In February of 1964, 22 year, old boxer, Cassius Clay Was preparing for one of the most important fights of his young career.
He’d been a professional boxer for, just over three years.
And in that time, he hadn’t lost a single fight, but he was about to go toe-to-toe, against Sonny, Liston the heavyweight champion of the world known to many as the most intimidating boxer alive in the weeks leading up to the fight.
Clay talked, a big game in the Press.
I’m young, I’m handsome, I’m fat, I’m pretty and can’t possibly be beat.
But it seemed like the only person who fully believed clay would come out.
On top was Clay himself, his lawyers.
Negotiate at the terms of the fight under the assumption.
It would be his last reporters, noted directions to the nearest hospital.
Assuming any post match interview with him, would be from a gurney.
Bookies were almost entirely in agreement.
Not to take bets on the fight Clay’s.
Odds were put at a dismal 821 ahead of the big night.
In the truest sense of the term, he was the underdog, the play itself, as well as he talks the night of February 25th could go down as the greatest upset in ring history.
We think not.
And so on the evening of Tuesday, February 25th, 1964, clay entered the ring, what happened?
Next was history, he danced around with dizzying speed, bouncing back and forth on the Balls of his feet.
Tiring out his opponent.
I’m doing remarkably, remarkably.
Well, as a sensational heavyweight championship before he made himself an impossible Target and he proved everyone wrong.
After six rounds Liston spat out his mouth guard, signaling his resignation clay, catapulted himself out of the ring, an underdog no more.
Must be the greatest, he shook up the world.
All right, and days later, he changed his name, Cassius Clay, became Muhammad Ali, arguably the greatest athlete of the 20th century.
From gimlet media.
This is not past it a show about the stories.
We can’t quite leave behind every episode.
We take a moment from that very same week in history and tell you the story of how it shaped our world.
I’m Simone plannin on February 25th 1964 Muhammad Ali.
The most famous Underdog in sports history Shook Up the World by defeating Sonny.
Liston at the world heavyweight boxing championships.
The legendary moments Moment, and it wasn’t just a win for Ali.
It was a win.
For anyone who was never supposed to come out on top for all the underdogs among us today in honor of Ali’s historic upset, the team at not passed it.
As bringing you three more stories about the David’s who managed to slay their Goliath’s.
So stick around, they’ll be plenty to root for after the break.
Our first story takes place in the famously.
Vicious business of ice cream.
It’s about to folk Heroes who had to take on one of the industry’s biggest players.
It comes from producer, Laura Newcomb.
Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield.
In seventh grade, they bonded over one of life’s greatest tests running the times Mile in gym class, it was 1963.
And the two boys were huffing and puffing around the track at their Long Island, Junior High far behind their classmates, Jerry remembered that time in their lives for the BBC in 1999.
Ben and I were not really in the mainstream of social activities in school.
We were not cool kids, we were the nerdy kids.
We’re talking about two boys, who had a decidedly unathletic?
Socially traumatic 7th grade experience, which not only makes them my close family, but also the perfect pair of underdogs, Ben and Jerry stood by each other through their awkward adolescence and into their 20s.
They had grown into a pair of underachieving hippies just sort of vibing their way around the Northeast and Jerry’s words.
I think we were the only two of our friends that did not appear to be getting anywhere in the world so to speak.
Then had dropped out of no less than five different colleges.
His stints in school were interrupted by gigs as a taxi driver ceramicist and cook.
And even though Jerry made it through undergrad, he had just been rejected by every medical school.
He applied to the best friends, who had always shared a love for food.
Again, family to me.
We’re hoping to open some kind of storefront together.
Ben &, Jerry’s, Bagels, they thought initially, but Bagel, making equipment was way out of there.
So they scoped out a different.
Simple carbohydrate ice cream.
It turns out the equipment for ice cream was much cheaper.
And that is how Ben and Jerry’s the iconic ice cream.
Brand was born Ben & Jerry’s, scouted out a number of college towns for their first shop.
Most of them already had an ice cream place but you know which one doesn’t snowy Burlington Vermont?
So in 1978, they set up shop, Shop in an abandoned gas station.
There they bought a bunch of WWII era, ice cream mixing equipment and got to work.
Dishing out Scoops to locals.
