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Sunday Morning / Jane Pauley
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June 13, 2021 1:25 pm

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Sunday Morning / Jane Pauley

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June 13, 2021 1:25 pm

Many things have changed in the 54 years since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled, in Loving v. Virginia, that laws banning interracial marriage are unconstitutional. Today, at least 19% of new marriages in America involve spouses from different ethnic or racial groups. But that doesn't mean that the difficulties they face have disappeared. In our cover story, Rita Braver talks with couples whose relationships and children still draw uncomfortable conversations about racism within families across every social and economic level, and about how their love ultimately conquers all. The actor and singer who was featured in the original cast of Lin-Manuel Miranda's smash hit, "Hamilton," now stars in the film version of Miranda's first Tony Award-winning musical, "In the Heights." Anthony Ramos talks with Kelefa Sanneh about life in Brooklyn before "Hamilton," Latino representation in musical theater, and the joys and distractions of filming in New York's Washington Heights. At 73, the bestselling author of horror and suspense has adapted his 2006 novel "Lisey's Story" into an Apple TV miniseries. Stephen King talks Jane Pauley about maintaining his prodigious output; what his early success with "Carrie" meant for his mother; and how a box left behind by his late father changed the course of his life. Bored with Zoom calls at work? You can book a goat from the Cronkshaw Fold Farm in England to crash your online business meeting, Imitiaz Tyab talks with the farmer whose affection for silliness has made mini-celebrities of her caprine charges. For years, Richard Montanez sold his own American success story: while working as a janitor at a Frito-Lay factory in California, he cold-called the company CEO to pitch the snack food hit Flamin' Hot Cheetos. There's just one problem: Flamin' Hot Cheetos were already on store shelves. Montanez talks with Lee Cowan about how this snack food creation story has become as messy as the chips' orange coating.

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Let's partner for all of it. Learn more at Good morning. I'm Jane Pauley, and this is Sunday Morning. Love and marriage. It's complicated. And as our Rita Braver found, all the more so for couples who are interracial, this morning she looks at love, marriage, and race. Half a century after the legalization of interracial marriage, mass media is awash in interracial couples. That's lovely. Let's eat. But in real life, there were places and still are places. 20 years later, we're not comfortable going because you know their thoughts on interracial couples.

I head on Sunday morning when love does conquer all. He's the king of horror. But at age 73, Stephen King says he's slowing down a bit.

Not that you'd notice. Prolific master of horror and suspense, author Stephen King has kept generations up at night. Or was it in my imagination? Now, Lisey's story, adapted for TV, starring Julianne Moore. Your output is like the score of a professional basketball game.

I sit down with Stephen King ahead on Sunday morning. It's the eternal snack time question. Salty or sweet? For Lee Cowan, the answer is salty and hot. Flamin' hot. Flamin' hot Cheetos, anyone?

They come in varying degrees of hotness. Cheetos with a kick. For decades, the story behind their creation involved one bold phone call.

Who let the janitor call the CEO? The spicy controversy behind Flamin' Hot Cheetos, later on Sunday morning. California has a Sunday profile of a Broadway star who suddenly center stage at the movies. Anthony Ramos, star of In the Heights. Jim Axelrod has a subscription to some classic old magazines. Erin Moriarty offers an appreciation of late and legendary attorney, F. Lee Bailey.

Plus, Steve Hartman and more. It's Sunday morning, June 13, 2021. And we'll be back after this. 54 years ago this weekend, the United States Supreme Court struck down all legal barriers to interracial marriage. We've come a long way since then, but as Rita Braver reports, there are some barriers that still remain. When friends introduced Carlos Brock to Tanya Bohannon in 1996, they both just knew. Oh man, it was just something about her, the vibe that she put out.

I was like, that's what I want to marry. He was really nice. He was different than anybody that I had ever dated before.

He was just very genuine and kind. When your parents realized that you were seriously interested in someone from a different race, what was their response? My mother wasn't, she was cool with it, but there are some still today don't accept it, but we don't care. Sorry, I still get emotional. It's been many years. Who gave you a hard time about it? I don't want to say, but it was someone very close to me that basically just disowned me. The Brooks married in 2000 with their daughter Lexi in the wedding party.

