THE INTERNATIONAL Organization of Boosters Clubs has be come a world-force for optimism, manly pleasantry, and good business. Chapters are to be found now in thirty countries. Nine hundred and twenty of the thousand chapters, however, are in the United States.
The second March lunch of the Zenith Boosters was the most important of the year, as it was to be followed by the annual election of officers. There was agitation abroad. The lunch was held in the ballroom of the OHearn House. As each of the four hundred Boosters entered he took from a wall-board a huge celluloid button announcing his name, his nick name, and his business. There was a fine of ten cents for calling a Fellow Booster by anything but his nickname at a lunch, and as Babbitt jovially checked his hat the air was radiant with shouts of Hello, Chet! and Howre you, Shorty! and Top o the mornin, Mac!
They sat at friendly tables for eight, choosing places by lot. Babbitt was with Albert Boos the merchant tailor, Hector Seybolt of the Little Sweetheart Condensed Milk Company, Emil Wengert the jeweler, Professor Pumphrey of the Riteway Business College, Dr. Walter Gorbutt, Roy Teegarten the photographer, and Ben Berkey the photo-engraver. One of the merits of the Boosters Club was that only two persons from each department of business were permitted to join, so that you at once encountered the Ideals of other occupations, and realized the metaphysical oneness of all occupationsplumbing and portrait-painting, medicine and the manufacture of chewing-gum.
At each place was the Boosters Club booklet, listing the members. Though the object of the club was good-fellowship, yet they never lost sight of the importance of doing a little more business. After each name was the members occupation. There were scores of advertisements in the booklet, and on one page the admonition: Theres no rule that you have to trade with your Fellow Boosters, but get wise, boywhats the use of letting all this good money get outside of our happy fambly? And at each place, to-day, there was a present; a card printed in artistic red and black:
SERVICE AND BOOSTERISM
Service finds its finest opportunity and development only in its broadest and deepest application and the consideration of its perpetual action upon reaction. I believe the highest type of Service, like the most progressive tenets of ethics, senses unceasingly and is motived by active adherence and loyalty to that which is the essential principle of BoosterismGood Citizenship in all its factors and aspects.
Compliments of Dadbury Petersen Advertising Corp.
Ads, not Fads, at Dads
The meeting opened with the regular weekly stunts. Retiring President Vergil Gunch was in the chair, his stiff hair like a hedge, his voice like a brazen gong of festival. Members who had brought guests introduced them publicly. This tall red-headed piece of misinformation is the sporting editor of the Press, said Willis Ijams; and H. H. Hazen, the druggist, chanted, Boys, when youre on a long motor tour and finally get to a romantic spot or scene and draw up and remark to the wife, This is certainly a romantic place, it sends a glow right up and down your vertebræ. Well, my guest to-day is from such a place, Harpers Ferry, Virginia, in the beautiful Southland, with memories of good old General Robert E. Lee and of that brave soul, John Brown who, like every good Booster, goes marching on
Vergil Gunch thundered, When we manage to grab this celebrated Thespian off his lovely aggregation of beautiful actressesand I got to admit I butted right into his dressing-room and told him how the Boosters appreciated the high-class artistic performance hes giving usand dont forget that the treasurer of the Dodsworth is a Booster and will appreciate our patronageand when on top of that we yank Hizzonor out of his multifarious duties at City Hall, then I feel weve done ourselves proud, and Mr. Prout will now say a few words about the problems and duties
By rising vote the Boosters decided which was the handsomest and which the ugliest guest, and to each of them was given a bunch of carnations, donated, President Gunch noted, by Brother Booster H. G. Yeager, the Jennifer Avenue florist.
Each week, in rotation, four Boosters were privileged to obtain the pleasures of generosity and of publicity by donating goods or services to four fellow-members, chosen by lot. There was laughter, this week, when it was announced that one of the contributors was Barnabas Joy, the undertaker. Everybody whispered, I can think of a coupla good guys to be buried if his donation is a free funeral!
Through all these diversions the Boosters were lunching on chicken croquettes, peas, fried potatoes, coffee, apple pie, and American cheese. Gunch did not lump the speeches. Presently he called on the visiting secretary of the Zenith Rotary Club, a rival organization. The secretary had the distinction of possessing State Motor Car License Number 5.
