Howard Hughes

Denny Hatch is the author of six books on marketing and four novels, and is a direct marketing writer, designer and consultant. His latest book is “Write Everything Right!” Visit him at

Howard Hughes used to house some of his space-age airplanes in a hangar in an industrial area of Los Angeles. These days, a different kind of mad experimental genius can be found in Hughes' old playground, which is now unofficially in Silicon Beach. Inside are cutting-edge green-screen and motion-capture equipment, a mini theater, editing rooms loaded with monitors, lots of sleek nooks and catwalks, even a dance studio straight out of Saturday Night Fever. There's a main studio marked by lighted signs warning "On Air"—ironic, since nothing produced here ever actually goes on air

The king of high-end tchotchkes (Richard Thalheimer, former CEO and chairman of The Sharper Image) and queen of low-end tchotchkes (Lillian Vernon) have been dethroned. Lillian Vernon and Sharper Image—two iconic catalogs—were known to have been struggling in recent years. Their bankruptcies were expected. That they were announced on the same day is astonishing. How could this happen? Both Vernon and Thalheimer launched businesses without paying their dues. Ultimately, neither of them knew what the hell they were doing. Lillian Vernon’s Story In 1933, Lillian Katz’s family fled the Nazis. They left Leipzig, Germany, for Amsterdam, and four years later were lucky enough to

No industry in the world is so completely peopled with whiners: * Book publishers whine because they are forced to eat 35% of the products they send out in the form of hugely expensive returns. * Authors whine because publishers don’t promote their books. * Book publishers and authors whine because newspapers do not review their books. *Newspapers whine because book publishers are putting their advertising dollars elsewhere, so, in retaliation, they drastically cut the number of reviews they carry. *Book critics whine because with fewer and fewer venues for their work, they are deprived of places to show off how much smarter

Writing in Wired, Jeff Howe gleefully called the shadowy British graffitist, Banksy, “the most wanted man in the art world.” In this dreary politically correct world, Banksy’s pranks represent catnip for the rest of us. Banksy’s finest work to date has got the entire city of Bristol, England, his hometown, into a lather over whether it should go or stay. A Brief History of Pranksters Jim Moran (1907-1999). I remember seeing press agent James Sterling (Jim) Moran when he was a guest on Jack Paar’s late-night talk show, where I used to be an NBC page, hired to squeeze fat tourists into thin seats. The bearded, deadpan Moran

Who Speaks for Your Company? The new General Motors strategy of offering employee pricing on all new models resulted in a 47-percent sales increase in June. Ford promptly followed suit. Chrysler went them both one better by not only offering employee discounts but bringing back Lee Iacocca--the man who saved the company in 1982 and became its spokesman--to do the TV commercials, complete with the line he made famous, "If you can find a better car, buy it." In 1955 Ogilvy & Mather dreamed up the idea of using the CEO of Schweppes USA, the elegant, bearded Commander Edward Whitehead, as the centerpiece of

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