Sneaking into China on a Chinese Junk

In 1970 when the United States government was trying to protect both Taiwan, where General Chan Kai Shek and his army fled to the South from the Communists uprising, and South Korea since the invasion from China and North Korea in 1950, and in order to show solidarity, it didn’t allow American Citizens to travel into China. So, the Hong Kong Trading companies  in order to be able to sell products from Hong Kong, needed to manufacture most of it in China, then smuggle the products into Hong Kong, add labels that said “Made in Hong Kong”. Another problem that existed for these same Trading companies was that most factories in China were government owned and managed by Retired Chinese Generals as a reward for their armed service by forcing out Chan Kai Sheik and his followers. So, the problem for Hong Kong was that the production from China was non-existent, or at best, very, very, poor in quality. But Taiwan now had all the manufacturing companies that were in China and they were good at what they produced making a terrific competition for them. What was shipped from Hong Kong at that time was mainly produced in Hong Kong, but the quantities were very small, and mainly plastic products and the start of a new industry. Thankfully, I was then able to design and produce my plastic Artificial flowers there. I also was producing them in Taiwan using a Quasi-Trading Co.’s office which was started and run by my ex-World’s Fair partner, Gene Schaffer, a man I learned to love as a brother. In the office I had previously started in Hong Kong, run by Jacquard Yeung, my one and only employee, I had Hong Kong manufacturers producing plastic flowers for F. W. Woolworth Co., starting with my famous Boston Fern (I still have an existing label below) so when I saw a chance to visit China I jumped on it.

Florever by Sal Bianco

However, how to do it, without my passport being stamped there? Well, Mr. Wong, a friend and business associate, then producing my 8’beaded Christmas garland, owned Onward Trading Co.,had the answer. It was a secret way that was quite clever and used many times. What he did was to plan a large mahjongg card party on the Portuguese island of Macau, which is just off the coast of Hong Kong and China. It was to be held a restaurant of the many gambling casino’s located there. The party consisted of 20 mahjongg players, which always was in groups of ten at a table, would begin playing immediately after a banquet of the best Chinese food I had ever tasted in all my life. I being the guest of honor, and actually the excuse for them being there, was supposed to play mahjongg with the other players. So, after our meal was finished, 4 waiters removed all the dinnerware and cleaned the tables. We diners were told in Chinese to slide our chairs back and when we did, they picked up the table top and flipped it over with a flair that was done to excite all, and especially me. Then, low and behold, a Mah Jongg table now existed. I was told that they did this for one thousand tables on 4 levels, daily. When the games were to begin, our players purposely became very noisy with who was playing where, and used as a distraction that was perfectly timed as I was pulled away by Mr. Yeung and directed out through a special door, as this technique was used all the time since the American embargo. He took me down a set of stairs and out behind the Casino to where there was a beautiful original Old Style Chinese Junk floating alongside of the dock, with its wild orange sails noisily flapping in the wind. The one pictured below is a much larger version of the one we jumped into.

