THE VAULT: That time Mr. K met Barbara Eden

Mr K & Barbara Eden I dream of Jeannie
Yutaka “Mr K” Katayama
was a celebrity in his own right, but mostly in the automotive world of die-hard Nissan nut jobs. Barbara Eden, on the other hand (for those under the age of 25), was the Zooey Deschanel of her day, the ur-manic pixie dream girl whose character in I Dream of Jeannie was literally magical.

One of the things that helped Mr K, the outspoken president of Nissan USA during its formative years, put Datsun on the path to success was his embrace of everything American. To understand how to sell Japanese cars in America, he cast his observations of Japanese tradition to the wind and threw himself wholeheartedly into American culture. And if that meant taking Barbara Eden’s hand at a Datsun promo event, well then so be it.

This never-before published photo was shared with us by an ex-Nissan PR rep, who found the Polaroid in a desk drawer before Ghosn moved the automaker’s US headquarters to Tennessee. Had he not scanned it, it would have almost certainly been lost to history.

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8 Responses to THE VAULT: That time Mr. K met Barbara Eden

  1. Nigel said:

    Miss Eden, I would like to show you a feature in this Nissan Cedric it is called.
    Privacy curtains. (I would have the same smile on my face as Mr K).

    • Censport said:

      Careful Nigel, you’re showing your age.

      (Oh, who am I kidding? I watched that show too, and would have the same idea and the same smile.)

  2. John M said:

    Nostalgic pic w/ Barbara Eden – Time in a bottle?

  3. Darryl said:

    Even as a young boy, I used to get so mad at Major Nelson for discouraging Jeanie from using her powers. Same with Darren Stevens and Samantha….. Some super hot blonde worships you, and wants to help you using magic, and you say NO? Idiot.

    Great shot of Mr.K…. he knew his industry.

  4. Toyotageek said:

    Way to go Mr. K!

    Who the heck is Zooey Deschanel?

  5. Randy said:

    “And if that meant taking Barbara Eden’s hand at a Datsun promo event, well then so be it.”

    So I take it that in Japanese culture, you don’t take her hand to escort down a step?

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