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#173 Twitter Layoffs
Denny Hatch -- Direct Mail Expert Denny Hatch -- Direct Mail Expert
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Philadelphia, PA
Wednesday, November 9, 2022




#173 Blog Post - Wednesday, November 9,2022


Postedby Denny Hatch


If You (or a Friend) Workfor Twitter,
This Sad, Sad Story May Be Helpful


This one-shtick comic became the second most famous man in America—no kidding! 

Two years later tragedy struck the country, he was out of a job andvanished.


In 1961, Vaughn Meader, was a 25-year-old kid just out ofthe Army. He started out honing his act and earning a meagre living as asinger/piano player in little clubs and bars around New York. He tried spicing uphis act with comedy material and was getting a few laffs.


Born and raised in Waterville, Maine, Vaughn had a NewEngland accent. In one of his seedy venues someone pointed out to him that hisvoice sounded exactly like that of America's newest national heart throb,recently elected President John F. Kennedy. Vaughn began injecting Kennedyimpressions into his monologues and creating a minor sensation in the little ginmills where he landed performing gigs.


Enter the Wizardry of Earle Doud

In 1958-1960 I was a  student at Columbia Collegeand had a part-time job nights and weekends as an NBC page. A regular part ofmy beat was arriving late in weekday evenings at NBC's Hudson Theater on West44th street where I was stationed at the stage door or worked at seatingaudiences for the great Tonight Show host/comedians—Steve Allen, ErnieKovacs and Jack Paar as well as guests performers such as Jonathan Winters andJackie Gleason. At the theater was always a gaggle of comedy writers hoveringin the background providing funny lines for the cast and looking to be paid bythe joke. Among them: Mel Brooks, Woody Allen, Carl Reiner and a good-lookingdude, Earle Doud.


                                                    Earle Doud (1927-1998)

Over his career, Doud wrote Jokes for a Who's Whoof American television comedians of the time—Jackie Gleason, Johnny Carson, SidCaesar and so many more. That year, 1962, Doud was tipped off about a guyaround town who was doing spot-on impersonations of President Kennedy. At asmall club he attended a performance by Vaughn Meader. He was dazzled by theJohn F. Kennedy impersonations and immediately began providing jokes. Asampling of the Doud-Meader collaboration:



The similarity was truly uncanny. Here's the realPresident Kennedy:



Doud began writing jokes for Vaughn Meader and the youngperformer began generating notoriety and appearing in larger venues such as collegesand town halls. Here's part of a routine:




Earle Doud finally bit the bullet and wrote afull-fledged comedy album that was a good-natured spoof of the saintedKennedys. (None of the vicious vitriol of today's satire on, say, SNL and latenight.)  Doud and his partner, writer and television producer Bob Booker,persuaded a small recording company (not, for example, RCA, Columbia orCapitol), Cadence Records that specialized in the spoken word (as opposed tomusic) to produce it.


The recording session took place on October 22, 1962,with Vaughn Meader as President Kennedy and Naomi Brossart as First Lady JacquelineKennedy.



A Boffo Blowout!!!

TheFirst Family became the fastest selling record in history.


TheFirst Family sold one million copies a week in the first six weeks.


• It was #1on the Billboard 200 charts for 12 weeks.


• By Januaryof the following year 7 million albums had been sold.


• Excerptswere a craze on radio nationwide.


•Everywhere—on radio, TV, at dinner tables and in bars and restaurants—thememorable punch lines from The First Family were being quoted bydelighted Americans.


• Meader'scareer took off like a rocket with features in TIME and LIFE, with liveperforming gigs all over the U.S. including guest appearances on top-ratedtelevision (e.g. The Ed Sullivan Show). What's more, Vaughn played topacked houses in Las Vegas.


• In short,twenty-five year-old Vaughn Meader had become the second most famous man inAmerica.


TheFirst Family won the Grammy for Best Album of the year 1963.


• JackKennedy was so amused that he bought 100 albums to give as Christmas presents.


• When TheFirst Family Volume Two was released the original had already sold morethan 7.5 million records.


• EarleDoud—along with his freelance writing jobs—created a mini cottage industry ofsimilar records: Welcome to the LBJ Ranch, Lyndon Johnson's Lonely HeartsClub Band, The First Family Rides Again (Ronnie and Nancy Reagan) and SpiroT. Agnew Is a Riot.


Meader's World Ends with a Bang—
Not a Whimper, November 22, 1963 

Actually itwas three bangs in six seconds from an Italian Mannlicher-Cacanomilitary rifle fired at a presidential motorcade from the sixth floor of theTexas School Book Depository on Dealey Plaza in Dallas.


A drifternamed Lee Harvey Oswald assassinated the glamorous, beloved young president inperhaps the single most shocking event of the 20th century (along with the Japanese sneak attack on Pearl Harbor).


"Immediatelyafter Kennedy's assassination on November 22, 1963, producers Booker and Doud,along with Cadence president Archie Bleyer, pulled both albums from sales andhad all unsold copies destroyed so as not to seemingly "cash in" onthe President's death. Both albums remained out of print until they werefinally re-issued on CD together in 1999. John FitzgeraldKennedy—A Memorial Album, collecting the late president's best knownspeeches, was released on 12 December, sold at 99 cents, profits to the JosephP. Kennedy Foundation, within six days it claimed sales of 4 million, breaking TheFirst Family's record." —Wikipedia


Abbott Vaughn Meader was Lee Harvey Oswald's second victim.


