Jon - It has been over 40 years since that vixsit, I think, and I don’t recall why they were in the shop. I think that one of the men bought a shotgun from us. In those days, they could easily buy long arms - it was no violation of the law since they undoubtedly had State Department and Embassy papers allowing it. Diplomatic immunity and all that business.
We had a lot of celebraties go through our store. Clint Eastwood was there a few times - in one of the Dirty Harry movies (I don’t see many movies, so forget the title) where they drove a car into a liquor store, that “liquor store” was right across the alley from us. As he swings the car around, you can briefly see the sign on the front of our store. He spent some time in our lunch room to escape all the groupies, since we could control who was allowed back there. One of the shotguns that was used in a movie of his (a crook dressed as a nun pulls it out from under her habit) was a folding stock, tricked out gun that belonged to one of our employees. He was showing it to Eastwood and he liked it. The “liquor store” by the way, was an empty store that the fixed up into a liquor store for the movie. They needed another Model 29 S&W at a time when they were really hard to get, and couldn’t find one. I showed their prop man a Model 57 .41 Magnum and said on film, you would never know the difference. He told the guy in charge that he could make blanks for it, so they bought it. I can’t say it ever appeared in a picture, but if it did, one of the famous Dirty Harry .44s was really a .41!
We used to fix the guns for the TV Show “Streets of San Francisco.” they also filmed a couple of sequences in our store. We had a deal that they would never use anything shot in our show in an anti-gun matter. They violated that “hand-shake agreement” and the next time one of those dumb actors dropped and broke his 2" Model 10 S&W and they brought it in for repair, we refused to handle it. My boss was very big on people keeping their word!
The President of Venezuela was in our shop once also (before Chavez!). He wanted to see our cutom knives as I recall. Nice chap. The Secret Service (ours) wanted us to close the shop and send all our regular customers away before he came in and my boss said he couldn’t do that. The Venezuelan president came in anyway, and acted like just a regular guy. The next day, a lot of the Venezuelan Secret Service guys came into the store to buy some things - holsters and other things for themsleves. One guy took his Browning GP pistol out to try a holster. I asked if I could see one of his cartridges and it had the “VEN” headstamp. He offered me one when I told him I just wanted to see it because I collected 9mm cartridges. The cool thing was that when he went out front to their car, he collected one each from the other agents and gave them to me. I got about three or four variations out of the deal.
I got my first 9 x 18mm Makarov with “539” headstamp from some members of the Moscow Police Quick Response Team. I probably still have their business cards. they trained for a week with SFPD. They bought a whole bunch of holsters from us - we carried the Alessi holsters for the Makarov. Their holsters were thin leather little things - pretty poor. Now the Russians make some good leather for that gun. They also bought every round of hollow point Hornady ammo we had, since at that time, they had no access to HP 9 x 18mm Ammo in their own country.
I have to say, that beyond the ability to work in my hobby, managing a major gun shop in the downtown of a popular tourist city made the job interesting. I guess that’s what kept me there 36 years or so. I could probably write a book on all the experiences in there - some not so pleasant. Sorry to bore you with them here.