Wine on my Hands
One day in the spring of 1977, I walked into one of the giant closets
off my master bedroom to find twenty-six cases of wine that I couldnt remember
having bought in the past two years, but knew I just couldnt live without. I also
had eighteen cases of Bordeaux futures about to be delivered in less than a year. I called
around to see if there was some wine storage space available.
Sure there was, in about four different places, and each one said the
same thing, "Three to four year waiting list." Instead of becoming frustrated I
thought, hey, this has to be a good business to go into!
So I rented a warehouse and had it insulated and air conditioned. With
a crew of three young fellows that I hired from the Department of Employment, in less than
three months we built six hundred lockers in four thousand feet of space. I thought
Id be there for several years, at most.
The Wine Locker
How proud my father would have been that I eventually went into
business. I dubbed it The Wine Locker, hired an employee, and trained him how to
run it. I spent hardly more than an hour a week at the place, and continued working in TV
and pictures while the storage facility brought in extra income.
I rented a cozy three-bedroom house near The Wine Locker, in Sherman
Oaks. One bedroom I converted to a study, and the other to a card room. And I got Cappi
back where she had a yard again.
The garage became my woodworking shop. Shows came in at a good clip. Television guest
shots were a breeze, the only trouble with them was taking something stale that had been
written a dozen times in other series with different character names and trying to put a
new spin on the part. That had become the real challenge of television acting.