Ben and I were working there all the time and I think people like the ice cream and they like the idea that, you know, these were two regular, guys, open it up a little store and they wanted to support what we were doing.
Just like its owner’s.
The store was funky and relaxed.
Ben and Jerry’s screen movies outside in the summer inside.
They encourage customers to lick the ice cream covered equipment.
Very mom and pop.
They struggled through their initial years in business, their equipment wasn’t reliable.
And Winters were hard on sales, but they scraped by, and they set their sights outside of Vermont where they need to expand.
If they wanted to survive at the time, the American ice cream Market was populated by Brands you’ve probably heard of like Briars and Good Humor, but Ben and Jerry weren’t making the same kind of ice cream.
Those companies were they were part of a new emerging Trend one with a new designation.
This ice cream was dense, and Rich made with all-natural high-quality ingredients and with a higher percentage of butterfat than traditional ice cream, before the low-fat craze of the 1990s, its sales were on the rise.
And there is a clear leader in the super premium game when Ben and Jerry were trying to break in Haagen-Dazs the brand was founded in 1960 by Ruben Mattis.
An entrepreneur who came from a family of ice cream makers in New York City.
He’d been in the business since he was 10 years old with its gold.
Accented packaging and vaguely European name.
Haagen-Dazs was supposed to Telegraph fanciness.
Totally the opposite of Ben and Jerry’s disheveled Birkenstock for Monty style and it worked for Mattis by 1984.
Or Haagen-Dazs dominated.
Super-premium ice cream.
And his brand had also just been acquired by the Minneapolis Food Giant Pillsbury.
But Ben and Jerry were determined even in the face of Ruben mattes and his extravagant use of umlauts.
They identified Boston as their first Major Market outside of Vermont and found a distributor to get their pints of Oreo mint and chocolate fudge into grocery stores throughout the city and they started selling really well so much so that Ben and Jerry invested what they could and TV advertising for the first time.
I’m Ben, I’m Jerry, you know, we may not have the money to go on TV for 30 seconds.
The best ice cream you ever tasted look Russ on top of every time but there was trouble brewing in Boston and the spring of 1984 Ben and Jerry got a weird phone call.
It was from their distributor, he wouldn’t say much on the phone, they needed to meet in person in a scene that I hope Scorsese.
One day adapts for the Silver Screen, Ben and Jerry met their distributor and a shadowy corner of Boston’s Logan Airport.
He told them that Haagen-Dazs had given him an ultimatum us or then you can distribute Ben and Jerry’s in Boston, but if you do, we’ll be taking our much more, lucrative business elsewhere in a matter of months.
What Haagen-Dazs was doing was pretty legally suspect and while Ben and Jerry would eventually sue a drawn-out court battle wouldn’t help them in the short term.
So they took their fight to the streets.
Jerry formed a one-man picket line, outside of Pillsbury headquarters in Minneapolis.
They placed an ad in the back of Rolling Stone magazine, help to Vermont hippies fight the corporate Giants.
Send one dollar for a, what’s the Doughboy afraid of bumper sticker?
Here’s Ben, the odds were that they were gonna beat us mean.
Usually, that’s what happens.
When a big company starts beating up on a little company.
The company wins, we didn’t really know a thing about PR.
We were just trying to survive.
We were just Doing whatever came into our heads, they printed an 800 number on every pint of ice cream.
If you called it, you’d hear a message Ben and Jerry spelling.
It all out our small business is taking on the bigwigs at Pillsbury and we need your help.
They sent out Doughboy, kits to supporters, which included pre-addressed letters to the Federal Trade Commission and the chairman of the Pillsbury board, As the spring of 1984 turned to Summer major newspapers started picking up the story, Pillsbury was inundated with letters, it all became too much of a problem for them.
And Against All Odds, they backed off and agreed to share Distributors.
The big company, tried to beat up, on the little company, but the little company one.
Ben & Jerry’s would go on to expand their distribution to New York City and DC and eventually into freezers all over the world 15 years after their tangle with Pillsbury, Ben and Jerry’s was acquired by Unilever for hundreds of millions of dollars.
It’s very much no longer an underdog but you have to love their style.
They outmaneuver to company with a lot more resources and they did it with a healthy sense of humor and humility.
