September 1969

Three Dog Night was singing Easy to Be Hard; China, the US, and Russia were conducting nuclear tests; and a coup was taking place in Lybia. And Paul Newman was at his local Gristedes market in Greenwich, Connecticut, complaining to the store manager that his newly purchased bottle of Jack Daniel’s wasn’t up to snuff.

When stars complain, even corporate giants listen. Their officers may not believe the celebrity’s grousing, but they listen and try to pacify.

“Both reports indicated that while the proof, ph, fusel oil, esters, and other factors were well within the Jack Daniel standard range…”

I discovered this letter while looking at an upcoming auction at Sotheby’s in New York. It’s a fascinating look at what makes some people tick: Typed letter signed to Paul Newman regarding an unsatisfactory bottle of Jack Daniel Black Label.

By the way, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid opened to so-so reviews yet scored a US gross of over $100 million. In 1969, a bottle of Jack Daniels cost about ten bucks.