In 1985, the Boy Scouts celebrated their 75th anniversary. In 1907, British General Robert Baden-Powell founded the Scouting movement in England. Shortly afterwards, Chicago publisher W. D. Boyce visited London and learned of the Scouting movement. When he returned to the U.S., Boyce formed the Boy Scouts of America in 1910.
As I have mentioned before, I was big into Boy Scouts and had a lot of fun in the organization. Every February, the month that the Boy Scouts of America was incorporated, every troop has a big celebration dinner. At our 75th anniversary dinner, we decided to make a big production. There is a famous (to scouts anyhow) statue sculpted by Tait McKenzie, of a scout standing at the ready. The sculpture is titled, “The Ideal Scout”. The original stand in Philadelphia where scouting really started in the United States. We decided to trick folks by pretending that we had ordered a replica of the statue for our small town. I was, of course, a natural for “the ideal scout” (mainly, the uniform fit me). We painted an old uniform gold and any part of my body not covered by a uniform was also covered in gold dust, just like Goldfinger. It was really weird to see if all go down the drain later. Anyhow, I was prepared by scout leaders and stood behind a curtain, waiting to be unveiled.
Several regional scout leaders were invited and were in attendance and could not believe that we had acquired a replica statue. The dinner went on and numerous awards were presented. All the while, the mysterious statue remained behind the cutrain. Finally, as anticipation built, I was unveiled. The lights were dim and I stood completely motionless as folks looked on in amazement that scouting was so important in our town. Fellow scouts recited the scout pledge while looking on the statue tom commemorate the occasion. At the end, however, as they finished, the “bronze” statue lifted one arm to salute them in response to their pledge. No one knew I was the statue until I moved to salute. It was awesome as the trick played out!