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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 couldn’t remember having bought in the past two years, but knew I just couldn’t 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 I’d 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.


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