Monday, June 22, 2009

The Man Who Sold America The Pimm's Cup?


I own an old book by Maurice Zolotow called "It Takes All Kinds." It's a collection of profiles of odd New Yorkers, published in 1952. One of the profiles is of one Jim Moran (1908-1999), an inventive and irrepressible publicity man.

According to this account, he was hired in 1949 to concoct a stunt that would get the Pimm's Cup—then without much of a following in the U.S.—into the newspapers. His scheme went like this. He contracted the services of band leader Alvino Rey, radio actor Herbert Evers, movie actress Ann Staunton and musical actress Nancy Andrews (using money as a lure, I imagine). He instructed Evers and Staunton to enter the posh East 55th Street Manhattan joint called the Little Club on June 15 around 2 AM and begin demanding Pimm's Cups. Fifteen minutes later, Rey and Andrews entered and ordered Pimm's Cups as well! Only Andrews specified, in a loud voice, that she wanted hers with a spring of mint.

At this request, Staunton pretended to high dudgeon! She argued that everyone in the world with a brain knows that a Pimm's Cup is only properly taken with a cucumber, not mint! Mind your own beeswax, answered Andrews. Evers exclaimed, "You can't talk to my friend like that!" Rey told Evers to back off. Then the food fight began! Staunton flug a cucumber at Rey. Rey punched Evers in the face (or pretended to). Evers fell down. The police were called. Rey was taken to the station house, where he was released on $500 bail (by Moran, in a beard).

The "incident" made the front page of the World-Telegram and the third page of the New York Sun, and got two columns in the Daily News. After that, it broke nationally, and everyone knew about the Pimm's Cup.

1 comment:

Nads said...

Interesting!

Do you suppose there's a way to send Pimm's #1 by mail? They have not appeared to enter the 21st century with a proper web site.

Thank you.