RECREATION: Without Liquid Assets

Four years ago, Don Pruess, onetime underwear salesman, made an unannounced business call at the home of Cinemermaid Esther Williams near Santa Monica. His proposition: a partnership to mass-produce swimming pools at prices the average homeowner could afford. Esther Williams would give her name to the pools, promote them, serve as titular president of the company, and get 5% of the gross. Pruess would run the company, provide the initial $50,000 capital and own the stock. Before the afternoon was over, the International Swimming Pool Corp. was launched.

On the sales charts, things went swimmingly. Thanks largely to Esther Williams'...

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