It was just about being happy with each other. But even today, Tanya, who is a mail carrier. I need five barbecue sandwich. And Carlos, who owns a food truck. What do you want, the barbecue or the ribs? Barbecue.

All right. Say there are still places in their hometown of rural Toccoa, Georgia, where they know they are not welcome. And people, even supposed friends who can make unsettling comments. People always feel it necessary to say that they're not racist, you know, to us. And that they don't teach their children to notice color or anything. But in the same 30-minute conversation, the man says, but if my daughter came home saying that she was dating a black man, I wouldn't approve of it. Unfortunately, it's just still so normal.

But some things have changed in the half century since the Loving versus Virginia case, when the U.S. Supreme Court declared that laws banning interracial marriage are unconstitutional. It felt so great. I feel free now. Nowadays, you can hardly open a magazine. Quite the pair. Just like us. Or turn on the TV without seeing interracial couples.

English, please. Are you getting married? According to the Pew Foundation, at least 19 percent of new marriages in the U.S. now involve spouses from different ethnic or racial groups, up from 11 percent in 2000. And the General Social Survey found that only one in 10 Americans would oppose a close relative marrying someone of a different race or ethnicity. But that doesn't mean that tension has disappeared. Are interracial marriages more difficult?

They can be, because they're more multilayered. There comes into play a lot more barriers than what a non-interracial couple will have to face. With a Ph.D. in couple and family therapy, Racine Henry frequently counsels interracial couples.

She says that no one should be surprised by what Meghan Markle recently told Oprah Winfrey about the royal family's reaction to the impending birth of Markle and Prince Harry's son. So we have in tandem the conversation of he won't be given security, he's not going to be given a title, and also concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be when he's born. No matter how much status or money or privilege you might have, racism is always going to find you. Henry says that message echoes the racism shown by many families across every social and economic level.

Because we can't have a mixed-race child in our lineage? Yeah, because it means too much to us that our bloodline is going to look very different than what it's supposed to look like. And she says at this moment in history, many interracial couples in the U.S. are feeling increased anxiety, with heated public debate on issues involving racial justice, immigration, even direct attacks on minority groups. What do you say to the couple to try to diffuse something like that? Well, I first try to validate the partner who feels aggrieved. And I think it's a powerful moment for the white partner to realize that their feelings are secondary, their partner's experiences, whether they agree with them or not, needs to be taken as serious and as true as their own experiences are.

Case in point. I realized about myself that I do need to learn in order to be more supportive. Brian Law and Vidya Rao say in the early days of their relationship, he often didn't understand when she felt that someone had been disrespectful to her at least in part because of race. I'd be all upset and huffing and slamming the door and pissed. And he's like, wait, what just happened?

It's been over the course of eight years of me being honest when these things happen, pointing them out. The best thing about him is that he was open to that and he did learn. Now living in L.A., they met while working at a media company. He was from a Louisiana Catholic family. She was a Hindu whose parents were born in India. Do you think as you were growing up, your parents had expectations that you were going to marry someone else of Indian descent? It was sort of a given, you know, my parents had an arranged marriage and they literally met for the first time three hours before their wedding.

But Vidya and Brian's parents all accepted their decision to marry. Still, she informed him that he needed to show appreciation for her mother's Indian cooking. One of the first times I did meet her family, her mom made me dosa. And dosa, you eat with your hands and just dug straight in and did it.

I think that is part of my southern culture is that we eat with our hands. He ended up going four rounds, which my mom loved. I mean, that was the key to her heart. Little love, little love. Tim Long, a pianist and conductor who grew up in Oklahoma's Muscogee Creek Nation and Chris Herbert, a classical singer from Connecticut, fell in love over their love of music. Although we have completely different backgrounds, there was something that connected us pretty immediately.

Their families mostly approved with Chris's aunt, Martha Stewart, throwing them a fabulous wedding party. But along the way, I had a family member who made a stereotypical derogatory action. I don't even want to describe it because it adds power to it.

With this one specific one, I was quite angry. It led to a lot of conversations between the two of us. It eventually opened up a great conversation with the family and it brought us closer together. Now married for 11 years, they're still adjusting to each other's ethnic traditions.

I was trained as a child. When you meet somebody new, you smile at them, you ask them lots of questions about themselves. That's largely a Caucasian American manner that you smile when you don't necessarily mean it. And I don't think many indigenous people decide to smile.