The kind you’re forced to develop as someone who’s ever finished last Ben & Jerry don’t manage the day-to-day operations of the company anymore but their sensibility has had a lasting impact on the brand in 1994.
When they were searching for a new CEO, they worked with a real-deal, Headhunter to find someone, but they also held a public essay contest for the job for decades.
They had a rule that no one employee would ever make less than one fifth of their CEO.
And they’ve lent their name and Earnest to social justice causes In the late 1980s.
For example, they were one of the first companies to offer domestic Partners the same benefits as married ones rooting for the success of any one company.
As a risky business, kind of never know which ones were actually started by the Koch.
Brothers are, I don’t know, Satan himself.
So it’s heartening to see a company.
Do things slightly differently.
Starting from the bottom is one thing, but sticking to your values on the way to the top is pretty special.
Well, I’ll be thinking about that next time.
I dig into a pint of Cherry Garcia.
All right, I’ve got the next story for you.
For this one, we’re talking about fashion and a designer.
You may have heard about at a moment in his career when he was thrust back into that Underdog mentality, when he was still fighting for his spot and the glossy pages of fashion history, Take it away me.
Oh my God she is embarrassing.
Okay, here we go.
It might feel bizarre calling someone like fashion designer, Isaac Mizrahi an underdog.
He’s one of those ubiquitous names who’s done it.
All groundbreaking Fashion Week shows big box.
Retail distribution deals Project, Runway judge, he’s entertaining charismatic and opinionated, it doesn’t work, but it’s great, except it’s hideous.
Like I can’t look, you know, I first heard of Mizrahi the way I’m sure many as the Between who considered themselves plugged into the Fashion World, first, heard of him, through Target, the fashionistas training ground, his section, always stood out to me, bright colors, striking patterns a style that felt elevated yet accessible.
It wasn’t until I saw the documentary unzipped that I was introduced to a younger Mizrahi and Mizrahi that still needed to prove himself The documentary was made by mizrahi’s boyfriend at the time, filmmaker, Douglas kyiv, when we meet Mizrahi, at the start of the movie.
He’s reading a review of his 1994, spring/summer ready-to-wear collection.
Long story short, the critics pan him in the most fashion e-way possible.
Was this collection half-full or half-empty.
That was the obvious question after Isaac.
Mizrahi’s show Thursday night what he dubbed.
A mix was more of a mess.
At this point in his career Mizrahi was still considered an emerging designer though.
He’d been in the industry for nearly a decade.
He graduated from the Parsons School of Design in 1982 and started working for designers.
Like Perry Ellis, Jeffrey Banks, and Calvin Klein.
Then in 87, he debuted his own line.
Isaac Mizrahi New York at a wildly successful Bergdorf Goodman, trunk show Mizrahi was having a moment.
He became known for those same patterns and colors.
That would one day, make him Target famous but also for his fun sensibility and subversion of expectations like making an evening gown with Tartan Fabric, or designing, a mohair jacket, that could be worn upside down and still somehow look Chic after getting Financial backing.
In 1992, Mizrahi was poised to get more ambitious, he had more resources Has more eyeballs, more pressure to deliver?
And then that 1994 spring, summer show, and that review absolutely shredding.
The young designer is usually great color sense.
Failed him his fabric sense, failed him and certainly his sense of how a modern woman dresses after eight pm failed.
Him his fabric pouch to borrow the words and accent of project runway’s, Heidi, Klum in fashion one day, you’re in.
And the next day y’all out, Okay, that’s skewed more and Adele V than Heidi.
But the point stands, you’re only ever as good as your last collection.
Sure Mizrahi was a designer on the rise, but one that now had to prove that a poorly reviewed show was a fluke, not a pattern.
So he throws himself into preparing his next collection.
Fall/winter 1994 in fashion.
Time seasons come in twos.
I guess, Mizrahi lat.
He’s on this concept inspired largely by the 1922 film Nanook of the north, which tells the story of an innocent family in Northern Canada.
Fur pants and snowy Landscapes were just really doing it for him.
He spends months developing the concept testing Fabrics.
Experimenting with faux Furs of all kinds at stressful chaotic at times.
But the pieces seem to be coming together until every designers were Nightmare you believe this now.
Oh my God, meet us NTC, vice president of mizrahi’s label walks into the at Ali-A with a copy of women’s wear daily.
