Wednesday, October 6, 1999
of the year
By BILLY MURPHY
As we end baseball season and start football, our minds are all directed to stories of victory yanked from defeat. Thus I have compiled my Comebacks of the Year Awards for three entities that were up to their eyes in alligators and somehow have made it back into the canoe. They are an airline, a movie theater and a 70-year-old stud.
First up, is Airtran Airlines. Formerly Value Jet and much maligned (some deserved), Airtran has gone from the Milli Vanilli of air carriers to a solid, efficient, pleasurable ride. I used to love Airtran for nothing else but they kept down Delta's airfares in certain markets. But, over the past year, they have become solid in so many key areas.
Sure, it's important to stay on time with their flight schedules and they do, but Airtran gets high marks from me in other key areas, too. First off, you can get a free round-trip ticket after just six trips on Airtran, three if you charge your tickets on American Express. And do like me, I charge my Airtran tickets on my SkyMiles AmEx to get a double whammy.
No doubt about it, I love Delta, but they are the Microsoft of the South, resting on years of monopoly. And 25,000 miles before a free ticket? I can earn an Airtran ticket before the Delta pilots have brushed the lint off their blue blazers. In my book Airtran is a killer value and the clear-cut airline to be reckoned with here in Atlanta.
Next up and even more local, is Tinsletown 17 movies theater in Fayetteville. I gave them a big thumbs down a few months after they opened. They just didn't have their act together. And how hard is it to open the doors and take our $15 for snacks? Yet, in the last month or so, it's like the National Guard has arrived and taken control of the city. Service has improved with seemingly less people. The projectionist actually seems to stay and make sure the sound and focus are correct, which is amazingly simple, but before was rarely handled.
The key to this Cinemark's success has been a change of management. The manager from Cinemark Movies 10 (now a dollar theater) which ranked number one every time I have rated our local movie theaters, has moved to Tinsletown 17. Her name is Peggy, and thank her personally for bringing our one and only Fayette county stadium-seating theater to a level of quality that matches the price of admission. As good as the movie theater is becoming, though, even it can't soften the pain of watching Wild Wild West or The Blair Witch Project.
I should be writing lastly about Jim Morris, the 35-year-old rookie pitcher for the Major League Tampa Bay Devil Rays, but he never played baseball before, so technically his feat is not a comeback. Instead, I want to give the last comeback award to someone twice his age, 70-year-old Eddie Fisher. He has written a tell-all book about the women he conquered. The self-proclaimed Jewish Sinatra (Sinatrastein?) has come forward, naming all the famous women he bedded.
In an excerpt he claims, he knew, sometimes intimately, Ava Gardner, Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, Gina Lollobrigida, Brigitte Bardot, Joan Collins, Sue Lyon, Lana Turner, Margaret Truman. I don't know, at 70, I think most men recall that kind of list of women, don't they?
Yet, Eddie is big news again. Another quote on his exploits says, One wonders how he was able to find time to record songs between his bouts of passion. Well, how long does it take? Just a few minutes, right? I mean, to record a song.
Nevertheless, Eddie, what a comeback; after all these years, you have managed to bring yourself back into the spotlight and remind the American people just what a jerk and a joke you always were. May you get diaper rash from sitting too long in wet Depends.
[E-mail Billy Murphy at Billy@gretsch.com and visit his homepage at http://billymurphy.homepage.com.]