Last week’s post about the “good old days” in Atlantic City got a response from someone I hadn’t heard from in many years. Bill Windsor, whom many consider the father of the “imprinted sportswear industry.” He held the first trade show in Dallas in 1977 and it took off from there. Things were different back then, I guess you could call it a simpler time, when competitors sometimes shared hotel rooms to save costs and heat printing was in its infancy. You may have already read his comment, but just in case here it is:
From Bill Windsor
Hi Ted. Long time no see. I have fond memories of all the early shows. The best was pulling off the first show in Dallas. I rented the entire Dallas Convention center and reserved 1500 hotel rooms. I had no money to speak of, so I went to the desk in the corner of the master bedroom in our duplex in Atlanta and sold my butt off. Close to 5,000 people showed up, and the industry was born.
In Atlantic City, I remember Jeff Cohen of PhotoLith had two girls walking around who brought a whole new meaning to a T-shirt and shorts. Funny what we remember.
There was often some disaster that we had to deal with at shows — fire that closed our headquarters hotel in Vegas; show directories falling off the back of a truck and exploding all over Los Angeles; speaker passing out face down on the podium in London; Darth Vader appearance drawing such huge crowds in Anaheim that the folks coming to the show couldn’t find a parking place or get through the crows; not enough food on the riverboat in New Orleans, and all 1,000 people on the boat knew I was the one in charge!
I thought of you last week. I was in a sign shop in Marietta, Georgia, and I looked up and saw a Stahls’ box. I first bought from Stahls in 1971. Barbara and I miss all you guys — what great memories!