obit: Crazy Eddie, Jerry Antar, reposes at 68


The predecessor to Crazy Eddie was a consumer electronics shop called Sight And Sound. It was a property of ERS Electronics, a company owned by Sam M. Antar, his son Eddie Antar, and Eddie’s cousin Ronnie Gindi.

Sight And Sound, located on Kings Highway in Brooklyn, began operation in 1969 and offered electronics at regular prices. Due to his aggressive sales techniques, Eddie quickly became known as “Crazy Eddie”, but within eighteen months the shop (as well as Eddie and Ronnie) was nearly bankrupt.

 Eddie bought out Gindi’s one-third ownership stake of Sight And Sound, and Sam M. Antar retained his one-third stake but left the day-to-day operations to Eddie. In 1971, the Sight And Sound store on Kings Highway was renamed Crazy Eddie, ostensibly after the mysterious owner and then the commercials began.

This is just a highlight of what New York once was, a wild place with crazy startups that captured the public imagination and made it later to the national spotlight i.e. Saturday Night Live and Dan Akroyd spoofing the commercials which were hilarious.

My father took me to the original S&S out in the only real “mall” Bkyn had, the Brooklyn Mall along Flatbush Avenue which being so wide and long was a virtual mecca for temporary outlets trying to push goods at low prices and bring in volume.  Rents were notoriously cheap in NYC back then.  They had to be, the place was a mess, crime was high and the white flight to the Long Island suburbs was going on in earnest…Get married and move out.  Turnover was high.

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Eddie Antar, the Brooklyn-born man who created the chain of Crazy Eddie electronics stores only to watch it collapse when an underlying fraud was exposed, died on Saturday. He was 68.
His death was confirmed by the Bloomfield-Cooper Jewish Chapels in Ocean Township, N.J., which did not say where he died or give the cause.
Mr. Antar, who was born on Dec. 18, 1947, grew his business from a single Brooklyn store, founded in 1969, into the largest consumer electronics chain in the New York metropolitan area, fueled in large part by the spread of the VCR. At its peak, the chain had 43 stores, with locations as far north as Boston and as far south as Philadelphia.
As it expanded, Crazy Eddie also became famous for a memorable series of commercials starring an exuberant, fast-talking man many falsely believed to be Mr. Antar himself but was DJ Jerry Carroll.  Here’s the commerical, which must have been on the radio, and WNEW TV,  nearly a hundred times a day.