Elliot Denniberg on his first time pitching to Giant Food’s Izzy Cohen, a classic !
“. . .here comes the big moment and we’re showing the spots to Izzy . . . the head man, and to Alvin, and Izzy looks down. He’s looking down … with his head and listening to the music and . . . nodding . . . Whole thing is over with and I’ve already chewed through my upper lip and he gets up and heads for the door. And I’m going, “Oh, that’s it.” He says, “Alvin, those commercials were obviously shot in a studio. I never want to show the interior of our Giant Food stores to Mrs. Consumer in any other way but the real thing. You tell this young man to get back in our stores and set up the cameras there and do those spots over again and send me the bill.”
Andy Ockershausen: This is Our Town. This is Andy Ockershausen. And it’s just incredible that this man is still active, and he’s a terrific, terrific friend. His name is Elliot Denniberg, and one time, I believe, he had the most successful advertising agency in Washington D.C. As a matter of fact, I know he had the most money because he had the biggest account.
Elliot Denniberg: I blush. This is television, right?
Andy Ockershausen: Elliot is a local guy, and I’m so glad he’s still with us.
Elliot Denniberg: I am too, Andy. Thank you so much for asking me.
Andy Ockershausen: Did you grow up in the city?
Elliot Denniberg: I’m D.C. born and raised.
Andy Ockershausen: Where did you grow up?
Elliot Denniberg: Like Bill Regardie, who I saw Saturday night, by the way, at the Palm, Coolidge High-
Andy Ockershausen: Saturday night is Jewish night at the Palm.
Elliot Denniberg: No, actually it was Friday night. Went to Coolidge and AU, Coolidge High and American University, yeah.
Andy Ockershausen: That was a career path for people out of high school here to go to AU, I know. I went to AU also, after I failed at Maryland, but I finished at AU in the broadcasting school. My professor was Fred Fiske.
Elliot Denniberg: Yeah, Fred Fiske.
Andy Ockershausen: I remember that name.
Elliot Denniberg: WWDC. Fred was a great guy.
Andy Ockershausen: But, Elliot, I remember when that school was built. At one time, that was the epitome of high schools, really a great school Coolidge.
Elliot Denniberg on Close Call at Don Pallini Dance Studios
Elliot Denniberg: Yeah, Coolidge was a good school. You want to sing the alma mater? Coolidge High, we sing to thee … Never mind.
Andy Ockershausen: Yeah, I used to go up there to dances. Did you know they had dances on the basketball courts and that they had a live band up there?
Elliot Denniberg: They had old Sigma Phi … They had fraternity dances.
Andy Ockershausen: Yeah. It was great fun, Friday night at Coolidge. No drinking, just serious dancing.
Elliot Denniberg: I have a great-
Andy Ockershausen: You’re too young.
Elliot Denniberg: No. Yeah, come on, I have a great story about … You may remember this one. I’m going to keep it clean. It was at the Don Pallini Dance Studios on Connecticut Avenue and I’m 16 years old, 1953, and they’re passing out, “Here, kid, you want to buy a ticket for a stag? We’re going to have movies and we’re going to have card games and we’re going to have drinking.” And I’m not doing any of those things, but I figured let’s go. A whole bunch of young guys show up at the Don Pallini Dance Studios, paid the $2, and, next thing you know, I see my cousin Julian Seidel, rest in peace. He walks in with a reel of movies, puts it on. Not one frame of movie ever got shot. I look over at the door and a giant ax goes through the door. The cops raided the place-
Andy Ockershausen: Before the movie.
Elliot Denniberg: … before the movie. Guys were drinking beer. All I had was an orange soda. Anyway, you had to line up in front of Inspector Blick. He was head of the vice squad.
Andy Ockershausen: I know who you mean. Sure.
Elliot Denniberg: Yeah, Roy Blick. And he saw my name and he says, “Denniberg. Does your father have those arcades on 9th Street with the movies?” I said, “Yeah.” He said, “Like father, like son. But you’re not 18, you’re not getting in the paddy wagon. Get the heck out of here.”
Andy Ockershausen: Oh, boy! Roy, he saved you, huh?
Elliot Denniberg: That was the end of that, yeah. Coolidge.
Andy Ockershausen: But that’s Our Town, growing up here. That was a great thing. Elliot, but I keep talking about this to everybody and I don’t mean to interrupt you, but Our Town has changed so dramatically. It’s changed for the best. It’s so big and beautiful now. It always was beautiful, now it’s big. But you’ve seen Our Town just explode.
Good to be Back in the City to Celebrate at The Palm
Elliot Denniberg: Driving down to the Palm for a birthday dinner my sister threw for me Friday night, I just couldn’t believe it. But it was so good to be back in the city. I just felt so good.
Andy Ockershausen: And the Palm! That was one of your hangouts!
Elliot Denniberg: My office was right next door-
Andy Ockershausen: Right around the corner.
Elliot Denniberg: … right around the corner, yeah. Yeah, I even looked at my picture, still on the wall, it’s turned 19 shades of brown, but, then again, I have too.
Andy Ockershausen: Oh, no, you turned gray. Elliot, getting back to your early days, and then you went to junior high and then to Coolidge, that’s the path, and to AU. AU has now exploded also. That’s our neighborhood up there and it’s unbelievable. And that school is built and rebuilt, as you noticed.
American University – Theater Major
Elliot Denniberg: Well, you were there for communications. That’s what I did, radio, TV, theater was the major. And in those days when I went, ’55 to ’59, tuition was five grand a year. Hello? Five grand a year?
Andy Ockershausen: Now it’s lunch, lunch is five grand, right?
Elliot Denniberg: Right. But I got my chops working at the radio station and in the theater, and that was WAMU, where you could only get it … It was closed circuit AM station. If you had an electric razor and you were within five feet of the antenna, you could maybe get it in your electric razor.
Andy Ockershausen: That’s where our tower, the WMAL TV tower, was the tower in American University. We used to run the movies because all the movies were on film and you had to spool it up. And I was a messenger and I’d go back and forth to the transmitter with the movies, these big reels of 16 millimeter movies. And somebody on Connecticut Avenue would punch a button and the movie would run at AU. Ken’s too young for that, our technical director.
Elliot Denniberg: No, that’s the way it used to work.
Ken Hunter: I remember film change.
Andy Ockershausen: Oh, yeah, all over.
Elliot Denniberg: That’s the way it used to work.
Andy Ockershausen: So that introduced you to the world of showbiz, then, I would guess?
