Klondike Founders, Mike and Pam Dennis met in 1977 in Prudoe Bay, Alaska when Pam was doing a photo shoot for Vogue Magazine featuring the Alaskan Pipeline, and the hunky men building it.
Pam, then known as Памэланатали (she’s Russian), was the first model to be dubbed a “supermodel.” Now there’s a good trivia question for you!
Mike, a successful and hunky man in his own right, ran a hair salon in Prudoe Bay. “Mr. Mike’s BeautyRama”. It was a prosperous time in Alaska, and the oil workers had money to burn, but no place to spend it, so they were always at the “BeautyRama,” getting pampered and coifed, while Mr. Mike was getting rich!
During the Vogue photo-shoot, the sub-zero weather was making Памэланатал’s (Pam’s) normally lustrous, silky hair extremely frizzy. Her personal stylist, Mr. Bill, couldn’t understand why the rugged oil-workers’ hairstyles were so chic and controlled, while Pam looked like she’d been electrocuted. None of his fancy hair products were working, and Pam was throwing terrible supermodel tantrums!
Finally, in desperation, Mr. Bill took her to the “BeautyRama” for a consultation with Mr. Mike, which didn’t make Pam happy. Not only was she a world-famous supermodel, but she was also a world-class snob; however, she looked like a total idiot, so she was desperate.
Turns out, Mr. Mike had formulated a hair product called “Black Gold,” which was what the oil workers were using. The secret ingredients were Alaskan Oil and Whale Blubber. Not only did it make their hair shiny and manageable, but it controlled dandruff – which is a big problem in cold, dry climates. Pam was so impressed with Mr. Mike that she allowed him to style her hair, and she offered to endorse his product, which ultimately made him a world famous hairstylist.
After Mr. Mike had become famous, they fell in love, married and opened a chain of “BeautyRamas” around the world. During those years, they were regulars on the Johnny Carson Show and did numerous “Black Gold” infomercials with celebrities like Cher and Morgan Fairchild. The lavish parties they threw were often featured in People Magazine. Invitations to those parties were strictly “A-List” only and coveted by celebrities, moguls and world leaders.
Eventually, they tired of their jet-setting life, and Pam (who loved old TV shows – that’s how she learned to speak English) decided she would like to live a quieter, simpler life and raise a family in “Mayberry, America.” Truth be told, their crazy life had really aged her, and her supermodel career was over.
So, they sold the business and moved to Arroyo Grande and opened the first Klondike Pizza in 1988 and the second in Santa Maria in 1996. They have two grown sons, Opie and Beaver.
A movie about their life, “Black Gold,” is currently in production, starring Julia Roberto and Brad Pott. It’s set to release next year.
Okay, that’s it for now. Oh, wait! How about another one?
The Verified Klondike Story