In the ballroom, the event that had pushed back Edwards's summit staging was finally over. By 11:10, the big room had begun a remarkable metamorphosis into a serious business conference theater. Mark Shoener, still in his suit, was all over the room supervising a large hotel crew. Lang, also still in corporate attire , sat at a table copying changes from Edwards's master script into several other script binders. Lang finished the binders around midnight and took four to another table at which Carol Edwards waited with Kerry Graham and her assistants. She laid a binder in front of each woman as Graham looked up worriedly.
"Are these all identical?" asked Graham.
"Of course," Lang replied, covering her annoyance with a pleasant smile.
"When do we go?" asked Edwards.
"Mark?!" shouted Lang.
Shoener turned on a riser near the projection screen being erected. As quickly, he anticipated the question and shouted back, "Half an hour !"
The keynote would be unusual in several ways. First, there was the speech itself. Then there was the screen support, designed more like a movie than a slide show ”171 electronic images in 20 minutes. At the very end, the audience would see a lone woman golfer, then ugly jail bars animating down over the scene, "barring" the golfer. Howell, supposedly silent at that moment, would follow the visual zinger with a simple, "Thank you."
Dynamite, if all went according to plan.
At 12:45, Shoener was back in the draped control booth at the rear of the ballroom. He leaned into a mike and said, "All yours, Kim." His now tinny voice was heard amplified over the ceiling PA speakers .
Lang rose and looked at Graham and the staffers . She gestured at the twin podiums now on either side of the screen. "Ladies? The podiums are hot, so we can go," she said. "Mark has me hooked up to that PA for tonight, so I'll be cueing you."
Graham and the others went to the half-completed stage. Lang went back to the booth after picking up her two tech binders. The LPGA staffers climbed onto the stage (no stairs in place yet), passed the drapers working on the back wall, crossed to the podiums, opened their respective binders, and waited for Lang's cue on the PA.
Lang sat in front of her monitor and keyboard. She tapped the cue key for the first slide and leaned into the mike. The ceiling PA spoke, "LPGA logo is up, dissolve to summit logo and go."
At one of the podiums a staffer began reading, her monotone now heard richly on the full ballroom speakers. "Good morning and welcome. I'm Charlie Mechem, commissioner of the Ladies Professional Golf Association and your host for the 1993 Women in Golf Summit ."
Alternating speakers podium to podium, they finished the runthrough for the two-hour LPGA program ”making the usual stops and starts with new script notations ”in a shade over four hours. Graham would have taken longer but Edwards said, "Have a heart, Kerry! We need to start the keynote before the sun comes up!"
On the PA, Lang said, "Carol, you can just motor right through it and I'll hit the cues just to see if they're still in the black box." As Edwards got to a podium, Lang faded up the summit logo and said, "Okay summit logo up, Kathleen Sullivan intro, Sullivan talks, and now JCPenney logo up, then W. R.'s title, and W. R. to the podium."
Edwards began reading as Howell's title slide dissolved to a sequence showing Howell, in candid shots, thoughtfully looking, frowning, and touching his brow (his red necktie the only color ). Edwards, heard over the speakers, said: "Thank you, Kathleen. I'm going to tell a true business story that happens to have nothing directly to do with women's sports and golf. This is by way of pointing out something that does. And, I'm embarrassed to say, it involves the sad fact that my company ”now with 1,100 department stores whose customers are 80 percent women ”is represented by a ridiculous and regrettably small minority of women managers and executives. And this is not smart ”"
"Hold it!" said Lang on the PA. "Minor problem."
Graham and the staffers had idled by the door to take in the beginning of the Howell presentation, of which they had no detailed knowledge. The producer was amazed. She called up to Edwards, "You're going to say that?"
"No," said Edwards's speaker-amplified voice, "W. R. is."