Manning the WAMU Broadcast Booth during President Eisenhower’s Second Inauguration
Elliot Denniberg: Well, one quick tidbit about AU. In Eisenhower’s second inauguration … Gee, am I this old? 1957, the stands were set up across from the White House. It was January 21st, whatever the day is, freezing cold. And they had the broadcast booth set up. WAMU had a booth, no windows, no heaters.
Andy Ockershausen: Cold.
Elliot Denniberg: No nothing. Me and a guy named Shep Morgan, we were sitting there and they gave us a four inch thick mimeographed booklet of every high school band-
Andy Ockershausen: Coming through in the parade.
Elliot Denniberg: … that was coming through in the parade. And now, here we go, five hours later, we’re still hoarse from … “And now, the Tuscaloosa, Alabama band with Major Finston the …” Oh, my god. And we stayed there for the whole parade.
Andy Ockershausen: Well, who was next to you in the booth?
Elliot Denniberg: Shep Morgan was his name.
Andy Ockershausen: How about doing the PA? Charlie Brotman-
Elliot Denniberg: Was Charlie doing the PA?
Andy Ockershausen: … did his first PA in ’57.
Elliot Denniberg: Really? Okay.
Andy Ockershausen: And he just got dumped this year.
Elliot Denniberg: Oh, that’s right. That’s right.
Andy Ockershausen: A big story, the best thing that ever happened to him. He got revitalized by being dumped. He was all over the network. I’m serious. The fact that he got dumped was everybody’s story, CSN, NBC and CNN, Fox. It was all the Charlie Brotman story, that Trump stuck it to him. Trump didn’t have any more to do with that than you did. He didn’t know what the hell was going on. But, anyway-
Elliot Denniberg: Charlie’s a good guy.
Andy Ockershausen: … that was the day, ’57, brother, Eisenhower’s second. But, Elliot, but you were in school at the time?
Elliot Denniberg: Yeah, I was in school.
Andy Ockershausen: Because you came from the radio station.
Elliot Denniberg: I came from the station. I started off in radio. That’s what I asked Ken, when I walked in, and Janice, “Where’s the turntables? Where’s the reel-to-reel machines? What happened?” The first station I worked at was-
Andy Ockershausen: Where’s the tape deck?
Elliot Denniberg: Yeah, yeah. WRNC FM, which is now, I think, WPGC’s transmitter in Morningside. And I met Stan Karish. Remember Stan Karish? Remember that name?
Andy Ockershausen: Absolutely, very well.
Elliot Denniberg: Stan’s not with us anymore. Stan, we became buddies.
Andy Ockershausen: He did the all night show.
Elliot Denniberg: Right, right, and then he went to WGMS. Okay, now I’m at AU. I’m in the summer of my freshman year. He calls me up, he says, “You’ve got to come down here because I think I can get you a job.” “But I’m not a member of the union.” “That’s okay. They can get you a 30 day waiver.” “Okay.” I go there and I audition for Stan Hamilton, who was the program director.
Andy Ockershausen: He’s at WMAL FM.
Elliot Denniberg: Yeah, right, right, right, right.
Andy Ockershausen: Oh, absolutely. I know Stan very well.
You say Pianist, Elliot Denniberg Says Pianoist – At least he did on his first on-air day on WGMS
Elliot Denniberg: Got the job, and he said, “Elliot, you don’t know what you’re talking about for classical music, so come in a half hour before your shifts and I will write out everything in phonetics so you can understand the names of the …” “Okay, fine, fine.” I’m all set to get on the air my first day and I ask Karish, I said, “Stan, I can understand the phonetic, but, tell me, how do you …” I said, “Pianist or pianist?” He said, “Neither one.” I said, “What are you talking about?” He says, “It’s pianoist.” “Pianoist? There’s no such word as pianoist.” He said, “Elliot, you want to get on the … your debut on a network. Come on.”
I get up there, “And now, the pianoist Jose Iturbi with Chopin’s Polonaise in A Flat Major, Opus 53.” I click the mic off, bam, I thought Stan Hamilton was going to break the door down. “What the beep are you talking about? My switchboard’s lit up like a Christmas tree! There’s no o in … Ah.” And I looked across the glass, there’s Stan, he’s totally cracked up. Prankster, prankster. Anyway, I love radio. I still do.
Andy Ockershausen: You’ve got to love it. Look what it’s done for you.
Elliot Denniberg: I always loved it, always, always.
Andy Ockershausen: For you and the commercial you developed. How in the world did you go from AU radio to become a forgotten man as an advertising executive? Who did you work for before you had your agency?
Help from American University Professor Doug Bailey – Auto Audits
Elliot Denniberg: My professor at AU was Doug Bailey. Doug was so far ahead of his time-
Andy Ockershausen: Auto Audits.
Elliot Denniberg: Auto Audits, right. He was so far ahead of his time.
Andy Ockershausen: Way.
Elliot Denniberg: Yeah, and he taught a class at AU. I was the hands-on guy in the control room to show the students how to run the board. After classes, he said, “Look, I think you know what you’re talking about. I can’t afford you now, but I’m going ask you someday down the line … Stay in touch.” After I worked my second shift at WPGC doing mornings there, I called him up one day and said, “Now?” He said, “Now,” and I started with Doug. And that’s where I met Marvin. He had a whole bunch of AU staff there, Fred Sellers, Walt Kramer and-
Andy Ockershausen: Names I know. Well, where was he working though, on campus?
Elliot Denniberg: The agency was in the Congressional Plaza Shopping Center in the lower level. Doug, he passed away, he was a fanatic for the concert organs like you had in the movie theaters, and when the Capitol Theater went out of business, he bought
Andy Ockershausen: That beautiful-
Elliot Denniberg: … that huge organ and-
Andy Ockershausen: Wow. Art Brown used to play that organ.
Elliot Denniberg: While the canaries sang.
Ken: With the canaries.
Elliot Denniberg: Right, right. Yeah. Anyway, that’s how I got started with Doug.
Andy Ockershausen: We’re going to come back to that great story in Our Town because Elliot is a fount of information. This is Andy Ockershausen. We’ll be right back.
[GEICO Commercial] Daughter: Daddy, where do babies come from?
Daughter: Mommy went to the store.
Daddy: You see, there’s a mommy and a daddy, right?
Daddy: See, when they call GEICO, they could save a bunch of money on car insurance.
Daughter: Really? That makes them happy?
Daddy: Yes, that makes them very happy.
Daughter: That’s good.
Daddy: I’m glad we could have this talk, Sunshine.
GEICO Announcer: GEICO, because saving 15% percent or more on car insurance is always a great answer. [End GEICO Commercial]
Announcer: You’re listening to Our Town.
