The Corner

Re: End of an Era

There’s some fun back story to the hula-hoop inventor’s obit Derb linked. The obit mentions the partner in the enterprise, “Spud” Melin, who passed away two or three years ago. Spud, in his retirement years, became a conservative donor, to the Heritage Foundation among others, and was quite the activist in southern California. It was at his Newport Beach home, 20 years ago now (eek!), that I met David Horowitz for the first time, for example.

As you might guess about someone who saw the marketing potential of the hula-hoop, Spud had an unusual imagination. He called me up one day back in the late 1980s with a new idea that would sweep America: he wanted to draft a petition of conservative principles that we’d get millions of Americans to sign — in their churches on Sunday perhaps. He wanted to call it: “Re-EValuating Universal Principles of Morality and Economics,” which, he pointed out, yielded the catchy acrynom, “REV-UP-ME.” (Bumper sticker to follow, presumably.) Now, how exactly do you tell the co-founder of Wham-O and the genius behind the hula-hoop that his idea is nuts? Answer: I didn’t. As you might guess, drafting the substance of such a petition became problematic, and while Spud persisted with the idea for some months, it eventually faded away. But who knows: Maybe the Huckabee campaign could make a go of it now.

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