Two presidents were on the Sally production floor in 2012: One, President Lyndon B. Johnson (LBJ), was here for a retrofit; the other, Mustafa Kemal (named Ataturk, father of the Turks, by the people of Turkey), was in process of coming to "life."
LBJ traveled to Jacksonville from the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library & Museum in Austin,Texas, where he has been regaling visitors with his homespun humor and tales of life on the world stage since 1998. The animatronic LBJ was originally created for the flagship Neiman Marcus store in Dallas–where he was the main attraction during the company's 90th anniversary celebration. There he was seated in a pick-up truck, with a ranch as the scenic backdrop.
Following the celebration, Neiman Marcus donated the figure to the Presidential Library & Museum and he returned to Sally to be retrofitted into a standing position. Once in Austin, he quickly became a "must see" attraction, leaning on a whitewashed corral fence, telling his tall tales. But this year, it was time for a change and LBJ returned to Sally again: This time he received additional arm/shoulder motions, was positioned standing at a lectern, and left wearing a formal business suit instead of the checked shirt, khakis and cowboy hat he'd worn for over fifteen years. It even got us front page coverage on the Wall Street Journal!
Ataturk was resplendent in white tie and tails when he left Jacksonville in December, bound for an as yet unnamed museum in Eskisehir, Turkey, where he will deliver the famous speech he originally gave on the 10th anniversary of the Turkish Republic. This is the second Ataturk created at Sally; the first was installed at Gazi Kultur Merkezi (Gazi Cultural Center) in Gaziantep in early 2012. We feel honored to have been chosen to replicate two such remarkable historic figures who will be bringing their words of wisdom to visitors for generations to come.