Andy Ockershausen: This is Andy Ockershausen. This is Our Town and having a great conversation with one of the real professionals of the advertising agency business in Washington, D.C., one Elliot Denniberg, who’s been around Washington his whole life.
Elliot Denniberg: That’s right.
Andy Ockershausen: Aren’t you glad to be alive?
Elliot Denniberg: I am. Tomorrow’s my birthday. Oh! Okay, but-
Andy Ockershausen: 65.
Elliot Denniberg: 65 and going on 12. I got to tell you, a quick radio story, going backwards from the agency business, but I always loved radio. And, I don’t know, you would remember this, Andy, there was a gimmick catalog called Johnson Smith out of Detroit, Michigan, and they sold live baby alligators and magic tricks and-
Andy Ockershausen: Chickens.
12 Year Old Elliot Denniberg and the Audio Oscillator – “Put Your Voice Through the Radio”
Elliot Denniberg: Yeah. One of the things they had was an audio oscillator that was a little box and it said, “Fool your friends and family. Put your voice through the radio. It works up to 100 feet away.” I got this thing, it was battery operated, and I turned it on and I zeroed in on WTOP. And I’m upstairs in my room and the folks are in the living room, and I, “Hello, Mom and Dad. Can you hear me?” “Elliot, what are you doing up there?” I figure, hey, if this works, what if I increase the power a little bit? Okay. I got a whole bunch of dry cell batteries, oh, no, I’m dating myself, dry cell batteries. Anyway, they weighed about a pound and a half each. And I had a huge wire antenna thrown across three row houses where I lived at First and Gallatin NW. I increased the power in this little toy, hooked it up to the external antenna, and I called a friend of mine whose name was Arnold Silverman, who lived about three miles away up New Hampshire Avenue.
I said, “Listen, Arnold, at 3:00 this Saturday afternoon, turn on WTOP and I’m going to do a shout-out to you. See if this thing will go that far.” And he said, “What?” I said, “Just do what I ask you, please,” and hang up. Okay, 3:00 Saturday afternoon, I hook the thing up and it’s the Senators game on WTOP. I don’t know if Arch McDonald was doing it then.
Andy Ockershausen: Probably he was gone by then.
Elliot Denniberg: Yeah, yeah. I hooked the thing up and I-
Andy Ockershausen: Shelby Whitfield.
Elliot Denniberg: Yeah, okay. Bob Wolff.
Andy Ockershausen: That’s right.
Elliot Denniberg: I hook the thing up and I go, “Hello, Arnold. Hello, Arnold. Hello, Arnold.” I turn it off. I wait. Click, click, crickets, nothing. Then 30 seconds later, the telephone rings. It’s, “Elliot?” “Yeah.” “This is Myron Arnold, the guy that lives at the end of the block. What the beep are you doing? I was listening to the game on WTOP and, all of a sudden, the station went off the air and I hear your voice.” I said, “Thanks, Myron,” and I hung the phone up. I disconnected everything and I’m looking outside to see if the FCC has got a truck with an antenna going around. Anyway, it worked.
Andy Ockershausen: You got off. Everybody started somewhere in radio, one way or … It’s better than the tomato cans and the rope.
Elliot Denniberg: Yeah, that’s right.
Andy Ockershausen: That’s what we did. We didn’t have any radio.
Elliot Denniberg: Don’t tell WTOP because I’m sure they’re still wondering what happened. That was in the fifties somewhere.
Andy Ockershausen: But your agency then-
Ken Hunter: Don’t try this at home.
Andy Ockershausen: You worked in the business before you opened your own shop. I remember the old shop. It was called the Ladies Club. I don’t think you ever had any employees that weren’t female. Did you?
Elliot Denniberg: Most were male … We were female, right. You are absolutely right.
Andy Ockershausen: I’m right. My dear, darling secretary at the time was one of your-
Colonel Harland Sanders – The Kentucky Fried Chicken Jingle
Elliot Denniberg: Linda McQueeney, God rest her. She-
Andy Ockershausen: Linda, absolutely.
Elliot Denniberg: … was the best. But I worked two years for Doug and I got great experience. He had some national accounts. He had the Scott’s lawn products account and he had the dealer account for Kentucky Fried Chicken. And the Colonel, at the time, was 70-something and he would be touring all over the US of A and he was usually-
Andy Ockershausen: Colonel Harland Sanders.
Elliot Denniberg: Colonel Harland Sanders, “11 different spices and herbs, my secret recipe.” And he was great. He was great. And I wrote a jingle, myself and a couple of my buddies. We sang this Kentucky Fried Chicken jingle and we played it for him in the studio. We recorded at Edgewood. Remember Edgewood Studios was on K Street, Ed Greene. And he said, “Huh, son, that’s the best darn jingle I ever … Come here.” And the thing went, “Get Kentucky Fried Chicken, really finger licking good. Colonel Sanders’ special recipe.” And he takes me by the arm and we’re dancing around the … He loved it. Two days later, I get a check in the mail for $1,000-
Andy Ockershausen: Out of the blue.
Elliot Denniberg: Yeah, in those days, your radio job was paying $1 an hour, so that’s worth 1,000 hours. And it says, “Dear Elliot, I waked up this morning,” I can still remember it, “just as enthusiastic about the jingle as when I first heard it. Thank you so much, Colonel Harland Sanders. And we were friends, so it was … I sometimes go into some KFC restaurants nowadays and say, “Hey, want to hear a story about Colonel Sanders?” And people look at me like, “Hmm. Security!”
Andy Ockershausen: We know that Colonel Sanders, for some reason, he was related to one of our employees who eventually replaced Linda as my secretary.
Elliot Denniberg: Oh, really?
Andy Ockershausen: Her name was Vada Wheeler.
Elliot Denniberg: I remember her.
Andy Ockershausen: But when he was in town, he’d come by and visit with Harden and Weaver too.
Elliot Denniberg: Really? Have the white suit?
Andy Ockershausen: He’s sit in the studio with them and the cane, the white suit and everything. He was quite a character.
Elliot Denniberg: What did he have for lunch? Sorry.
Andy Ockershausen: He bought the Tops Drive-Inn place. You knew that, didn’t you?
Colonel Sanders Bought Tops Drive-Inn
Elliot Denniberg: Absolutely. Absolutely. Jim Matthews was the owner of Tops Drive-In and Doug had his account.
Andy Ockershausen: Well, you know what? Jim Matthews didn’t take any money. He took stock in his company that may mean something. All of a sudden … not sudden, he became a millionaire with his stock with Colonel Sanders.
Elliot Denniberg: I did not know that.
Andy Ockershausen: Tops Drive-Inn became Colonel Sanders.
