THE PAT SAJAK - DAN MILLER "TRAFFIC SOLUTION"
BY DAN MILLER
(originally posted September 27, 2005)
That's right, Pat and I made West End Avenue safer for everyone.... and here's how.
At the intersection of West End Avenue and 25th Avenue South, where Elliston Place begins, there was -- for many years -- a traffic light mounted on a big pole, standing right in the middle of the intersection.
Even into the mid 1970s, it stood.
I cannot imagine why the city had never moved the traffic signals onto lines above ground, and demolished that pole.
It was a frightening thing.... big and looming, with traffic zooming all around it.
From time to time, cars would scrape it, or slam into it..... and yet it prevailed.
A friend of ours, Gene Clark -- who operated Spotland Studios -- was the catalyst for finally getting it moved..... but it might not have happened without the brave actions of Pat Sajak and me.
It was around 1975 or so, when Gene crashed into the pole and was badly injured.... serious internal injuries.
Gene was recovering in the hospital, and had just been removed from intensive care.
That's when Sajak and I decided we should pay him a friendly visit.
Of course, we wanted to make our visit "special", so we stopped and bought a couple of those Groucho Marx party glasses -- the kind with the big nose and mustache.
As we nonchalantly walked into Gene's hospital room wearing our disguises, he started laughing - and coughing - and hacking - and wheezing - and turning an unnatural color.
The nurses didn't seem to be amused by our clever masks, and suggested perhaps Pat and I should leave.
Then, to our horror, we learned that Gene was back in intensive care.
Weeks later, Gene assured us that the timing was purely coincidental, though I'm still not convinced.
But I do know this.... primarily because Gene Clark was so badly hurt, city leaders decided it was time to remove that monster traffic pole, and to hang the lights overhead.
So the next time you pass through that tricky intersection next to Centennial Park, you'll know you're safer because Pat and I took the time to personally draw attention to Gene Clark's pain and suffering, by sending him back into intensive care.