My First Brown Paper Bag

I was once asked by an American entertainment company executive how did the ABC get paid its royalty advances out of Brazil when the payment of advances out of Brazil was not permitted by Brazil’s central bank.

Well, this was one way:

At the International Licensing Show when it used to be held in New York, a major licensee being appointed to represent Bananas in Pyjamas in Brazil met with me in the lobby cafe of the Hilton Hotel in 6th Avenue, took a wrapped brown paper bag out of her rather large hand bag, handed it to me and said to put it in my briefcase.

She told me to keep it in my hotel room safe and that it was a payment to secure the representation rights for the Bananas in Pyjamas property for the territory of Brazil.

This was the first and only actual brown paper bag that I ever received in my professional working career, and it did not disappoint.

At the end of our meeting, I dashed across the road to the Warwick Hotel where I was staying, stashed the brown paper bag in my room safe and dashed back to the Hilton Hotel lobby to be back in time for my next meeting.

Later that evening when I returned to my room, I opened the safe, took out the brown paper bag and, sure enough, inside the bag was US$10,000 in $100 bills.

I counted out every single one of those one hundred $100 bills, twice.

I’d never been in possession of such a large amount of cash before, especially not in US dollars, and I actually felt like I’d committed some sort of crime, which clearly I hadn’t.

This feeling of being a criminal smuggler stayed with me all the way back to Australia, especially when I ticked the YES box on the Australian customs & immigration form that asked, “are you bringing more than AUD $10,000 cash back into Australia?”.

At the Australian customs checkpoint, my heart beating like crazy, the customs officer said “so you have more than $10,000 in cash with you, Mr Grassby”, and I replied “yes I have $10,000 US dollars which is a payment to the ABC for a Bananas in Pyjamas deal we’ve done in Brazil.”

“Congratulations and welcome home” the customs officer said smiling and waved me through.

This article originally appeared in Edition 8 of The Toy Universe Magazine




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