Elliot Denniberg: “When you feel like a snack and the cupboard is bare, go to Tops, Tops Drive-Inn.”
Andy Ockershausen: Tops Drive-Inn. Do you remember in Arlington, Tops Drive Inn?
Ken Hunter: That was our high school hangout. Right there on George Mason Drive over in Arlington.
How Denniberg Got his AFTRA Card and Evelyn Freyman
Elliot Denniberg: Always remember the jingles, absolutely. And I got to thank, and this connects you to this story too, because I always was a performer. I always was a radio person, but I couldn’t get my AFTRA card. I just called Evelyn, God bless her, and I said, “Look. This is what I do and this is how I make a living. I need to get a card.” She says, “Honey, I’m going to let you do three clients a month and that’s it, because you’re in a position of you’re wearing two hats. You can hire yourself and the other members are going to hate you for that, but I’m going to let you do three clients a month, no more. Don’t make me monitor you, and we’ll get along just fine.”
Andy Ockershausen: “Honey.” Oh, yeah, that’s her.
Elliot Denniberg: And so, with that and her blessing, God bless her, that worked. Now fast forward to 1987, because I looked this up before coming here today, and there was a celebration of her 39 years as founder of the local chapter from 1944, she started it. And it said, “Andy Ockershausen gets up on the stage and said, ‘Evelyn, I can’t believe it’s 39 years. It seems more like 89.'”
Andy Ockershausen: “Oh, honey.”
Elliot Denniberg: It sounds like something you would say.
Andy Ockershausen: Oh, my God. I would nail her to the cross. She came in one day. She had an operation to get her face done. She said, “Honey, hey, I just got out of the hospital. How do I look?” I said, “Evelyn, see if you can get your money back.” She never forgot me for that. She was always pissed off then when we’d negotiate … But in negotiations, it was a pleasure to work for her because she never, never lied. She’d always, “I’m doing this for my guys. Not for me, not for AFTRA, my guy. You satisfy them, you’ll never have a problem with me.” And she lived up to that.
Elliot Denniberg: Yeah. She lived to be 92.
Andy Ockershausen: And lived in the Watergate too. I said, “Evelyn, did you steal money to live in the Watergate?” “Honey, I had a rich husband.” But, Elliot, knowing all these characters, how in the world did you afford this advertising agency? You must have started out with some accounts to be … That was a high rent neighborhood, wasn’t it?
Elliot Denniberg: Well, not at the time. 1028 Connecticut Avenue is where Marvin and I started on January 1st, 1963.
Andy Ockershausen: Aha, there’s the first time that name has come up, Marvin.
On Leaving Doug Bailey Advertising – A Lesson Learned
Elliot Denniberg: Marvin and I left Doug Bailey Advertising and we did a really, really stupid way of leaving. We were in our twenties and we didn’t know anything. We took the client’s artwork that we were going to take, which was Standard Pontiac, which was Marvin’s cousin; Herson’s 8th and O, and I was friendly, from high school, with Jerry Herson; and a company called Colorfax. They were a film processing lab. And we took the artwork home with us that night. Wrong! And we called in the next day and told Doug we’re not coming back. And he said, “Guys, listen closely. What you’ve just done is steal my property and you will have until 5:00 this afternoon … If you want to start your agency, that’s fine, but meanwhile, this belongs to me because the clients haven’t paid the bill. These are your choices. Either bring the artwork back or I call the police and have you arrested for larceny.” Before he could hang up, we were there. Really stupid.
Andy Ockershausen: Well, but you all were getting started. You had to do what you had to do. I remember a Christmas show we had, and I don’t know who did it, on WMAL radio sponsored by Denniberg and Himelfarb, oh, my God, a New Year’s Eve show.
Elliot Denniberg: That’s right. I forgot that.
Andy Ockershausen: You bought that show from us.
Elliot Denniberg: That’s right. That’s why we had to go out of business, Andy. We couldn’t find a door big enough to put the name on the door. Anyway-
Andy Ockershausen: They advertised on the show. They brought the music show to bring in New Year’s Eve and the whole thing, Denniberg … And then, all of a sudden, Marvin, it was all of a sudden to me, he goes to another career.
Short-lived Partnership with Marvin Himelfarb
Elliot Denniberg: Well, we lasted for a couple of years, and then he left and he partnered with Dave Abramson, and then it was Abramson and Himelfarb for a very successful agency. I told him years later, “I did not realize how talented you were as a writer,” but he really had a lot of stuff going for him. He was successful in D.C. Then he moved to California and he-
Andy Ockershausen: Took off.
Elliot Denniberg: … and took off. And he had a spot production company there and he was living high on the hog. He was doing very, very well.
Andy Ockershausen: I’m reading in your … This is your life, Marvin, Elliot, that he did a show called Hart to Hart.
Elliot Denniberg: He did. He did Hart to Hart-
Andy Ockershausen: That is incredible. I didn’t know that.
Elliot Denniberg: He did Fantasy Island.
Andy Ockershausen: Fantasy Island.
Elliot Denniberg: Yeah, he did stories. He did the stories and somebody else wrote the screenplay, but he did the story concepts and he was really, really good at it. And he stayed there for a long time, then he came back east and he went to work with Roger Ailes at what became CNBC and then they left and started Fox, Fox News. He worked there for 19 years.
Andy Ockershausen: That’s when Fox bought Metromedia, correct?
Elliot Denniberg: Right, and that was the start of-
Andy Ockershausen: And you were still in the agency business?
Elliot Denniberg: Yeah. I finally closed up around 2000.
Andy Ockershausen: Well, wait a minute, but you had, at the time, the biggest retail account in the city, Giant Foods, as we called it. Giant Food, Alvin Miller.
Elliot Denniberg: The crazy thing is, as history would repeat itself, back on 9th Street NW, where my father’s men’s clothing store was and where I grew up in the forties and early fifties, Al Miller was a partner in an agency, Cohen and Miller.
Andy Ockershausen: No, Ike Cohen.
Elliot Denniberg: Ike Cohen.
Andy Ockershausen: And Alvin Miller.
Elliot Denniberg: And you would remember.
Andy Ockershausen: Oh, God, yeah.
Elliot Denniberg: And I remember looking at the proofs for the D.C. Trading Post, that was my father’s store, and here we come full circle. I’m in business. Now Marvin and I have split and I’m on Jefferson Place NW.
Andy Ockershausen: A high rent neighborhood, incidentally.
On Landing the Giant Food Account – A Roll of the Dice
Elliot Denniberg: And the phone rings and it’s Al Miller. And he says, “Hi, I’m the vice president of marketing for Giant and your buddy, Bob Barkin, works for me. He says you do jingles.” And I said, “Yeah.” He said, “Well, come on over here. We need a new jingle.” “Okay.” I go over to Landover and-
Andy Ockershausen: A cold call?