They smile when the emotion calls it up. Long and Herbert have decided not to become parents. But for many interracial couples, the issue of children brings its own set of joys and challenges, especially worries about how their children will be treated, which brings us back to the Brock family and daughter, Lexi. Kids in middle school are mean. And so then it's like, you're too white or you're too black or you're a mutt. A mutt?

Yeah. How did you react when people said stuff like that to you? It hurt, you know, at first. And like, why are we not good enough, you know? Because my skin's tan.

That's your justification of that, you know? But the number of multiracial Americans is steadily rising. And so is the visibility of bi or multiracial role models.

First Barack Obama and now Kamala Harris. When they called the race, you know, and they were all outside. I mean, that was monumental for me.

I saw little tiny girls crying, but like, I cried too, you know, because that was the first time. And the Brocks and other interracial families nationwide understand that history is marching with them because in the end, love really can conquer just about everything. What's been the great part of your relationship for both of you?

We just have a good time. The greatest thing for me about it is, I would have to say the happiness. Before there were smartphones, we still had plenty of information available at our fingertips in magazines. Jim Axelrod speaks with an unusual collector whose passion is in pages. I grew up in the era where when you're on the cover of Life, you've made it. It's the greatest thing ever.

The boldest of boldface names. You could call Dr. Steven Lamezzo America's most passionate collector of magazines, but that would be underselling. It's one thing to develop a hobby.

Yes. It's another thing to have that hobby mushroom into a situation where you own 83,000 magazines. That's true.

That's right. 83,000 magazines, 7,000 different titles. A collection he started after stumbling into an old bookstore in Chicago while in medical school. It had the first issue of Look magazine.

At least that's what they said. And sure enough, I look inside and it says, Look magazine, volume one, number two. And I said, what was number one?

And the dealer says, we don't know. Well, that hooked me. Dr. Lamezzo has selected 200 from his collection recently on display at the Grollier Club in New York City. The exhibit, now online, Magazines and the American Experience, looks at how we used to conduct data searches for more than two and a half centuries. These days, if you want some information, you turn on your phone or you turn on your laptop and you Google a term and you say, OK, I want to hear about Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Ten pages come up.

In the early days, what did you do? You went to Life magazine and you say, well, let's find articles about President Roosevelt. So Time and Life and Newsweek and Look and People and Sports Illustrated. This was the Internet before the Internet.

Absolutely. That's where you went when you wanted to get information. They're all here from a New York Weekly Journal dating to 1733 to the 19th century intellectual Bible still published today. From rarities like the Hobo News to Norman Rockwell covers for the Saturday Evening Post to magazines covering every hobby, sport, issue, interest and type of humor.

They're all represented. The one that comes off the top of my head is people with a hand fetish. There's a magazine for that. There's magazines for everything. There's always a magazine. American magazines attract great interest abroad. There's something very democratic, I think, about the magazine.

They've always been a sort of glue, says the exhibit's curator, Julie Carlson. That held communities together, especially marginalized ones, and gave them a voice. History is written by the victors, but they are usually standing on a platform of many other people whose stories maybe aren't heard. And when you look at magazines, because they were a little bit more informal, everyone could make them.

So you have all these voices and you see a really complete picture. Take the Harlemite from 1963. If you ask a lot of people what was happening in Harlem at the 1960s, they might think of civil rights unrest that was happening at that time, when in fact, here you have this wonderful magazine of literature and music and just shows a thriving arts community, which completely disrupts that narrative. Or one magazine, which advertised science and satire on its cover, but was actually America's first magazine for gays. It's very plain, it looks like you're just reading a regular digest, so it says a lot about what you were allowed to be seen reading at the time and how sneaky perhaps you had to be to get the information you wanted to get when you couldn't just open a private browser on your computer. And yet for the people reading it, it may have been a bit of a lifeline.

Exactly. Magazines gave our culture a place for Hemingway to first publish and photojournalism to take root, The Atlantic turned Paul Revere into an icon by publishing Longfellow's poem about him, and Harper's Bazaar vaulted cover girl Lauren Bacall into Hollywood royalty. Looking back on it, magazines were important at the time, but it takes someone like Stephen to collect all of them to be able to look back and say, oh wow, they really served a bigger purpose than maybe we fully appreciated. This exhibit sort of feels a little bit like a wake. Well, this is actually in a way the epitaph of the printed American magazine. But Steve Lamezzo had a great run ever since that day nearly half a century ago when that dealer described the mythical look magazine volume one number one often talked about, but rarely if ever seen. I've seen three of them in my life. I own two of them now. Of course you do.

