The city of Miami has asked the National Football League to consider it instead of New Orleans as the permanent site of the championship playoff. In a letter to Commissioner Pete Rozelle, Miami Publicity Director Lew Price points out that New Orleans is plagued by segregation ("The American Legion had to shift their 1963 convention to Greater Miami in September from New Orleans because of this reason"), that New Orleans just does not have the glorious weather that Miami boasts ("Miami's average daily temperature in December is 68.1; New Orleans' is 57.1") and, besides, Miami just loves football. In a follow-up flier to the press, Price also notes that "influential television sponsors" would like to move the game south so that "important markets such as New York, Chicago, Detroit or Baltimore-Washington would not be blacked out."
What drivel. New York, Chicago, Detroit, Baltimore-Washington, even tiny Green Bay, are cities, Mr. Price, not "important markets," and the fans who live in those cities should have the chance to see the championship at home and in person. We have no sympathy with any NFL owner or television sponsor obsessed by "important markets." Right now the sponsors have a little guy in white gloves on the sidelines who signals the referee when to call an official timeout for a commercial. Now there is something that ought to be changed.
Two All-Star teams of Latin major leaguers played in the Polo Grounds the other day. A friend of ours chickened out, but he had a wonderful idea: during the game he wanted to run out on the field with an American flag.
George Morris is an occasional actor and a former rider for the U.S. Equestrian team. From time to time, George still turns up at horse shows as both a rider and a judge. As a matter of fact, he was one of the judges chosen this year for the prestigious National Horse Show.
During the Piping Rock Show on Long Island, Morris took his horse to the woods for a rehearsal jump that is strictly against the rule book. George strung wire across the top of a fence. Although the horse does not see the wire, he certainly feels it when he hits it and this, theoretically, makes the horse jump higher next time.
But alas, poor George! Engaging in a nature ramble of his own was Walter Devereux, steward at Piping Rock and president of the National Horse Show. There was a confrontation scene fraught with drama, and George was judged a bad actor. If he appears at the National this year, it will be in the role of paying spectator.
AH, THOSE HUNGARIANS
Problems, problems. Everybody has problems. The 1964 Olympics in Tokyo are a year off, but according to a story in the English language Japan Times, the Japanese already have problems.
"The Olympics," reports the Times, "are contests of world products, too." And, as might be expected in industrial Japan, manufacturers are vying with one another to get their products accepted by the Olympic Organizing Committee. A Japanese printing company offered to rent 50 machines free and supply the printers as well but, when the committee accepted with thanks, other printing concerns screamed that the deal was crooked. The committee accepted watches from several Japanese manufacturers, but then a Swiss company, which has supplied watches to countless past Olympics, wrote a letter "full of sarcasm" in protest. Exclaims a committee official: "Receiving gifts is most strenuous!"
The Tokyo Hire-Taxi Tourist Committee is smoothing the way for visitors. A member of the taxi committee says Tokyo cab drivers are so well trained that none of them would create an international incident. "He meant," says The Japan Times, "that none of them will dare to act fresh with a beautiful athlete, for instance, from Hungary, even if they are so attracted by such a customer. He didn't clarify why he and his drivers are particularly concerned about Hungarian beauties. He simply said that Hungarian female athletes are long-legged and beautiful." Another official, says the Times, fears some Japanese women interpreters may go too far to promote international friendship with "those Italian athletes, men who have reputation of making advances to women."
So far, the Japanese have not done anything about the Italian menace, but a good reception is assured visitors from the U.S. and the British Commonwealth. The taxi committeeman says, "Our drivers have studied English conversation since 1960 and are ready to speak in English. Not only that, they can tell stories to please foreign customers." All drivers, he says, are equipped with a handy book, Stories of How to Please Foreign Tourists and to Become Good at English Conversation.
The Brow, Itchy, Mumbles, Pruneface, Mrs. Pruneface, Gargles, Nothing, B-B Eyes, The Mole, Flattop, Shoulders and Shakey are some of the villains who have tried to outsmart Dick Tracy, granite-jawed detective of the comic strips. But, aside from a character called Nuremoh ("Homerun" spelled backwards), a baseball player who tried to murder Tess Trueheart back in 1939, sporting villains have been rare. Now, however, there is a new one, Smallmouth Bass, a slippery character who goes around delivering hearts cut out of people for an evil genius named Doc Orta.
How did Chester Gould, the artist who draws Tracy, dream up Smallmouth? Pure creativity. Gould has not fished in years. As he recalls it, he was sitting at his drawing board one Sunday morning when inspiration struck. "I just made a period for the mouth and sat back and thought, 'That's a Smallmouth,' and I put Bass at the end of the name. I was just trying to get a quick, catchy name." The whole thing took only 15 minutes, the usual time it takes Gould to draw any character for the first time.
Gould has no plans for any other fishy characters, say, Cousin Largemouth or Pickerel Puss, and he isn't saying how Tracy will lure Smallmouth to his net or scale him down to size. (One guess: Flyface will reappear and prompt Smallmouth to leap out of hiding.) Neither will Gould say how long Smallmouth will be around. Usually Gould knocks off a villain at the peak of his popularity with readers. Judging from past history, that should be in about six weeks, around the time smallmouth bass season ends in New York. But Tracy may not catch Smallmouth by then. Tracy is a Chicago cop, and Illinois has no closed season.
