1972 – TV announcer Bud Palmer comes to Vail
Palmer had been coming to Colorado for years. His father had a ranch in Craig, and he spent the summers with his uncle in Gunnison. His sister Bobby lived in Colorado Springs for more than 50 years. He first heard about Vail in 1962 or 1963. With his wife, Daisy, and his middle daughter, Betty, he came to Vail in the winter of 1963, stayed one night, skied with George Caulkins the next day, and decided he would love to have a place in Vail.
“I bought a place in 1964 at the All Seasons,” says Palmer. “How brave I was! I didn’t tell Daisy because she didn’t particularly like to ski. I was at a party in New York that winter, and somebody said to me, “If you talk about Vail so much and how great it is, then why don’t you buy a place there?’ So I told them that I had a place there. I didn’t realize that Daisy was behind me. Me and my big mouth.”
“”Excuse me, darling?’ she said.
“I told her it was a surprise and she saw right through that. She told me to fix the place up and she and the kids might love to come and stay with me.
“As it turned out, she and the kids decided to come out sooner than I expected. The condo was in a mess. She was arriving the next day. I had to call on Keith and Carol Brown and Elsabe Wyman, my neighbor and long-time friend, to help. They worked all afternoon and into the night, until 2 a.m.
“What a lucky break for me to have such good and willing friends. I apologized profusely. Daisy arrived and loved the condo and Vail, too.”
Although he was working hard in the television business, Palmer managed to spend about 12 days a year skiing in Vail, during which time he was taken in by the many friends he made.
Again, almost like an echo, Palmer recalled:
“What I think made Vail so successful was the people. They had Vail and wanted to create in Vail a fabulous resort. It was great to come out here. It was so convivial. The skiing was great and the crowd was marvelous. Everybody knew everybody else. You never made a reservation.”
At the height of his career as a television personality in 1964, Bud Palmer was appointed commissioner of public events for the city of New York by Mayor John Lindsey. Some people called him the “official greeter” of New York.
Palmer came to Vail often during the 1960s and had a great time with many of his new friends. He said they often ate lunch on crude benches at the Ski Patrol Headquarters.
“We brought knapsacks with food,” Palmer said. “These were very wealthy people, but this was the thing to do. It was chic! I used to bring barrels of oysters and a bluegrass band for the ski patrol, and we would eat out on the deck. Barbara Streisand used to come out all the time, and she loved to eat up there. We often had parties at night with Paul Testwuide, “Chupa’ Nelson and “Dozer’ Johnson.
“One night at about 1:30 a.m., with “Jo Jo’ Lyles, who used to play the guitar and sing, we were all a little loaded and we went up to entertain Ann Taylor. From under her window, we serenaded her. Ann came out looking lovely in a peignoir.”
Palmer loved Vail from the beginning. His neighbors in the All Seasons, when he first bought the condo for $21,000, were the Wyman brothers – Tom and Elsabe, Frank and Angel – Jack and Penny Tweedy, Mary Ann Hamilton, and Jack Malo.
Palmer was a star. But his good nature and generosity caught up with him. He was always in demand to do voice-overs for the many promotional films about Vail. People figured, because he lived here, he would donate his services.
In the earlier years, everyone would have picnics on the mountain. Palmer was an expert omelet chef, and with his portable stove, he made the best omelets.
Palmer still has that great voice, charm, and personality. If there was a list of the all-time favorites, he would be at the top of it.
Editor’s Note: In a continued effort to help the community understand its roots, the Vail Daily for a second time is serializing Dick Hauserman’s “The Inventors of Vail.” This is the 126th installment, an excerpt from chapter 15, “The Rich and the Famous.” The book is available at Verbatim Booksellers, The Bookworm of Edwards, Pepi’s Sports, Gorsuch Ltd. and The Rucksack, as well as other retailers throughout the valley. Hauserman can be contacted by phone at 926-2895 or by mail at P.O. Box 1410, Edwards CO, 81632.