Yes. Hamilton ranks among the most successful musicals in Broadway history and introduced us to a galaxy of new stars, among them, Anthony Ramos. In our Sunday profile, Kelefa Sané finds Ramos hoping his star will also shine in the heights. Let's get this guy in front of a crowd. Just six years ago, Anthony Ramos made Broadway history as an original cast member of Lin Manuel Miranda's runaway hit Hamilton.

When I'm rapping and I'm doing this verse and I'm past patiently waiting and passionately smashing every expectation, every action, every act, every creation, every moment, every expectation, I'm laughing in the face of casualties and sorrow for the first time I'm thinking past tomorrow and I'm not throwing away my shot. I meant every word of that. He was 24 with dual roles. First abolitionist John Laurens. It's like he's got that energy.

So it was, I had to bring that out every day. Then Alexander Hamilton's son, Philip Hamilton. He's smooth, you know what I'm saying?

Or he's got a little more swag than, than John, you know, and his kid grew up in money, which I didn't relate to personally. I always say, oh, I'm moving here. I'm moving there. I ain't going nowhere. He's a Brooklyn guy, but this summer in the film In the Heights, he'll be seen singing and dancing in a different New York neighborhood, Washington Heights in upper Manhattan.

There's a breeze off the Hudson. Just when you think you're sick of living here, the memory floods in. It was almost like I was home and we doing this like mad emotional scene. And this dude goes out his window. There had to be maybe like two or three in the morning and we're all racing candles and people crying. And then we, they call cut and one guy goes, this better be the last take.

This better be the last take. It's a film version of Lin-Manuel Miranda's first Broadway musical. Ramos plays Usnavi, the local bodega owner. He's the narrator of our story. You know, like so many bodega owners are, right? These guys see everything and they hear everything. And this is a word that if people who aren't from New York don't know it already, they're going to learn it if they watch In the Heights, bodega.

Yeah, bodega, the corner store. And this is a character that, you know, you see something in, right? That I felt like I related to this guy, you know.

Growing up, Ramos, whose family is Puerto Rican, says he noticed there weren't many Latino roles on Broadway. I mean, we had half of West Side Story. And then, you know what I'm saying? And then you got In the Heights, maybe like Nana LaMasha, maybe, you know, right? And that's it.

Well, you know, I had teachers telling me, you know, change the way you speak so people don't really know where you're from. And I was believing that. That is what you had to do.

Anthony Ramos Martinez, along with his brother and sister, were raised by their mom in public housing in Bushwick, Brooklyn. It was a lot of violence. It was a lot of, you know, it was a lot of drugs. Is that how you perceived your neighborhood and your world when you were a kid, as being kind of scary? Yeah.

Yeah. Kids were getting jumped, stabbed. It was all types of crazy.

It was wild. You know, you're just trying to walk home. You're like, I'm getting followed. Like, so that was like my motivation, too, growing up. I was like, yo, I got to like, I got to, I got to, I got to work. I got to work.

He had two obsessions. Baseball. You know, it's funny. They used to call me franchise. Yo, franchise, franchise.

Because my dad played, my brother played. And music. Ramos and his cousins recorded their own songs using an old computer. We stay up all night writing these songs and trying to record them. And we had this little mic that extended.

I mean, barely extended from the back of the screen. And like, you had to like, lean over to like, get your take in. And then you had to be mad quiet when you pass the mic to the other person. And then like, it's one o'clock.

My aunt's knocking on the door. We're like, yo, we almost had that take. In high school, he found acting, accidentally. He thought he was auditioning for a talent show, but wound up as the lead in the school musical. I was playing the role of Zeus. And I had this like cardboard, like Burger King type crown with like a blanket, like for like a royal cloak. It was like almost like a, like a light bulb moment in my life.

Like I was on stage and I just, I felt so free. You're like, if I can get a slightly different costume. I might get a slightly different costume and a different song. We in the mix.

