold, you stayed on for noahter year?
B-It took, I think several months to make the transition. Everything was
really over but you just couldn't leave it for the new people.
D-So, the agency was pretty much phased out? And GAC brought in theri own
people to do their own advertising/
B-I guess they did. I dln't know. They offered me a job, but i turned it
down., Besides I had a whole new life, getting married. And..,.
D-At any time were any of the Baltimore functions moved to Miami? Were any
of the operations moved to Miami or did everything that started in Balt-
imore stay there?
B-All but sales, stayed in Florida. It was pretty much in Florida because
it was different on how to do it.
D-A couple of people that you were going to tell me about, because I did
not have very much information or something, You told me a little bit
aoubt Milt Mendelson. He was the guy that got Leonard involved in land
development. Did he ever come to Baltimore?
B-He came in the very beginning when Leonard was putting the original
money together., Milt came and they got money people and Milt presented
the possibility of florida land development., Milt, as I would call it,
would set up brokers to try to teach him how to sell it. He did it
generally, but after he would get a broker and tell them, this is how
you tell them the state of Florida. It wasn't mechanized. Everything
was mechanized. In Florida, I think that he found a lot of the land for
Leonard. Do you Imow that at one point, that if I remember correctly,
Gulf American was the second largest, it was really the largest landhold-
er outside of the kings range. To, maybe the world. It was about a half
a billion acres. I don't know. Get back to Hepner. Because that was
part of our big sale. Wherever we went to run a promotion or to run a
magazine or to get a network, or Price is Right or whatever, we would do
a whole song and dance about Gulf American and how reputable we were
because the newspapers crucified us every ten minutes.
D--Why do you think that was? Did they think everybody was selling swampladn?
B-I guess they did. Also, we were people in politics trying to make a name
for themselves that would probably look for the big expose. I was the
happiest person in America when that Harrision Williams who was a Congress-
man or a Senator from New Jersey who started a whole thing about Gulf
American. He was the one who was on a scam with a bunch of Arabs. I
think that he went to jail and i was happy, after what he did to us,
Check that out with Hepner. Not only, was the Florida real estate commi-
sion and the state of florida so stringent but we had to comply with reg-
ulations in other states. New Jersey, New York, after Florida O,K.'d it,
they had to O.K. it. Florida didn't care if they O.K.'D it, they had
to O.K., it. There were things going before you had to pring one little
ad. There were things going before states. Getting carried around to
be O.K.'d. Everything.
D-So advertising had to go to all these different states?
D-Otherwise you couldn't use it?
B--Yes. Nobody told you that?
D-I guess it just never occurred. Interesting.
B--We had a bulletin board in the office of where things were, not only in
production, but which commission they were at.
D-How long would it take to get permission? Would it take a couple of days,
would it take a month?
B--Well, if you were pressured and we said that we really had a deadline and
we needed it Monday, Jack S would know people by then and take them
to dinner. And they'd say, come up and leave it, stay overnight, and
we'll try to get for you in a couple of days. I don't think that we
abused it. I think that if it was important we would do that. I think
tht if it is was material that could be done next week. Hle used to do
that. He was one of the people. Len Rich may have done that too.
D-Saul Sandler. I understand he was very-the sister of Leonard and jack
her married. What job did he have with the corporation?
B-It was with Charles Antel. He was the figureman. But he was also had
some marketing smarts. And his family was trusted. He was back at
Antel, I'm trying to remember if he's in marketing then.
D--Did he work for Gulf?
D-Yes. He was in Florida in marketing. So much analyzing had to be done.
Things were always so fast and there was so much noise that you really
needed somebody to sit and say, "Listen, you're making a lot of noise
in this market, but not any money."
D-You mentioned Bernie Musket. TWho was he?
B-He was the Florida sales. He probably opened offices in the state of
Florida but also worked with Jack in opening offices nationally.
D-How about O & O's?
B-He probably set up the O & O's. Once you decided you were going to have
an O & O in Philadelphia and New York. You had to train people. What
that trining'is. And everybody had to get a license.
D-So he would kind of help oversee that?
B-Yes, you see what you did was you would go into a city and interview
three of four top brokers in the city and brokers had to have some money
because they had offices and telephones and everything that was an expense.