Elliot Denniberg: No, he called me.
Andy Ockershausen: That’s what I mean.
Elliot Denniberg: Yeah, yeah, a cold call. I said, “What do you need the jingle for?” He said, “Well, Kaufman is our agency now.”
Andy Ockershausen: Henry J. Kaufman.
Elliot Denniberg: Henry J. “And we’re going to shop for a new agency and they know it. And we got a new slogan, which is ‘Giant Food, where the action is.'” “Oh, okay. Okay.” And I said, “Let me ask you a question. How many agencies are you looking at?” He said, “Six.” I said, “Well, why can’t I be number seven?” He said, “Come on.” He said, “You’re a one man band. There’s just no way you could handle our account.” I said, “Mr. Miller,” which he always demanded you call him Mr. Miller, not Alvin. Maybe you called him Alvin.
Andy Ockershausen: Yeah, but you weren’t carrying the whole account. You only wanted the broadcast, right?
Elliot Denniberg: The broadcast, yeah. They were internal-
Andy Ockershausen: They did their own news.
Elliot Denniberg: They did their own print. “Okay, fine. I would like to make a pitch if I have to hire 150 people to handle your account. If I can still make a profit, do we have a deal?” He said, “Well, you’re wasting your time, kid, but okay.” Part of life is understanding and taking risks.
Andy Ockershausen: You got to roll the dice.
Elliot Denniberg: You got to roll the dice and you got to see an opportunity or know an opportunity when you see it, and, man, if this was ever an opportunity. You know how it is. You’ve been on enough pitches. You do an agency pitch and the agency comes in with storyboards and says, “Over here, Andy stands up,” and “Over here, Andy sits down.” I went to Milt Grant, who, at the time, was running Channel 20-
Andy Ockershausen: Ending up owning it.
Elliot Denniberg: Okay. And I remember him from the Record Hop days. I said, “Milt, I have a thousand dollars, which I will put on the table if you will let me use the studio to produce three spots. And if I get the account, I’ll do all my production work for Giant here.” He says, “You’ve got a deal.” We shook hands. Nothing in writing. That was it. Fine. I produced three spots on . . .
Andy Ockershausen: Television spots?
Elliot Denniberg: Television spots. I made up a jingle from scratch and had it fully produced and we showed off unit pricing and open dating with … Don Richards was the on camera talent, “And this is the can of peas and then …” Set up in the studio. And here comes the big moment and we’re showing the spots to Izzy-
Andy Ockershausen: Cohen?
Elliot Denniberg: Izzy Cohen, the head man, and to Alvin, and Izzy looks down. He’s looking down … with his head and listening to the music and-
Andy Ockershausen: Nodding?
Getting Izzy Cohen’s Attention
Elliot Denniberg: … and nodding and etc., etc. Whole thing is over with and I’ve already chewed through my upper lip and he gets up and heads for the door. And I’m going, “Oh, that’s it.” He says, “Alvin, those commercials were obviously shot in a studio. I never want to show the interior of our Giant Food stores to Mrs. Consumer in any other way but the real thing. You tell this young man to get back in our stores and set up the cameras there and do those spots over again and send me the bill.”
Andy Ockershausen: Izzy!
Elliot Denniberg: Izzy. That was one of the greatest things that ever happened to me. We re-shot the stuff. Those were the days of Esther Peterson and-
Andy Ockershausen: She was great, wasn’t she, with that Norwegian head-
Elliot Denniberg: She was great. We got the account and it was the biggest thing ever to happen to me.
Andy Ockershausen: He had a new store in Shaw. Did you use that new store? I remember the spots in the store.
Elliot Denniberg: No, we used-
Andy Ockershausen: That was Joe Danzansky.
Elliot Denniberg: That’s another story, yeah. I want to tell you a story about that too. But, first …
Andy Ockershausen: No, not first. We’re going to take a break here. This is Andy Ockershausen. This is Our Town. Fabulous stories from Elliot Denniberg.
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Announcer: You’re listening to Our Town with Andy Ockershausen. Brought to you by Best Bark Communications.
Andy Ockershausen: This is Andy Ockershausen. This is Our Town and we’re talking with the resident genius, at the time, of advertising in Washington was Elliot Denniberg, his own agency. And we talked about that. But Elliot also represented Giant Food and he also did a lot of work for and a good friend of a very dear friend of everybody in Washington, Joe Danzansky, a great man.
Friends in High Places – Joe Danzansky and The United Way
Elliot Denniberg: He was a great man and he helped in so many, many ways. He helped get me the United Way account. He was chairman of that.
Andy Ockershausen: Wow. But that was a big account that paid, but they didn’t have that much money.
Elliot Denniberg: Yeah. Well, it was like pro bono work-
Andy Ockershausen: Yeah, right. You did a good job there.
Elliot Denniberg: … but a lot of good publicity and we had a … Hands helping hands, I think our slogan was. You’ll get a good feeling helping someone else feel good. And then he also got me into the DIPS soccer team. And we did this jingle, “Get your kicks with the DIPS.” DIPS soccer at RFK, we did that. Anyway, he was just so nice. And he calls me in the office one day and he says, “Elliot, I have a favor to ask you.” He never asked me for anything. “What can I do for you, Mr. D.?” He said, “A very dear friend of mine, Thomas Fletcher, who is now the city manager of San Diego, and he’s going to be the deputy mayor under Walter Washington-”
Andy Ockershausen: Going to bring him back.
Employing Heidi Fletcher – A Favor for Mr. Danzansky
Elliot Denniberg: “We’re going to bring him back. His daughter’s in some trouble. Her name is Heidi Fletcher, and I’m asking you to help me out.” I’m, “What can I do for you?” “I need for her to have a job for 30 days. Don’t worry about the money, but she is trained as a legal secretary and she does excellent clerical work and I’m sure you’ll find a place for her. I would consider it a personal favor to me.” “Okay. Fine.”
Andy Ockershausen: He couldn’t bring her into Giant?
Elliot Denniberg: No. No, that’s another thing. I guess he couldn’t. I didn’t have a problem. She came in, lovely young lady. She did cutting and pasting. Back in those days, it was really cutting and pasting, with an X-ACTO knife and rubber cement, real cutting and pasting.
Andy Ockershausen: That was the real thing.
