Sunday, May 23, 2004

Wink blog.

I have to digress a little from my account of Michigan, since I ended yesterday with a reference to Wink Martindale, the very model of a third-tier celebrity, and whom I was surprised to hear on AM radio en route to Detroit last week. Anyone who knows me will realize that I’m not much given to celebrity adulation – in fact, I think it’s a kind of mild dementedness, or in some pathetic cases, not so mild.

Names, by contrast, are fascinating, and Wink’s got a great one for his line of work. One I’ve always liked. Sometime in late 2002, we were having some kind of informal meeting (there were seldom any other kind) in my office, and an industry executive’s name came up – Bob Smith, John Jones, something like that. Some name shared by thousands and thousands of people, and my comment was, “Well, not everybody can be named Wink Martindale.”

The youngest member of the staff, Angie -- who no longer works in my office, and who got married in Iowa yesterday, by the way -- had never heard of him. The older members then told her about his days in the game-show realm, which is pretty much is how he’s known, even though it’s been some time since he did them. I wasn’t sure if he was still alive. He’s that sort of celeb.

Efficient and curious, Angie soon found Wink Martindale’s website, Wink’s World, and determined that he was not only among the living, but still a showman. She sent him an e-mail saying that her boss had mentioned him, and not too many days later we received two autographed photos of Mr. Martindale, one a standard publicity shot, the other of him in a tux next to an electronic game called Wink’s Slots-O-Luck. From Wink’s site:

“Mikohn Gaming Corporation has announced the development of the first in a new line of innovative video slot games, starring Wink as emcee. These machines will utilize Mikohn's patent pending knowledge-based gaming format as part of the company's Think Big! slot series. These new games will not only feature the Wink Martindale name, but also his image, likeness and vocal talents.”

I have to say, that would catch my attention in a casino. But probably not my coins. Wink must not have been doing a radio show in ’02, but he is now, a show with a slightly pretentious title, “The Music of Your Life,” which clams music from “the 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s.” Some kinds of songs and not others, of course.

Anyway, we taped the two photos above the bulletin board near the reception area where Angie sat. Every now and then, a visitor would make an odd expression and ask either, “Who is that?” or “Why is Wink Martindale on your wall?” The real answer to that second one was, because this is a mildly eccentric office, just like the editor.


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