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Cy Berman Jr Day

Posted by josh kilmer-purcell on


We've spent the last few years trying to correct the popular - but false - history behind the birth of Cyber Monday. By now you should all be aware that the real name of the day is "Cy Berman Day," named after Cyril Berman, an accountant a Pinchon, Bottham & Vamoose. (If you don't know that true(ish) history, click here.)

But even we didn't know that Cyril Berman had a son who (very nearly) changed the course of retail history! Our Beekman 1802 Historical Research Department has uncovered (read: made up) the following fascinating story...

Cy Berman Jr was the only child of Cyril Berman and his wife, Dorothy (affectionately known to friends as "Do Berman.") As a teenager in the late 1950's, young Cy Berman Jr  loved tinkering with machines. So it came as no surprise when he was accepted with a full scholarship to Southwestern Wisconsin Community College for the Study of Machinery of the Future. (The word "technology" hadn't been invented yet.) 

Cy Jr excelled in all of his classes, and wound up writing this senior thesis on an invention he'd built in his dorm room. He called it his "Televisiontelephonictypewriter." By connecting his electric typewriter to his black and white television using his rotary phone cord, he was able to type letters that "magically" appeared on the screen. While it may not have had much practical application, he was able to entertain his fraternity brothers by typing hilarious (and sometimes off-color) subtitles over I Love Lucy broadcasts.

 

One evening, after Cy Jr and his frat brothers had drank one too many Schlitz beers, one of them said: 

"Hey, Cy! Why don't you use your TV-typewriter-thing to call up and order us a pizza!" 

Of course that was impossible...or was it? From that day forward, Cy Jr. was obsessed with the possibility that someone could type anything he or she desired into his Televisiontelephonictypewriter, and it would show up on their doorstep the next day. "It could transform the way the entire country shopped!" he thought. "A massive river of goods and services would flow from warehouses to homes as deep and wide as the Nile!"

Within a few years, Cy Jr was building a Televisiontelephonictypewriter so massive that it filled an entire room. He had teams of scientists working day and night to make his vision of a Televisiontelephonictypewriter Shopping Machine a reality. Code name: Nile Project.

And then, in 1969, one of his old frat buddies invited him to his farmhouse in upstate NY.

"There's gonna be a groovy little music festival happening just down the rood," his frat buddy wrote. "Take a break from your stupid machine and come party in Woodstock."

Reluctantly, Cy Jr. agreed. But even after indulging in the free-flowing, mind-altering drugs of the festival, Cy Jr. couldn't stop thinking about work. In fact, he told tell anyone who would listen at Woodstock about his Nile project, and how it was going to change the shopping universe. 

Tragically, his obsession became his demise. While running across a muddy field to bend Janis Joplin's ear about his Televisiontelephonictypewriter Shopping Machine, he slipped in a puddle, and hit his head on a rock. Hard. 

His frat buddy stayed with him while others tried to summon an ambulance. But in the chaos of Woodstock, help came too late.

As Cy Jr lay dying in his frat brother's arms, he continued to talk about the Nile project and his dreams of Televisiontelephonictypewriter Shopping. His last words to his friend were "Keep my project alive! The Nile is not just a river in Egypt!"

"Don't worry, buddy, you'll be remembered forever!" comforted his friend, Jeff B Zose, Sr. (Whose son, totally coincidentally, went on to found a little company called "Amazon.")

In honor of Cy Berman Jr, and his Televisiontelephonictypewriter Shopping Machine, we invite you to  check out the "Cy Berman Day" Special Deals we've pulled together just for you at Beekman 1802. 

 


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4 comments


  • CyBerman??? Ha, ha, ha!

    Kathleen Richardson on

  • You are both nuts, you know that – right?

    Barbara Klinman on

  • The only thing funnier would have been watching you two come up with these stories. I bet it was a hoot at your house.

    Elaine Holmquist on

  • This gave me a chuckle on “Cyber Monday”!

    Anna Snyder on

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