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JT Colfax

Commercials getting ugly
By Bill Husted
Denver Post Columnist


Commercials getting ugly

By Bill Husted
Denver Post Columnist

Feb. 21 - John Elway cut the ribbon at the new Hyde Park Jewelry store in Cherry Creek Thursday and told a small crowd that he was happy to endorse a local business. But he's also pitching cars for 17 John Elway AutoNation dealerships, about as un-local as you can get. And some homegrown car dealers think the ads give them a bum rap.

You've probably seen Elway's "Men In Plaid'' commercials on TV - depicting two unctuous used-car salesmen trying to figure out how to beat AutoNation and continue to rip off their unsatisfied customers.

David Rothrock, president of Rocky's Auto, doesn't think the ads are very funny.

"We feel it's not good for the industry,'' he says. "The Men in Plaid don't have any integrity.''

Rothrock is countering the Elway ads with his own commercial. We see a Mafia-type guy (who looks a lot like AutoNation boss Wayne Huizenga) talking to his mobster cronies at "Car Nation.'' Seems sales are down in Denver.

"Who's our puppet in Denver?'' asks the boss.

"I have him on the line - here's John,'' says a lieutenant.

"I thought everybody loved this guy in Denver,'' moans the boss. Then into the phone, "Johnny, you're not selling any cars in Denver. What's the problem?''

"It's about time, boss,'' says Johnny - which is the tagline in Elway's commercials. Then, of course, comes a plug for Rocky's.

Rothrock says he's making fun of corporate America, not Elway or AutoNation. "Everybody has their own interpretation,'' he says.

Yeah, right. Even Rocky's pitchman Shagman could figure out who's kidding who.

In any case, the ads don't seem to be hurting Rocky's. In January, the used auto emporium sold about 20 cars a day, more than twice the number of any other dealer in town.

AUTHOR! AUTHOR! Denver reporter Charlie Brennan didn't get his name on the cover of Lawrence Schiller's JonBenet book "Perfect Murder, Perfect Town'' - but he gets to sign the book anyway at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Tattered Cover LoDo.

Friends of the reporter say he got a bum deal from Schiller, that Brennan's name should have been on the cover and that he should have received full credit as the co-author. Instead, Brennan gets a nod on the back flyleaf and a full-page acknowledgement in the book. Not bad, but not what Brennan expected, I hear.

In a further example of getting no respect, Brennan was named by prisoner J.T. Colfax (the guy who lit a fire at the Ramsey's front door) as the person who gave Colfax a cigarette during an interview at the Boulder Jail. And Brennan doesn't even smoke. Colfax had bummed the smoke from a fellow prisoner, but blamed it on Brennan so his jailmate wouldn't get in trouble. Colfax received 23 hours in "lockdown'' for smoking in the jailhouse.

Colfax writes me that when he told the jailkeepers he took the cigarette from Brennan, one of the guards said, "That figures.''

CITY SPIRIT: Playboy Playmate Extreme Team is skiing, boarding, signing and partying all weekend at Breckenridge ... American Diabetes Celebrity Art Auction matches local bold names with people who can actually paint. Look for works from actress Pam Grier, swimmer Amy Van Dyken, dancer Cleo Parker Robinson and Ch. 4's Larry Green at the May 8 auction ... Starting Monday at 8 p.m. and continuing through Saturday, KBCO plays recordings of legendary live Colorado concerts. Tune in for Sarah McLaughlin at the Paramount, Bruce Horsby at the Rainbow, Ziggy Marley at the Fox, Dave Mathews at the Paramount and Stevie Ray Vaughn at Red Rocks ... Coming to Tattered Cover with their books: Jim Fergus with paperback edition of "One Thousand White Women,'' March 9; Maeve Binchy with "Tara Road'' March 22 ... hey kids! Earn a "B'' average and get 50 percent off a custom-made hat at Zap Caps in Pavilions - one per marking period ... Ted Turner's just warming up for his April 23 Denver appearance at the Damon Runyon Awards Dinner. He'll be here with wife Jane Fonda, and we wonder what she thought when Turner told the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association last week that the 10 Commandments are "a little out of date. If you're only going to have 10 rules, I don't know if (prohibiting) adultery should be one of them.'' .. Sez who: "I only ask for three things out of life, maybe four: to be out of jail; to eat regular; to get a little love at home; and maybe a little on the side.'' Carl Sandburg


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