Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Jerry and Lois Verner -- "People Had Conversations They Never Had Before"
Jerry Verner was one of the American guides in 1959, assigned to the IBM RAMAC computer stand; the computer provided answers, in Russian, to some 4,000 pre-programmed questions about the U.S. Soviet visitors might ask. Lois, his wife, served as one of the original "Pepsi girls." Jerry went on to a long and distinguished career as a USIA foreign service officer, serving in Moscow later as the Embassy's press chief. Here he comments on how strong the interest of the Soviet public was, and how the Sokolniki exhibition helped fill an information gap in Soviet society.