The sleek executive with chiseled cheeks and Italian linen suit leans over his shimmery black desk in his oh-so-modern and subtly lit art deco office to answer the phone.
"Hello," he says in a tone as carefully styled as his hair.The phone responds by wagging its ears, chomping its jaws and rolling its eyes.
Meet the office phone of the future: Rex, a white furry dog with white satin scarf and red vest. His receiver is a white, furry bone.
"This is a Yuppie toy; it isn't a kid's phone," insists Jack Wayman, who travels city to city promoting the latest gizmos that debuted a few weeks ago at the biannual Consumer Electronics Show of the Electronics Industries Association.
"This is what Madison Avenue executives will have. . . . It's Teddy Ruxpin put to electronics."
The $100 voice-activated barking phone by TeleConcepts is only one of many electronic gadgets that will be on retailers' shelves in time for Christmas.
Others - including portable VCR-TVs, pocket-sized musical radar detectors, hand-sized CD players and waterproof headphone radios - are a part of the latest trend in electronics: smaller toys for adults, from $40 to $1,500.
The emphasis is on personal, Wayman said. "It will be my TV, my boom box, my VCR."
He speaks for an industry with retail sales of $32 billion - eight times greater than 25 years ago. "Americans consume one-third of all consumer electronics - and we're only 6 percent of the world's population."
These are a few of the other gizmos coming soon to a living room near you:
-A battery-operated VCR with built-in 31/2-inch color television by Casio and Sony for about $1,300. The machine is 12 inches wide, 8 inches high and 4 inches thick.
-A $600 Panasonic VCR that the viewer programs by using a stick that reads bar codes like those you find on soup cans.
-A 3 1/2-inch color TV with liquid crystal display screen by Sharp, Magnavox and Casio for more than $350.
-Three-dimensional glasses with accompanying VCR and television by Toshiba for about $1,000. The glasses are sleek, black and look like something RoboCop would wear, but "Save those cardboard glasses from the '50s," Wayman said. "Those happen to work, too."
-A portable Casio electronic still camera that plugs into a TV and allows the camera buff to show slides in full color instantaneously, for $1,500. The photographs are on computer disks so small, "You can store five years of memories in one cigar box."
-Water-resistant headphone radios by Panasonic that allow the dedicated athlete to jog in the rain, at $50.
_Sansui headphones with microphones, allowing the consumer to record himself singing, for about $150.
_Pocket-sized compact disk singles players, called Sony Discmans and priced at $150.
_Duck-shaped phones that quack, cat-shaped phones that meow and dog-shaped phones that bark, at more than $40.
_Answering machines with cordless phones by Cobra for less than $150.
_Cordless phones for about $150 so small they fit into a shirt pocket.
_A miniature radar detector that for $250 says "Slow down, police ahead," when it senses a radar signal.
For less than $2,500, today's shopper also can equip an office with a two-line phone that times calls for billing purposes, a word processor with printer, a photocopier, a fax machine and a computerized dictionary.
The future promises even smaller and swifter gadgets, Wayman said. These include a single remote control to run the microwave, security system, garage door, lights and check the baby's bed.
"That's not that far-fetched."
* Michele Meyer is a reporter for the Commercial Appeal in Memphis, Tenn.