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New Toots Shor's Opens, Gleason Sends Hilarious Message

Dec. 27, 1961 - The new Toots Shor’s, which the restaurateur calls “the joint,” opened today at 33 West 52nd Street. At 3 p.m., Mr. Shor (right) raised his hand, flipped a $20 bill on the bar, and yelled, “Everybody drink! Be happy! Booze, booze!” Soon a crowd was spinning in through the revolving doors. At 3:02, an intruder in a shirt but no tie wandered in and was thrown out. Improper attire. Jackie Gleason sent a long, engraved scroll to “Dear Clamhead,” reading: “Nobody minds a man having a morning eye-opener, and it’s O.K. to have a bracer around 10 a.m. and a couple of drinks before lunch, and a few beers on a hot afternoon to keep a man healthy or at least happy. And, of course, everyone drinks at a cocktail hour. And a man can’t be criticized for having wine with his dinner, a liqueur afterwards, and a highball or two during the evening — but this damn business of sip, sip, sip, all day long has got to stop!”

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