Elliot Denniberg: Yeah, and she was, actually, always on time, did everything right. I really didn’t understand the whole story of what this was all about til I read it in the paper. She and her boyfriend and his friend held up a National Permanent Savings and Loan on MacArthur Boulevard in D.C., little thing like that. And she was driving the getaway car. Well, it’s a sad story because one of the guys, I forgot which one, plugged an off-duty officer, his name was William Sigmon, and he killed him. They caught everybody and now Heidi’s-
Andy Ockershausen: She’s an accessory, absolutely.
The Heidi Fletcher Trial and Edward Bennett Williams
Elliot Denniberg: Yeah, yeah. She drove the getaway car. They said, “Okay. Before your trial, we’re going to need you to get a job so you can prove to the court, because you’re a minor,” she wasn’t 21 yet, “that you can work and be rehabilitated.” I said, “Oh, boy. What did I get into?” That was fine. They did so many favors for me, Giant. As I said, she was an excellent employee. One day, I get a call from Edward Bennett Williams, the Edward Bennett Williams. He says, “Elliot, I’m Heidi’s attorney and I’d like to talk to in my office because we want you to testify as a character witness.” I said, “Okay.” I go down to his office. It wasn’t far from mine and it’s decorated with all this Redskin memorabilia. I felt like I was in seventh heaven. I said, “What do you want me to say?” He said, “I want you just to tell the truth. Was she of good character? You could give her a good reference? She showed up on time, she did her work?” “Yeah, all that stuff.” “Okay. That’s all I want you to say.”
Day of the trial, I get up on the stand. I testify and said exactly that. And the prosecutor, and I forgot the DA’s name, he says, “Your honor,” June Green was the judge, he says, “Your honor, we want to have an extension. We need more information about Heidi Fletcher and so we want to have an extension and recall this maybe in three weeks to a couple of months later.” Williams gets up and he says, “Your honor, everybody in this courtroom knows that she’s being tried as a minor. In three weeks, she won’t be a minor anymore and she can be tried as an adult.”
Andy Ockershausen: An adult.
Elliot Denniberg: “Right now, she has pleaded guilty to 10 counts of first degree murder, armed robbery, illegal possession of dangerous weapons. We’re asking you to sentence her as a minor.” He sold it to the judge. She was sentenced to nine years. Went to a place near LA called Terminal Island and she served seven years and one month and got out on good behavior.
Andy Ockershausen: Wow. Seven years, that was a long time out of nine.
Elliot Denniberg: Yeah, young-
Andy Ockershausen: Now they get out in 90 days. Whatever happened to Heidi? She come back to-
Elliot Denniberg: I really don’t know.
Andy Ockershausen: But Tom Fletcher worked for the mayor. I remember that.
Elliot Denniberg: Yeah, he was deputy mayor under Walter Washington. And Joe Califano, who later became a partner of Edward Bennett Williams, he writes about it in his book, about this whole Heidi Fletcher thing. And it was a great … I just felt so connected to the city in so many different ways.
Andy Ockershausen: Wow, when you hear those names, you don’t get any bigger than … Well, to me, Joe Danzansky was the epitome of the businessman and what the community … because he was a community guy. And Edward Bennett Williams was a brilliant, brilliant … but Our Town. They were our people and to be associated in that level. Elliot, I brag about it all the time. Being at WMAL, the people I would come in contact with were fabulous, from the president of the United States to the bartender at some place or a waiter at Clyde’s. It went from here to here, and you had the same thing in your life, to go from-
Elliot Denniberg: It really feels good. I miss it too. I miss being connected-
Andy Ockershausen: The action in the city was incredible in those days, of course.
Elliot Denniberg: It really was.
Andy Ockershausen: The National Permanent, I know the story there. I knew about the robbery because my friend Bud Doggett was very close to the whole thing and to Tom Fletcher, and hearing those names brings back a lot of memories. But listening to you talk about Giant, the things you did for Giant, as we called it. Alvin Miller, a very dear friend, and turned out to be a very dear friend of yours and his family. We used to take Alvin down to … I took him to the Masters a couple of times with our group. And Alvin was so … He was a jock jock. He found a Jewish golfer and he stuck with him and everything. But we’re sitting in our car, we’re driving from the course and there’s a black guy sitting in a car with us and Alvin didn’t know who it was. He thought it was a caddy.
Elliot Denniberg: Oh, my God.
Andy Ockershausen: And he was talking to him about the course and keeping it clean and all that. It turn out to be Charlie Sifford, the great black-
Elliot Denniberg: Black golfer.
Andy Ockershausen: But Alvin’s attitude changed immediately. He wanted to sit in his lap, a celebrity.
Joe Theismann Turned Down Pants Corral Endorsement Because of His . . .
Elliot Denniberg: I have a quick one about the Alvin being a jock thing. In ’75, ’76, somewhere in there, when the Redskins were still training in Carlisle, he says to me one day, “We’re going up there and I’m going to get Joe Theismann,” who wasn’t even first-string then, it was still Billy Kilmer, “This is Billy Kilmer. Wouldn’t an ice cold Coca Cola taste great right now?” That’s Billy Kilmer.
Andy Ockershausen: That’s Billy. He still has that voice, incidentally.
Elliot Denniberg: I know. Anyway, we went up there and we met with Joe. And I said, “Joe, I know you’re going to be first-string quarterback. We want to get you to do these commercials wearing jeans for the Pants Corral,” which was one of Giant’s subsidiary companies, Levis. He said, “Guys, I’m very flattered that you’re telling me this, but I want you to just look at me as I turn around.” And he turned around, gave us his back, and came back again. I said, “Yeah, so?” He said, “I have the biggest butt in football. I don’t look good in jeans, so I’m going to have to pass.” If you ever see Joe, tell him that story.
Andy Ockershausen: Wow. His ego, we want him right here some day. Joe’ll do it for me. He always stood up for me and for WMAL.
Elliot Denniberg: Yeah. Yeah, Joe’s a great guy.
Janice Iacona Ockershausen: Great story.
Elliot Denniberg: I just want to play something for you that-
Andy Ockershausen: Please do it.
Elliot Denniberg: … because I loved hanging around the celebrities. At one point, we were booking acts, because we didn’t have a lot of accounts, into the Alexandria Roller Rink. And we booked Neil Diamond for 400 bucks, Martha and the Vandellas, B.B. King, Eric Burdon and the Animals.
Andy Ockershausen: You were a booking agent for them?
Elliot Denniberg: Me and Mike Cohen, who I worked with after Marvin-
Andy Ockershausen: I know Michael, absolutely.
Little Richard Records Surrey Men’s Shop Jingle
Elliot Denniberg: We booked Little Richard to come into the Crystal Ballroom of Glen Echo. Richard’s in town with his whole band and we had an account, the guy who owned it was Kenny Speckler, and the name of the account was Surreys Men’s Shops. And so we said, “Richard, here’s a parody on,” one of his songs, I forgot which one. “Would you get in the studio and just sing this? We’re going to pay you separately just to do this.”
