This magazine, which has proudly watched its list of readers grow, month by month, has discovered four new ones. Their names: Lieutenant Lyle W. Cameron, Lieutenant Roland W. Parks, Captain Harold E. Fischer Jr. and Lieut. Colonel Edwin L. Heller—all USAF. Their old mailing address: Chinese Communist military prisons in Mukden and Peiping.
The recently released fliers, who resisted Red brainwashing attempts for over two years, told reporters in Honolulu that the Communists allowed them access to the prison library, which included a heavy fare of French classics and Communist publications but no American newspapers. However, they did receive one American magazine regularly—SPORTS ILLUSTRATED. It was sent to Cameron from Lincoln, Neb. by his 17-year-old brother Bob, who each week airmailed his own subscription copy to China. The magazine was delivered by the Communists 18 to 25 days late. The only trouble, said Cameron, was "the Commies always read it first and some of the parts were cut out." SI was devoured avidly by the four U.S. airmen, cover to cover, item by item, ad by ad. "It sure helped a lot," said Cameron.
WHAT IS LEFT?
June 12, 1955
When Hillary and Tenzing struggled up the last few feet of Everest's summit ridge to stand atop the world's highest mountain on a May morning in 1953, the question naturally arose: What is left? The mountaineer had a ready answer: Kanchenjunga.
Kanchenjunga is the world's third highest mountain and certainly one of its most beautiful. While Everest hides behind protective ranges of lesser peaks, and such giants as K2 and Nanga Parbat are seen only by explorers who have toiled through miles of wilderness to reach them, the gleaming fortress of ice and snow which is Kanchenjunga rises 28,146 feet in solitary splendor only 45 miles north of the city of Darjeeling in northeast India. But Kanchenjunga is more than just a spectacle—it has long been considered the most dangerous and difficult of all the great Himalayan peaks to climb. A few exploratory expeditions circled its base during the middle and late 19th Century and two feeble, ill-planned attempts were made to climb on the mountain. But Kanchenjunga's greatest pioneer, Douglas Fresh-field, apparently spoke for all the mountain men of his time when in 1899 he took a last lingering look and sadly admitted strong doubts as to the possibility of man's ever ascending Kanchenjunga. "It is guarded," he said, "by the Demon of Inaccessibility."
Still, attempts had to be made. So the Bavarians tried, and failed, in 1929. The next year a picked team of Swiss and English and French tried again—and also failed, tragically, losing a famed Sherpa porter. In 1931 the Bavarians came back once more and two more climbers were killed in a fall on Kanchenjunga's treacherous slopes. After that everyone left the mountain alone.
Climbers turned instead to others among the "eight-thousanders," those 14 great Himalayan peaks which soar over 8,000 meters (roughly 26,250 feet) above sea level into the icy Asian sky, and which, until 1950, had resisted every effort made by puny man to scale their enormous heights. At that time the highest climbed mountain was Nanda Devi, still lofty enough (25,660 feet) that its British-American conquerors were asked by natives upon their descent in 1936, "What did London look like from up there?" But in 1950 the giants began to topple. That year the French battled their way up Annapurna (26,493). In 1953 came Everest itself (29,002) and a German conquest of deadly Nanga Parbat (26,660). Last year K2, the second highest mountain (28,250), was climbed by an Italian team, and the Austrians won their duel with Cho Uyo (26,750). Last month a French group ascended Makalu (27,790).
Last week word flashed out of faraway Darjeeling that Kanchenjunga, too, had toppled. A nine-man team of British climbers led by Dr. Charles Evans, member of the 1953 Everest expedition, had gone to within five vertical feet of the summit, stopping only in deference to the religious feelings of the native Sikkimese, who believe their gods live up there. It was a feat hailed by mountaineers the world over. Said Sir John Hunt, leader of the Everest ascent, just before Evans and his party set out: "There is no doubt that those who first climb Kanchenjunga will achieve the greatest feat in mountaineering, for it is a mountain which combines in its defenses not only the severe handicaps of wind, weather and very high altitudes, but technical climbing problems and objective dangers of an order even higher than those we encountered on Everest." Said Dr. Charles Houston of Exeter, N.H., America's leading Himalayan expert who was on the Nanda Devi ascent and later led two expeditions to K2: "It's incredible, fantastic."
