OUTSIDE THE BOX
ROMM DOULTON began his career at Dramaturgy, a theatrical
production company founded by Broadway impresario, Billy Rose. In the early 1960’s,
Dramaturgy won the contract to tour the Peace Corps College Recruitment campaign to college campuses around the USA, with
Romm as producer. This led to a second tour introducing educators to behavioral
physiologist, B.F. Skinner, and his controversial teaching theories employing Programmed Instruction.
a background in producing children’s theatre, Romm became a consultant to Robert Moses on children’s activities
for the New York World’s Fair. This led to his producing the Canadian Government’s
U.S. marketing tour for Expo ‘67. Based upon his original concept, Romm
built the world’s first fully-functioning air structure theatre later acquired by advertising guru, Marshall MacLuhan
for his ‘Media is the Message’ worldwide tour. Romm then created
and produced the entertainment component for Le Ronde Island at Expo, including writing and producing an introduction to ballet
for children (Le Cirque aux Merveilles) which was staged within a dedicated 1700-seat theatre.
Romm produced four other productions at Expo ‘67 including a stunt show called ‘The Saga of Soapy Smith’.
to California, Romm led the team in the master planned conversion of the HMS Queen Mary from a decaying cruise liner into
a major tourist attraction. This included conceptualizing the Museum of the Sea
for the California Museum Foundation and the J Pier complex. Romm also helped
devise the entertainment component of ABC Plaza in Century City. ABC’s
then chairman introduced Romm to Captain Jacques Yves Cousteau. Together Romm
and JYC co-founded The Living Sea Corporation to administer the production of the Emmy award winning series ‘The Undersea
World of Jacques Cousteau’ and to identify and exploit Cousteau’s intellectual properties as toys, books, games,
etc. With funding from various special interest groups, Romm assembled world
renowned experts and conducted think tanks on a range of esoteric subjects to assess the viability of towing icebergs from
the Arctic to Southern California as a source of fresh water, building artificial floating islands as tourist attractions
and establishing hotels beneath the sea. The Cousteau Society was conceived during
his tenure as Living Sea’s Executive Vice President and COO.
the San Diego Space Museum, Romm originated linking a Spitz Planetarium Starball projector with a 70mm Omnimax tilt screen
projection system and an IBM mainframe computer. This, then state-of-the-art
application has since become the industry standard for over a dozen facilities worldwide, including New York’s Hayden
an account handler, marketing and creative executive, ELAINE DOULTON has 10-years experience on Manhattan’s
Madison Avenue working at notable names in advertising (J. Walter Thompson; Foote, Cone, and Belding; Ted Bates, Ogilvy &
Mather). Elaine has been an executive for many of the agencies’ most prestigious
clients (Mattel, Vivitar, Universal Amphitheatre, Clairol, Bic Pens, and Munsingwear).
Elaine created the trade name for Prince Matchiabelli’s famous perfume, ‘Windsong’. While assigned to the Mattel account Elaine named one of Mattel’s most successful dolls, ‘Do
Re MiMi’. Elaine was also editor at Condé Nast Publications for its House
and Garden Magazine ‘Shopping Around’ mail-order section.
Joining forces in 1972, both professionally and as husband and wife, their first assignment as a team
was to help advance Howard Hughes’, Suma Corporation diverse interests. This
included preparing a ‘white paper’ assessing Suma’s prospective direction in Las Vegas. Suma then asked them to devise the focal point for the Giza Plateau development called The Pyramids Oasis
Project, a new city of 50,000 acres outside of Cairo. Inspired by the proposed
concept, Suma and its partners were given outright ownership of the site by the government along with development rights if
Suma would pledge to provide the necessary infrastructure. The Doulton’s
project, entitled ‘The Egyptian Continuum’, envisioned as, among other uses, the re-housing of the antiquated
Cairo Museum within a fourth pyramid fashioned of golden glass. It was reported
in the international press that theirs was the first design concept employing the pyramid shape in modern times (Las Vegas’
Luxor Hotel/Casino design and the Pyramid fronting the Louvre in Paris followed this trend).
Forming The Venturers Group with Saudi billionaire, Adnan Khashoggi, the Doultons moved to Europe in
the mid 1970’s where they spent the next 18 years working in London, Paris, Barcelona, Cairo and Monte Carlo. They traveled extensively advising major companies and governments on expanding tourism and hospitality. Building upon the Egyptian Continuum and armed with a personal mandate from Anwar
Sadat, they developed a National Tourist Plan for Egypt which included enhancing seven historic sites along the River Nile
from Alexandria to Aswan. Based upon the Doultons’ vision for the touristic
redevelopment of central Cairo, the government designated 50 acres of Al Gezira Island, Cairo’s once-elegant Andalusian
Gardens, to develop a mixed-use project of hotels, casinos and educational attractions.