When he attended a two-year conservatory, the costumes did not improve. They're like, okay, you got to put on these ballet tights and these tap shoes. And I'm like, record scratch sound. Record scratch, my G. I was like, what? I was like, I was wearing basketball shorts for the first two semesters.

After finishing school, he got by with small roles, but he remembers the moment when he got a call from the producers of a new show initially called the Hamilton Mixtape. Anytime you get a two-one-two number, you're like, oh, hold up. Something might be going down. Hold up. That's Manhattan.

You know what I mean? That's Manhattan. Hey Anthony, you know, we want you to be a part of Hamilton's mixtape. And, and boom, that was how I got involved with Hamilton. Raise a glass to the four of us.

Tomorrow there'll be more of us. Hamilton made Ramos a star, but he might never have gotten there if In the Heights hadn't hit Broadway first. You know, In the Heights was like the show that kept me believing because I was like, yo, I don't know where I fit in in this musical theater world.

Why? Because that made you realize that there was a possibility that someone with your life, with your story could, could find a place. Yeah. I mean, I'm sitting there watching the show about people singing and dancing and speaking about things that I grew up knowing.

And they sound like me. One of the main characters is Nina, who leaves the old neighborhood to find her own path. For Ramos, it's a familiar journey. She's also talking about the pressure that she feels. A thousand percent. Do you feel that pressure?

For sure. Because any minute you feel like you lose it, you know? Especially when you grow up feeling like one good thing happens and two bad things happen. You know, it's wild. Sometimes I feel like, you know, I'm the one who made it out.

I'm a part of a group of people who can tell the stories. At 29, Anthony Ramos has lots of stories to tell. He's a recording artist about to release his second album. And he's a busy actor. If you didn't see him in A Star Is Born, or Godzilla, King of the Monsters.

What the hell is someone going to do with a giant worm? Maybe you heard his voice in Trolls World Tour. But right now, he says it's good to be home. Are you happy to be Usnavi for this summer? Yeah, yeah. This is the dream role, man.

This was my dream role. And you might never have to pay for anything in a bodega ever again. I'm not sure about that. I'm not sure about that. I'm not. New Yorkers, they ain't like making their money. They're like, yo, I love you in that movie.

$20. I'm like, I don't know about that. For more from this week's conversation, follow the Takeout with Major Garrett on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. And now, the passing of famed criminal attorney F. Lee Bailey. Erin Moriarty offers an appreciation of the man who won and lost some of the biggest trials of the 20th century. Last week, I was supposed to sit down for an interview with F. Lee Bailey that would have aired on this program. But as most of you probably know, Bailey died on June 3rd.

He was 87. For many lawyers like myself, F. Lee Bailey was the one you wanted to emulate. Or, if you were charged with a crime, the one you wanted to hire. If any of you should ever commit a murder, my guest tonight is your man.

Just write to F. Lee Bailey, care of the station, send lots of money. Francis Lee Bailey gained that reputation by winning trials, beginning with the case of Sam Shepard, the Ohio doctor, who became the inspiration for the TV series and movie, The Fugitive. I didn't kill my wife. Shepard, who was in prison for killing his wife, blamed the murder on an intruder. Bailey won him a new trial and convinced the jury to acquit him the second time around. Bailey was equally comfortable before a judge or a TV camera. He once even hosted his own television show called Lie Detector.

If you've been falsely accused and would like to take a lie detector test on national television, call me on our hotline. He was charismatic, but could also be arrogant and abrasive, and was once censured for what a judge called his extreme egocentricity. No one could win them all, and Bailey had some spectacular failures. He was Patty Hearst's lawyer when she was convicted of bank robbery. Hearst later accused Bailey of bungling her defense and drinking during the trial. And then came the trial of the century. Effley Bailey was part of O.J. Simpson's dream team.

Can you tell me just yes and no, were any racial slurs used in that experience that day? His cross-examination of Detective Mark Fuhrman helped Simpson get that not guilty verdict seen by the entire nation. But in recent years, Bailey was less a role model and more a cautionary tale. When Bailey was ordered to turn over a client's assets and refused, he was disbarred in Florida and in Massachusetts.

The man who once owned airplanes and several homes, filed for bankruptcy in 2016. Effley Bailey couldn't practice law anymore, but he could still write about it. In this new book, he planned to take his case to you.

