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Paul Coates -- Confidential File, March 7, 1959

March 6, 2009 |  2:00 pm


Inactivated Barber Makes Superb Clip

Paul_coates_3 Any man who can overcome a handicap like an underactive thyroid and make a name for himself in show business, is, in my book, all right.

Therefore, to wit, I like Perry Como.

True, he makes me yawn. But it's not because he, personally, bores me, personally.

It's just that -- as anybody knows -- yawning is contagious.

The reason I mentioned Perry in the first place is because I read a significant item about him in yesterday's paper.

According to the story, he got together with a few Kraft Food Co. moguls over some pimento cheese spread and crackers, and signed a television contract which will gross him $25 million in the next two years.

1959_0306_golden_globesFrankly, I'm happy for Perry.

If the Kraft Food Co. thinks he's worth that much, that's their business. Maybe his mother values him even higher.

The only thing I'm against is the indelicate way his press agent blabbed it all over town.

It's making a bum out of the rest of us. Collectively.

All over America today, wives are glaring meaningfully at their husbands, most of whom have perfect thyroids.

The equilibrium of the American home has been upset, just because Perry and his new bosses couldn't keep a secret.

Twenty-five million dollars is a lot of money -- more than some of us earn in a whole lifetime.

But personally, I'm not envious.

In fact, if I'd been sitting at that negotiation table in place of Perry, I'm not so sure that I would have signed.

Certainly, I would have checked into my prospective employers a little more carefully than he did.

I would have found out, for example, something about working conditions.

There are some cheeses I don't like the smell of. I'd make sure there weren't any of those stacked around near my desk space.

Then, there's the matter of paid vacations. Fringe benefits. Promotion programs. And coffee breaks.

What I'm trying to say is, the salary's all right. But it's the little considerations that really make an employee feel comfortable, feel wanted, in his job.

In a Cheesey Sort of Way

As for future prospects with the company, I guess that Kraft is a solid-enough organization.

But remember, the contract that Perry signed was for television shows.

Granted, the medium of television is a pretty popular one right now.

It's new, though. Sort of in the fad stage.

1959_0306_cohen_2That's the final point, which I wonder if Perry bothered to take into consideration:

Is television here to stay?

But come to think of it, even if TV isn't here to stay, Perry's got it made.

He could always go back to being a barber and, at the price of haircuts today, he'd still be a millionaire.