As with any group of friends in high school or college, we had our share of drinking songs. The songs were fairly simple and stupid old-time tunes. While we were playing the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Jethro Tull, Moody Blues, the Who and such, but when it came to singing, our choices were “Coney Island Baby”, “This Land is Your Land” or any equally mind-numbing ditties. Our favorite song to sing though was a jingle for a local jewelry store.
A man named Bill Savitt owned the store. You couldn’t drive a mile on I-84 without seeing a billboard of Bill. His store advertised on TV and radio constantly. When Chester Fields and I recorded a take-off of the old Dragnet show, we used an actual commercial of Savitt Jewelers from TV. It stated, “I’m sure you all know Bill Savitt, a man who has been standing on his head for 35 years to give you the best deals…” In those days, no local guy could afford video or film for a commercial. It would be a simple picture or two, while the announcer read the script. This picture had Bill Savitt upside down to appear he was “standing on his head”. You can’t make this shit up, you have to experience it.
The jingle we sang went like this:
It’s such a beautiful site, when you look to the right…
Going south on the Charter Oak Bridge,
You’ll see The Traveler’s Tower and a whole lot more,
Like the Constitution Plaza and Bill Savitt’s Jewelry Store.
For weddings and birthdays and anniversaries-
Bill Savitt, He’ll have it, the perfect gifts for these.
You’ll find quality service, your dollar buys more
At 35 Asylum Street, Bill Savitt’s Jewelry Store.
Quite the tune, eh? Flash-forward in my life, and the year is 1992. I was working at WTIC radio in sales. WTIC had a morning man who at times had the largest audience in the country. His name was Bob Steele, and he was now in his eighties. A great man and a true gentleman. He was retiring, and I so respected the man that I got someone to take a picture of us together right after his final show. A few weeks later, they had this huge Retirement Party at the best hotel in Hartford. (I know that is like saying, “the smartest monkey in the zoo”…) That night I met Bill Savitt. He was a charming guy, about the same age as Bob Steele. I related the story to Bill Savitt that I just told you. He responded, “Do you still remember the jingle?” I responded, “Of course”. He asked, “Will you sing it with me?”
That was the night that 200 people heard me singing the Bill Savitt drinking song with none other than Bill Savitt. It wasn’t like singing “Yesterday” with Paul McCartney, but it was terrific fun.
Neither Bill Savitt nor Bob Steele are still with us. But, they were today, because they were in our post. Rest in peace, my friends. You will be long remembered.