Taking Las Vegas Home
      More Pictures of TJ's Bust   

Tom Jones Bust ©

How the Bust Came To Be

A True Story Synopsis

After taking Las Vegas, my wife Joyce and I headed home to South Philly on July 8, 1970 after Billy was shot and killed. I, naturally, was looking for something to do, you know, bring in the bucks... so I reverted to form: started making the rounds hustling card games, mostly poker. Chiefie's poolroom was my favorite, not because I could make some moves in it, because I couldn't. Had to play on the up and up. It was my old hangout and several good friends hang there. Without going into too many details, one of those good friends, and Chiefie's son, Mikey Dimples, approached me with the following money making opportunity.

Have a professionally sculpted bust of TJ created and sell mass produced replications to his throngs of fans at his concerts. Tom was a major performer. He was BIG, maybe the biggest at the time. Mikey figured we could make a bundle. I agreed. We already had access to Philly's best sculptor. Now, it was up to me to engineer the play, you know, deal with the artist, the agents and the 'mob' guys, all that sorta stuff. Tons of fun, if you know what I mean, but, we'll save that part for later, let's cut to the chase about TJ's bust, sorta.

Anyway, it took a few months for the artist to finish the clay model. Being a second generation sculptor, the guy knew what he was doing and created a masterpiece. I know, I know, you think I'm prejudiced here. Well, maybe I am. Decide for yourself, when you look at the pictures.

Through 'reliable' connections, I set up a meet with TJ's manager Gordon Mills, in New York City. Gordon was impressed and agreed to let me show it to Tom. He was appearing at the Latin Casino, a first class club in Jersey, just across the river from Philly.

The Meet: My lawyer, Mikey and I bring the bust over to the Latin and show it to TJ in between performances. Now, I got to say, it was quite a thrill not only because we were meeting him, aka "The Voice", but more because of his reaction.

To put it in perspective, when we walked into his dressing room, he was laying on a chaise lounge hands behind his head, dressed in a velour robe, trying to look as casual and nonchalant as possible. Naturally, Gordon was there, also trying to look disinterested. After all, this was a business deal. They didn't want to appear too interested, you know.

We had the clay model of the bust on a board with a piece of cloth over it. I told Mikey to put it on the table, introduced everybody hoping to start a conversation. Gordon wasn't going for it, so he said, "Tom has a performance to prepare for and he needs his rest. Let's get on with it. Let's see what you got."

The moment of truth had arrived. I tell Mikey to uncover it and turn to Tom to see his reaction.

Well, man did he blow it! It was a classic! No one said a word. Tom was about 8 feet from it and his eyes grew larger by the second. Finally, he loses control, jumps up and races over to the bust in a complete rapture. You shoulda seen it!

He began touching the bust with one hand, while feeling the same area of his face with the other. Saying things like, "I don't believe it. It's marvelous. Your guy did this from pictures? Why I've posed for things and I've never seen anything this realistic. It's amazing!"

Gordon's reaction was a whole nother story. I guess he figured he was losing any bargaining position he had, which really wasn't true. We didn't want a dime for the bust. We're were going to give it to Tom. What we wanted was their cooperation and blessing for selling the replications. We also wanted Tom to allow us to present it to him on stage, at one of his performances, which would result in a ton of free publicity and create a huge demand among his fans.

Anyway, Gordon takes over and says, "OK fellas, that's enough for now. Tom's gotta get ready, so I have to ask you to leave. I'll give you a call when we decide what we want to do."

Now, that upset me because I wasn't sure that Tom knew the deal. Thirty some years later, I'm still not sure Gordon told Tom the details. To me, it was a good deal for everyone. Tom gets his masterpiece for free, his fans get a top notch replication of the bust, a real collectors piece, and we make a ton of money, of which Tom would get a nice chunk. Like I said, a good deal all the way around.

So, we leave. I felt good enough about prospects at that point to commission the bust to be cast, which cost a nice piece of change. Gordon gets back to me after leaving us hang for a couple of weeks. He informs me that they weren't interested in the replication aspects but that he would like to buy the bust for Tom. He offers me X0,000 dollars. I tell him I'm not interested. He indicates he might could go a little higher. I tell him I'm not interested, that I got into the deal to make a ton of money and that he could go.....

I put the bust in a foot locker, wrapped in cloth, and left it there close to 30 years. Been thinking about what I was going to do with it ever since. I'm still not 100‰ sure, but, I do know I'm going to do something. Might try to have the story made into a movie or TV show. Who knows? Might even try to sell it to the highest bidder. Any ideas would be appreciated.

Thanks for reading this. Hope you enjoyed it. My contact info is at the bottom of every page in our site.

Go Easy, Stan

Here's some of his songs... It's Not Unusual; Once Upon A Time; With These Hands; What's New Pussycat; Green Green Grass Of Home; I'll Never Fall In Love Again; I'm Coming Home; Delilah; Love Me Tonight; Without Love; I (Who Have Nothing); She's A Lady; Letter To Lucille; Something 'Bout You Baby I Like; Say You'll Stay Until Tomorrow; I Was Born To Be Me.

More Pictures of TJ's Bust        top of page

Tina Marie - e-mail: tina@takinglasvegas.com / phone 267-519-2222 (in Philadelphia)

Tom Jones Bust © - Copyright 2002/2003 Stan Nicotera - All rights reserved.

© Copyright 2002/2003 Stan Nicotera. All rights reserved.
Copyright notice pertains to all documents, files, pages, processes and text contained herein.