The Marine lieutenant colonel who spent six days testifying on national television about the Iran-contra affair has become a symbol for the palates of America. In Tonawanda, N.Y., there's the Oliver North sandwich -- it's a hero. But his inspiration doesn't stop with food.
There are North dolls, North bumper stickers, North T-shirts, North videotapes. Not to mention the North haircut.
"People like the idea of the little guy beating up on the big guys," said Gary Burbank, who spun discs Tuesday called "Ollie B. Good" and "The Kukla, Fawn and Ollie Song" on WLW radio in Cincinnati. "He's proving that you really can beat city hall."
Sam and Chuck Miano, at the Old Man River Doghouse in Tonawanda, put a lot of thought into their sandwich.
"It consists of red-blooded American beef," said Chuck. "And a little bologna." Add shredded lettuce, a cucumber in honor of North's coolness under fire and "bank" with Swiss cheese. Then, tomato and onion, red and white, and a top-secret sauce, "an old Iranian recipe."
The sandwich comes on a hero roll and sells for $2.49, or 3,000 cordobas, the currency of, you guessed it, Nicaragua. They're selling about 30 a day.
In Lake Elsinore, Calif., the Park Plaza cafe' is offering shredded cheese omelet and the "Ollie's Gottem Buffaloed Burger," made of bison meat.
"We're suggesting to customers that they order and then divert their omelet or buffalo burger to someone else and order another," said Charlie Dieringer, day manager of the cafe'.
You can eat North's words at a Baskin-Robbins in Greenwich, Conn., where Joe Dell'Orfano created a $27.95 Oliver North ice cream cake. A molded soldier holds shredded but inedible documents above a very edible motto that reads: "I don't recall."
If it's happy hour, you can make a Jollie Ollie with a strawberry margarita (that's the red), curac ao (blue) and whipped cream (white). Or you can go to El Greco's in Southgate, Ky., and plunk down $3 for one.
On the Christmas present front, forget G.I. Joe, and maybe Barbie and Ken, too. The Hudsons of San Francisco plan a foot-high Ollie doll, with a Betsy North doll, modeled on North's wife, to follow.
"It's impossible for it not to sell," said business consultant John Lee Hudson, whose wife Shana designed the Ollie doll.
They expect the dolls, priced between $9.95 and $19.95, to be manufactured in Taiwan, South Korea or Hong Kong, and hope to have the first ones on the shelves by late summer.
"Ollie" will wear a full Marine uniform. "He'll also be wearing the Ollie North glasses and have the Ollie North hair," Mrs. Hudson said.
Ah, that hair. It's a boon for barbershops as customers opt for the clean-cut look. Gene Mackey, a barber in Little Rock, Ark., described it as tapered on top and medium length on the sides, without the "whitewalls" of fresh skin over the ears usually associated with military cuts. Five customers asked for it Tuesday.
If it's America there must be bumper stickers, and the North craze is reaping a rich crop. In Grants Pass, Ore., Ed Martinez, organizer of Americans for Oliver North, offers "America Loves Ollie" or "Ollie North Shreds Left Wing" for $5, with donations going to help pay North's legal costs.
Malvin Mann, owner of a Moncks Corner, S.C., printing company, is selling "Ollie North for President" stickers to raise $5,000 for North.
A 90-minute tape of Ollie's greatest hits will be available for $19.95 from MPI Home Video, featuring highlights of North's testimony along with testimony from other witnesses.
Tri-State Sportswear in Cincinnati plans a collection of "Ollie for President" T-shirts, complete with a photo framed in red, white and blue.
Said Tri-State owner Carol Dotson: "He's getting more attention than the cicadas."