Even they'd interview the brokers and get them to sign contracts, and the
brokers would train the people. That was a separate operation from what
a broker already had for training in real estate. Nobody understood sel-
ling a product.
D--A question just came to me. What percentage would Gulf American sales-
men take, what type of commission would he make?
B--Ask Hepner. They made lots of money. They were good. If they were good,
they could really make some money. All of them. I think there were lots
of millionaires in there.
D-Bernard Herzfeld. Who was he and what did he do?
B-He was in house attorney and if Leonard would go nuts, he would say, "Leo-
nard, you can't do that."
D-If he went way off on a tangent or was doing something that was illegal?
B-Leonard didn't do anything illegal, he got that whole stigma. He never...
D-Well, sometimes you wouldn't know if something was illegal, and that's
why you have a house attorney, to tell you.
B--Well, he would never want to do anything illegal.
B-If Leonard and Jack or the company had 27 lawyers, they would always say,
"O.K. Everything is fine, draw up the papers and then send them to Bernie."
BErnie was the little local attorney. But anything that got done, no
matter how big the terms were, they would send it to Bernie.
D-So Bernie was an attorney who was particularly trusted?
B--Oh, yes. Bernie was the original financing. Did anybody tell you about
the original financing?
D--No. Tell me about that.
B-In order to invest in the first piece of land, I don't remember the total
dollar amount, you bought something called a ---, but for that privledge,
you had to lend the compnay 10,000 dollars. And you got your 10,000 back
but that 1000 dollar investment was what turned so many people into
millionaires. Because when a company went public you got x number of
D--Were there a lot of people who bought these ventures?
B-I don't remember the number, but it was, I wish I could remember because
I kept all these records and counted all that money in the beginning.
D--Who were some of the original people?
B--IHerzfeld was one, George London was one. lie was the in town, he was an
outside accountant and that was a close assicaition over the years with
them. They always consulted with George and Bernie. I don't know, but
they were both original investors. I was an original investor. Who
were some of the other people? Probably all local boys.
B-Yes. I met Tom and went around property with him, and maybe involved
in dinner with him. But he was real quiet, kind of John Wayne guy.
D--Tell me aoubt Kenny Schwartz.
B-I love him. I really do.
D--Vhat was his strongpoint?
B-He was a people person. But he was smart. I was very impressed with him.
When I saw him. I'm rusty on a lot of these things because they were all
up here this summer for Leonard's funeral and we spent a couple of hours
together laughing about all these things. But he came out of TWharton
school. He was running ome kind of ice cream company before he came to
Gulf American. And after he became such a success ,'-.-. Good man, good
with people. Fantastic personality. Marvelous. Love him. Give a job
to him and it would get done. That was my impression.
D-Did you ever know a guy by the name of Bill Carmine?
B--Sure. I typed contracts in his office down on whatever street it was.
He was a lawyer. He was Leonard's lawyer in the beginning. I don't
know if he stayed on. Yes, he might have stayed on. He was the lawyer
for a lot of the land plus whatever.
D--So, he was a local Ft. Myer's area attorney?
B-Yes. In the beginning when they were drawing up contracts. Leonard
didn't want to do ti -- style, you know eat dinner, type it up, come
back we'll call the man on the phone. And of course in Ft. MIyers' shops
closed at five and that was it for the night. And Leonard said, "Don't
worry, mygirls here. She'll type it." In those days they could call
a secretary a girl. And I would sit in that office with his secretary
late at night and type contracts and things.
D--Those are contracts for the purchase of land?
B-Or whatever it was they were doing down there. Did you interview him?
D-No. I think that he died years ago. Ray Myer.
B--I told you about all his sloppy furniture, it was uncomfortable. My
association with Ray was really only on magazine houses. If the program
with the magazine was a special scene and the house was to be built by so
and so because it had to be featured by a certain date. First we had to
find out if the house could be built and then could he do all the furnish-
ings for maybe the magazine would have a specail idea and he would work
with the magazine. That's about it. In order to get houses in magazines,
there had to be a theme in the house.
D-What about Jim Leyden? Do you remember him?
B-In sales out of the Miami office for the state of Florida. I don't think
I had a lot to do with that.
D-Did you ever know a guy by the name of Bob Granger?
