TEENIE GENIE


I was just getting the hang of selling Life Insurance. I was 25 years old and had completed my first year by writing a huge partnership policy at a local downtown business in Lafayette, Indiana. I was extra happy because the business was a huge music store that I had visited for many years.  My hobby was a weekend band so this music store had provided me with sheet music and accessories since I started playing professionally at age 15. This was an exciting year, 1968, because I had just broke ground on my new dream home south of town.

I had an appointment to get the final signatures on the insurance policy and I walked into the store at the appointed time.  The owner and the general manager were both late returning from lunch so I hung out happily strolling around the pianos and organs. The one salesperson on duty told me to make myself at home and she went down to the lower floor with a customer.  I made myself at home.

As I walked through the rows of grand pianos, I suddenly came upon a small little organ that was different than anything I’d ever seen. It had a quick-start beginner’s instruction sheet on the music rack and I sat down and turned on the switch.  The brand name was Lowrey and the model was printed in bright white letters, “Teenie Genie.” 

I looked at the price tag, $695, and started pressing buttons and keys.  It was amazing.  I could hold down a “C” note with one left finger and the damn thing played drums and bass and a “C” chord too.  Any note I pressed and this Teenie Genie played the appropriate chord with drums and bass accompaniment.  There had never been an invention like this.  Within 10 minutes I was playing up a storm and sounding like a one-man band.

I had just finished a rousing, “Saints Go Marching In” when I felt a presence at my side.  I turned to a little old lady with a cane who was smiling at me.  She said, “Sonny, if you can show me how to play like that, I’ll have that thing delivered today.”

I looked around for a salesperson, but I was still alone.  My salesman’s brain kicked in and I said, “Sure I can, just sit right down here.”

I showed her how to press the “magic” chord keys and she had enough piano experience to play the right hand melody and she literally bounced up and down as she made her own “one-woman-band” sounds.  I showed her the $695 price tag and told her I’m sure I could have it delivered at her convenience. She pulled out her check book and wrote the check.

As we stood up and turned around, the store owner was standing there smiling.  He told the lady he would have the Teenie Genie in her living room in a few hours.

Later the owner signed the Life Insurance policy and hired me at double my current monthly take-home pay.  I sold a few hundred of those Teenie Genies.   I  became manager of the store for a few years and later on, my buddy Dave and I opened up our own store in 1971.

We quit selling Teenie Genies but we sold a lot of guitars, amps and drums, and taught thousands of people to make music.

I’m enjoying retired life in California, but Dave is still putting smiles on people’s faces just like that little old lady in 1968.

Check out the current great team still strumming and plugging away since 1971.

I was just getting the hang of selling Life Insurance. I was 25 years old and had completed my first year by writing a huge partnership policy at a local downtown business in Lafayette, Indiana. I was extra happy because the business was a huge music store that I had visited for many years.  My hobby was a weekend band so this music store had provided me with sheet music and accessories since I started playing professionally at age 15. This was an exciting year, 1968, because I had just broke ground on my new dream home south of town.

I had an appointment to get the final signatures on the insurance policy and I walked into the store at the appointed time.  The owner and the general manager were both late returning from lunch so I hung out happily strolling around the pianos and organs. The one salesperson on duty told me to make myself at home and she went down to the lower floor with a customer.  I made myself at home.

As I walked through the rows of grand pianos, I suddenly came upon a small little organ that was different than anything I’d ever seen. It had a quick-start beginner’s instruction sheet on the music rack and I sat down and turned on the switch.  The brand name was Lowrey and the model was printed in bright white letters, “Teenie Genie.”

I looked at the price tag, $695, and started pressing buttons and keys.  It was amazing.  I could hold down a “C” note with one left finger and the damn thing played drums and bass and a “C” chord too.  Any note I pressed and this Teenie Genie played the appropriate chord with drums and bass accompaniment.  Within 10 minutes I was playing up a storm and sounding like a one-man band.

I had just finished a rousing, “Saints Go Marching In” when I felt a presence at my side.  I turned to a little old lady with a cane who was smiling at me.  She said, “Sonny, if you can show me how to play like that, I’ll have that thing delivered today.”

I looked around for a salesperson, but I was still alone.  My salesmen’s brain kicked in and I said, “Sure I can, just sit right down here.”

I showed here how to press the “magic” chord keys and she had enough piano experience to play the right hand melody and she literally bounced up and down as she made her own “one-woman-band” sounds.  I showed her the $695 price tag and told her I’m sure I could have it delivered as her convenience. She pulled out her check book and wrote the check.

As we stood up and turned around, the store owner was standing there smiling.  He told the lady he would have the Teenie Genie in her living room in a few hours.

Later the owner signed the Life Insurance policy and hired me at double my current monthly take-home.  I sold a few hundred of those Teenie Genies.
After managing the store for a few years, I and my good buddy, Dave, opened up our own store in 1971.

We quit selling Teenie Genies but we sold a lot of guitars, amps and drums, and taught thousands of people to make music.

I’m enjoying retired life in California but Dave is still putting smiles on people’s faces just like that little old lady in 1968.

Check out the current great team still strumming and plugging away. http://www.mcguiremusicandsound.com/

About bakoheat

Writer/Musician
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to TEENIE GENIE

  1. Mary says:

    You just put a smile on my face.

  2. Cyn Pemberton says:

    omg yes I just purchased a teenie genie at a garage sale for 50 bucks , and the reason was I pressed one key and I thought at 55 yrs old I could teach myself to play this piano cause all I’d have to do is press one key. I’d love to get a copy of that one page instruction guide, that way I can preted I’m an orchestra

  3. Ryan says:

    Thanks for the great story, the Teenie Genie is clearly life changing! I just found one outside my house this morning, haven’t tried plugging it in yet but it’s waiting in my garage.

    • bakoheat says:

      That’s great news, Ryan. When you plug it in, the Genie will appear. You will get three wishes and absolutely none of them will come true.
      Sorry.

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