MY MANNY STORY
Everybody has a Manny Gordon story. Manny died Thursday night at the age of 97. His funeral service was today at 1PM. Working in Public Relations and Media, I had the opportunity to meet the man many times. I don’t think he ever remembered my name but he acted like he did and that was fine with me. I’d see Manny and his wife eating dinner and really was awe struck by how long they were married. They were a joy to see. When Manny’s wife passed on, the widower would eat dinner out in the downtown and other area restaurants. One of his favorite places was Allanti’s in Kingston owned by the Passeri family. In 2000, I acquired a job at Cable Rep Advertising after working in radio at Rock 107 and WARM Radio. On my client list was Allanti’s. The client was formerly Joey Shaver’s so I had big shoes to fill. For the uninformed, Joey Shaver in addition to being a member of the WARM Sensational Seven was also one of the best media reps in the area. When I met with Rachel and her mother, the Passeri’s said they wanted to reshoot their TV commercial. They suggested that we prevail on Manny Gordon to return as spokesman for the restaurant. We made the proper arrangements and were going to reshoot the commercial.Putting together a TV commercial on a local basis is both exhilarating and a challenge. We populated the elegant dining room with “extras”. One of those extras was a young woman who was a friend of mine from the Scranton area. She had a modeling portfolio and we (Cable Rep) put her in a few local commercials. Her picture, located in the Photo Index is a representation of how she looked in 2000. She looked quite, quite young. As we set up the shots, it was decided that Manny would be paired up with my model. Other people were in shots at a booth, tables or by the cappuccino machine. As the shoot progressed, my producer, Denise Bass called me over and seemed concerned. “Look at that shot, Manny looks great, he looks happy but that girl doesn’t look like a dinner partner, she looks like a granddaughter,” she said with concern. We appraised Manny of the change and he took it in stride like the professional he was. My model though was not happy because she bragged to her family that she would be in a commercial with the great Manny Gordon. “This is the first time in history an older woman is replacing a younger one in a TV commercial” she said in despair. Since it meant so much to her, I enlisted the aid of one of Allanti’s waiters, Ullysis. (Yes that was his real name). The young man donned a sport coat and sat at a table with the young aspiring model. The cameras rolled and in no time Manny echoed his signature “Enjoy, Enjoy” and that was a wrap. As I chatted with my clients and the crew tore down, Manny ambled over to the young lady. He told her, “I just want to tell you how proud I was to be in this commercial with you. Thank you!” My model was both stunned and pleased. The older model, who sat with Manny in the shoot said, “What a sweet guy!”. Manny retorted, “Nope, I’m just a regular guy like everyone else.” Since his passing there were many words used to describe the life and persona that was Manny Gordon. Regular was not one of them.Here’s that commercial, notice the young model in the second shot and Manny's signature tag at the end!