Remember Clara Peller?
Unless you were living under a rock -- or simply hadn't been born -- you couldn't have missed her back in 1984. She was the short and demanding octogenarian plucked from anonymity to star in a Wendy's ad campaign by simply barking out, "Where's the beef?"
Now, remember Jimmy Buffett? Of course you do. He's the most successful one-hit wonder in the history of pop music, a perennially bronzed beach bum whose live show is worshiped as a religious experience to millions of fans who proudly call themselves Parrotheads.
So what do Buffett and the late Ms. Peller have in common?
Absolutely nothing. But last week, when Caesars Atlantic City finally got around to announcing something we told you a month ago -- that Buffett would finally be making his Atlantic City debut -- I couldn't help but think of Clara Peller.
And here's why: Buffett, who has consistently spurned seven-figure casino paychecks here for almost three decades, will turn Boardwalk Hall into a giant beach party June 30. With his Coral Reefer Band behind him and about 13,000 backup singers joining him on his only No. 1 hit, the iconic 1977 anthem "Margaritaville," the 61-year-old singer, songwriter, author, businessman and philanthropist will provide the perfect launching pad for summer.
There's only one thing that could possibly make this show any better, and that would be a change in venue. Forget the Stones, never mind Streisand; Buffett's concert is way too big for a mid-sized arena like the hall.
In a perfect world, Caesars should do what it did with the Beach Boys on July 4, 1983, after America's band was banned by President Reagan's Interior Secretary, James Watt, from performing their regular Independence Day concert on The Mall in Washington, D.C. because he felt they attracted an undesirable element, namely -- gasp! -- pot-smoking fans.
Caesars jumped all over that big gaffe, hired the Beach Boys, put up a stage on the beach and made history and national headlines with a concert on a weather-perfect evening that drew more than 300,000 people. (Footnote to history: According to local lore, the boards used on the stage that night were actually part of the stage used at Woodstock in 1969.)
Instead of serenading a crowd who paid as much as $226 on Monday -- when the show nearly sold out in the first five minutes of the ticket sale -- for a seat in the hall, Buffett should be performing for hundreds of thousands of people on the beach. And I'm pretty sure that thought crossed the minds of the folks at Harrah's Entertainment, Caesars parent company, when they put the deal together.
There's just one small problem, and that's where Clara Peller comes into play. If she were looking down from hamburger heaven, she'd sum up the situation with a variation of her famous catch phrase.
"Where's the beach?" she'd demand.
Good question. Where is the beach? Oh, it's still there, not that you can see much of it from the Boardwalk with those hideous manufactured sand dunes that were pushed into place a few years ago to protect Boardwalk buildings from the ravages of winter storms and hurricanes. (Isn't that why people have insurance?)
The beach simply isn't wide enough in front of Caesars to erect a stage and provide some breathing room for the hundreds of thousands of people who would attend a concert there.
But the shrinking beach isn't Caesars' fault. Blame Mother Nature for that one. So let us all praise Caesars, not bury them, for getting another longtime Atlantic City holdout like Jimmy Buffett to finally sign on the dotted line.
Resorts announces deal with Jimmy Buffett to add a Margaritaville brand complex to casino including a year-round beach bar.
Now comes several unconfirmed reports that Buffett’s 2011 Fin Land tour will stop in Atlantic City in August, although no dates have been mentioned. Buffett’s Web site doesn’t include Atlantic City on the list of announced concerts, although his annual visit to the Camden waterfront is scheduled for June 23.