So once again the question arises: What is left? Well, there is still the peak of Lhotse (27,890), fourth highest known to man but really part of the Everest uplift and not a separate mountain at all. And Dhaulagiri (26,811) and Manaslu (26,668) and a few more still safely out of the foothill class. And there are great mountains to be reclimbed by different routes and, perhaps, without the aid of oxygen. But like the four-minute mile, which psychologically if not physically becomes shorter every day, the great mountains are shrinking. "All the high ones," said Houston, "are falling like dominoes."
Senator Leland Stanford may well be whirling in his sarcophagus now that the scholars he endowed on his spacious California farmlands have taken to boating. Through the years Stanford men have loved the great outdoors, but when it came to athletics they didn't go near the water. Then came the war and, like everything else, Stanford changed a little.
For instance, in 1946 some Stanford students thought it might be fun to take up rowing. They found a graduate student—a former coxswain at the University of California—who was willing to give them some basic pointers. They wiped the dust off a couple of ancient eight-oared shells donated by California and Washington during an earlier abortive effort to revive the sport (it had existed briefly before World War I).
In the early morning darkness, the Stanford oarsmen would drive several miles to unsheltered Palo Alto harbor for a couple of hours of prebreakfast rowing before the winds chopped up San Francisco Bay. They paid all their own expenses since the college athletic department could find no place for rowing in its program. Pure amateurism was their only reward.
For a while this underpowered sport was just for the dedicated few, but it wasn't long before their enthusiasm began to spread. Coeds formed the Shell & Oar Society to help cadge funds for the crew. Wealthy parents and old grads kicked in with occasional contributions. San Francisco sportswriters took up the cause with public pleas. The oarsmen themselves contributed $6 apiece in annual dues, paid for their own gas and meals on trips and would bunk in some hospitable fraternity house on a foreign campus. "Orphans of the water," they were called. This way and that, they met the annual budget of $5,000 (Ivy League colleges spend up to $75,000 a year on rowing).
In 1950 Stanford was brazen enough to enter its boat in the Intercollegiate Regatta at Marietta, Ohio, but they had to make a public appeal for $2,600 to get there. To the surprise of everyone except themselves, they finished a respectable fourth behind Washington, California and Wisconsin, beating some of the East's best boats in the process. Still no help from their own college, however, and their only official recognition was a minor letter for the oarsmen.
Last year, nearby Redwood City gave the Stanford crew a strip of land for a boathouse hard by its sheltered harbor. Throughout the fall all hands turned to the task of building the boathouse with materials donated by a local construction firm, and only the freshmen—at the insistence of the older oarsmen—continued serious rowing. The money that would have gone toward an eastern trip for the varsity was put into the new accommodations.
It seems like a mighty long haul to Stanford's rowing pioneers, but after only nine years crew has been elevated to a major sport. As if to celebrate this exalted new status, the crew rowed second to Navy (beating their two foster parents, Washington and California) In the Western sprint championships. Saturday, proving it was no accident, Stanford took the measure of California by two and a half lengths in a three-mile race, and the crew now looms as a real threat for the Intercollegiates at Syracuse this month. The ultimate accolade came from the Los Angeles alumni club, which has hitherto found little time for anything except promising football players. The club invited Crew Coach Lou Lindsey, a San Francisco investment counselor, to give them a talk. With justifiable pride, Lindsey gasped: "It's the first time they ever recognized us."
Ever since American tourists began flooding their country each summer, Spanish bullfight fans have found themselves obliged to explain over and over one of the most basic premises of la corrida de toros: "But, Se√±or, the bull is not supposed to win!" This is something, however, which does not have to be explained to a Spanish bull—a species of creature which seems—or at least seemed—to be completely incapable of producing a Cervantes, a Walter Reuther or a Mack Sennett. For generations, Spanish bulls have cooperated fully in the process of publicly reducing themselves to Grade B beef.
A few, it is true, have jumped the barrier around the bull ring and have chased attendants and photographers. In the 18th Century a bull got into the stands and actually assassinated the mayor of Torrejon. Such animals, however, are described as "cowardly," and even their fellow bulls seemed ashamed of them. But last week a veritable Trotsky among bulls—a beast of such scandalous impropriety as to be described only in superlatives—burst from the Plaza de Toros of Vista Alegre in suburban Madrid and did his best to wipe out the whole population of the capital of Spain.