On the cover, an article about Mega designer Jean.
Paul Gautier has upcoming collection inspired by Nanook of the north and pictured.
Next to the text, a model wrapped in a furry Hood, doesn’t look anything.
Take it away.
Take it away.
Oh, take it away every season with people.
It doesn’t mean that you this we’re obviously doing it.
Mizrahi does not take the news.
Well, I think that’s white don’t show these things to me.
I’ve not been looking at it, you know.
Just don’t show it to me.
You showed it to me.
It’s like it’s some kind of evil pleasure in it, you know, as if the pressure hadn’t been bad already.
Now, he really needs to Set himself apart.
He needs to take a big swing and Mizrahi already has something up his sleeve.
He has this idea to switch up the typical strut down the catwalk presentation and He suggests setting up a semi-transparent backdrop called a scrim.
So the audience can see what happens behind the scenes, as the show is taking place, the frenzied changing and rushing around backstage and contrast to the controlled Elegance on the runway.
First he pitches the idea to his VP Nina.
Now you’re suggesting that I’m not suggesting models actually seen changing.
Are they gonna want to do that?
He brings the idea to the models.
Some of them definitely give a shit you know, when you go to the ballet or something and you see like a backdrop that all of a sudden you see through, okay that’s what it’s going to be.
I hope it’s not going to be Cs and Brosnan, maybe if You don’t mind because some of the girls don’t care.
They’re going to do it.
They don’t care.
But if you do you care.
Alright, that’s fine.
So she’s she cares, I care.
Some of his staff feel, the scrim is too gimmicky, some that it’s borderline scandalous, others.
Feel that maybe Mizrahi is just getting too much in his own head.
Ultimately though they take the risk, they scrim it up and come show time.
They wait to see if it will pay off.
They bring the lights up and the audience audibly, gasps as the scrim and the cast behind it is revealed.
Supermodel, Linda Evangelista opens the show wearing a flouncy skirt and matching Blazer.
A furry hat and white and tan furry boots Kate Moss.
Glides down the runway and a light pink shearling.
Bomber Naomi Campbell Twirls in a black faux fur coat and a mustard yellow mini-dress.
Behind the scrim models.
Run to get into their next Look, fashion assistance frantically, help them change people with headsets weave between the dozens of racks packed with clothes and Mizrahi takes last, looks adjusting, a collar here and there, it’s chaotic and exciting.
Somehow the magician revealing his Secrets makes the trick feel even more magical.
At the very end of the show, the models come pouring out onto the runway backstage Mizrahi buries his face in his hands and then I can’t believe we just did that kind of way and then he runs out to join them on stage looking so incredibly relieved.
With that, the show comes to a close and as the post-show adrenaline starts to settle the question becomes well, what did the critics think?
Much to mizrahi’s Delight.
The review this time around reads, a lot better, he’s wrong.
Had some tough going recent seasons, and with this collection, you pulled everything together, like, the Isaac and old, the energy excitement ideas and the joy.
There was never a dull moment.
Literally, you can set this collection would be insane with color and he wasn’t kidding by and large men man’s.
Got a hit on his hands, big praise but it seems that deep down Mizrahi knows even if they hadn’t pulled off such a Is it wouldn’t have mattered too much.
Is it worth it?
Yep, it was worth it.
It’s always worth it.
Even when it sucks.
It’s worth it.
It’s so clear in the film, but Isaac Mizrahi doesn’t just love fashion.
He’s in love with it.
Obsessed with beauty inspired by style and it really seems like it’s that deep appreciation that propels him forward.
It’s hard not to root for someone like that.
So when so determined to break the mold to be themselves, despite the risk of failure and isn’t that the whole reason we love underdogs?
Judd, or a story with glum or Isaac Mizrahi, you will always be Target famous.
We’re going to take a little break, but when we come back, we’ve got one more story for you about an epic Tech battle that rages to this day stick around.
Hey does it smell like Underdog in here?
Oh wait that’s not how the joke goes.
Is a forget it.
Let’s just move on to our final story.
This one comes from producer remotely Phillip and this time things get personal It’s the fall of 2007 and I just started my first semester at Hunter College in the upper east side of Manhattan.
My days were long and getting more and more expensive by the minute.
If you’ve ever lived in New York City, you know, stepping outside, for even one block can kill your bank account.