He just ran out of time. How will he be remembered? You'll have to reach your own verdict. It's a tale both tantalizing and tasty.

And at its center, some flaming hot Cheetos. Here's Lee Cowan. I've never failed a test in life. Richard Montañez. He really likes his superlatives. I'm probably the most uneducated, brilliant person you will ever meet. There's one.

Here's another. I'm known as the godfather of Hispanic branding. Why Hispanic branding? Well, because Montañez claims to be the Willy Wonka behind one of the spiciest and best-selling snack foods on the market. Flamin' Hot Cheetos. Flamin' Hot Cheetos, anyone? Flamin' Hot Cheetos. It's no small thing because Flamin' Hot Cheetos are an industry well beyond just the snack food on it.

Gee, there's no fire here. Just Flamin' Hot Cheetos. They're featured in fashion shows, internet memes, the Flamin' Hot Cheeto turkey, even recipes for Thanksgiving turkeys. Voila. And they remain front and center in stores, along with their traditional Cheeto brethren.

You don't have to reach up and you don't have to bend down. Top seller. The Genesis tale, at least as told by Richard Montañez, goes like this. He and his wife Judy invented the spicy sensation right in their own kitchen, back when Montañez was a factory worker at a Frito-Lay plant in Southern California.

My whole life I'd been told that I was mentally incapable, that I was mentally challenged because I thought different. So that kind of stuck with me like a great idea can come from anywhere, any place, anyone. PepsiCo, Frito-Lay's parent company, initially went along with the origin story, at least publicly. After all, this bootstraps kind of tale was pretty good for the brand.

That's Montañez touting Flamin' Hot in the Blue Room at the White House. But even he says PepsiCo warned him to keep those superlatives in check. Because they would even tell me, Richard, in your speeches you need to say it was a team effort. But in reality, it never was. If you want to go ahead and say it was a team effort, I'll give you that. But in my heart, had nothing to do with the team. He was promoted up the corporate ladder during his career, retiring from Frito-Lay in 2019 as a director, working on Hispanic marketing. But it wasn't an easy trip to the top, he says. I remember one director said, you're never going to get into marketing. You have to have an MBA.

You don't even have a high school diploma, so give it up. Did you think it was racism? I think it was a type of racism, you know, of color, but also pedigree. He sat down to write a book about his career as the snack foods creator, Flamin' Hot.

But on the eve of its release, the LA Times published the results of a year-long investigation. Yep, a reporter spent a year digging into Flamin' Hot, which showed that the popular snack food we all know today was more than likely developed at Frito-Lay's headquarters in Plano, Texas. Not the humble kitchen of the Montañez family. Maybe they did.

What I had was what I had. I don't know what you're talking about. Some members of the team that says it developed the recipe for Flamin' Hots are in fact Flamin' Hot mad at Montañez for taking credit. That said, it's not a debate that's exactly going to crumble Western civilization, but there is something instructive about his story that many, especially in the Latino community, say is worth hearing. Before the Cheeto dust hit the fan, he took us to his old neighborhood, on the other side of the tracks, as he puts it.

This had the coldest beer in Southern California. As poor as he was, he knew when he got his first job at Frito-Lay, as a janitor, he better make it count. It was my ticket, my chance. If I got that job, I would be set for life. I can go from the fields to the factories.

He was always thinking, mainly about ways to include people like him. It just kind of dawned on me, you know, who loved traditional Mexican spices. I mean, everything you need to create a spicy flavor is right here.

All this stuff is, you know, this is home. But what to put those spices on? One day, he saw a street vendor selling elotes, corn, sprinkled with chili powder. I looked at it, I'm like, oh, oh my gosh, this is so good.

Oh, oh my God, that looks like a Cheeto. Not knowing or perhaps not caring about the consequences, Montañez says he cold-called the CEO of Frito-Lay directly, a man named Roger Enrico. Did you ever think twice about dialing that phone? Yeah, but I didn't know what protocol was, you know. I mean, it's like, I don't think I could spell the word at the time, let alone know what it meant, you know. Were you amazed that he picked up the phone?

Oh, totally. Enrico died in 2016, but we talked with his executive assistant who remembers the call like it was yesterday. After all, it was pretty extraordinary. Who let the janitor call the CEO? His bold pitch to the top executive seems to have happened.

