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Meeting Mrs Roosevelt

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The revenge of Stan Lee
Stan Lee Writer
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As I mentioned, we really didn't have much money, and even while I was in high school I did some part-time jobs to help bring in some money. There was a drug store in Radio City — Rockefeller Center — called... I think it was called Jack May's Pharmacy... and… I delivered lunches. I would work there and, I was... he had about four or five delivery boys. I was one of them and we'd deliver lunches to all the offices in Radio City. I never... it was called Radio City, it was also called Rockefeller Center, so the two names are synonymous. But at any rate, I made more money than anybody because you really made your money in tips. And I never could understand the other guys delivering lunches. They'd walk slowly, and stop and look in store windows, and talk. Me, I ran. I would run from office to office, and back to the drug store, and back to the office, 'cause I wanted all the tip money I could get. So I was like the highest earner of the Jack May Pharmacy delivery men. And then I finally graduated high school, and I got a job working for a trouser manufacturer. The second largest trouser manufacturer in the world, I was told. They had a lot of different names. The main name was H Lissner and Son, and they had a lot of other subsidiary names. And it was really awful, they paid me very little — I was an office boy — and I was paid from 9:00 till 5:00, but at 7:30 in the morning I had to be at the main post office to pick up a huge bag of mail, and I had to lug it through the street. The post office was on 34th and 8th Avenue, the office was on 27th Street and Broadway. I had to carry it on my shoulder all that way — they wouldn't give me money for a taxi — all that way, so I'd get to the office by 9:00. And that was when they started paying me, so from 7:00 or 7:30 in the morning I didn't get paid, lugging the mail. And there was another office boy too, and they never bothered to learn our names. The offices were filled with salesmen, each had a little cubby hole, and when they would want something... if they'd want more ink for their... you know we used pens and inks in those... if they'd want a new pen point, or a pencil, they… any one of them would yell, ’Boy!’. And whichever one of the two of us was closest to him had to come running and get him what he wanted.

So I had that job for a few months, and I resented the fact that I was only known as ‘boy’, as was the other guy. And again, I think I worked a lot harder than he did. Every time I heard the word ‘boy’, I would race, and I'd get there first no matter where I had been in the office. However, a few days before Christmas they decided they could only afford one office boy, and since they never got to learn our names they didn't know one of us from the other. I was the one who was fired because the other 'boy' had been working there longer than me. So I was the newest guy, they let me go and man, I was so angry. Few days before Christmas: ‘Sorry, you're fired’. So they used to have what they called cutting tickets. For every pair of trousers they had a big ticket. Long, and heavy cardboard. It was flexible, but it was the next thing to cardboard, and it had all the information about the pair of trousers, the size, the weight, the material, everything. And these things were filed in boxes that looked like coffins 'cause they were that big, and it was my job to file them. And I came home every night; my fingers were bleeding because trying to squeeze those heavy things into the coffin things… I was cutting myself. So I was so mad when I was fired that at night, when nobody was there, I turned a few of those coffins over and scattered those boards all over. And I thought well, let the other boy fix them up. And I left, and that was the revenge of Stan Lee.

The creative genius of American writer, Stan Lee, who was born in 1922, brought us 'Spider Man', 'X-Men' and 'The Hulk'. They climbed tall buildings and fought the bad guys, but had normal worries too, about love, acceptance and family. Readers loved them and Marvel Comics, with Lee at the helm, went on to become hugely successful. In 2010 the Stan Lee Foundation was founded to focus on literacy, education and the arts. On January 4, 2011 Lee received the 2428th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Listeners: Leo Bear

Leo Bear is a Hollywood-based features writer. Her background is in news and features writing. Leo spent five years on the entertainment newsdesk at BBC Worldwide before going freelance and moving out to Los Angeles. She specialises in writing lifestyle features, celebrity interviews, health stories and travel features for publications including Eve Magazine, OK! Magazine, Total Film, TV Hits and Conde Nast Gourmet Travel Guide.

Tags: Rockefeller Center

Duration: 4 minutes, 17 seconds

Date story recorded: April 2006

Date story went live: 24 January 2008