Chinese Junk

Once on the junk, we were whisked away towards China which was only about one half mile away and when we arrived, a brand-new Mercedes was waiting. Yeung and I got in and it took off onto a dirt road that was rocky with holes everywhere. As we went, we had to go around loads people who were either walking or riding their bikes. It seems in China, at that time, walking and cycling had the right of way, as actually there were no cars to speak of, and they just wouldn’t move no matter how loud the horn blared. So, I got out and joined the walkers, who turned and looked at me, giggling like I was freak as at the time, a westerner was never seen by small local towns people. Many were pointing to their eyes and saying what was wrong with my eyes, my skin? Actually, at that time, all westerners were known as “Round Eye”. It really was fun, as all the kids would come over to me, like I was some freak, pulling my sleeves and giggling as they did it. Mr. Yeung came walking along side me and kept scolding them in Chinese, telling and motioning them to stay away. I turned to Yeung and told him to stop as it was great fun to walk this way. However, Yeung said to me that we had a very little time before we had to get back so we wouldn’t be noticed as being missing. So, I got back into the car and it pulled off the road and worked its way around the walkers, till eventually we got to a small manufacturer. It was making the individual ferns stems that were eventually sent to Hong Kong where 30 of assorted sizes were implanted into a plastic handle for customers to be able to push into Styrofoam for arranging. As I walked through the small factory I saw that a lot needed to be done to make the factory more productive, and with much better quality. So I asked Yeung to get the manager down so I could talk to him. Yeung said laughingly that the manager couldn’t help as he was just a man who sat in his office but didn’t have anything to do with operating the plant. I said “What”?  He explained that the manager was an ex-soldier and got the job as a reward for his service, It seems that every factory was controlled by ex-Generals where I think the term “General Manager” was created. Wow! But it turned out this manager was waiting for us, as he pompously came down to meet me. He told Yeung that we were going to have a big celebration to welcome the American, as it was our American soldiers that helped push out the Japanese from China. It was a perfect excuse to have an American arriving and made for a banquet that I had to attend, as an honored guest. I’m sure glad we did as the food was again unbelievable, that is, except for the special dish in my honor of barbecued “dog”. Once the meal started, no-one really cared or noticed when we left as the excuse was in play. When we did leave, we now had to work our way back to the casino with all the same problems as in coming. A note here: I have a true story about people on the new highways of China, look for it!. Eventually, we arrived at the junk that whisked us back to Macau and the highly contested Mah Jongg game. It was in full swing and, guess what? I was never missed, so now I sat down in the chair saved for me, and it became very, boring as I had to wait till the games ended, which seemed like forever, but it was fun watching the screaming yelling, and laughing . I can’t believe that back home, ladies would play this game for hours.

Once we had a formula that worked with “no passport stamping”, I traveled the same route to that factory, and others, each time I came to Hong Kong, and slowly making the quality from our factories to be a top grade, along with my eating like a Chinese King.


A letter I wrote to Dianne Sawyer Updated 11/23/2015

This is a letter I wrote to Ms Dianne Sawyer in 2012 when she was developing a new storyline called  “Made in America”

“Made in USA”

A pledge of Quality by White Knight Adventures
13010 SE 93rd Circle Summerfield Florida 34491                                       352-630-2462

ABC World News
ATT: Ms. Dianne Sawyer

I’ve been wondering if you still have an interest in “MADE IN AMERICA”? From 1992 through 1996 I made an attempt to get American manufacturers to realize that they needed to protect their businesses by showing retailers that they could compete against China. I failed at the attempt as all felt no threat from China at that time. I spent nearly a half million dollars in the attempt, since I felt I was one cause of what was happening in America.