Though both young and small he breathed audacity from the very beginning. He charged the torero, made one contemptuous pass at the cape, and then leaped the fence as neatly as Rin-tin-tin on the trail of a bank bandit. Almost instantly he punched a large and painful hole in the right buttock of one Miguel Rodriguez, a bartender. Then he attacked the nearest portion of the arena's outer fence, smashed out a door, galloped into the street. Just outside stood Enrique Pin Cerrillo, a young man who was in the act of trying to sneak into the stands free. The bull sent him flying into the air. He butted a 74-year-old woman, wounded a man named Aniceto de Frutos Anton and took off for downtown.
Behind him poured thousands of electrified spectators from the bull ring—some of whom trampled a 10-year-old boy named Antonio Dieguez Sanz into near-unconsciousness in the process of reaching the street. Behind him, too, came the local commander of the armed Guardia Civil—who ordered his soldiers to commandeer automobiles, close off nearby bridges and shoot to kill on sight of the taurine rebel. The rebel, however, was hard to catch; while the Guardia was pelting after him he fractured the shoulder blade of an aspiring bullfighter who attempted to subdue him and tore the clothes off Afrodisio Carrasco, a fellow who was simply trying to escape.
The delay, however, enabled a soldier to get within range. He leveled his rifle, pulled the trigger—and shot a 22-year-old housewife in the elbow. Trotsky hustled on, scattering the horrified populace. He was a mile from the bull ring when a barricade of automobiles finally brought him to bay, when a soldier shot him in the shoulder at a range of 20 feet, and an ex-matador named Domingo Dominguín (brother of the famous Luis Miguel) finished him off with a most inelegant weapon, a borrowed butcher knife. It would be only fitting to be able to report that Trotsky smiled on passing, or muttered, "How do you like them apples?" just before the fatal stroke. Such, alas, was not the case. But it must be remembered that revolutionaries often lack humor and that Trotsky was probably so winded at this point that he wasn't able to say anything.
The forthright prose style of the untrammeled American sportswriter has in the past been little hindered by consideration for the tender psyches of prizefighters. The word "bum" has been used freely, and the courage of boxers has been questioned bluntly without thought that these uses of the language were more than the natural right of critics, whether of sports or drama. After all, prizefighting is a sport which lives by display of skill and courage.
But it seems now that Vincent X. Flaherty of the Los Angeles Examiner may have gone too far in some reminiscences of Lou Nova's performance in the 1941 heavyweight title fight with Joe Louis. Nova sued for $200,000 and a jury has just awarded him $35,000.
Flaherty had written:
"Nova was like a frightened, screaming child at vaccination time. He didn't throw a punch but got hit by only one and seemed happy about the whole defeat. They lugged his carcass and towed it in abject disgrace toward his corner. He smiled bravely in the safety of his dressing room, wiping out the manliness of every victory he had ever won...."
That was the fight before which Nova proclaimed that his studies in yoga had equipped him with a "cosmic punch." It was the fight after which sportswriters wrote:
"[Nova] is a spectacular bum."—Dave Egan, Boston Record.
"Nova [seemed] frightened stiff."—Bill Corum, New York Journal-American.
"All [Nova] showed against the champ was timidity and two left feet."—Dan Parker, New York Mirror.
"I suppose it is no secret that I didn't land one good punch...."—Lou Nova, New York Journal-American.
Joe Louis, who knocked out Nova in the sixth, testified by deposition that Nova "acted frightened" throughout the fight.
Another distinguished former heavyweight champion, Gene Tunney, testified that, though Nova previously had defeated Max Baer by "sheer guts," there was no such display of courage in the Louis fight.
As for the plaintiff, Nova's explanation of the events leading up to the tragedy was clear and simple. In New York, rehearsing for his part of Big Julie in Guys and Dolls, Nova said he had fought under the restraint of shrewd and vigorous instructions from his corner to stay away from Louis for 10 of the 15 rounds. He tried and, had he been able to do it, this would have been good strategy. Only three months before, Billy Conn, facing Louis for the first time, outboxed the champion for most of their 13-round fight until a swollen ego told Conn to abandon science for the careless rapture of trading punches.
