J. Press customer Frank Sinatra famously warbled, “Regrets I’ve had a few.” One of my regrets to this day is that I wasn’t around to fondle a tape measure around the neck of drop-dead gorgeous movie star of the day Kim Novak when she visited J. Press in 1957.
Fresh off her role as the object of Sinatra’s lust and affection in the light-hearted musical Pal Joey, the beautiful Novak strolled in asking to see “those wonderful shirts you’re famous for.” Boy, would I have enjoyed being the guy who’s turn it was to take that sale! Unfortunately, the deed was done by a salesperson far more handsome than yours truly, Ray Solomon. Ray was a roustabout J. Squeeze star in our upstairs slot on the northeast corner of 44th St. and Madison Avenue. Measuring her up and down Ray never got beyond selling her half a dozen Oxford Cloth Button Down shirts along with a picture In Life Magazine.
The venture occurred in when I was at Dartmouth perambulating around the Seven Sisters (Smith, Wellesley, Vassar, etc.) attempting to bribe dates with Shaggy Dog sweaters. If I got past first base perhaps, I might favor them with an OCBD like Kim Novak’s. Sometime the ruse worked, sometimes not.
The wages of sin.