The question is, when did it happen? Montañez says he made that call in 1991, but by that time, PepsiCo says it had already trademarked the name Flamin' Hot and was test marketing the product in select cities. Now, if he knew that, why would he pitch a product already in existence? If he didn't know it, then maybe it's a case of great minds think alike, a worthy idea that someone else had before him. In the first of several statements to a hungry press, PepsiCo said, we do not credit the product creation to him and him alone.

But later stated, we attribute the launch and success of Flamin' Hot Cheetos and other products to several people who worked at PepsiCo, including Richard Montañez. I never thought I'd have as much as I have now, so I'm very thankful. So, where does that leave us?

This is my grandkids' delight. His book detailing his achievements, minus the questions about them, is still being released next week. And there's a postscript.

Actress Eva Longoria is set to direct an upcoming film about his life. A huckster or a hero, one thing is clear, Richard Montañez is not about to apologize for what he thinks made him a Flamin' Hot Success. Would you do it all over again? Absolutely.

Absolutely. Steve Hartman now, with a story of burnin' love. Bride and groom Elizabeth and Jake Landon say their wedding was like a fairy tale.

Was. The ceremony was perfect. You may kiss your bride. Everything we could have dreamed of until... So, my dad was doing his father of the bride speech, and just a minute in, he was interrupted by some of our guests. Holes on fire. And that was the end of that. The cottage right next to their wedding venue on Mackinaw Island, Michigan, caught fire and everyone had to evacuate the area. This is a picture of the newly-fleds abandoning their reception. I didn't know where we were going.

I just figured we had to walk away from that. So we just started heading towards the church. The church where they'd just been married. This time, they prayed for everyone's safety. And in the end, no one was hurt and even the building was saved. Seemed like the only thing that couldn't be salvaged was their wedding day.

But, unbeknownst to the bride and groom, while they were in that church praying, angels were swooping in from all over town. We needed to step up and do the right thing. First, the chef at the venue took all 120 meals, which were only partially prepared, and instructed his staff to get them out. We just ran with it. Ran those meals to the restaurant next door. We just cooked it, sauced it, and off down the street it went.

Down the street to a resort that had an event space available. Everyone offered how could they help. And we started just pulling everything that we had. And what they didn't have, yet another restaurant provided. So we got it all on a card and pushed it down Main Street. That's the other thing.

Mackinac Island doesn't have cars, so this whole migration was done manually, powered by sheer will and the kindness of strangers, like the bellhop who volunteered to be a bartender. And because of everyone's efforts, in less than an hour, the bride was back to blushing. And what did you charge for this help? Nothing. I didn't charge him anything. Nothing.

No. To have them pick up a reception out of ashes in a very literal sense made the wedding better than we ever could have imagined, and one that we don't necessarily recommend. It's a day and an experience that we'll cherish forever.

A perfect wedding, after all. Stephen King is not only a gifted author, he's also one of our most prolific. And with more than 350 million books sold, his fans are everywhere. King himself, however, is Maine, through and through. In Bangor, Maine, mythical lumberjack Paul Bunyan still commands pride of place.

But the top tourist attraction is a stately old Victorian, guarded by a wrought iron fence adorned with bats. We're all big fans of Stephen King. Ruth Whitted and her family drove all the way from Ohio to see it. Once you start, you can't put the book down. Glenn Ahlers rode up from New York City to pay homage.

Certainly the way that he paints Bangor in it, it's a masterpiece. Aren't you going to say hello? In the chilling 1980s bestseller, It, Evil, taking the form of a clown, Pennywise, is stalking children. At the end of my street was the storm drain. And I was like, oh, my God, I'm going to die. At the end of my street was the storm drain where Georgie meets Pennywise. Scared the witch out of me.

When Steve bought this house. But today, James Tinker guides tours of King's World. He writes in a way where we can understand the characters, understand that we're like them, and also can see how things can go in a pretty terrible way sometimes.

Was it my imagination? This month on Apple TV, Julianne Moore stars in Lisey's story, the grieving widow of a popular author of horror fiction. Talk to me. I have visions.

I write them down and people pay to read them. King wrote the teleplay based on his 2006 bestseller, a world of dark imagination, sometimes beautiful, often terrifying. And my introduction to King's World. I scare easily. I don't relish it. You're not a roller coaster girl. No, sir. Me either. You're not? No. No, you see, the thing is, I build the roller coasters.