Andy Ockershausen: This is Little Richard?
Elliot Denniberg: The Little Richard with his whole entourage, in the heat of August. We went down to Rodel Studios, which, I guess, is no longer there, you said, I think? Somebody said it.
Andy Ockershausen: Georgetown.
Elliot Denniberg: Georgetown, 33rd-
Andy Ockershausen: Gone. Remember that big building? It looks like a fortress.
Elliot Denniberg: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Renee, wasn’t that his wife?
Andy Ockershausen: That building’s still there, I’m sure. It’s a landmark.
Old Surrey Men’s Shop Jingle
Elliot Denniberg: We gave him the words and he brings his whole band. Plugs the bass into the board and the rest of the band, the saxophones, and he’s playing piano and they set down this one tune called “Hurry Down to Surreys.” (singing).
Andy Ockershausen: Elliot, that is a fabulous story and a great presentation. Obviously, that jingle could not have been played on WMAL radio, but I’m sure it went over big with the right market.
Elliot Denniberg: Exactly, exactly. Yeah, it did. It did. And Richard, he was just an amazing performer. He was just great.
Andy Ockershausen: World-class talent! What did you get him for, $1,000?
Elliot Denniberg: Something like that, yeah.
Andy Ockershausen: That’s great. That would be $100,000 to say hello, unbelievable.
Elliot Denniberg: The whole band, it was just amazing. Well, as we get into the seventies, and, again, Giant being a major account, I don’t know if you remember, mid-seventies, I think it was ’75 or so, Robert Altman had a movie, “Nashville.” And there was a media screening for it. What was the Theater on M Street downtown? I forgot the name of it, but-
Janice Iacona Ockershausen: Key?
Elliot Denniberg: Yeah, I think that was it. No, that was in Georgetown.
Andy Ockershausen: Yeah, that was in Georgetown. He’s talking about … I don’t know on M Street.
Elliot Denniberg: Yeah, well, anyway, another part of M Street. Ed Walker was at the premiere-
Andy Ockershausen: Our Ed Walker.
Ed Walker, Ruth Hudgins and the Masked Restaurant Critic
Elliot Denniberg: Your Ed Walker, rest in peace, and all the people that I knew and I went up to Ed. I’d known Ed for a long time. He used to run radio spots. We shook hands and blah blah blah. The next morning at home, West End … yeah, it was in the West End, right, right, right. He calls me at home and he says, “Hi, this is Ed. I know you were at the movie ‘Nashville’ last night. Could you do me a favor?” “Yeah, what?” “Can you review that movie on the air for me?” I said, “Yeah, I guess so.” He said, “Give me about 90 seconds,” because he was doing this, on MAL TV, he was doing ‘Good Morning, Washington’ with Ruth Hudgins. He said, “Okay, I’ll call you back in 10.” “10?” Okay. Click. Calls me back. I took some notes and I ad-libbed for 90 seconds, fine. And I did okay. The end of the day, I get a call from Charlie Stopak-
Andy Ockershausen: Our Charlie!
Elliot Denniberg: … at MAL TV-
Andy Ockershausen: Sure, channel seven.
Elliot Denniberg: Was it JLA then or was it still MAL TV?
Andy Ockershausen: It was still MAL TV.
Elliot Denniberg: Okay. Over the Ice Palace on Connecticut Avenue. I went there this morning, by the way. I didn’t know you moved. Just kidding.
Andy Ockershausen: Have you noticed that TV is now a huge high rise?
Elliot Denniberg: Yeah, yeah, yeah. He says, “Look, can you come down to the station? I want to talk to you about doing this spot on TV on Ed’s show?” I said, “What do you have in mind?” He said, “You can come on down. I’ll explain it to you.” I go down there, he says, “Look, there’s a critic for the Evening Star. His name is Donald Dresden. He’s the restaurant critic and he has the power to make or break a restaurant with his write-ups and he gets really esoteric about a lot of stuff. We want somebody who can just talk like a common man with not a professional chef’s background and review restaurants. We’ll give you a budget and so forth.” I said, “I’m sure I could do that-”
Andy Ockershausen: Food.
Elliot Denniberg: “… but do you want to show this kisser on camera?” He said, “No.” I said, “Well, what are you talking about?” He says, “You’re going to wear a mask.” I said, “What kind of mask?” He says, “A paper bag.” Hey, wait a minute. This is an old joke from somewhere, but there was a guy that was called the Masked-
Janice Iacona Ockershausen: The Unknown Comic.
Elliot Denniberg: The Unknown Comic, right, right, right, and he wore-
Janice Iacona Ockershausen: On the Gong Show.
Elliot Denniberg: Right. Anyway, he had a paper bag and slits cut for the eyes. Okay. I reviewed restaurants and I always gave good reviews. I don’t have a gourmet palate. I don’t even know what that means, gourmet palate. And then I would go on the show and sit down with Ed and Ruth and do my 90 second bit with the paper bag over my head. This went on for, ah, about a year, I think. They didn’t want the restaurants to know who I was so they wouldn’t-
Andy Ockershausen: They’d know who you … when you came in.
Elliot Denniberg: Exactly.
Andy Ockershausen: Give you special treatment.
Elliot Denniberg: Right, and I wasn’t walking in with the paper bag because there was no place to put the food.
Andy Ockershausen: You walked out with one. Right.
Elliot Denniberg: Anyway, one day, I get home and there’s my answering machine, answering machine, remember those, blinking on my unlisted number. I play it back and this was the message, “Denniberg, we know who you are. We know the last review you gave this morning on TV. If you want to see tomorrow, don’t ever come back in our place again.” Click. Uh-oh, I don’t know who it was. It was the only bad review I ever gave and I’m not going to say who it was. They’re not even around anymore. But the next call is, beep beep beep beep, “Charlie Stopak, please. Hi, Charlie. This is Elliot. I resign.”
Andy Ockershausen: You never know what you’re going to need, right?
Elliot Denniberg: That’s right. That’s right. You get your life-
Andy Ockershausen: An AK-47.
Elliot Denniberg: You get your life threatened, it’s not a good review.
Andy Ockershausen: The career of the masked … It disappeared, huh?
Elliot Denniberg: It disappeared in a paper bag.
Andy Ockershausen: What did you do with the mask? You kept the bag?
Elliot Denniberg: I used it for groceries. They kept on falling out through the eye holes.
