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...