That doesn't mean I have to ride on them. And he's built a lot of them. Your output is like the score of a professional basketball game. Leaving aside the stories, movie adaptations, and teleplays, he's written some 80 novels, two this year. Still, at 73, King claims the words don't come like they used to.

You force yourself to get going, one sentence, two sentences, three, and little by little, you enter that other world. Do you write every day? Yeah. Which includes today. Yeah. You wrote today.

I did. I'm glad we didn't interrupt. Where in the cycle are you of book production? Well, I finished a novel and I am letting it marinate a little bit. You have to get away from it a little while.

It's too easy if you finish something and go right back to it. To either say, this is terrible. Or what's even worse, to say, my, I really wrote a good job. This is great.

I'll probably win the Pulitzer Prize for this. So when you let the book marinate, you don't take a rest. Sometimes I do, but it's not a happy rest because my wife will say, get upstairs, do something, get out of my way, you know, because I want to do something.

Get out of my way, you know, because I wander around the house like a, like a lost thing. Tabitha King is also a respected novelist. They've been married for 50 years. I love my wife like crazy. And I always have going back to the beginning. She's my equal in many ways and my superior in many other ways. So I love her. I depend on her and those things all played a part in the book.

I don't know how to do this without you. King says Lisey's story is not modeled on their marriage. But 20-some years ago, Tabitha was nearly widowed when he was struck by a minivan while out for a walk. Your wife, Tabitha, almost lost you in that accident. She almost lost you again to pneumonia. I wanted to write a little bit about grief and about the longing and the missing a partner. And you're right, I did almost die and she did almost lose me. I'm always touchy about going into the similarities because Lisey's story is a fiction, but also because marriage is a secret and it has to stay that way.

There's the public life and then there's your real life. Writing has made Stephen King both really famous and phenomenally rich. But he grew up poor. Your mother was a single mom. Her life was hard and harsh, but you were blessed with a mother who noticed you were special and gave you, at the age of 12, a typewriter. My mother gave me room to be what I wanted to be. She didn't laugh about the ambition to write stories.

Nellie Ruth Pillsbury King died at age 60 of cancer, but lived to see his first book, Carrie. The hardcover advance was small, but the paperback advance was small. The hardcover advance just bowled us over. It was like $400,000 in 1974. It was a huge amount of money and my brother and I talked a little bit about it. And we went to the Pineland facility where she worked. She was in her green uniform, green rayon uniform. Never told this story before, but she was stoned. She was stoned on over-the-counter medication. She was in excruciating pain by that point. And my brother and I, we said, Mom, you're done. There's enough to take care of you now because the book sold for a lot of money.

And you can go home. And she just put her hands over her face and cried. His father, a merchant seaman, skipped out when Stephen was only two. He has no memory of him. But he left that box. A box in the attic that would change his life. There were like cocktail napkins from Tokyo, little hula hula dolls from somewhere in the South Pacific. There were those things.

But there was also an H.P. Lovecraft book and it showed this horrible green monster rising from a broken open grave in a graveyard. And I thought, this is it. You know, whatever it is, something chimes in you. And you say, I found something that resonates with my soul. Do you know most of us don't ever find that thing? I don't know if that's true.

No, I know that is true. To be fortunate enough to find the thing that you love, spark, and be good at it. And the world wants you to do as much of it as you possibly can. That's the trifecta. And that is so rare. One of the things that I've tried to do is to keep my imagination young. And keeping that spark alive, decade after decade, that may be the secret. Thank you for listening.

Please join us when our trumpet sounds again next Sunday morning. This is Intelligence Matters with former acting director of the C.I.A., Michael Morell. Bridge Colby is co-founder and principal of the Marathon Initiative, a project focused on developing strategies to prepare the United States for an era of sustained great power competition. The United States put our mind to something we can usually figure it out. What people are saying is that the United States is the only country in the world that has the power to do the right thing. And that's why we're here today. Please put our mind to something we can usually figure it out, what people are saying and what we kind of know analytically and empirically is our strategic situation, our military situation is not being matched up with what we're doing. Follow Intelligence Matters wherever you get your podcasts.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-29 04:54:03 / 2023-01-29 05:12:15 / 18

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