Romm and Elaine’s design anchored the site with an inspired recreation of the Palace of Mersa Matruh and features
the Royal Barque of Cleopatra. A number of major hotels now occupy this once
derelict site. On a 30-acre spit of land jutting out into the Mediterranean Sea
fronting Alexandria’s corniche, they envisioned the recreation of one of the seven world wonders, the Pharos Lighthouse,
as a hotel/casino, conference center, & marina complex.
They developed the master plan for Nairobi Airport’s very successful ‘hotel zone’. They played a pivotal role in the acquisition and modernization of, the Mount Kenya
Safari Club owned by developer Ray Ryan and actor William Holden. When the Seychelles
became a sovereign nation, the Doultons’ strategy was to introduce gaming as the key ingredient in obtaining much needed
In the late 1970’s, the Saudi Arabian/Bahrain Causeway was the largest single civil engineering
project in the world. On behalf of the UK government consortium (comprised of
Tarmac Construction, British Steel and Civil Engineers Redpath, Dorman and Long), the
Doultons created, produced, and personally presented the UK consortium’s collective capabilities to the Emir of Bahrain,
King of Saudi Arabia and assorted Ministers. The UK consortium was awarded a
$1 billion contract to build the Causeway’s approach roads.
The Polish Ministry of Communications had no access to hard currency to buy film stock and equipment
from the West. Romm proposed a plan to earn hard currency by making the most
of that nation’s extensive motion picture studio and provide foreign producers with above-the-line services at greatly
reduced costs in return for Eastern European distribution rights. Romm also proposed
syndication deals to broadcast Poland’s unique, universal language cartoons throughout the Middle East, Africa and North
America. These cartoons became widely distributed, and their revenues continue
to generate the anticipated hard currency at present.
Establishing D’Artagnan Ltd. in 1980, Romm and Elaine’s new company devised the master plan
on behalf of the UK government to exploit the tourist potential for the redundant Grand Union Canal network. In association with the ubiquitous Women’s Institute, D’Artagnan conceived a chain of canal-side
restaurants entitled ‘Brookfield Farms’, featuring authentic recipes from each restaurant’s region (donated
by the WI). They also functioned as master planners and co-developers for the
great engineer, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, and his former rail works land parcel and the derelict Bilston coal mines. In both instances the sites were rezoned from industrial use to commercial use and are now developed. They addressed the re-use of other historic sites, including the Royal Agricultural
Hall as the location for an indoor attraction known as Dickens' London (Depicting East End London in the 19th century). The Countryside Commission (UK) selected the Doultons’ company from several
candidates to design/build The Saga of Robyn Hoode in Sherwood Forest. This attraction
became one of the UK's top ten tourist attractions.
While joint ventured with Whitbread Brewery, they created the prototypical design concept for England’s
first, themed restaurant chain, The Beefeater, which transformed redundant pubs into thriving businesses. Four hundred units were ultimately constructed. The Beefeaters’
success changed Whitbread from brewer into becoming the largest restaurant franchise company in Europe. Winning an international competition against 19 participants and in conjunction with developers Rosehaugh/Stanhope,
D’Artagnan was awarded the rights to develop Phenomena Island (employing entertainment to explore the future), a 27-acre
entertainment component for the London Docklands.
Again in international competition, D’Artagnan won the rights to develop a 78-acre canal-side,
mixed-use entertainment destination for Milton Keynes. Under license from the
BBC, Forever Ambridge, a proposed themed attraction housed beneath a high tension membrane ‘umbrella’ covering
18 acres, extolled the virtues of pre-war, rural England. The Forever Ambridge
theme was based upon the popular ‘Archers’ radio series, the world’s oldest soap opera. For the chairman of Rank/Xerox they developed a confidential master plan for converting Pinewood Studios
into a public attraction based upon motion pictures produced at Pinewood. In
Spain, D’Artagnan advised the President of Catalonia’s political party on site selection for the Barcelona Olympics.
With the official support of seven government agencies including the French Assembly and Senate, the
President of the Ile de France awarded the Doultons the exclusive development rights, for a five-year term, on a 1000-acre
site provided by the State within the new town of Melun Senart. The commercial
terms for the site (Promis de Vendre) and other considerations were identical to those that had been negotiated and agreed
to between France and Euro-Disney. Le Vaisseau Phantom (Phantom Fleet) and Colonie
Terre (Colony Earth) portended humankind’s first alien encounter and colonization.
The site was zoned for agricultural use and a change-of-use of the French National Plan from its current zoning to
20% Commercial 80% Entertainment was achieved through Romm and Elaine’s efforts.
