Regis Philbin looked intently at the contestant. "It is a well-known fact that Rusty Olson has the ability to sleep soundly during air travel, which gives him a great advantage over his traveling companions," he said. "For $10,000, at what point during air travel is it possible for Rusty to begin his nap?
"A. In the waiting room prior to boarding the plane?
"B. During the phone call to the travel agent to order tickets?
"C. Between flights on the traveling walkway at O'Hare airport?
"D. All of the above?"
The contestant's brows furrowed intently with concentration. The audience was hushed.
At last the contestant answered: "D. All of the above."
"Final answer?" Asked Regis. "Final answer," the contestant replied.
"That's correct!" Regis declared. The audience applauded.
"For $20,000," Regis continued, "in the early 1980s Rusty took a business trip to Paris, France, the culinary capital of the world. Where did Rusty eat most of his meals?
"A. At Le Tour d'Argent?
"B. At Pierre's Left Bank Bistro?
"C. At a cafe on the Champs-Elysees?
"D. At McDonalds?"
Again furrowed brows. Again intense concentration. Then the contestant answered: "His secretary at the time tells the story of Rusty returning from Paris and giving her receipts from the trip for her to prepare the expense report. Scattered among the receipts for the hotel and plane fare were many cash register receipts from McDonald's. The answer is D. At McDonalds."
"D is correct! At McDonalds."
More audience applause.
"Next question," said Regis. "Early in his career at Kodak, Rusty car-pooled with several co-workers. At one point during this time he purchased a new station wagon and was teased by the other members for not including a popular $49 accessory. What was that popular $49 accessory?
"A. A windshield wiper for the front right-hand window?
"B. Turn signals?
"C. An AM radio?
"D. A third seat for the rear of the station wagon?"
After a tense few moments the contestant answered. "C. An AM radio."
"C is correct!" cried Regis.
Actually, it wasn't Regis, it was Duff Lewis, investment officer at the University of Rochester and a former colleague of Rusty Olson's, who was impersonating Regis Philbin in a gentle roast of Rusty.
The occasion was Rusty's retirement from Eastman Kodak after 48 years, 29 of them at the helm of the pension fund.
During Rusty's tenure the fund grew to $7.5 billion from about $1 billion, and he was a quiet pioneer in the use of real estate, venture capital, merger arbitrage, equitization of cash using futures, and commodity futures. Rusty also pioneered in the use of illiquid investment vehicles, such as venture capital. For a time, they accounted for almost 30% of the fund's assets. His efforts have left the Kodak fund in excellent condition.
Oh, and Rusty's colleagues swear that all the answers to the questions were true -- almost.