All week the press has been awash in rumors from Italy of a Marciano comeback—the unbeaten heavyweight was in training, he was going to take on Cassius Clay. Now the shocking truth is out. The rumors were a plant. "I have come to Italy to please my mother," Rocky says. "She wanted me to go and visit the St. Anthony Institute for Orphaned Children in Padua." Rocky will plan with the institute's director for what he hopes will be the "greatest orphan children's center in the world," and any publicity about a "comeback" is not going to do a future fund-raising campaign any harm. As for his being in training, that is true enough. "I could no longer bear my wife saying I looked like a retired brewer." An effort to please one's wife, one's mother and a lot of orphans seems to be as worthwhile an endeavor as an effort to flatten Cassius Clay, and, anyway, 43 is no age for a white hope, even if he has just lost 20 kilos.
While Marciano plans an orphanage in Italy, some other ex-fighters are off on more sophisticated—but not necessarily more worthy—tangents. Former Heavyweight Champion Joe Louis (below left) is greeting people at the Pigalle Sporting Club in London's West End, and Lou Nova, who fought him for the title in 1941, is making a movie in Hollywood. Louis, who has just come from Germany, is drifting among the gaming tables looking moderately suave and moderately urbane, obliging guests with reminiscences of the Schmeling tight and analyses of Clay's showing against Mildenberger. Nova is playing the No. 1 challenger in Thoroughly Modern Millie, which sounds like an artistically unfulfilling role for a man who used to give readings of his own poetry and was famed for his rendition at Carnegie Hall of Alfred Noyes's The Highwayman. Actually, Nova may be relieved to be out of the reciting game. A former Golden Glover, Philip Kenneally, is reported to have memorized Dante's Divine Comedy and to be planning to unleash a one-man, six-hour performance thereof.
Horseplayers everywhere nodded approval when they read that General Omar Bradley had elected to take his bride last week straight from the ceremony to the Del Mar track, but they won't approve of his admission that "we weren't concentrating on the horses." As served such frivolous bettors right, they lost on every race but one and backed that single winner only because the flustered Mrs. Bradley, as she confessed later, "gave the wrong number at the window."
Frederick Archibald Warner, Britain's 48-year-old ambassador to Laos, says that he does not engage in athletics, but a close friend has let it slip that, in fact, the ambassador some-times plays a game of badminton and, every so often, a rubber of bridge. Well, the time may have come to examine the conditioning value of one or both of these pursuits. Laos' Mekong River overflowed recently, and the former Premier, Prince Boun Oum, gazed in dismay across the flood waters that roared between his residence and the British embassy. Boun Oum wanted to ask Warner for British medical aid for the villagers in the south, but the Prince could not make it to the ambassador and there seemed to be no way for the ambassador to make it to the Prince. However, one must never underestimate the country that invented the tea cozy: the next day Boun Oum emerged to find His Excellency descending from a helicopter on a rope. The down-draft flattened the Prince's bushes and caught the Prince's washing—voluminous trousers, pajamas and shirts ballooned away to land tangled in trees and plastered against rooftops—but the Prince was "impressed and completely enchanted."
September 25, 1966
Almost everyone in Cocker-mouth, England stood around in the rain all week, waiting anxiously for Lord Egremont's guest at the castle to catch a fish. Guest Bing Crosby (shown below right not catching a fish) was visiting the Cumberland town to fish the River Derwent for a film in the British ABC television series on American sportsmen, but as the days passed, something seemed to be amiss with American sportsman Crosby, or else with England's River Derwent. Every morning at 7 Bing strode off into the drizzle followed by a gaggle of cameramen, and every evening he strode back to the castle, soggy and empty-creeled. "It's getting kind of hard work, but they'll come," he said, rallying his TV troops, whose spirits were dampened along with everything else. Then he retired to ponder the baseball news from the old country and lay plans for the St. Leger horse race at Doncaster. After a week of this the fish did come. They were trout (the film was to have been about salmon fishing, but by that time a respectable goldfish would have satisfied). The American sportsman took several and got off to Doncaster in plenty of time for the St. Leger, where the action was considerably brisker. In a matter of minutes Crosby, Bing, had won 17 pounds on a horse named Crosby Don.
Baylor Split End Tommy Smith broke his back in an automobile accident in Colorado last year. Three weeks ago he was knocked out, bruised and suffered a cut right ear in an automobile accident in Texas. Two weeks ago, pretty well healed up, Tommy discussed these occurrences with the press at Baylor, then loped out onto the field for a bit of pre-season performing for television audiences. "Run right at me," some rash fool of a cameraman suggested and, sure enough, Smith broke the man's arm and acquired four new stitches in his own scalp. The Bears opened the season very successfully against Syracuse, winning 35-12, and Smith played more than half the game, emerging "without a scratch!" as Trainer Sam Ketcham reported triumphantly. Happily for Baylor, a football field with a game in progress seems to be the one safe spot for Tommy Smith.