“You can’t hide your lying eyes.” Lying Eyes, Eagles
I rarely think about Pat Boone. Sure, as a kid, I may have found him mildly appealing, just as I perversely liked watching Myron Florin navigate the accordion on Lawrence Welk even as I devoured every Beatles record I could lay hands on. Wholesome entertainment has its time and place. And for Mr. Boone, I assumed that place today was Branson, Mo., that Mecca of middle of the road.
So it came as quite a surprise, if not shock, to discover that Pat Boone wrote a key chapter in legal history. On last week’s installment of NPR’s unfailingly clever “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me!,” hosts Peter Sagal and Carl Kassel devoted an entire segment to Mr. Boone. They quizzed their guests, the comedy/music duo Tenacious D (featuring actor Jack Black) about obscure factoids relating to a performer they called Tenacious B, none other than Pat Boone.
And among the revealed trivia was this gem: In 1978, Pat Boone became the first celebrity to accept responsibility for endorsing a product that failed to deliver as advertised. He’d appeared in an ad for an acne medication, telling consumers that the salve was a “real help” in keeping his four daughters blemish free. Turned out, that statement wasn’t true. Chastened when challenged by the FTC, Mr. Boone accepted personal responsibility and agreed to pay restitution.
So while he may have been willing to bend the truth for a paycheck, he at least had the integrity to make amends.
Boone not only set a precedent for decency in the face of culpability, he also helped set the standards for future celebrity endorsements. When an actor, athlete, or other entertainer endorses a product, they must make “reasonable enquiries” that claims are legitimate, and cannot say make claims that contradict what they’ve seen or know.
So it seems we have more to thank Pat Boone for than we thought. Not only did he popularize white bucks, he set the standard for not passing the buck.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters” ― Albert Einstein