From 1967 till 1998, I had established my own small offices in Hong Kong; Taipei, Taiwan; Manila, The Philippines; Seoul, Korea; Bangkok, Thailand; and finally Shenzhen, China. I first represented the F.W.Woolworth Co. as their buying agent in Asia, but as other retailers saw what I was offering, they too, came on board. Soon I had J.C. Penny Co, Montgomery Wards, Wal-Mart, and The Home Depot as customers and eventually two American Lighting manufacturers as customers as well.
I actually was one of the first Americans to enter into China while there was still a ban for us to travel there. This is a story in itself, but that’s for another time. In 1994 I realized that most American retailers as well as those in Europe were purchasing more and more from China. Most of them were sending over to China their experts to teach those small manufacturers how to produce their products. It was then I realized what was happening, and then formed a company called “Made in USA”. I had to add another name into it to make it legal called “THE WHITE KNIGHT /Made in USA”. I then went around the US trying to convince small Manufacturers to change their way and fight back, but it was to no avail as each thought I was wrong and that it could never happen. One was a large Light bulb manufacturer based in New Jersey. Today they don’t even exist. So, all I did was waist my money, as no one listened, or believed me.
The adventures I had throughout Asia were exciting and dangerous, and I would like to visit with you to tell you about them and to try again to get American manufacturers to fight back and do what made this country so great. It’s the retailers who are at fault, as they have increased their profits by buying from Asia, but have not passed on the savings to the American consumers. There is a simple answer to our import problems and that too I’d like to explain.
Something that might interest you, I knew Martha Stewart when she and I were first starting out in the early sixties, and true story about what she did to me. Nothing really bad for the times we lived in then, but it did set her on the growth as a person who supposedly “Knows everything about everything”, especially stealing! I’ve enclosed a business card that I created in 1994 to sell the Idea of “Made in USA”. I went through the trouble of getting a special address from the US post office for “Made in USA” as- Main St, USA. Not bad! But it didn’t work, and look us now, we’re umpteenth below Europe in everything, but more importantly, almost everything we buy is “Made in CHINA”. All we have to do is change one thing and you, Ms. Sawyer, personally can do it, cause of your influence in American thought. I can also tell you why the Chinese government is not concerned about America’s huge debt owed to China. All my knowledge is from 32 years of actual hands on experience… Try me, as it can’t hurt for a reporter such as yourself to listen!
Thank you for your time and hopefully we’ll meet soon.
Sal A. Bianco Jr,
The White Knight

made in USA

Made in USA2

Made in USA 4

After this letter, I became involved in the process of moving back to New York, so I didn’t follow it up. I may have received a communication from Ms Sawyer, but since I no longer lived at the address I had in Florida, I wouldn’t know. So, I didn’t follow it up being I was in the process of moving and finding a home on Long Island. So, to begin again, I’m now trying to contact Ms Sawyer replacement on Channel 7, David Muir… More hopefully to follow….

She stares at me and implies: “I, am Imelda Marcos”…I staring back and loudly say…” I” …”Am an American Citizen!”

This is short, but true, and was I proud! Proud to be an American

While working with the FTD buyer, I would meet him and a man who sold him many things starting in the Philippines in it’s capital Manila. I would work with him for a couple of days on products I was developing there, such as rattan basket, mini straw figures, an 8 foot chain garland made out of weaved thin branches found in the jungle. he would then leave me and work and travel with this other supplier, Tom ??. I would then work with the young man, Estivan, I hired there to set up a small office. He worked hard and followed my instructions perfectly. He was brite and spoke fairly good English. At the time, I didn’t know he was part of a group trying to overthrow Ferdinand Marcos and all his wealthy devious, government officials.

One day he asked me if I could help him send a young relative his to America. I naturally said I would find out what was necessary and get back to him the next time I would be there. I said that I would like to meet this child while I was there, so the next day, he took me in a car he borrowed to a place further south. It was a tiny village that was really very poor, as almost all the people there were living in grass huts, or rattan shacked. I had a wonderful time with most of the villagers and children. Most never saw a white man and were very nervious in the beginning, but with my smiles and bantering, they came to like me. When I saw this young little girl, I fell in love with her. She was brite and alert, with eyes alert and challenging. I was definitely going to help this little girl. It turns out that That I was able to send her to relatives in California. Esti, paid for it all, and I wondered where he got that kind of money, but said nothing as he was perfect to run my little office there. Each time I arrived in Manila, I would stay at the Manila hotel in a suit on the ground floor along side of their pool. As was the  case in each hotel I stayed at while in Asia, I became well known and would banter with the help. Now when I came, and went to some small village, I would look at all the young people that would be sitting among all the workers, all in a circle, maybe 50 to 100. I was looking for one like the one I had sent to America. I thought it was a way to give these little children a chance in life. I did find another little girl who fit the bill, and asked Esti to find out from her parents if they would like me to send her to america, that is if they had someone there tro take her in. Sure enough they did and were so happy for a chance to send her. I did a few months later, and now I knew just how easy it was for a Philipeeno to enter into America, as it was considered a protective country of the United States. Word got around about what I was doing, a people now began to recognise me. They called me “The one and only”, the man with the scarf! I guess it somehow got back to the Marcos, cause all of a sudden, i Could not send someone to America unless I paid to Marcos $8000.00 for each one. At the time, I didn’t care as what I was making from that office was 10 time more.

