The innovator of electronics sales, Eddie Antar died Saturday 8 September 2016. Many people thought the fellow that did the television commercials was the "real" Crazy Eddie. They couldn't be more wrong. A disc jockey, Jerry Carroll, on WPIX-FM, as Dr. Jerry, did the “Crazy Eddie” commercials.
When I was in high school, I lived in Plainview, NY. The first Crazy Eddie store was located in Syosset, a few miles north of I lived. My friends and I often rode our bikes to that store, just to see the new electronic equipment in stock.
The sales people weren't interested in helping high school kids, with no money. They ignored us, which gave us the run of the store. We looked, we touched and we turned sound up and down. We watched various things on television.
After all, the many, many Crazy Eddie television and radio commercials bombarded us. The commercials told us about the huge selection and great prices that Crazy Eddie offered.
Harry Spero, and advertising executive, and Jerry Carroll, the DJ, came up with the public face of Crazy Eddie. Their first commercial was originally supposed to end with "Crazy Eddie, the man is insane!" Eddie Antar took personal offense to tag line. He changed the tag to the now famous, "Crazy Eddie, his prices are insaaaaaaane!"
Years later, I moved to Westbury, NY, a few miles down the road from Plainview. Crazy Eddie opened a new store near the Roosevelt Field Mall, in Westbury. This store was bigger and better than the one in Syosset; I started to shop at this new store.
I remember one Christmas Day, with nothing to do, but Crazy Eddie was open! He was the first retailer to open on Christmas Day; you could hear the shouts of joy from all the Jews on Long Island. I went and bought an electronic humidifier that day. Yes, that was an exciting purchase.
Sometime in 1979, I think, while I was still in college, I remember hearing Jerry Carroll on WXLO-FM. The station nickname changed from 99X to FM99 under new Programme Director, Bobby Rich. I ended up calling Jerry and we became fast friends.
In fact, Carroll got me tickets to several events, including a concert at Parr Meadows Racetrack, in Yaphank, NY. Billed as the Woodstock Reunion Concert, some, not all, original acts were to perform. I went with a friend, his girlfriend and her sister. It was supposed to be a set up, but it didn't work out very well. The sister had an attitude problem that not even a bottle of wine could fix.
Then things started to get tough for Eddie Antar. The company went public, in 1984, at $8 per share. Two years later, the stock was worth $79 a share. The good times weren't going to last very long. In 1987, dissident shareholders staged a takeover of the company, and discovered $45 million in merchandise was missing.
At the same time, the federal government was building a case against Antar, for stock fraud. Sometime in 1989, federal prosecutors accused him and his two brothers of inflating the price of the company and skimming cash.
Antar fled to Israel, in 1990. He was located, two years later, and extradited back to the United States. He served almost eight years in prison before release.
In 2001, Antar tried to work with some former associates to bring Crazy Eddie to the Internet. It ultimately fell apart.
It was said that Antar was liked and admired by everyone within his company and how good a leader he was. That was before his dark side showed.
Somethings always live on. For example, the 7500 commercials Dr Jerry made for Crazy Eddie ... his prices were insaaaaaaaane!
Matt Seinberg lives on Long Island, a few minutes east of New York City. He looks at everything around him and notices much. Somewhat less cynical than dyed in the wool New Yorkers, Seinberg believes those who don't see what he does like reading about what he sees and what it means to him. Seinberg columns revel in the silly little things of life and laughter as well as much well-directed anger at inept, foolish public officials. Mostly, Seinberg writes for those who laugh easily at their own foibles as well as those of others.
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