B--It's familiar, what did he do?
D--From what I understand, he was involved with keeping Leonard in touch with
a lot of money people.
B-I never knew anything. See, that was a whole other thing that Leonard zad
Q4" eventually, or I guess all the time was doing. He was dealing with
the banks, the stock market, the traders. That was really his end. He
would put on his one good suit and hsoes and go to these meetings.
D-So, despite the fact leonard and jack were really fairly wealthy, it
seems like they really didn't flaunt that. Is that correct?
B-The Leonard thing, I think part of it was for effect. About not carrying
money. He would announce, "I never have a lot of money with me. And if
I see someone in an office or in the store or something, I will say, lend
me ten dollars and call my secretary and she'll write you a check." I
think that was really for effect. He would always stop at my house. We
would sometimes carpool because he hated to drive. He was a terrible
driver. So he would stop at my house to pick me up so I could drive into
the office. But mostly he would stop at my house because we had a maid
and she would cook breakfast. He would come in and say "two eggs, etc."
But he had-- He ran around in his tennis shorts and shoes and every-
thing. That was part of why he loved Florida. He could do all that.
IIe was very unstructured. His tennis time was 10:00. The office
"could be buning down. e said it didn't ---. They were generous.
They knew how to spend money. They lived in nice homes. Jack one time
got a bargain, It was a stretch lincoln limo. It belonged to Henry Ford.
And our office was in downtown Baltimore, and our parking lot wouldn't
hol 'it. The parking lot would hold maybe 3 little cars. And he would
park it on the street beside the office and it took up three parking
meters. Somebody was always running to put in three nickels, And he
had a chauffer who was really one of the porters but if you needed a
chauffer he would put that cap on. So Jack used him a lot for picking
D--Why do you think the compnay was so successful?
D-They were just the brains?
B-They had a lot of showmanship, they were willing to take risks with
their money as well as others. They were creative and I think that
they were an unbeatable combination. -. '
D-VWhen you say that you mean that they really enjoyed being part of the
B-I always felt that they like the idea of making up the --- of something,
better than they like the idea of making the money. Not that the money
wasn't important, but I think they like the excitement of it all. They
would get very bored. I think that they got bored with the installment
business, with Charles Antel, bored with all the maild orders. They got
very excited with a new item. They would get very excited about new
things and the challenge. And I think they like challenges. Say-
I'm sorry that you didn't know them. You will probably get the point of
view that I have about the two Rosens from maybe a handful of people.
And I guess that those people who knew them the longest, the closest,
the best and some of them at their best and not theri worst. When either
Leonard or Jack would fight with each other, as two brothers do. Some-
times Leonard would say, "You call Jack and tell him..." And I would
say you call him, he's your brother.
D-So they would have fights from time to time?
B-Of course, they were brothers. And if they really wanted to fight, they
would say, "would you excuse us please?" And they would have a private
fight. EVerybody would leave the room, but they'd always make up., I
guess maybe, I could be wrong, I think Hepner would speak the way I do
of the Rosens, Kenny, Bob, mostly about Leonard because he was closer to
him. Hepner was assocaited with both of them. Paul was, I was, Kenny
was a Leonard man. ViE used to go through this., Who is a Leonard man,
who is a Jack man. And not alot of us could work with both. Hepner
I'm crazy about him, I saw him at the funeral. lie looked like a differ-
ent peron. I just couldn't believe it.
D-How was taht?
B--I don't know. First of all, he looked the same, but he was just so quiet.
D--Vho do you think was the most important person in the organization besides
the Rosens who really helped it succeed?