One time when I was strolling about the lobby of the Manila Hotel with a drink in my hand, A commotion was going on at the entrance. Everybody moved out of the way, and who entered was 6 armed men with machine guns held at their sides. They told everyone to move aside to allow Madam Marcos to pass. When they arrived in front of me, they motioned me away, but not me, I stared them down, so they were confused, as they never expected, or had, any resistance. They stopped dead, and who should speak out in Philipeeno language something that was demanding, but Mrs Marcos. The men hesitated! I stared at Mrs Marcos and she at me. I pointed to my eyes and said “I’m an American” and didn’t budge. She stared back, told her men to go around and that’s what they did, but did she give me a death wish. Guess what I didn’t even notice her shoes. Word got out at what happened, and Esti couldn’t do enough for me. It was then that he told me he was part of a gorilla organization trying to depose Marcos. At the time, anywhere an American went he or she was respected, not as it is now! all we’re good for now is Ransom, or maybe worse!

Plums and Throbs now revised 11/26/2015

In 1964, when I was seriously  thinking about starting an Artificial flower company of my own,  I was introduced to a man who was a regular customer at Goldfarb Novelty Co. the company where I was presently working. He was presently buying small containers  with Souvenir Decals on them, that were then sold to  his companies different customer around the United States that were  located in popular tourists locations. His name was Jim Messmer, and he asked me if I could design and sell to his company, FTD, Florists Transworld Delivery Co., something his florists could use on Valentines Day in arrangements, His company represented over 10,000 florists across the country. and they would buy whatever holiday promotions FTD presented to them for each holiday. He explained that florists didn’t need artificial flowers, but rather the accessories portraying each holiday to enhance the fresh flower arrangements they made. The containers he bought from Goldfarb were used to offer to these same florists, who would then sell them locally. He said he was  looking for something new he could offer to them for the next Valentines Day holiday, and could I come up with something that would fit the bill, as a big TV advertising program will be planned.

Going back to Goldfarb, I explained what their customer, Jim Messmer, wanted me to do him to Mr. Joe Young, who was my immediate boss and who reported to Josh Rothstein directly. If you remember from the story about my first job in New York,, it was Josh who was forced out of Zunino Altman Flower Co. and I, a few months later, was asked by him to come work in his new company, Goldfarb Novelty. I was doing very well there. because I knew many buyers at The F. W. Woolworth Co., and was able to increase Goldfarb business in other departments. It was after I explained what the FTD buyer wanted, and how I should begin, that Joe Young, stopped me and said that I should develop it myself, in my own company, and that it was time for me to move up on my own. Taking Joe’s advice, I did just that and I flew on my own time to FTD’s head Quarters in Troy Michigan, and asked Jim Messmer if I could offer my ideas and products directly to FTD. he agreed, then asked what I had in mind. I explained that I would prepare samples for him and make a presentation to him in three weeks. He asked what holiday I was shooting for and I told him… “Christmas”.

After preparing samples of the idea I had, sending a set to my new employee, Mr. Yeung, a young Chinese man who was working out of a small office at a rented desk in Hong Kong that belonged to his friend, a Mr S. Wong. I had originally used him for products I designed for Goldfarb and asked him if he would work for me directly in my new company, Sal Bianco Inc. He agreed and  then got back to me within 10 days, as Telexing was the only way of communicating at that time.(Read the story call “The facts about faxing”). He said that he had prepared samples from three different manufacturers and was sending them to me,and I should decide which were the best in quality and price. When I received them, I chose the best, not on price, but on quality and appearance. They were  my really first attempt at importing on my own. It was ideal to have FTD as my customer, as they had a very large warehouse in Michigan where I could ship direct. The samples I made were of assorted artificial fruits, a plum, apple, pear, orange and grapes, with each covered with very bright (sea-salt sized) clear crystals that made each fruit look like they were sugar coated in very bright colors, colors that each fruit came in naturally. They came out perfect, and I designed them to be easily inserted into arrangements by the florist. They inserted  a thin green wooden spike into each fruit so that they could be easily inserted into the foam the florist normally used when making floral  arrangements. The spike had a mini arrow at it’s tip to hold the fruit firmly in place, so as not easily fall out.

