If Gov. Eliot Spitzer thought his illegal immigrant license plan drew heavy opposition, wait until he gets a taste of Billy Dee Williams.
It’s likely Williams will taste bitter, too, since he, once a famous actor and malt liquor spokesman, was cast off as a has-been nearly 20 years ago. In fact, after landing an almost insignificant role in Tim Burton’s Batman in 1989, many thought he would never get serious work again.
That was before Spitzer announced this week a plan to raise taxes on malt liquor as a source of revenue – $15 million worth in the next year, to be exact – to help offset state spending in his 2008-09 Executive Budget.
Now Williams, famous in the 1970s and 80s for his roles in movies like Brian’s Song, Mahogany, Star Wars V and Star Wars VI, has been called back into the spotlight; this time to resurrect arguably his most recognizable gig as spokesman for Colt 45, the world’s most popular malt beverage. His mission: Defend the smooth-tasting 40-ounce from the governor’s bitter tax plan.
Already, Williams is said be shooting a series of embarrassing political television ads coming out against the governor and the malt liquor tax. In one of the spots, set to air as Albany budget battles heat-up in the coming months, an inside source says Williams and a Spitzer look-a-like are surrounded by beautiful women in a bar as they both sip tall, sweating cans of Colt 45 while Billy Dee tells the girls, “I just told him: Look baby, you can cut up the budget anyway you want, as long as you don’t stab my Colt 45.”
Company officials are hoping the approach “works every time,” which has been the long-standing slogan for Colt 45. The same one Billy Dee made synonymous with classy-yet-low-cost booze that gets you drunk fast and cheap.
Under Spitzer’s plan, malt liquor will still get you drunk fast – it is a scientific fact that no person, regardless of size or tolerance, can stay sober after consuming two 40-ounce malt beverages – but for not as cheap.
Colt 45, being one of the more expensive malt brands at around $2 per forty-ounce, has the most to lose if its prices go up an estimated $.79 because of taxes.
“I’m already breaking the bank to enjoy the distinct taste of Colt 45,” admitted Chad, a self-proclaimed “Colt 45 man.” “If the price goes up any higher, I’ll have to switch to Silver Thunder or Steel Reserve. It’s not like I’d want to. But if I kept slugging Colt at those prices, I’d be living way beyond my means (in a pop-up behind my sister’s) and that would just be irresponsible.”
However, even if the ad campaign fails and Spitzer’s tax is implemented, company marketing experts are confident that reviving Williams’ smoothness should still expand Colt 45’s market-share to include really-poor consumers, making up for the loss of the painfully-poor consumers who will be forced to get bent on less-expensive brands.
And it shouldn’t take long for most people to re-associate Williams with Colt 45. For nearly two decades he stood as the face of the product, much like singer Pat Boone was the face of Chevrolet in the 1950s and 60s (In fact, Williams is often referred to as “The Pat Boone of Malt Liquor”).
On a related side note: Farm lobbyists are pushing for a tax exemption on malt liquor much like the one that exists for diesel. They argue that if malt liquor – which can run tractors and other equipment at a better fuel economy than diesel – is used strictly for farm operations and not drank, farmers shouldn’t have to pay the governor’s new, higher tax.
McGuire’s column is largely fiction and mostly rubbish. It appears each Thursday. Furthermore, he’s a weirdo and no one should believe a word he writes, or even bother to take him seriously (that is if you can figure out what he’s talking about).