My Dad, Jackie Gleason and CO2

by Karen Roane, New Destiny Marketing, LLC

My father, Robert Taylor, was head of Special Effects at CBS during the golden age of television. Live TV was the norm and even after careful planning there was always the possibility of the unexpected happening.

As my father tells it Jackie Gleason was playing one of his characters “The Poor Soul.” The set was designed so that an old fashioned radiator would spew “cold water” after Jackie hit it with a hammer. The water was actually spray from a rigged fire extinguisher so the effect would look more dramatic (Jackie’s idea). That night the linoleum floor of the stage grew especially hot under the stage lights. When the CO2 shot out onto the floor it created a thin layer of ice upon impact. Jackie took a step, flew up in the air and broke his leg.

Quick thinking Art Carney ran over, grabbed Jackie and quickly pulled him off of the stage. The audience thought it was part of the act and laughed hysterically.

I am reminded that small business marketing is a little like live television. There is always the possibility you may save the day by quick thinking…and no one may be the wiser.

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