Doultons’ unique ability to think outside of the box has also been demonstrated by their activities in other realms. Under Elaine’s direction in 1982, Touchstone Ltd. was the first company to recognize
the world-wide potential of high-end, limited edition, objets d’art relying solely on direct response marketing techniques
for its revenues. The company created the designs and formed strategic alliances
with such notable entities as Le Monnaie du Paris (French Mint), Daum Crystal (England), Fonderia Venturi Arté (Italy) and
Wilkinson Sword (England). Under an exclusive license granted to Touchstone by
the Lord Mayor and the City Corporation of London, Wilkinson recreated the Old Bailey’s historic, 16th century, Sword
of Justice. At Wilkinson’s recommendation, Touchstone was selected by Buckingham
Palace to market Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s $12,000 Wedding Sword. The
sword today is worth many times its original purchase price. Over a three year
period, Touchstone successfully created nine unique, high-end limited editions and objets d’art. The company’s radical approach to limited editions marketing changed an entire industry enticing
companies such as American Express Gold Card to enter this lucrative market.
strategic alliance with Racal Micro-Electronics, the Doultons formed Sensortron Technology, Ltd. which was awarded the largest
single technology grant ever given by the UK Department of Trade. Together they
developed and invented the first ever, patentable improvement on the magnetic compass since its discovery 400 years previous. Romm and Elaine’s invention instantly calculates spherical geometry, incorporating
magnetic inclination and deviation anomalies in over 12,000 pre-encoded locations. Extensively
tested, it was certified to be correct within .003 of a degree by London’s Imperial College of Science and Technology. Romm and Elaine’s invention received international patents in eighteen countries
and cited as the forerunner to the ubiquitous, hand-held PDA. It was the first
battery-supported consumer device to employ an 8-bit computer and the first non-military application of space-age, surface-mounted,
component assembly. Among the many awards received for innovation is the Gold
Medal for the Creative Use of Science at the 1986 Salon des Inventions in Geneva over 1200 other inventions from 30 countries
(Geotechometer). The International Press Corps named The Geotechometer the most
commercially viable technology of 1986. The UK Design Council awarded Romm its
most coveted Design Triangle for ‘excellence in industrial design’. Elaine
was featured by WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization, Geneva) in a worldwide tour acknowledging women inventors. Elaine also is cited in books in relation to women inventors. Romm and Elaine’s compass technology is utilized today in automobile direction devices.
the adoption of the secure, double-hulled tanker by international treaty (replacing single-hulled), London’s bankers suddenly owned hundreds of millions of dollars of redundant, never used, tankers
which were then mothballed along the Fjords of Norway. The Doultons were commissioned
to seek practical alternative uses for these $20+ million dollar behemoths. Among
potential solutions explored was the economics of creating massive, floating entertainment attractions (casinos), and touring
major port cities, while transporting, and bottling crystal clear, glacier water en route from the Norwegian Fjords to the
Doultons were commissioned by one of the world’s wealthiest individuals to create a board game based upon his personal
holdings. The resulting game, entitled ‘Triopoly’, won the London
Telegraph ‘Game of the Year’ award. It became the first board game
in history to be established as evidence by a High Court Judge to determine property title (a DC9 Airplane), which led to
its impoundment at Heathrow Airport by the individual’s ex-wife.
Returning to the USA in the mid 90’s and under contract to Schlumberger, France, the world’s
largest producers of smart cards, Romm and Elaine devised the first, closed loop, customer-driven, smart card application
for mass attractions. A number of major attractions to manage crowds at popular
attractions have adopted elements of Romm and Elaine’s proposed applications.
Long-time friends with MGM studio senior executives, Romm and Elaine devised ways and means for MGM to exploit the
studio’s multifaceted, intellectual property rights. They also worked with
Shari Lewis (Lamb Chop puppet) in seeking ways to expand her character’s IP potential.
Buster the Bus, one of Shari’s characters, was franchised as a door-to-door children’s transport system. They provided creative direction for Roy Rogers and Dale Evans for their Rogersdale
USA mixed-use, themed attraction and created materials used in securing project funding.
Working closely with in-house financial analysts, the Doultons provided Flour-Daniel senior management with a detailed
business assessment regarding that company’s interest in developing a state-of-the-art, interactive, touring attraction
under license from NASCAR.
THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOX is a way of life for the Doultons. Romm and Elaine’s
innovative solutions are based upon obtaining a clear understanding of the objective and devising a practical application
within a profit oriented climate. The depth and breadth of Romm and Elaine’s
collective experience can be brought to bear upon the novel challenges facing today’s board room.