The U.S. has more than once been called upon to assume responsibility for a sick world, but never with less global impact than last week when slim, blonde, blue-eyed Miss U.S.A. (née Marite Ozers of Chicago, 37-24-37) was rushed in as a substitute for ailing Miss Universe (alias Ieda Maria Vargas of Brazil) in a press agent's nightmare of sport that included water skiing on Florida's Biscayne Bay and snow skiing on Maine's Sugarloaf Mountain—all in a single day. "I enjoyed the Miami part," said Miss U.S.A., who had never been on skis in the snow before, "because it was warmer."
When word got to Moscow that Finland's President Urho Kekkonen (at right, below) was a fair hand at shooting game, good neighbor Nikita Khrushchev promptly invited him over to try his luck on the Russian side of the fence. It seems likely that the Finnish Nimrod went loaded for bear, but what he got—besides a look at his host's new abominable snowman hat—was a fine Russian elk.
If a Finnish president can find time for sport, so can a U.S. ambassador, in the opinion of Carl T. Rowan, the first Negro to serve in that capacity in Helsinki. "It is just as much a part of an ambassador's job to go bowling, to go golfing and to go to track meets," said Rowan in one of the most diplomatic statements an envoy ever made in the land of Paavo Nurmi, "as it is for him to go to tea parties."
"It looks like a fairly good year for us," said New York Met Outfielder Duke Snider in what appeared at first to be an unexpected endorsement for the losingest team in the majors. Alas, he was not referring to the ball team, but to the fine crop of avocados coming up on farms around Fallbrook, Calif., where the Duke has just been made president of the chamber of commerce.
December 16, 1963
"Thank goodness I was sitting down when the phone call came, or I might have fallen," said Mrs. Precious Humble, a widowed grandmother of Fairless Hills, Pa. The caller who caused such a flutter was President Lyndon B. Johnson, who rang up to ask Mrs. Humble to be his guest at the Army-Navy football game. Mrs. Humble, it seems, had been conducting a long and warm correspondence about sports with the late President Kennedy that began way back when he was campaigning for the job. The two 50-yard-line seats offered by JFK's successor were a kind of memorial. "There really was nothing special in the letters," said Mrs. Humble. "I wrote about my grandson and his school. When it was baseball season I wrote about baseball. When football was in season I wrote about football. It was like writing to a friend."
If bullring aficionados are impressed at the perfectly executed verónica with which Richard Burton avoids a liquor tray thrown at him by Ava Gardner in the movie Night of the Iguana, they can thank Author-Critic Barnaby Conrad. Conrad was just passing by when the actors were working on the scene on location in Mexico and, at Burton's urging, he gave the proud ex-Roman some tips from the corrida. "He took the instruction beautifully," said Conrad of Burton. "In an hour he looked just like Manolete."
While Ava and Richard were mixing it up down in Mexico, on-Broadway's off-beat Colleen Dewhurst and Lou Antonio, who plays her husband in The Ballad of the Sad Cafe, were taking boxing lessons together in a local gym. Their purpose: to avoid hurting one another in the play's connubial fight scene.
Senator Paul Douglas, a reformer who once recommended that all reformers adopt a few minor vices, gave lukewarm endorsement to Philadelphia Eagle Pete Retzlaff's suggestion that the new tax bill allow professional athletes a deduction "for depletion of their physical strength, stamina and skills." He pooh-poohed a fellow Senator's suggestion that a similar allowance be granted to legislators likely to outlive their usefulness, however. When a Senator wears out, said Douglas, "he becomes a lobbyist and his earning power increases."
A loyal disciple of St. Peter the Fisherman, Bishop Reuben Herbert Mueller, the new president of the National Council of Churches, wants plenty of changes in church practice—more action on civil rights, for example—but none in the ancient art of angling. "I was born with a fishing rod in my hand," said Bishop Mueller, "and I don't mean one of those fancy rigs. I mean a willow pole. I like to sit in the sun and watch the bobber."