It was/is a great life.
I graduated from the U of A, and after being a dj at KTKT to pay for college, moved to Phoenix and got into broadcasting there, first radio and then TV. In 1972 I quit my last job and have been unemployed ever since.
I owned an advertising agency for many years. Then I moved to the merchandise business. I started the famous "Starving Artists" type traveling "Sunday only-hotel ballroom-nothing over $39-including frame" art sale. Did those all over the world. In the mid-80's I owned the first infomercial company, you know, those annoying half hour late night shows that sell all that junk. I just love starting businesses. Don't like to run 'em, just start 'em. As a matter of fact, I probably started over 100. You haven't heard about most of them because of the 100, probably 90 failed. Ooooh, but those other 10 were dandies. Also got back in the media business with ownership of radio stations and a newspaper.
Now, I live in Laughlin, NV, and have 5 stores at the Riverside Resort, number one of which is The Watch Man, "World's Largest Watch Store." It's a lot of fun. Bill Geist did a nifty feature on our store on the CBS Evening News with Dan Rather. (See the transcript below). Also I was on the national NBC Today Show, twice,live, broadcasting from our store during the fall/spring change to Daylight Savings Time. Forbes Magazine so graciously dubbed me The Sultan of Schlock. Being a ham, I just love it all.
My dad, Alvin, is 88 years old and still lives in Tucson. He's in great health. I have a daughter, Karen, who lives in Flagstaff. Some of you have met Renee Montrachet, my fiancee. We've been going together since 1988 and engaged since 1990. We don't want to rush into anything. She lives in Phoenix and has 5 horses. You know the term "healthy as a horse?" Don't you believe it. And, then there's Bucky "The Watch Dog." He appears in our commercials and is a real celebrity in Laughlin.
I love to travel, and I love to snow ski. But, lately I have been obsessed with the internet. For business, I have tried (and failed, so what else is new?) to make money on the internet. We couldn't do it ourselves, but we did via eBay, the auction site. We are their biggest watch dealer. But, besides that, I just love making websites! Like this one. It is not a business, just a hobby. I learned by making a personal one, www.raylindstrom.com. (Go there only if you have the insane desire to learn incredibly meaningless things.) The internet is such a fantastic media; a creative person's paradise.
My life has not been without problems. Me being a real jerk caused a divorce from my wife of 18 years, Diane, in 1982. Some of you Arizona lawyers may know her. She is an attorney active in the State Bar. And, then there was my 4 week stay with the wonderful Betty Ford at her nice resort in Palm Springs. The most important thing I ever did. Six years ago I had some heart problems and finally gave up cigarettes. That was the toughest thing of all. When Burt Schneider and I used to sneak smokes in the CHS parking lot, who knew then all the grief it would eventually cause. Nicotine has to be the most addicting thing there is.
I've been to all the reunions and think every one was terrific. I look forward to many more. I think CHS Class of 1959 was really special.
CBS Evening News with Dan Rather
DAN RATHER, ANCHOR: Well, this is the weekend most Daylight Saving time begins. Don't forget to adjust your clocks, watches, and VCRs as we spring ahead one hour in the wee hours of Sunday morning. It's a quick and simple procedure, usually.
For some, CBS's Bill Geist reports, it's a race against time.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) RAY LINDSTROM, THE WATCH MAN: And one, two, three, WOW! That stands for wheel of watches.
BILL GEIST, CBS NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Imagine a P.T.
Barnum of wrist watches. That would be Ray Lindstrom (ph), the "Watch Man." LINDSTROM: You're going to get a fine fun novelty watch.
GEIST: Ray sells more watches than anybody, anywhere, watches and clocks of every conceivable -- and inconceivable -- kind.
LINDSTROM: Twenty thousand watches and clocks, all under $20!
GEIST: Not on the Internet or at Tiffany's in New York, but here in a corner of a casino in tiny Laughlin (ph), Nevada.
UNIDENTIFIED WATCH CUSTOMER: Let me in, let me in!
GEIST: People stand in line...
LINDSTROM: Hey, thanks a lot for coming in, folks.
GEIST: ... and buy them by the basket full.
UNIDENTIFIED WATCH CUSTOMER: I'm taking a bus trip because I want to come to the watch store.
GEIST (on camera): So how many watches you going to get today?
UNIDENTIFIED WATCH CUSTOMER: Three today.
GEIST: Now, you might think that Daylight Saving time would be a nightmare for somebody with 20,000 or 30,000 watches to reset. But then, you don't know Ray.
LINDSTROM: Oh, you're going to do a fabulous job! You're going to turn all those hands! Watch man, Watch Man, Watch Man, Watch Man...
GEIST (voice-over): Ray whipped his team into a frenzy for an all- out assault on the hands of time.
LINDSTROM: On your marks, get set, turn those dials! Let's go!
GEIST: Talk about beat the clock. Twenty thousand watches to reset before Sunday.
UNIDENTIFIED WATCH MAN EMPLOYEE: You know, the fashion watches are more delicate. They're smaller. And they take more time to set. And then we have the dreaded LCDs, which nobody wants to do.
UNIDENTIFIED WATCH MAN EMPLOYEE: Sometimes we don't have any nails left by the end of the evening.
GEIST: There are setbacks, literally.
UNIDENTIFIED WATCH MAN EMPLOYEE: I was going backwards instead of springing forward, and I have to do it all over again!
UNIDENTIFIED WATCH MAN EMPLOYEES: Spring forward, fall back.
Spring forward, fall back.
GEIST: And a few signs of combat fatigue.
(on camera): Now, Ray could avoid all this by simply moving his store someplace that has no Daylight Saving time, like American Samoa, or right across the river here in Arizona.
(voice-over): But that would spoil all the fun. Time flies when you're having fun.
UNIDENTIFIED WATCH CUSTOMER: Oh, boy!
GEIST: Bill Geist, CBS NEWS, Laughlin, Nevada.