FARE NEW YORK
This is an article from the Aug. 13, 1962 issue
The U.S. Travel Service has been laboring tactfully for months to induce foreign tourists to visit the United States. It has prevailed upon Customs and Immigration to make entry into the country easier and more pleasant. It has encouraged lower fares. It has persuaded cities and resorts to offer special attractions for the foreign tourists.
Last week, largely as a result of U.S. Travel Service efforts, the British liner Canberra eased into New York harbor bearing 1,680 Englishmen, most of them economy-minded citizens from the solid middle class. The passengers used the ship as a hotel for the three days they were in New York. Everything was fine, even splendid, except that the U.S. Travel Service forgot to reckon with those lovable ambassadors of good will, the New York taxi drivers. New York cabs are metered, and the fare on the meter is the fare for the trip, whether there is one passenger or five. But when five Englishmen shared the same taxi some of those jolly old cabbies, who may not be birdwatchers but who know pigeons when they see them, charged each passenger the full fare shown on the meter. Well, the tourists came to see New York and, brother, that's New York.
ONCE AGAIN FOR TV
Television has been demanding, and getting, more and more control over the sports it turns its cameras on, so perhaps what happened two weeks ago was inevitable—a TV director overruled the referee of a league event. The place was Baltimore; the sport, box lacrosse, a hybrid game that crosses hockey's walls and basketball's maneuvers with field lacrosse. In a televised contest on the TV station's own field, a team from Washington D.C. played to a tie with Mount Washington, the national club champions of field lacrosse. This called for a sudden-death overtime—but first, a word from our sponsor. The unthinking referees somehow missed their cues and put the ball into play—and Mount Washington threw in the winning goal—before the commercial was completed.
The Mount players congratulated each other and headed for their cars, followed by suddenly live cameras and anguished TV officials, who demanded a replay for the TV fans. The station pointed out it had formed the box lacrosse league, with TV in mind. The Mounts protested; after all, they said, they had been taught this quaint old rule about the referees' being in charge on the field. But they played another overtime, and won a second time. ""I wonder about this," said Mount Washington's Frank Riggs, a former football captain at the University of North Carolina. '"We won again, sure, but it's not much of a game when you have to win it more than once."
Could this happen in a major sport? Well, at the All-Star football game last Friday the public address announcer said: "Hadl will punt for the All-Stars, immediately after the commercial."
CINDERS INTO GOLD
Track and field fans have been jarred the past year or so by the consequences of football's long and moneyed reach.
Glenn Davis, Olympic 400-meter hurdles champion and one of the most exciting competitors ever to appear on a track, signed with the Detroit Lions. Ray Norton, another Olympian and our national sprint champion two years ago, is playing with the San Francisco 49ers. Frank Budd, holder of the world's record in the 100-yard dash and the latest "world's fastest human," has become a Philadelphia Eagle. Now Jerry Tarr, the best high hurdler in the world and a winterbook favorite for the 1964 Olympics, has joined the Denver Broncos.
Tarr's signing brought sharp criticism from his college coach, Bill Bowerman of the University of Oregon—criticism that was directed at neither Tarr nor the Denver Broncos but at the Amateur Athletic Union. Bowerman said the AAU did not give its amateur athletes sufficient expense money to keep them amateur: that Tarr had to sign a professional contract out of sheer financial necessity. If the AAU would raise its expense ante from a paltry $2 a day, he said, we would have runners like Tarr available for the 1964 Olympics. The AAU replied that if it paid amateur athletes the $20 a day above basic expenses that Bowerman indicated it should, it would be professionalizing the athletes and making them ineligible for the Olympics anyway.
It is an old problem, made sharper by the current feud between college track coaches like Bowerman and the AAU. Actually, that feud is purely a fight for jurisdictional control and has little to do with the money question. Track and field is a semiprofessional sport; there's not enough money in it to support a professional caste; there's too much money in it to expect top amateurs to compete year after year solely for the love of the sport. After the feud is over that problem will remain.
Solid books on the sporting life are hard to come by, most books by sportswriters being slapdash affairs with a minimum of depth. Now comes a cultural anthropologist from Stanford—and a woman at that—with a fine work on gambling, Heads I Win Tails You Lose (The Macmillan Company, $4.50). Some of what Author Charlotte Olmsted writes is far out—she is a fan of Freud—but much of it is fascinating. She examines, for example, the deck of cards ("The face cards represent the old European family system of father, mother and eldest son or heir: our pack is very good at playing out family role conflicts and is often so used"); bridge ("a game that appeals to highly conventional people who wish to enhance or increase their social status"); poker ("The poker player is not quite as secure in his self-esteem as the bridge player"); and horse racing ("appeals to the social isolate").
The most valuable chapters deal with the problem of the compulsive gambler (like the alcoholic, he best responds to informal group therapy, e.g., Gamblers Anonymous) and gambling as a so-called social evil. Gambling, Miss Olmsted contends, is an outlet for psychological and social stress. To stop it without either solving the cause of stress or providing an alternative "will solve absolutely nothing."
She's right, of course, but 3 to 1 she wouldn't get anywhere with the McClellan Committee.
The Dallas Texans of the American Football League struggle harder than most AFL teams, all of whom struggle pretty hard, because the Texans have to fight the Dallas Cowboys of the National Football League for home patronage. For this reason the Texans not only have an advertising agency, they have an advertising campaign—complete with theme. The theme is zing.
Well, never mind. Anyway, the ad agency sent out a zingy mailer recently, designed to sell lots of tickets to this year's home games. The mailer included a schedule. But it was last year's schedule.
