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TV Program Helps Inventor Enjoy Fruit of His Labor

--Television is making an instant success of a gadget that for 40 years couldn’t even find a sponsor. Response to the Quik Orange Peel surprised even Andy Rooney, who praised the fruit-baring tool on a recent segment of “60 Minutes” and notes the “letters are still coming in.” “This has been mind-boggling,” said Jane Blank, wife of Quick Peel inventor Wilbur Blank of Toulon, Ill. “You can’t believe the reaction.” The peeler, which Rooney crowed “changed his life,” was invented by Blank prior to World War II, when he was working in California as a welder. “I got out to California and found I loved oranges but hated to peel them,” Blank said. For four decades, he tried to market the device, which looks like a bottle opener. Eight years ago, a Peoria company agreed to manufacture the device, which Blank has been selling under his Wil-Le Products logo with limited success. Now orders are streaming in for the peeler, which is sold in groups of five for $6. But Blank says: “I don’t want to be a millionaire. I’d have too many people on my back then.”

--White House officials were saying Nancy Reagan hadn’t talked to her astrologer in a a couple of months. But astrologer Joan Quigley is saying the First Lady was in touch with her this week. “I just don’t know anything about it,” said Elaine Crispen, press secretary to Mrs. Reagan. “I wasn’t aware they had talked. I had no idea.” The San Francisco astrologer would not reveal Mrs. Reagan’s reaction to the flap that ensued after former White House Chief of Staff Donald T. Regan revealed in his book that the First Lady regularly consulted Quigley.

--Soviet dissident Andrei D. Sakharov, who was allowed to return to Moscow in 1986 after seven years in exile, has now been praised in a Soviet newspaper article, the first positive portrait of Sakharov in 20 years. Additionally, the story on the Nobel Peace Prize-winning physicist in Moskovskiye Novosti (Moscow News) gave a positive view of a Sakharov memorandum--which called for East-West cooperation--that led to his dismissal as chief government adviser on nuclear energy. There were “clear parallels between what he then said and the ideas which we represent today,” the article said.


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