Andy Ockershausen: Well, it’s better than using a plastic bag because you can breathe. Elliot, you got great stories, but I got to tell you, your talent was so unique because you did … You’re almost Donald Dell. Donald would do … In tennis, he’d put on the match. He’d do the announcing. He’d find a sponsor. He’d find a TV show and he did everything but keep score. That’s like you in the advertising business. You found the account, you wrote the copy, you picked the talent, you did the recording in your own studio and then put it on the air. You bought the time.
Elliot Denniberg: Right. Thank you. It was just so much fun. I always liked doing that. And, as I said, thanks to people like Evelyn who let me get on the air-
Andy Ockershausen: Evelyn Freyman.
Elliot Denniberg: It was great fun.
Andy Ockershausen: “Honey.”
Elliot Denniberg: But I just want to fast forward to 1977. I was having a 40th birthday party and I used a guy in Dallas who was so talented, I would pick up the phone and sing into the phone what I wanted, 10 days later, I’d get back a fully orchestrated jingle with all the bells and whistles. He just did great work. His name was Chris Kershaw. He’s not with us anymore. Chris is the father of Clayton Kershaw-
Andy Ockershausen: Wow.
Elliot Denniberg: … who is probably going to be pitching against the Nationals for the Dodgers. Chris came up-
Andy Ockershausen: MVP with the Brooklyn … the pitching award. I say Brooklyn Dodgers, to me. Are they still in LA?
Elliot Denniberg: They’re still Dodgers, yeah, LA Dodgers. Anyway-
Andy Ockershausen: Kershaw was a musician or did he have an agency?
Elliot Denniberg: He was a musician, a freelance musician. He was a jack of all trades. He would write it. He would sing it. He would do station jingle packages.
Andy Ockershausen: A very talented man.
Jingle Producing Genius Chris Kershaw and a Music K-Tel Birthday Gift for Denniberg
Elliot Denniberg: Again, I just pick up the phone and sing into it and, a few days later, here’s the whole thing. Chris comes up for my 40th birthday and brings a little souvenir for me in the style of, I don’t know if you remember this, Music K-Tel, which was a pitch … “Call now. Music K-Tel presents …” and this is what he brought me for a birthday present.
Recording: Music K-Tel presents the big E at 40, songs that you’ve known and loved for lo these many years, now available here in one complete set you get all the hits. (singing). Songs you’ve heard a million times before (singing). Songs you’ve come to identify closely with (singing). There are hits you’ll be hearing for the first time (singing). And hits you’ll never hear again (singing). The big E at 40 features some ethnic material (singing). And for those of you of a different persuasion (singing) or different yet (singing). And the hits just keep on coming (singing). Elliot, in his infinite wisdom and warmth has cut some kiddie material. Your whole family will enjoy the big E at 40 (singing). This wonderful man who’s brought so much joy to all of us. There won’t be a dry seat in the house when you play (singing). Order yours today for years of listening pleasure. Music K-Tel products presents the big E at 40 and we’ll ask all of you to join us as we sing (singing). A nice, bright contemporary sound.
Andy Ockershausen: He did it. Elliot, that’s incredible. All of this came out of his brain or yours?
Elliot Denniberg: Well, both, I did the writing and he did the arranging and the production.
Andy Ockershausen: Right, he followed you.
Elliot Denniberg: Yeah, he’s amazing-
Andy Ockershausen: World-class.
Elliot Denniberg: … amazing guy. And, anyway, it was great, that whole period of time.
Andy Ockershausen: You had a wonderful, wonderful ride.
Elliot Denniberg: No kidding. It was just absolutely fabulous. And another big break came in the nineties when we got Buick and we were one of … We started out at the local Buick dealers, “Nobody, nobody but …” Who was that?
Janice Iacona Ockershausen: Ralph Brown.
Elliot Denniberg: Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. Ralph Brown. Yeah, that’s right. Ralph-
Andy Ockershausen: It used to be Otho Williams, but .
Elliot Denniberg: I remember it was a little after that. And then, anyway, we were lucky enough to pitch our agency against it was about 120 agencies that were all vying for regional business, and we lucked out to get one of the four slots, so we handled Buick dealers regionally all over the country. And it lasted until Buick said, “Okay. Give it all to the national agency. Give it to McCann.” And it was all over-
Andy Ockershausen: GM did that.
Elliot Denniberg: GM did that-
Andy Ockershausen: I remember . . .
Elliot Denniberg: … to all their agencies.
Andy Ockershausen: I know, for all their accounts.
Elliot Denniberg: In ’99, to all the brands.
Andy Ockershausen: We lost a lot of money, I’ll tell you that.
Art Monk Buys Denniberg’s Agency
Elliot Denniberg: That makes two of us. And Art Monk’s agency, which was Cactus, he bought my agency. And then I was, didn’t know-
Andy Ockershausen: I remember that.
Elliot Denniberg: Yeah, Dan Corrigan, Art Monk. I had some nice lunches with Art. And, after lunch, I would make a ball of a lunch bag and say, “Art, go down deep by the end of …” I wouldn’t do that. And it was a great ride.
Andy Ockershausen: You’ve had such a remarkable career and I’m so delighted that you’re still kicking with us-
Elliot Denniberg: Yeah, me too.
Andy Ockershausen: … and you’re kicking back. You loved what you did and you love what you do now, right?
Elliot Denniberg: Absolutely.
Andy Ockershausen: And Elliot, it’s attitude, baby. Who was it said you gave me … something in your history was, “Your life is full of laughter and if you can laugh, you’ll live a long time.”
Elliot Denniberg: That’s the name of the game. Keep on smiling. That’s why some of the greatest comics live to be way up there.
Andy Ockershausen: It’s amazing that you’re alive, Brotman’s alive and the DIPS are dead. Elliot Denniberg, it’s a pleasure to have you.
Elliot Denniberg: Thank you, Andy.
Andy Ockershausen: This is Our Town. It’s been a wonderful thing. You’re such an important part of where we’ve been-
Elliot Denniberg: Thank you.
Andy Ockershausen: … and I hope you’re going to be an important part of where we’re going.
Elliot Denniberg: I hope so. Thanks so much.
Andy Ockershausen: Andy Ockershausen. This is Our Town.
Announcer: You’ve been listening to Our Town, Season Three, presented by GEICO, our hometown favorite, with your host, Andy Ockershausen. New Our Town episodes are released each Tuesday and Thursday. Drop us a line with your comments or suggestions. See us on Facebook or visit our website at ourtowndc.com. Our special thanks to Ken Hunter, or technical director, and WMAL Radio in Washington DC for hosting our podcast, and thanks to GEICO. 15 minutes can save you 15% or more on car insurance.
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