RACING LOSES CARTY BURKE
When they legalized horse betting in California in 1933, the skepticism among most local citizens was as thick as an iguana's hide. Thoroughbreds had once been a big industry in California, but the gamblers had contaminated racing there. The horsemen who revived it in 1933 were determined to keep it as un-suspect as Caesar's wife. Hence, the man they backed to head the state racing board was Carleton F. Burke. His immense integrity was what Western racing needed to regain public confidence.
Carty Burke was to horses in California about what Winston Churchill was to politics in Britain. He grew up with horses at The Thacher School, then at an experimental prep school in the Ojai Valley where every boy had to care for his own horse. He used to tell of riding the 60 miles home to Los Angeles at vacation time—across the sand-swept desert of the San Fernando Valley, now a mountain-to-mountain carpet of homes and shopping centers. Before World War I, and for nearly 20 years after it, he was a dominant figure in high-goal polo throughout the West.
During the long racing drought in California he continued breeding Thoroughbreds at his ranch in Hidden Valley, although he had to ship his horses east to Chicago and New York to find races for them. He made an annual custom of spending the month of August attending the races in Saratoga Springs.
Last week Carleton Burke, aged 79, was railroading east again to Saratoga. The train was only 20 hours out of Los Angeles when he suffered a fatal heart attack. His life was a monument to all horsemen.
After weeks of relentless blundering by all parties, efforts which might have brought order into professional basketball added up to this:
•NBA officials made asses of themselves by announcing completion of a deal for Cleveland and Jerry Lucas to join the league when such a deal was nowhere near consummation.
•Cleveland's George Steinbrenner made an ass of himself by apparently agreeing to conditions for joining the NBA which he did not fulfill.
•The ABL's Abe Saperstein made an ass of himself by changing his mind about important details in the midst of negotiations and going abroad while they were in progress.
•Pro basketball's best prospect and biggest potential attraction in years—Jerry Lucas—may have no place to play.
Is it possible that the affairs of a major sport could be worse handled?
"PALMER? MY NAME'S FAULKNER...."
Wendell Faulkner of Pecos, Texas looks like Arnold Palmer of Latrobe, Pa. This is proving to be a great inconvenience to Faulkner. Recently, for example, he was in Fort Worth while the Colonial National Invitation was being played. A friend of his at the club asked him to come out and say hello to Palmer.
"Sure," said Faulkner, "I'd like to meet him."
So he walked out of the Loring Hotel, got in a cab and said, "Colonial Country Club, please."
"Yes, sir, Mr. Palmer," the driver said.
"I'm not Mr. Palmer," Faulkner said. "I'm Wendell Faulkner from Pecos, Texas."
The driver turned and looked at him.
"What are you, traveling incognito?"
Faulkner didn't argue. As the cab neared the club the traffic became thicker and thicker, until Faulkner finally decided the trip wasn't worth the effort.
"Driver," he said, "let's go back to the hotel. It's just too hot today."
"What?" the driver demanded.
"Let's go back to the hotel," Faulkner said, just a bit testily.
"This is ridiculous," the driver said. "There's 15,000 people out here to see you play, and you're going to disappoint them just because it's a little hot?"
"Back to the hotel," said Faulkner, and that's where they went.
Faulkner's troubles started a few years ago, he says, "just after Palmer had been on a Sunday TV golf show. I got off a plane in Dallas, and two teen-agers asked for my autograph. 'You don't want my autograph,' I told them. 'Aren't you Arnold Palmer?' they said. I laughed and told them I wasn't. They apologized and that was all there was to it. That time. But a few weeks later I was in Dallas again, when Palmer was there for an exhibition. I went into a barber shop. There were a lot of people waiting. But as soon as a chair was vacant, the owner came over and ushered me to it. I thought the other customers were waiting for their favorite barbers, so I went ahead and sat down. A few minutes later I heard the owner whispering to another barber, 'That's Arnold Palmer.' I figured it was safest to just keep my mouth shut. When I left I gave him a pretty good tip. I didn't want him to think Arnold Palmer was a cheapskate.
"One morning I took a taxi to an airport and I was trying to read the paper on the way. The driver kept talking about how many famous people he had had in his cab. I nodded and grunted once in a while. Finally the driver got sore and said, 'I even had Roy Rogers in here once and he didn't mind telling me who he was.' I told him I was just Wendell Faulkner from Pecos, Texas. He never did believe me."
Faulkner once stopped at a motel in Midland, Texas during a pro-am tourney. As he walked up to register a friend called him aside. When he went back to the desk the clerk said, "I've already signed you in, Mr. Palmer." Palmer wasn't even playing there.
Faulkner, who is a few years older than Palmer and almost precisely the same build, dislikes golf and is beginning to get annoyed by having a celebrity's problems. He doesn't enjoy being stared at in restaurants and he is tired of autograph hunters. But most of all, he is sick of saying, "No. I'm Wendell Faulkner from Pecos, Texas."
THEY SAID IT
•Archie Moore, who may meet fast-talking Cassius Clay in a heavyweight bout: "I can be found for the next couple of months trying to perfect my new punch—the lip-buttoner."
•Jim Piersall, tossing darts at the deflating Cleveland Indians: "Wonder who they are blaming now for not winning? They traded away me, Vic Power and Johnny Temple. We were supposed to be all their troublemakers."
•Oriole Jackie Brandt, after Manager Billy Hitchcock told him to hustle more: "When you bust a gut and make things look easy, it's hard to do the same things and make them look difficult."