How Tim’s “Just Say KNOW” Campaign and KnoWare Software Company Were Born

The "Just Say KNOW" Bumpersticker, 1979

The "Just Say KNOW" Bumpersticker, 1989

This just in from our first guest blogger, Vicki Marshall.

Vicki and her business partner, Ron Lawrence, collaborated with Tim on numerous publishing and software projects over the years.

It was back in the daze of Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No” campaign – and the media coverage was all pervasive.

Ever since I was a kid, I played around with words.

And, while watching TV one night, I scribbled down “Just Say KNOW.” I had a private giggle and “forgot” about it.

A few days later, Ron and I were at Timothy’s, returning the first batch of cataloged archive boxes.

As we walked in, Tim handed me something he’d cut out from a magazine.

“We could do a bumper sticker,” he said. “Don’t you think this would make a good one?”

This image of Timothy and me was a Polaroid taken by Ron Lawrence in our living room. Timothy was signing copies of "Timothy Leary's Greatest Hits, Vol. I" - in 1989.

This image of Timothy and me was a Polaroid taken by Ron Lawrence in our living room. Timothy was signing copies of "Timothy Leary's Greatest Hits, Vol. I" - in 1989.

“Yeah, maybe,” I said.

“Or, if you have any other ideas…well, think about it.”

My heart started thumping wildly. As a matter of fact, I DID have an idea for a bumper sticker. He couldn’t have known. I hadn’t mentioned it to anyone. Not even to Ron.

“Okay, I will. So, we’re gonna take off. We’ll see you tomorrow.”

In the car, Ron said, “That was abrupt.”

“There’s something I gotta do.” I was bubbling over with excitement.

“What are you up to, little girl?”

“I’ve got the perfect bumper sticker! And I want to print it up and show it to him before somebody else thinks of it.”

So we went home and, on our Apple ImageWriter printer, I designed and printed a sample bumper sticker that read: Just Say KNOW.

The next day I set a stack of papers on the floor, placing the home-made bumper sticker inconspicuously toward the bottom of the pile. The three of us sat cross-legged on the office floor. Tim methodically looked over each paper, then placed it face down in a new pile. My excitement mounted as he neared the bottom of the stack. The phone rang and Tim got up to answer it. I leaned toward Ron and whispered, “This is almost like foreplay.”

Tim rejoined us on the floor and returned to the stack. The room seemed to go deathly quiet as he picked up the make-shift bumper sticker. His eyes widened. Then he started to laugh.

“Oh my god! You spelled it right. This is your idea?”

I nodded. “Do you like it?”

“Like it? I love it. It’s so fucking obvious! But YOU were the one who thought of it. A hundred million people on the planet and you’re the only one who spelled it right!”

Anyway…long story short, Tim was going to a comedy convention in Las Vegas the next day. He asked if he could take the sticker with him, adding, “But it would have to be bigger. MUCH bigger.”

The Cover of "Timothy Leary's Greatest Hits, Vol. I - There's a story behind the cover of "The Hits" also, but that will have to wait till the next post.

The Cover of "Timothy Leary's Greatest Hits, Vol. I - There's a story behind the cover of "The Hits" also, but that will have to wait till the next post.

So we flew home and printed a 16-foot banner on continuous feed computer paper. Then drove back to Tim’s and left it on his door-step.

When he got home from the convention three days later, he called to say that Just Say KNOW was the hit of the convention. Then he said, “What do you say, buttons, bumper stickers and t-shirts. We’ll split the profits, 50-50.”

I said, “You’ve got a deal.”

That summer, Timothy did a series of workshops at a restaurant on the Sunset Strip called Carlos and Charlie’s.

On opening night, a guy showed up with boxes of Just Say Know merchandise – buttons, bumper stickers, T-shirts. The guy seemed to have a permanent scowl on his face and his demeanor was such that nobody wanted to buy anything from him.

So the following week after Timothy’s performance, this very gruff guy came up to me and said, “Sign here” and left me with several beat up boxes – and a whole lot of KNOW ware.

Thus KnoWare was born.

3 Comments

  1. Posted February 11, 2009 at 6:15 am | Permalink

    and Ron Lawrence is still saying KNOW, inspiring a new generation
    of yoga students and students of consciousness and living!
    keep up the great work Ron, we need your wisdom!

  2. Vicki
    Posted February 12, 2009 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    We’re ALL still saying KNOW. Pass it on.
    :)

  3. Georgie
    Posted September 26, 2010 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    I was t the santa Monica Civic ‘recreation of the LSD Experience’ in about 1968, i was on acid and the recreation was intense so I recreated my own in the ladies room, but…after the show, went up to a cigarette machine along side of the stage and was staring at the coins in my hand, they were about 35 cents in those days, suddenly a hand came from around behind me and picked out a quarter and a dime and put it in the machine, the hand then did a sweeping “what is your choice” manouver and I pointed to my brand, tareyton I believe, andyway, the pack was put into my hand, as I turned to say “thanks” it was Timothy Leary. He never had to say a word, so cool!

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