I made a special presentation in February  to a committee made up of the ten top large florists that helped to develop the promotion for FTD,  that would be used for the following Christmas holiday. Beforehand, I had already made a private presentation to Jim Messmer who went wild for the idea, and he asked me what was it going to be called? Well I said “how about”… “Sugar Plums”. The committee went wild for the samples presented, and especially it’s name, even more, as it opened a new area for them to offer to each florist. Now all their florist would be ready and willing to be part of the large advertising program they planned for each holiday.  It was a great success  that Christmas, as well as many, many more to come! Because of it’s success, that same committee and Jim came back to me and asked for more products, and the next one they wanted was for  the next Valentine Day

.Gummi Sugar Plums

So, back to the drawing boards! Not really true, because design comes from within, so what and how was I going to come up with what they wanted? Then Wow! I had it!… but how to make it happen? First thing is to make samples, and how was I to apply my idea from the one that gave me the idea in the first place. At the time, there was a very popular item selling to just about everyone. It was held in the palm of your hand and as you shook your hand up and down, little balls on the end of 8 stiff 12″springy wires, hit each one another. All were connected on the bottom, that was shaped into a handle. So, the balls as they would hit each other then bounce back and forth they made loud popping noises. It seems all children as well as many adults had one. So, I bought a few and adapted them to meet the idea I had come up with. I actually made little wooden hearts that I carved to be about .5″high and .5″ wide. I painted them bright red and drilled a very thin hole through the center down through the top down going through it’s point. I then placed  3 hearts on each wire and glued them equidistant, one on top, one in the middle and one 2″ to where they were all connected, which was just a stem that all the wires were firmly set into. It had an arrow point at it’s tip to make it easily  able to push into the foam in an arrangement. Ok! What should I call it? Think? Think! Ok, what was it going to be used for? Valentine’s Day! I got it, I  got it… “Heart Throbs” Heh!What’s Valentine’s day all about but one Heart Throb to sending another! Say no more! I sold Millions and Millions for years to come. I have a sample… somewhere! Wait! Wait! Claire just found one sample and here is it’s picture.



I’ll need to try to make a video of them shaking to really show the idea better. With my success came Jim Messmer’s success, so we started doing more together as he asked me to meet him in the different countries he traveled when he was buying his ceramics and I would then offer different accessories that I developed. It was very easy to convert “Heart Throbs” to a Christmas theme by replacing the hearts with Christmas characters like: Mini-Santas.snowmen and Mini Multi colored tree balls, called Dancing Christmas. they too were very successful and thereafter, I made individual floral picks of different characters Little mini Santa’s, snowmen, nondescript little animals, all on a single wire pick.

At the same time Jim Messmer had a friend and supplier who sold FTD all their ceramics. We would meet in The Philippines, where I would develop rattan baskets for his customers floral arrangements, and for my other customers I developed chairs, hammocks, carpets, using all dried grasses and rattan. I loved the Philippines and did a lot for some of the people there, so much so, that I made enemies of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos, the dictator of all the Philippines, and his wife. Another story for another Post! I’ll continue this in another story to tell what happened and how I was subpoenaed to a court case in Federal court and charged.

In 1964, I, and my sons, were part of the NEW YORK World’s Fair

Appearing in this event are: Gene Shaffer, The 1964 World’s Fair, and it’s Hall of Education, Mr. Walt Disney, my sons,Trey and Mike, and the whole  Disney Gang!