The Rotary secretary laughingly admitted that wherever he drove in the state so low a number created a sensation, and though it was pretty nice to have the honor, yet traffic cops remembered it only too darn well, and sometimes he didnt know but what hed almost as soon have just plain B56,876 or something like that. Only let any doggone Booster try to get Number 5 away from a live Rotarian next year, and watch the fur fly! And if theyd permit him, hed wind up by calling for a cheer for the Boosters and Rotarians and the Kiwanis all together!
Babbitt sighed to Professor Pumphrey, Be pretty nice to have as low a number as that! Everybody d say, He must be an important guy! Wonder how he got it? Ill bet he wined and dined the superintendent of the Motor License Bureau to a fare-you-well!
Some of you may feel that its out of place here to talk on a strictly highbrow and artistic subject, but I want to come out flatfooted and ask you boys to O.K. the proposition of a Symphony Orchestra for Zenith. Now, where a lot of you make your mistake is in assuming that if you dont like classical music and all that junk, you ought to oppose it. Now, I want to confess that, though Im a literary guy by profession, I dont care a rap for all this long-haired music. Id rather listen to a good jazz band any time than to some piece by Beethoven that hasnt any more tune to it than a bunch of fighting cats, and you couldnt whistle it to save your life! But that isnt the point. Culture has become as necessary an adornment and advertisement for a city to-day as pavements or bank-clearances. Its Culture, in theaters and art-galleries and so on, that brings thousands of visitors to New York every year and, to be frank, for all our splendid attainments we havent yet got the Culture of a New York or Chicago or Bostonor at least we dont get the credit for it. The thing to do then, as a live bunch of go-getters, is to capitalize Culture; to go right out and grab it.
Pictures and books are fine for those that have the time to study em, but they dont shoot out on the road and holler This is what little old Zenith can put up in the way of Culture. Thats precisely what a Symphony Orchestra does do. Look at the credit Minneapolis and Cincinnati get. An orchestra with first-class musickers and a swell conductorand I believe we ought to do the thing up brown and get one of the highest-paid conductors on the market, providing he aint a Hunit goes right into Beantown and New York and Washington; it plays at the best theaters to the most cultured and moneyed people; it gives such class-advertising as a town can get in no other way; and the guy who is so short-sighted as to crab this orchestra proposition is passing up the chance to impress the glorious name of Zenith on some big New York millionaire that mightthat might establish a branch factory here!
I could also go into the fact that for our daughters who show an interest in highbrow music and may want to teach it, having an A1 local organization is of great benefit, but lets keep this on a practical basis, and I call on you good brothers to whoop it up for Culture and a World-beating Symphony Orchestra!
To a rustle of excitement President Gunch proclaimed, Gentlemen, we will now proceed to the annual election of officers. For each of the six offices, three candidates had been chosen by a committee. The second name among the candidates for vice-president was Babbitts.
He was surprised. He looked self-conscious. His heart pounded. He was still more agitated when the ballots were counted and Gunch said, Its a pleasure to announce that Georgie Babbitt will be the next assistant gavel-wielder. I know of no man who stands more stanchly for common sense and enterprise than good old George. Come on, lets give him our best long yell!
As they adjourned, a hundred men crushed in to slap his back. He had never known a higher moment. He drove away in a blur of wonder. He lunged into his office, chuckling to Miss McGoun, Well, I guess you better congratulate your boss! Been elected vice-president of the Boosters!
He was disappointed. She answered only, Yes Oh, Mrs. Babbitts been trying to get you on the phone. But the new salesman, Fritz Weilinger, said, By golly, chief, say, thats great, thats perfectly great! Im tickled to death! Congratulations!
Babbitt called the house, and crowed to his wife, Heard you were trying to get me, Myra. Say, you got to hand it to little Georgie, this time! Better talk careful! You are now addressing the vice-president of the Boosters Club!
Pretty nice, huh? Willis Ijams is the new president, but when hes away, little ole Georgie takes the gavel and whoops em up and introduces the speakersno matter if theyre the governor himselfand