Meader's career never recovered.



"VaughnMeader, 68, who gained fame satirizing John F. Kennedy's presidency in themultimillion-selling album "The First Family," only to have his starplummet when the president was assassinated, died Oct. 29 at his home incentral Maine after refusing to be taken to a hospital. Sheila Meader, hisfourth wife, to whom he was married 16 years, said he had chronic emphysema.With Kennedy's death, his acts were canceled and stores pulled the album. Hisfamous friends no longer associated with him. Mr. Meader said he turned toalcohol and started using cocaine and heroin. After a period of drifting, hereturned to Maine in 2002, where he wrote and played bluegrass and countrymusic and became known for his honky-tonk performances in small bars." —AssociatedPress Obituary, Monday, November 1, 2004; Page B07


SPECIAL BONUS: A Link to the Full
Legendary Recording, The First Family.


Takeaways to Consider:
The Twitter Connection


• What doesVaughn Meader's story have to do with Direct Marketing and especially Twitter?




"Somebodywho knows only one direct marketing skill, whether it's art direction,copywriting or list management, does not even know that properly." —MartinGross


VaughnMeader's life and career became tied to John F. Kennedy. Kennedy was Meader's"shtick"—a word in used in Jewish theater meaning "gimmick, comicroutine, style of performance, etc. associated with a particular person."


• Meader was a "one trick pony" (which I called a"one-shtick pony" earlier in this blog post).


• Meader was the other victim killed by Lee Harvey Oswald'sgun. His entire act went from humor to horror in six seconds in Dallas. Hiscareer was deader than Kelsey's nuts.


• And he had no other skills. (Okay, Meader could play thepiano and sing, but so can millions of others).


• Not only was Meader out of work. He was a pariah.


Now think of Twitter.


• Elon Musk, the world's richest person ($208.3 Billion)—aspecialist in automobiles and space exploration—bought Twitter, a giantcommunications company for $44 billion.


• Musk's very first action as the dilettante, know-nothingowner of Twitter was to fire half the staff—3700 employees with incomes,mortgages, families to feed.


• How many of these 3700men and women now walking the streets (and maybe forced to move back in with their parents) have expertise in a narrow specific jobin a unique, one-of-a-kind giant company that's not part of any recognizedindustry (e.g. chemicals, manufacturing, advertising, retail, hospitality)? How many are one-trick ponies relishing the yuppie corporate culture and being one-trickponies?



Meta, the parent company ofFacebook, said it was laying off more than 11,000 workers after a steep slidein digital revenue and profit.
—NewYork Times, November 9, 2022 6:18 AM ET


• My advice to one-trick ponies: CYA. Moonlight.



I had nine jobs in my first twelve yearsof working after getting out of the Army. Most of the guys who hired me—somewere family friends and relatives—gave me a warning. "By the way, nomoonlighting," they said. "If I find you moonlighting, you're fired.You work for [company name] now and we expect absolute loyalty and 110% of yourtime." I never dared to moonlight (even though I had some offers). I wasfired from five of those first 9 jobs. I was a damned fool. 



• DavidOgilvy on Moonlighting


Memo to Directors


January 17, 1973




It gives them experience.


It gives them more sense ofresponsibility.


It increases their income—at no cost tous.


I learned this dodge from Dr. [George]Gallup. He paid us miserably, but encouraged us to moonlight.


Rosser Reeves [legendary advertisingcopywriter] did a lot of it. So did I. One year I made more—farmore—moonlighting than I did at the agency. And it sharpened my wits.


Anyone who opposes moonlighting is apettifogger.


Only two rules. Chaps must not moonlighton competing accounts or for other agencies, and they must not be caught doingthe work in office hours.



• If you do moonlight,don't dare tell anybody in your company. 


• Ideally do your moonlighting in atotally different industry.


 • Remember, if youmoonlight and get fired from your regular job, you're still working.


"Rightnow, the latest data shows that we have over 10 million job openings inthe U.S.—but only around 6 million unemployed workers. We have a lot of jobs,but not enough workers to fill them. If every unemployed person in the countryfound a job, we would still have 4 million open jobs."
— Stephanie Ferguson, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, October 31, 2022




Word count: 1661





The Most Fun You Can Have
In the English Language
At age 15, Denny Hatch—as a lowly apprentice—wrote his first news release for a Connecticut summer theater. To his astonishment it ran verbatim in The Middletown Press.He was instantly hooked on writing. After a two-year stint in the U.S. Army (1958-60), Denny had nine jobs in his first 12 years in business. He was fired from five of them and went on to save two businesses and start three others. One of his businesses—WHO’S MAILING WHAT! newsletterand archive service founded in 1984—revolutionized the science of how to measure the success of competitors’ direct mail. In the past 55 yearshe has been a book club director, magazine publisher, advertising copywriter/designer, editor, journalist and marketing consultant. He is the author of four published novels and seven books on business and marketing.



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