I was feeling myself with a daily diet of dr.
Pepper and Snickers, which was not sustainable.
I needed a job.
Between classes, I hit the sidewalks going into store, after store, coffee shop, after coffee shop, asking about any openings a few weeks went by.
I had no real leads.
So I started asking the few friends I had.
If they knew of anything after longest threat of somebody, please hire.
This guy I got a bite.
I think I can get you a job at the Apple Store.
Someone told me a friend of a friend talked to a guy who talked to a gal and voila.
I got an interview on a cool November morning.
I took the train over to the Soho Apple Store in Manhattan.
I pushed my way through those heavy glass doors.
An employee in a bright red apple t-shirt pointed me to a group of other candidates.
I joined them as we waited together on the sales floor, there’s a real Buzz in the air.
Everyone seems so excited for the chance to work for their favorite company.
In 2007 Apple was becoming the brand in personal Computing, but unlike much of the world, I did not drink the Kool-Aid.
I was still very much a PC guy.
Apple’s decades-long tussle with PCS, just so happen to chart, right alongside my own childhood and that battle all led to this moment.
Me a lifelong PC user, trying to get a job at a goddamn Apple Store.
Before I lived in New York, I grew up in rural Texas in the 80s and 90s.
While my mom was off working medical residencies around the country.
I lived with my grandparents and my favorite uncle lived right across the street.
He was more like, a cool older brother that Uncle, I’d walk over to his house every day shuffling.
Along in my Walmart brand velcro sneakers, we’d watch, basketball and Star, Trek 4 hours.
And I’d sit in his room next to him.
As he showed me the ins and outs of his boxy, white PC.
I fell in love with what a PC could do.
I felt like I was getting inside or nerdy Knowledge, from my uncle, how to optimize file systems how the backend functions worked and I looked forward to the day, I could finally have my own a few years later.
My mom and I moved off on her own into a new apartment in Texas.
We got her own Furniture.
I got to pick out my own stuff in my room and put my favorite Michael Jordan poster on the wall, the whole night.
One day, my mom came home with a brand-new computer for the house.
I feverishly unboxed it.
Plugged it in and was greeted with a bright blue screen and that sound?
I finally had my own home PC, with Windows 95, the most badass operating system on the market.
I was surfing the internet with Microsoft Internet Explorer, decoding file drives and Das Becoming a Minesweeper God.
But at the same time, I was starting to hear more and more people talk about a lurking competitor Apple My friends one by one were converting to another side of computing.
This was 11 years.
After Apple had launched, its first Macintosh, home computer, and they’ve been struggling for years to gain ground in home, Computing.
Things were about to take a turn, the PC perpetually complicated profusely corded.
Apple started swinging at PCS, like in this 1998.
Commercial where Jeff Goldblum does, his Jeff Goldblum thing, and reveals the first-ever I Mac desktop computer, and then there’s the new iMac, which is about his unpay.
See, as you can get, IMac monitors were bubbly curvy and colorful and over the next few years.
Apple leverage their advertising knack to position their products as the sexier smarter cooler alternative to PCS.
Hello, I’m a Mac.
Hello, I’m a PC we have a lot in common these days.
We both run Microsoft Office, we share files.
We just get along PC.
Yeah, I had to restart their, you know how it is.
No, actually, I don’t follow what Max don’t have to.
Adam and we lost them.
I’m gonna go get it.
Keep an eye on him.
I saw these commercials often flipping through the channels and my mom’s apartment.
Each one had a more clever B than the last.
I’d roll my eyes time and again because they were cute.
Sure, but I needed substance over style.
I mean, how can a computer even function when your mouse doesn’t even have a right click, how is that possible?
My hemming and hawing didn’t matter.
Because by 2000 Apple sales, climb to just under ER 8 billion in 2001 they unveiled the first iPod, then they opened their first Apple Store in a mall just outside of DC in 2006 the MacBook and by that time Apple sales Skyrocket to almost 20 billion dollars that same year, my life was stalling out in my local community college and I had to get out of Texas.
My uncle had already moved with his wife to her hometown in Suburban, New Jersey, Moving up, north felt like a chance at a new start.
So I followed in his footsteps and made it to that city right across the Hudson River.