B--Everybody. EVerybody was anexpert in what they did and if they weren't
they could go out and hire somebody to be the expert, and make them look
good, which is what I did. Because I couldn't do any of these things, but
I could always go find somebody. It took me a long time as a woman to
understand that. That's part of the feminine mystic. Women today
probably know it instinctively. I didn't. I was unsure. If I didn't
do something myself it wasn't going to get done. Or maybe I could find
somebody who could do better. And Jack was the one that kept saying to
me, replace yourself. Find somebody to do that, because if you don't
and this is how management is today, if you can't replace yourself you
will never go any higher. And he would say, get somebody to help on the
P.R. or whatever and we would run ads and he would say hire men. Don't
hire women. I always thought that men would not want to work with me. I
thought that, but I wouhd up with all men. Young guys. So you asked who
was the next person? I think that everybody there was handpicked to do
something well. And it was the only place in the world where you could
just go out and do what you wanted. It was one of the few places--
Now they tell me in companies like General Motors and DuPont or big com-
panies where if you have a good idea people are afraid to take it because
in the corporate jour idea will never be credited to you, or the person
that you are reporting it to could say it was his idea. The corporate
jungle is a little wicked out there. In this place, anybody could have
an idea. It could be the janitor. Jack would sometimes say, "Now, Page
(that was the janitor) had a talk and Page said... He would particularly
make a point of it+ kux-) L w^ O /c- ^ It / j ^ .
D-Is there any particular story or instance about Jack or Leonard that really
told who they were? Anything that happened when you were around?
B-That's too hard for me to answer. They were wonderful. They were unique.
And they were different. But one instance.
D--One other question and I may think of something else. It's just inter-
esting to me that the vast majority of the people in the corporation
were Jewish. Was there a reason for that?
B-No, maybe that inner-circle just happened that way.
D--It seems logical that with the Rosens they were close people that they
knew pretty much growing up and things like that and that would have
been that logical way that it would have gone.
B--It may have been coincidence. I think that there were lots of people.
Look at Bob finkernagel. You know, I would say that in Florida when
I first went there, Jews were a rarity. And it is possible that non-
Jews, you needed non-Jews for a certain face to a certain public. And
it was a financial public or a press public or what, but unit you were
D--I was just curious.
B-The Antel people, were non-Jews. Or maybe Jews sought them out because
they were Jews, I don't know. Interesting question. laybe because all
the Jews are smart.
D--Anything else that you can think of that you'd like to talk about?
B--Well, I hope that I haven't created the impression taht I did a whole loy
of things single-handed. Because I didn't. I was in advertising, but
not a creative person. I couldn't draw a pretty picture and write
pretty words. I think my strong point was being a doer and a motivator.,
And I was competing with no one. No Competition at all.
D--Did you work any time in connection with the people down in Cape Coral?
B--Yes. Dick Sayers, as things got bigger and bigger, maybe Bob had taken
then dignitaries around, Dick Sayers certainly had responsibility in that
direction with visiting people and everything. There were editors and
other people. They had a different P.R. function than we did up north.
Up north we did print and T.V. but donw there they were constantly going
around the county officials and the state officials and the commission
so it was quite a different kind of P.R. But we really didn't think of
P.R. as P.R. at the time. But they had to take people around and sow
them what was being done, that it wasn't all big lies and show people
what was happening. Their function was a little different. With Dick
Sayers I would get involved sometimes. But I didn't work with him day to
day. Bernard was putting out that newspaper and she would send some of
that material up to Baltimore when we were printing something called the
Cape Coral Sun, which became a promotion piece which was given out at
parties. I thought Bob Finkernagel was ideal for what he did. In fact,
the last time I spoke to him he told me Connie Iack is running for Con-
gress. I said, "You missed the boat. That's what you should've done."
He should've because he's community oriented, he's a people person. I
think that all those people had their talent and as I think of myself, I
went by the seat of my pants mostly. Somebody would say, "IIEre's a job,
do it." And I would do it the best way I knew how only becuase nobody had
ever done it before me. So whatever I did was a plus. I used to say that
I had such a wonderful job that if I ever left the company that I would
not just leave, I would sell the job like\on the stock exchange. If I've
given you the impression I loved the job, I did. After the while, the
pitch was so frantic, it was lots of work. That if you went into a nor-
mal routine, period, you'd get bored. You needed something else to start
churning. What was it you mailed to me?
D--One other question that I wrote down here earlier, and it's just kind of
a history person type question. The Rosens, did their parents, were they
immigrants to this country?
B-I never knew their father., He didn't exist anymore. He died by the time
I knew them. But Leonard used to say that his father, who I assume he
.inherited his promotional ability from, that his fahter had the right ic 5 '
t-v_-l- to the name of Birth of a Nation. He said his father had. I don't think
his father was ever a big success. You know, the mother wound up with a
corner grocery store.
D--Well, I think that takes care of it.
D--Thank you very much.