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Only he who hasn’t tried on garter belts and panties should be casting stones at poor Marv Albert. But there is a certain clique among us that in the wake of Albert’s bad hair week feels adequately qualified and more than righteous enough to dispense advice to the deposed and disgraced sportscaster. It’s not what’s inside Albert’s head that’s at the root of his real problems, it says. It’s what’s on top of it.
“That guy needs help. Bad,” says Richard Foti, owner, operator, and customer of Professional Hair Clinic in Wheaton. “That rug’s awful!”
Foti is but one of an army of hair-replacement specialists left, well, wigged out by the proceedings.
“Terrible! Awful! He’s obviously using amateurs. He needs to see a professional,” chimes in Erol Kofteci, manager and customer of Lawrence Revere Ltd., a provider of “custom-designed hair systems” located downtown.
“Whatever was on his head looked pretty bad all week,” adds Jerry Brandy, a partner in and customer of a surgical hair-restoration practice based in McLean that boasts a client base that includes, among others, “Greg Brady.”
That perspective isn’t just local. “Marv needs an upgrade,” chimes in Si Sperling, president and customer of the Hair Club for Men. “He is just wearing a big clump of black hair on top of his head.”
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The Albert trial had all the triple entendres of a Three’s Company script, but Marv wasn’t indicted for his penchant for strange bedfellows and cheap frills. The media-hungry prosecutors surely knew long before their day in court that the evidence alone left them a couple of six-packs shy of a casethe impotence of the charges was particularly bald-faced once the alleged victim perjured herself on the stand. So, rather than let Albert walk, the state went right at his Achilles’ heelhis scalpand portrayed Marv as a guy gunning for the lead in a touring company of Victor/Victoria’s Secret. They got the guilty plea only by bringing in an ambush witness to testify before all the world that she had snatched a toupee off his head in a Dallas hotel room, leaving him alone, garter-belted, and oh so bald. Not a pretty picture.
That gripping testimony by itself guaranteed that Marv will serve as a punch line for many moons to come. Then Albert’s attorney, Roy Black, who out of respect for his follicly challenged client had shorn his own hippie tresses right before the trial, quickly made everything much, much worse. During cross-examination, Black stupidly accused the woman of having been unaware that the defendant was a rugged individualist before the trial. It was Black’s version of, “O.J., would you mind trying on this glove?”
“You can look at it and see!” retorted the witness, quite rightly, as she pointed at Albert’s ill-fitting head pelt. “It’s very apparent that he wears a toupee!”
Yes, it sure is. Even a barrister as proud as Black was talking settlement within hours. NBC then pulled the rug out from under him. (His employer had no choice but to drop Albert like a Wallenda. Basketball and hockey are clearly out for Albertwhere would he be with “Here comes a two-on-one!” removed from his lexicon? Golf’s out, toothink “foursome.”) All thanks to that wig-removal anecdote.
Foti understands how Marv’s rug was ripped off. Albert’s toupee is an old-school piece, held on by just a piece of two-sided tape, he explains, and therefore was subject to quick removal.
“That’s technology from the ’50s,” he says. “It’s sad that people are out there wearing things like that out there. It makes our whole industry look bad. A guy with his money could do a lot better, but, like somebody who has a hat that just fits right or an old pair of shoes, he won’t move on to something new.”
If only Albert had changed his locks, say Foti and his peers, maybe he wouldn’t be wearing the hair shirt right now.
Had Albert been a client of Professional Hair Clinic, for example, he would have been put through a “translusion” procedure, a nonsurgical, very affordable approach that, according to the firm’s ads, leaves the client’s scalp with “the illusion of having had hair transplant surgery.” After that, Albert’s ‘do would have withstood any potential witness’s tug.
“With translusion, you integrate other hair with hair you’ve already got, and that hair appears to be actually growing out of the scalp,” says Foti. “It’s nondetectable, nondetachable, and pain-free. You wear it all the time, sleep in it, shower in it, swim in it. I only take mine off when it needs servicing; then it’s reattached. It’s state-of-the-art. Marv, he could use it.”
Brandy, despite his personal preference for going the transplant route, isn’t so ready to roll Albert into his clinic’s operating room.
“Hair is a very personal matter for adult males,” he says. “So I’m not sure surgery is something Marv would want. Individuals who wear [replacement] hair won’t consider surgery, and some people who would consider surgery wouldn’t wear hair. Those are two different animals. Besides, I don’t even know how bald Marv is. He’s got a really big wig there, and if he’s too bald, well, he may not be a candidate for us.”
There are, however, other TV sports personalities whom Brandy insists he could assist. And he’d like the opportunity.
“To tell you the truth,” he says, “I’d like a shot at Pat O’Brien. Have you seen his hair? He needs some help, too.”
Given the post-trial state of Albert’s career, O’Brien might want to heed such counsel. Remember the mane, Pat. Remember the mane.Dave McKenna