In the years since the Louis fight Nova has worked in the movies, in television and night clubs. During the past year he has been taking lessons in the dramatic arts from Frank Fay, an actor who starred opposite an invisible rabbit in Harvey, and in that time Nova has enjoyed great success in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. and Dayton, Ohio. Fay has been teaching Nova to recite poetry, which could be Fay's greatest role if anyone wants to write another Pygmalion, and plans to present the new Nova in recitations of Shelley, Keats and Shakespeare at Carnegie Hall this potentially memorable autumn. By way of preparation Nova has memorized—and freely recites—many poems, including one by Eugene Field, The Duel, which tells of a ferocious nursery fight between a calico cat and a gingham dog.
This raises a question. If Brooks Atkinson, the drama critic, should look in on Lou Nova, the actor, and decide that Nova has stunk up Carnegie Hall what can Brooks Atkinson say without fear of libel? Can he charge that Nova timorously succumbed to stage fright? Can he say that Nova was too yellow to read The Highwayman when all the audience expected that he would get in there and do it tribute? Can he even imply that, if Charles Laughton had been reciting, Laughton would have delivered far more lip-spray than the dry-mouthed Nova was capable of?
These are precarious times for sportswriters and drama critics and we had all better be wary until the Supreme Court settles the matter.
'YOUSE IS DEAF'
Umpire Pete Jaworsky, of the Three-Eye League, has now invited the attention of baseball fans to the hearing as well as the eyesight and ancestry of himself and his colleagues. It happened during a game between Keokuk and Cedar Rapids when the latter's Third Baseman-Manager Ray Perry socked a ball over the center field fence for an apparent home run. However, when the ball struck a metal scoreboard several feet behind the fence and bounded back on the playing field, it was all Perry could do to make second base in a slide.
In the waning twilight Umpire Jaworsky couldn't be sure whether the ball had struck the fence or the scoreboard. He ambled out to center field and heaved a ball against the scoreboard to test the sound. Turning back to his duties he ruled that Perry had, in fact, scored a home run. Umpire Jaworsky thus introduced a new chapter in baseball's continuing story: the umpirical decision by ear.
AFTER MANY A SUMMER...
With great aplomb the diver burst
Into his downward flight.
Perhaps I should have told him first
They drained the pool last night.
—Irwin L. Stein
CURRENT WEEK & WHAT'S AHEAD
If Nashua wins the Belmont Stakes this week look for a two-horse match race in August between Nashua and Swaps, the Kentucky Derby winner, for $75,000, winner lake all (see page 20).
In a rousing week for golf, Lieut. Joe Conrad, 25-year-old U.S. Air Force officer from San Antonio, Texas, became the sixth American in the last 10 years to win the British Amateur...Veteran Sam Snead posted a final-round 65 to beat the cream of the stay-at-homes and win the $15,000 Palm Beach round-robin on Long Island...and some 190,000 everyday golfers turned out on their local courses—in the fourth annual LIFE-PGA National Golf Day competition—to try to beat Ed Furgol's 72 (or Patty Berg's 77) for self-satisfaction and charity...some 35,000 did.
Stanford's "orphan" crew (rowing is not budgeted as a sport by the Stanford athletic department and oarsmen pay their own expenses) beat California in a dual three-mile race for the first time in 38 years at Redwood City, Calif. and prepared to blow $2,600 on a trip to the intercollegiate championship regatta at Syracuse, N.Y.
Bandleader Guy Lombardo—who quit big-time speedboat racing after Stanley Sayres's Slo-Mos outmoded his Tempo VI—has acquired a Tempo VII (a brand new 170-mph hydroplane) and will try to regain the Gold Cup on Seattle's Lake Washington this August.
Freshman Sprinter Bobby Morrow of little Abilene (Texas) Christian College ran 100 yards in 9.1 seconds (with a 7-mile breeze at his back) in the NAIA meet at Abilene. The wind spoils a record but Freshman Morrow overnight became one of the most promising figures in a new, fast-coming generation of U.S. trackmen.