In Other Words … Season 2, Episode 27

Reading Time: 3 minutes
The Bubble Wrap story is (probably) going to be on this Sunday’s (7/30) episode of “The Mega-Brands That Built America.”

Mr. DeMille, about that close-up …

The history of Bubble Wrap is scheduled to be part of the “The World Delivered” episode of The Mega-Brands That Built America this Sunday, July 30, at 10 p.m. Eastern and Pacific time. It streams the next day on History.com. Here’s a link to the episodes.

The stories that will be featured are Jim Casey of UPS; Al Fielding and Marc Chavannes of Bubble Wrap; and Frederick Smith of FedEx.

Here’s the official blurb:

100 years ago, shipping packages was slow, and shipping overnight was impossible, until two Seattle
brothers risk everything to reinvent shipping packages for all. And a tenacious Yale graduate creates a
world-famous express delivery service that transforms shipping into the essential global industry we rely
on today.

Two Seattle brothers are cool. Tenacious Yale graduates are sexy. An old white man (me) talking about two other, older, white men (my father and Mr. Chavannes, as I always knew him) — that’s neither cool nor sexy.

I’m the only “expert” they interviewed for the Bubble Wrap segment. Last week’s episode rounded up the usual suspects of expert commentators — professors of marketing, retail historians, the resident funny guy with the eye-roll and one-liners. All have talked about their subjects many times before on other “That Built America” series.

This wasn’t exactly my first time on TV, but it was the first for a major production. During the pandemic I was interviewed via Zoom for a German show about accidental inventions. (You can only see that if you’re in Germany.) In the fall of 2021, Discovery Plus interviewed me for their “Inventions That Changed History” series but never used it.

And once, about 30 years ago, I appeared on a minor Connecticut TV station for an interview about the state economy. My daughters have seen a videotape of this show and said I did a good job. If so, that’s because the other guest did all the talking.

I’ve already told you that I thought the studio session was a disaster. If they are able to salvage anything, I’m guessing it will be one or more of these:

  • Introducing myself.
  • Describing how Bubble Wrap is made.
  • Describing the personalities of Al and Marc.
  • Talking about a web press.
  • Summing up how Marc’s search for the perfect raincoat and Al’s creativity to make it happen created the protective packaging industry we know today.

If you see it, I’d love to answer questions or hear what you think. Contact me in the comments below or through the form on the Meet Your Host page.

Meanwhile …

I spent most of my writing time this week working behind the scenes on the Bubble Wrap book project. I’m up to page 80 of what I expect will be about 120 pages of manuscript (plus illustrations and sources).

In the coming week, I wrap up posting about the journal entries from my first year as a freelance writer. After that, the journal takes a month off before resuming in September. Then it tells a very different story of a young writer becoming a local newsman. It includes less about freelance/fiction writing simply because I was so busy as a reporter and editor, which I continued doing for most of the rest of my career.

Is that something you’d like to read? Let me know in the comments below and I’ll see where it goes from here.

And if you’ve enjoyed this if-I-knew-then-what-I-know-now series and think I should turn it into a book, let me know that too, and tell me why.

Thanks for stopping by!

In case you missed it