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A Portrait of Jerry Sachs: ‘He talks about fixing things’ – Gary Caplan

'Whenever I need a shot in the arm, I call Jerry,' says Gary Caplan, the licensing hall of famer, who runs a marketing company based in Studio City, California....
June 1, 1996

‘Whenever I need a shot in the arm, I call Jerry,’ says Gary Caplan, the licensing hall of famer, who runs a marketing company based in Studio City, California.

Caplan first met Jerry Sachs at an industry gathering more than a dozen years ago. Caplan had just given a speech when the programming pioneer introduced himself.

‘He came up to me after and said some kind words,’ Caplan recalls. ‘I was flattered. He told me he had learned something and I thought, ‘I should learn from you.’

‘From that moment on, we became friends.’

Though the two have never worked on a project together, they have shared many a takeout deli lunch in Sachs’ office.

‘I love going to see Jerry,’ Caplan says. ‘I go over there, keep my mouth shut and listen to what he has to say. If I’m down in the dumps about the industry, it only takes him a minute and a half to get me optimistic and looking to the future.

‘I never know how bad things are with him, because-you know what?-he never talks about it. He talks about fixing things.’

Not that Sachs views the television industry through rose-colored glasses, Caplan hastens to add.

‘Jerry’s realistic, but positive.’

Small wonder Caplan steered one of his sons to Sachs for some post-college career advice.

‘I look at Jerry as a mentor not only for myself but for a lot of people,’ Caplan says. ‘He is one of the most generous people with time. If he weren’t a children’s programming executive, Jerry Sachs would be a teacher.’

The licensing consultant drew personal strength from Sachs after the devastating 1994 Northridge earthquake.

‘I lost my home in the earthquake. So did he,’ Caplan notes. ‘I was pretty much in a blue funk. I called up Jerry to bitch about it, and he said, ‘You lost your house? So what?’

‘What do you mean ‘So what? I lost my house!”

‘So you’ll rebuild,’ came the reply, according to Caplan.

‘Every time I gave him a list of my troubles, he came back with ‘So what?’ His inspiration to me at that time is something I’ll never forget.’

A lot of people lost their homes in the earthquake, ‘but as rotten and miserable as I felt, it took Jerry Sachs to put it all in perspective.’

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