Buzz

KFC: Korrupted Football Coaches?
In these dark days of cynicism and profiteering, we always figured that if there was one thing that couldn't be bought--a moral constant, if you will--it was former Dallas Cowboys coach-deity Tom Landry. (Oh sure, he's been in a couple of ads, but those were for medical insurance or old-folks homes.)

So, imagine Buzz's surprise when Landry turned up on the tube with a Kentucky Fried Chicken gimme cap on his head shilling for Pepsico.

Ha. Ha. What a concept. What's next, Bob Dole in a Calvin Klein cologne ad?
Of course, you're saying, "Give him a break. A guy's gotta make a buck--besides it's tied into Texas Stadium's 25th anniversary."

Yes, but we never thought we'd see Tom Landry turn chicken--even if it is Golden Roasted.

Baby-faced, buttoned-down Dallas school-board president Bill Keever has gone bad. Throwing caution to the wind, he bought a cherry-red Harley-Davidson hog. "I just wanted to do something totally out of character," he explains. "My life is full of responsibilities. This is my one concession to irresponsibility."

Considering Keever accepted the helm of the Dallas Independent School District board--which includes obligatory waltzes with the New Black Panthers--buying a motorcycle and riding it blindfolded would have to be considered the safest thing he's done in a while.

The big cheese
Once again, Dallas is the test site for something truly frightening. Dallas-based ShowBiz Pizza Time Inc., which brought the world Chuck E Cheese's, is going to update the technology that has delighted/frightened kids for 20 years. (For those who have never been to Chuck E Cheese's, suffice it to say that adults who have no longer fear hell.)

"We felt it was time to take a look at our entertainment value and really try to bring it up into the '90s," ShowBiz's Vice President of Entertainment Jim Newberry ominously told Nation's Restaurant News. (Buzz wonders if ShowBiz Pizza's stockholders are concerned at all about a management team that announces that it's bringing the business "into the '90s" in late 1996.)

The "new" Chuck E Cheese's being tested in Dallas include a multi-unit stereo-video with two rear-projection screen systems, a giant animatronic rodent (with 22 movements), laser disc technology, and "intelligent" lighting. "The showroom also includes computerized lights and movements from items that an inventive pack rat might have put together," says Newberry.

Chip and Dale meet Bill Gates is what comes to our mind, and it doesn't get scarier than that.

The modern-day Geppettos at ShowBiz Pizza must really love kids to go to such technological lengths to entertain them. And we're sure hanging onto that $2.3 million second-quarter profit has nothing to do with it.

As we all know by now, it takes a village, so it's always illuminating to follow the strategies of capitalists when faced with our most vulnerable population.

The article explains the hardware update was forced by competition from McDonald's and Discovery Zone. ShowBiz is repositioning its restaurants to provide more "perceived value." Is that like what you get when you buy one of those "Rolexes" from a New York street vendor?

Giving "Just Do It" new meaning
During a visit to Texas' Coffield Unit of the Tennessee Colony (that's bureaucratese for the Joint), we couldn't help but notice some of the prisoners' arts and crafts handiwork that was on display. In particular, we appreciated some hand-worked black leather belts, decorated with colorful Nike swooshes and the words "Just Do It." Unless this particular guest of the state is licensed by Nike, we feared, copyright infringement is being perpetrated in our maximum-security prisons.

Of course, what's Nike going to do, put the guy in jail?

--Glen Warchol

 
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