Rodney Jacobs

Rodney Jacobs was sales and marketing manager for Andy Ellis Tailors. In this interview he discusses the history of the business, fashion trends in the ’50s and ’60s, and bespoke suiting for pop stars of the day. In the excerpt below he recalls some flamboyant promotions.

The biggest promotion, I think, would have been the agreement we had with Metro Goldwyn Mayer when they were doing the film ‘Beau Brummel’, and they suggested the competition to see who was Australia’s best dressed Beau Brummel, which we did, and we had a big evening at the Hotel Australia and that was highly successful. Then we had all our windows, our window displays tied in with huge photographs of MGM stars and films. And then, of course, up came ‘Guys and Dolls’ [movie] and again they wanted to find out who was the best dressed ‘guy’ and ‘doll’ in New South Wales. So again we had a big function at the Hotel Australia – they flew out the Goldwyn Girls [chorus line associated with MGM movies] – and then I put it on them that we should have Andy Ellis presenting the trophies to the winners. MGM said, “We can’t do it, it’s a trade name. We can’t have trade names in a newsreel”. But I said, “That’s his name”, and they agreed. No greater ad could you get than in a world released newsreel. We had windows with glitter and velvet and the razzamatazz; our Christmas windows always stopped the traffic. And then we got – we had that Guy Mitchell [American pop star of the 1950s], we got him down. We had a tie specially made called the ‘Mitchell Blue’ tie – we must have sold fifty dozen. I think we stopped the traffic and the police told me, “Be like the raven, never no more” [reference to Edgar Allen Poe poem].

Richard Raxworthy