As my Artificial Flower business began to grow, I tried to develop many areas. After working closely with my new friend, and eventual partner, Gene Schaffer on the J.C./ Penney account, we decided to invest in the up and coming New York Worlds Fair starting in May 1964. I had not begun setting up office in the Orient as yet and thought it would be a good idea to introduce the newly invented artificial flowers at the Worlds Fair. I was actually in an earlier World’s Fair, but then I was only 10 years old and sang in a very high alto voice, church mass songs. Gene Schaffer was trying to develop his ceramic business, so we decided to share a booth at the fair. I demonstrated making arrangements in his containers. However, all we could afford was a small one in the Hall of Education, located in one it’s side areas, and directly underneath  The World Spire, with it’s  Revolving Restaurant on top,. It brought people passing our way, but was really no financial help to us as the days passed. Gene and I invested $2000.00. each which was a lot of money at that time. Most of my investment was in the inventory of Artificial flowers. If you read another of my stories about my first job in New York, you’ll know my boss from  Zunino Altman Flower Co., was Josh Rothstein. He allowed me to buy as many flowers I needed, but I didn’t have to pay for them till our company was financially capable. Gene had the actual cash, so it was used for paying the rent and materials we needed to make a grand display. We had three weeks before the Fair opened, and we were finished about 4 days before it was open to the general public. So, we were able to see all the different booths around us and even the Walt Disney pavilion. While I was there they made an announcement to all the vendor at the Fair, that they would like as many vendors as possible to bring their children the day before the opening to the stage of the Disney sight, and be part of the “Grand Opening Event”. It was planned to be a televised opening, inviting the public to the Fair starting the next day, so I made sure my two young sons were present. The day of the TV show, they placed all the children and their parents that attended in an area in front of a stage platform, where Walt Disney was standing. He was joking and waving to all the children, and  along side him were Mickey and Daisy Mouse, Pluto and all the rest of his characters. My Sons and all the children present, went wild with excitement, especially when one of the roaming characters would play with them. As the show began, they panned all the children who were screaming and then onto Walt Disney who yelled to all “Come see us and play with us here in the NEW WORLD’S FAIR”!!!

I don’t know if my sons remember, but I certainly do, as I got to shake Walt Disney’s hand. He was just a regular guy with a great idea and making his dream come true. I must say that although we were very disappointed about the Fair in General, this day and this event made it all worth while. As somewhere in the Disney files are pictures of me and my sons appearing with Walt Disney. WOW!

The facts about faxing

In the early 70’s, when my company, Sal Bianco Inc., was growing, and I had just captured two new customers, I had to telex them between my offices in Hong Kong, Seoul, and newly opened China. It cost a lot to constantly use the telex machine to communicate, as well as the time spent to try to say what was needed saying in the shortest amount of words. At the time, the only way to communicate to foreign countries was Telexing, which was very expensive and slow. You paid by the letter and it was very time consuming to have to plan how say what you wanted using the least amount of words, then wait  days for a reply, which was coded with prearranged meanings. So, when I was asked by a company, Hewlett Packard, to test out there new product, I was very interested, and asked for more information. It was just invented and I got one of the first fax machines. This new machine was to change the world of business, especially for me!!! It was a fax machine and it changed the way I did business completely. But having only one was useless and so I purchased two, one for my NY office, and one for my Hong Kong office.  to get it to my Hong Kong Office I remember carrying it on the plane, and putting it in the compartment above with all passengers looking at me with this strange device. When i set it up in my Hong Kong office , I proceeded to send a message to my New York office.It was a wonder, as in only 5 minutes later I received a fax welcoming me and thereafter followed many pages of information on our daily business, arrived. Upon returning to New York, and after a short time, I realized how much it did for communicating , so I then bought two more for one each of my new customers at that time. It changed the way doing business was done, and gave me an advantage over my competitors. I eventually bought one for each on my 4 other offices, as well as recommend using faxes to my largest customer the F. W. Woolworth Inc. My communication costs dropped and my business grew to become White Knight Ad Ventures LLC

Cousin Al Bianco and Maryann’s best wishes

What a guy he was!