When I got to New York, Apple had fully taken over the first Apple Store in New York City had been open for four plus years.
The same store I would Shuffle into for a job.
The first iPhone had just come out and it catapulted Apple into pockets and Palms around the globe and those the white MacBooks were on every person’s lap.
I was still rocking a PC laptop from Microsoft logo, greeting me every time I booted up the screen, I had barely even touched an Apple computer and couldn’t give a damn about how they worked.
So when I walked up to the Apple Store and so and took my spot on that retail for on a friend of a friend’s recommendation, I had a lot of questions for myself.
Should I fake it in the interview?
Should I lie and say some Pro Apple script or should I hold my ground and try to get hired for just being me?
The other candidates and I were marched down to a conference room for a group interview.
The store manager walked in, he had that whole CEO, type of cool guy pretension.
Then the question started coming, what are your greatest strengths?
What are your major weaknesses then came?
The one I was worried about Do you guys use max often each person in the room started chiming in?
I couldn’t live without my MacBook, Apple has changed my world Steve Jobs.
He’s my hero that all the eyes in the room turned to me and I uttered, what felt like the bravest words that had ever come out of my mouth.
I’m a PC guy.
There was a pin drop silence.
The group interview wrapped and I marched out of the store with my head held.
I desperately needed that job but I couldn’t give up my dignity so I took solace in staying true to me.
That was until a few days later when my phone started ringing, it was an unknown number.
I flipped it open in the voice on the other line said, hey I’m calling from the Soho store, we’d love for you to come in for some training.
I got the job.
I’d go on to work at the Soho Apple Store for five years.
Sure, there is no hard and fast rule saying, you had to worship Apple products to work there, but it’s still a daunting experience to watch the whole world shift underneath you for Trends to change and make you feel like you couldn’t keep up if you ask me, who I think the real honest-to-god Underdog of this story is too stuck to their constitution, never relented.
And came out as a true Victor.
I’d like to say it was me, I mean I got the job, right?
But as I sit here marked up talking to you.
I am staring at the screen of a sexy-ass 2021 MacBook Pro so I’ll let you be the judge.
Isn’t it wild how strongly we identify with the tech we use?
I mean, after those Justin Long John Hodgman Mac versus PC ads in the mid-2000s.
What can I say?
The universe was permanently altered.
There is no other way to put it.
All of these underdogs who went on to beat the odds.
Ended up, transformed Muhammad Ali transcended, his sport and became a cultural icon.
Isaac Mizrahi is a ubiquitous name in fashion Ben and Jerry’s is delicious as hell even after all these years and RPC loving producer, ramonet gets to work with me every week day of his life.
I mean dream job much.
What they say you can’t help.
But love the underdog.
So to everyone out there punching above their weight figuratively, and literally, I’m rooting for you.
We’re all rooting for you.
Not passed it as a Spotify original produced by gimlet and zsp media.
This episode was produced by Laura Newcomb.
Next week, dust off your fanciest tux because we’re headed to Hollywood’s biggest night.
The Oscars people do not expect something to actually happen at the Astros in this way, you know, something up, something unexpected, something completely spontaneous and unplanned.
The rest of Of our team.
Our producers remotely Philip, and Olivia Briley.
Our associate producer is Nick.
Delle Rose are in turn is Jasper.
The supervising producer is Erica Morrison editing by Aaron Edwards.
Be Scott is our executive editor fact-checking by Ian.
Michael sound design and mixing by Emma Monger.
Original music, by Sachs kicks, Ave Willie, Green, Jay blasts, and Bobby Lord.
Our theme song is touka Liana by cocoa with music supervision by Liz Fulton technical Direction by Zach Schmidt.
Show art by Elysee Harvin and Talia Rahman.
The executive producer at CSP media is Zach Stewart Ponte, the executive producer from gimlet is Matt schulze, special, thanks to Shawn Green Wood.
And to Lydia Pole, Green Abbie ruzicka Dan Behar Jen hon, Emily wiedemann list Styles, and Ariel Joseph, follow not past it.
Now to listen for free exclusively on Spotify, click the little bell next to the follow button to get notifications for new episodes while you’re there.
Hey, why don’t you write us 5 Stars?
You can follow me.
Me on Twitter at Simone palana and thanks for hanging.
We’ll see you next week.
The tape is really good by the way.