A BOOKIE IN THE BUSHES
Rugged American bettors, like their Prohibition forebears, will not tolerate a vacuum. Their ingenuity is boundless. Just the other day Westchester County Parkway Police spotted men parading along a path near the Saw Mill River Parkway. Thinking this uncommon behavior for midday, the coppers trailed a threesome. Peeking around a bush, they discovered Ralph J. Morrella of Yonkers, N.Y. making book. He explained that he had moved into the shrubbery three weeks ago because of the nice weather, and if there is one thing Morrella likes it is long green.
NO MORE DOUGH
Sports took a beating from a couple of philanthropists last week. In Mount Carmel, Pa., Joseph H. Deppen, an eccentric lawyer, left an estate of more than $2 million. About $800,000 goes to Bucknell University for scholarships. To qualify, a student must "not be the habitual user of tobacco, narcotics, intoxicating beverages, and shall not participate in strenuous athletic contests." At his own request, Mr. Deppen was buried in a $6,000 bronze casket. He leaves a 1935 Cadillac in first-class shape.
In San Antonio, Oilman John R. McFarlin announced he was fed up with bankrolling Trinity University's lavish tennis program. McFarlin estimated he had spent $200,000 to help Trinity recruit and support such international stars as Frank Froehling, Chuck McKinley and Cliff Buchholz. Said McFarlin: "I give a little money every year to the Boy Scouts, and every year I get a warm feeling when some little scout walks into my office and personally thanks me for my donation. There is no such warm feeling when the school I have tried to help mails me a form letter of thanks with my name typed in the blank space."
PETER PIPER PICKED A PECK
The qualifications of a top horse-race caller are many. He must have a good voice, be able to speak rapidly and yet be accurate. Last week, in a harness race at Chicago's Washington Park, Caller Phil Georgeff got the test. Nine horses were in the race, and deliberately entered were three with tongue-tripping names: Rosco Bosco, Bosco Rosco and Bosco.
Possibly as many bets were made on Georgeff as on the horses. Bosco Rosco was the favorite, Rosco Bosco third choice and Bosco fourth. Fortunately for Georgeff, the drivers' silks were distinguishable. Bosco's driver wore gray and white, Bosco Rosco red and Rosco Bosco blue and gold.
The race was a pace at one mile. At the first turn the crowd whooped with delight. Bosco was second, Bosco Rosco third and Rosco Bosco fourth. Georgeff called them perfectly, even when Rosco Bosco broke stride. Bosco finished second and Bosco Rosco third. The winner was Navy Prince.
Fresh from the triumph, Georgeff said it was nothing, really. Earlier this season, he said, he had a tougher race to call when he had to contend with Shafter Jeanne, Shafter Rebel, Shafter Hanover and Topper Hanover.
Last week we reported that the Canadian government was worried about the diminishing number of caribou in the far north. You may recall that Farley Mowat, the writer and biologist, said in his new book, Never Cry Wolf, that the government was wrongly blaming wolves and not trappers for the depletion of the herds.
Now we discover that Ottawa, in addition to maligning wolves, has been trying to relieve the caribou situation with yaks. That's right, yaks—those great hairy creatures from Tibet. The government started out five years ago with three yaks, a bull and two cows, and it planned to move the yaks north from Alberta, where they are now ensconced on a private game farm, when they had multiplied to about 40. So far, so good. Once a year the director of the farm reports on the breeding progress of the yaks. In his latest report he announces the good news that the herd is up to 10. Unfortunately, all the offspring are bulls. This may be good for laughs, but certainly not for yaks.
HERMAN THE TURTLE
Hats off to Herman Beam! Seven years ago, when his job in the rayon plant folded, Herman left Elizabethton, Term. A University of North Carolina graduate in chemistry, Herman could have landed a good job elsewhere, but he wanted to become a stock-car racer. In the years that passed, Herman compiled a unique record. In 180 races, Herman never finished first. The closest he ever came was fourth. Most of the time he was dead last. Last February, when Tiny Lund got the checkered flag in the Daytona 500, Herman was 62 miles behind. "I'm not a very skillful driver," Herman says. "I just don't have fast reflexes."
Herman loves racing, but now he has retired. "If you're last and a close last, that's not bad," Herman says philosophically. "But when you're always a bad last, that's no good. Once I hoped I would win one sometime, but I've given that up now. I'll never win a race, and I know it."
Gloom has enveloped the tracks. Herman is gone. "The friendly jokes about Herman the turtle are over," says one official. "The drivers all liked him. Sure, Herman drove slowly, but he stayed out of the way on the track and didn't get anyone in trouble." What will Herman do now? Only destiny knows. Why did Herman race? "I'm independent that way," Herman says. "I just felt like I was doing something." Herman Beam, Godspeed!
THEY SAID IT
•Los Angeles Laker Dick Barnett, talking about his new teammate, Hub Reed: "He comes from so far out in the sticks, baby, they have to pump daylight in."
•Dr. Douglas Maitland Knight, new president of Duke University: "I'm not against college athletics as long as you can keep the gambler and the gladiator out of it. By gladiator I mean the boy who comes to college only because he has a gift for the sport. He has a certain genius for it, and other than that he has no interest in college at all."