This is a picture of Al and Fran when we were on a trip to Europe. Below is a Happy Birthday wish from Cousin Maryann that I found in my old desktop computer, along with some others of her writings which I’ll post separately.

I’ll have my own version of what a wonderful person he was and how he was loved by all who knew him, but for now read this from Maryann to Al.

Memories Of “My Cousin Al”

My first Recollection of Al, was in my youth, when I was elected to babysit my cousins Al & Betty, & Eleanor, while listening to that little white Motorola radio on their kitchen counter on 60th St., Brooklyn. Al never gave me any trouble, even then.

Then as we all grew up, we went off to different areas, but always kept in touch. Al married Francesca, a one of a kind, lived in Brooklyn near his parents and sisters, and then moved to L. Island. I had previously married Lou, a brief stay in Brooklyn, then on to L. Island, where Fran & Al were only minutes away. In the meantime, we had formed a Cousins’ Club ( I was Pres.) that lasted over ten years. We were able to get together in our respective homes, every two months, we went on picnics, once a year, we went to see Shakepears in the park, in Central park, we spent Fouthof July, and many many more good and happy times all together! Al had become a detective in the N.Y.C. police Dept., and was always there to take care of all of us. Sometimes being overprotective, because of his experiences with his job.

He has a fettish for reading maps. He has every map you can think of. Just don’t ask him to take it out to see where you are (If you should be lost) As we were on our way coming home from cousins’ club, one night). His comment: I only look at map to see where I’ve been, not where I’m going! We could not stop laughing!

We shared many experiences for the first time together. I remember standing on top of the cupola in St. Peter’s Cathedral in Rome, the choir was singing, and we were praying quietly, and I looked over to Al, and he was so pensive, and said: “I’m having a religious experience” It was awesome! We went through the Sistine Chapel and after and we went through corridor after corridor, of the artwork, statues, and engineering designs of the Italian Masters, Al exclaimed on the top of his voice, as he raised his arms: This is our heritage!! This is our heritage!! His eyes filled with pride.

(                             Here there is a fold in the page that cut out a line                   )

He became our designated driver and since we had limited language skills in Switzerland, Germany & Italy, you can understand why we were driving down, one way roads, the wrong way, but eventually getting where we wanted. Of course, Fran’s bible was “How to spend 50 cents a day in Europe” and there were times, Al would be patient, waiting for us to stay and eat, wherever we went. His patience got thin, however, when we told him to drive faster, with a small Renault and all our luggage on racks on top. Believe me he never parked the car without watching the car for one second! He would watch for us whenever we were out of sight, he would panic. The policeman’s protectiveness!

                                   A fold is here and something is lost                                              


His family is his life and he would do anything to make them happy! His parents, his children, especially his grandchildren, his parents, his sisters, and most of all his one and only, his wife Fran. He has so much love to give and does, and if he could, he would gather up all his children, grandchildren, and hold them in his unselfish arms.

                                                Al, (Anauluch) as I call him,

                                                I love you and admire you,


                                                            Your cuz


Happy 60th!!!!!

When I found this, I hand wrote:

Postscript: At the age of 70, my cousin Al passed away. He had cancer and suffered badly, but never complained. We all miss him and his……..missing!!



