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The Son Also Rises

Page 4 of 5

Vote for Ev!
An intelligent deduction
Vote for Ev!

Hall management used to have the song playing continuously on a tape loop, but the practice had to be stopped because of repeated complaints from Hall custodians. Moving right along, you can see less controversial car dealers and their offsprin~g. Long-time snooze-commercial king Lou GRUBB brought his son Dan into the firm some sixteen years ago. Dan, now 32, must have cut quite a figure on the lot at age sixteen, but we can only imagine. Dan's been providing Pepsi-generation commercial input for his dad for several years now, and we're all probably a lot calmer for it. The Grubb exhibit, featuring primarily subdued lighting, cooing homilies about the meaning of life with wimpy background music, does not smell like barn animals--unlike the next exhibit. Visitors used to get about this far in the tour and turn around. But then museum management installed a sign explaining that the mooing and snorting and fertile odors coming from the EARNHARDT family display are merely incredible simulations and not the real thing. Since the Earnhardt clan of nasal pitchmen bases its public image around real-live, rootin'-tootin' creatures with hooves, Hall curators thought it only proper to include some bull of its own. No, there's no denying the animal magnetism of Tex and his boys. And shoot, sons Hal and Jim Babe (can you tell which one is which?) do a mighty fine job running down those great deals on the teevee. For the record, Hal's title down on the lot is president. Jim Babe they call secretary-slash-treasurer. And that ain't no bull, Big Daddy.

The End Zone

Your visit to the Big Daddy Hall of Fame ends on an emotional high, with a short trip to the wild world of professional sports. The subject of the final exhibit carries a name familiar to many local sports fans: Bill BIDWILL. The Bill Bidwill most fans know is himself the recipient of a massive gift from Big Daddy. Charley Bidwill gave his boy a professional football team. Little Billy, a nerdly, bow-tie-loving lad, grew up to become the nerdly, bow-tie-loving owner of the Phoenix Cardinals. Billy himself married and had children, to whom someday he will gift the team--which as a corporate entity behaves essentially as a money-printing machine regardless of its competitive performance. An idiot can run a pro football team and make money. Several--no need to name names--do. One young Bidwill, Michael, is a recent law school grad who has been helping out some around the team. In a game a few weeks ago he helped strap tape on the exposed buttocks of one of the Cardinal players who had split his pants.

The family's oldest boy, Bill Jr., actually holds a title in team management. This 25-year-old heir to the Bidwill football fortune works in Big Daddy's scouting department, grading player performance and doing whatever it is that the team's pathetic scouting department does. Another of Bill Jr.'s roles crosses over into the public domain.

The videotape that visitors can watch at this exhibit repeats the closing credits of "Cardinals 1st and 10," a show the local CBS-TV affiliate produces and broadcasts each week during the season. Over and over visitors can watch Bill Jr. reap credit for acting as one of two "producers" for the Channel 10 show.

Of course, he does nothing. Visitors to tapings of the show report that Bill Jr. coolly eats dinner with his wife while other production personnel work frantically to prepare the set. Then he stands, squints his eyes and furrows his brow as he surveys the room. Then he wanders outside to lean in the doorway of C~hannel 10's production truck while others work feverishly at production chores.

Sure, station insiders and Cardinals' promotional personnel say Bill Jr.'s chief role is procuring players for show tapings. This is a task that requires not much dexterity beyond having your secretary dial a telephone and say, "Bubba, it's Ellie May calling for Bill Jr. Thursday night, 6:30."

But if the boy didn't have a good title (actually Channel 10's idea--incredible, no?) for a do-little job, if he didn't have a Big Daddy to sculpt a life for him, if he didn't have to face the next fifty years without once worrying about where his next high-performance automobile was coming from . . . he wouldn't command such a prominent position in the Big Daddy Hall of Fame, would he? This concludes your walking tour. We sincerely hope you've enjoyed your visit, and wish to invite you back again sometime. Until then we hope you keep this parting thought in mind: When it comes to the really great breaks in life, nothing beats picking good parents.

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Dave Walker