He turned and said “Hello young fella”

It was a just a few years after I had started my second company, BCY Inc, and my travels to the Orient became regular every three to four months. In doing so I became a regular at each hotel I stayed at in each of the 5 countries I had offices. I usually would start the trip by flying into Hong Kong first, and stay at the Peninsula Hotel, where as in all the hotels I stayed at, all the help knew me as a regular. It was, and still is, the premier hotel in Hong Kong and built in the Mid-1800’s, so it was where all the influential and well known people from around the world would stay. One time in 1977, after I arrived in the Peninsula hotel limo from the airport, I proceeded to the front desk to check in as my luggage and samples were taken directly to the same room they always held for me each time I arrived. It did help that the manager was a good friend and my Racquetball partner.

bianco family 1990s (194)

Notice the scarf? There will be another story about why I’m wearing it, and had been wearing it at that time daily for over 15 years, and still do, even now nearly 46 years later! No! Not that same scarf… but that particular one does bring up another story I’ve just thought of, involving my experience helping the CIA, and a missing secret agent working with them. It’ll be called “The Jim Thompson Story”

As I was approaching the front desk, looking like the picture above, I noticed a giant of a man was at the front desk checking in. Not being able to notice who he was from behind, and as I approached behind him to check in next, all the hotel staff that were in the area called out to me, welcoming me back. They did it, not like the normal politeness hotel staff was supposed to, but truly friendly, with laughter and amusement, one saying “Hey Mr Bianco, your Manhattan is waiting for you”. Well, this giant looked up from what he was doing, and turning around expecting to see someone special, like himself. He looked at me with a little hesitation, and confusion, then smiled, and said “HELLO YOUNG FELLA”, with that great smile he had. When I saw who he was, I too was now shocked. “Holy Mackerel “… It’s John Wayne!!!

Image result for a picture of John Wayne

Naturally, it was hard for him to believe that no-one recognized him, but here was some nobody that was welcomed the way he normally was. He had come to Hong Kong to make what became one of his best movies…Called “The World Of Suzy Wong”. He had come there to work with the most famous Chinese actress of the time… Nancy Kwan. Before he had turned to me, I noticed that the man in front of me had on a wig, and it was slightly as-cue. However, when he turned and I recognized him, his personality took over, and I was at first socked, then overjoyed, amazed, and completely in awe. Smiling brightly, I shook his hand saying “WOW”. Now that made him very happy, and then he smiled his famous smile, and then turned back to check in. Not bad Bianco! John Wayne died a few years later of cancer, but he still lives in everybody’s mind, whether they be young, or old, but more especially in mine, as how he looked that day when he turned to me with a slight look of confusion, that only he could make.

My J. C. Penney Story… With the man not the store!

My J C PENNEY Story, the man not the store!

One of my first attempts to develop my business was to have a friend and future partner, called Gene Shaffer, to introduce me to his contact at J.C. Penney Inc. It was the lamp and gift Department buyer, a young man called Harvey Markovitz, who he and I became good friends afterwards. It was while I was developing a new product called Ceralon in that Department. Because of the success their, I was asked to set up this same department in their new stores, as they opened, and I was asked to travel to each new Penney store opening. with Mr. J. C. Penney and usually a different young beautiful women who they would call “Miss Penney” for the opening.
I traveled with J.C. Penney and a different Miss Penney for 3 years as they were opening new J. C. Penney stores all over the United States. He was a gentle old man who loved to laugh and look at what he had ACCOMPLISHED. He was at each opening as a way of introducing each new store to the location. We would be invited to appear on each local TV show to have Mr Penney say a few words by inviting the audience to come to the opening and that he would love to greet everyone who would come. As old as he was, he stayed there the whole day shaking hands with all the  new customers. Miss Penney was there as a pretty young women who bring youth to the opening. It was my job to introduce to the people in the gift department how to make displays of the different products we offered, so while in the TV studio, I demonstrated to the audience the affect our new ideas could be used in there homes.
At the end of each session, I was always approached by different local women, some who worked at Penney’s, but mostly customers who wanted to meet me later. Never once did I  ever even consider it, not to mention how often the “Miss Penney” asking me to go for a drink after Mr Penney would retire to the local hotel where we three stayed and usually two nights. At the time, I had strong Catholic values that always guided me in the right direction, not that I would be any different today? There is another similar story coming, only about The F W Woolworth new store openings and making flower arrangement on TV and how I was copied by none other than “Merrill Live”!