Vonda Kay Van Dyke, Miss America of 1965 (below) recently took off from Santa Monica Airport and zipped through her first airplane solo in the family Cessna. Back in 1935, when the talent requirement was introduced into the Miss America contest, it caught a lot of pretty young things a long way off base. It still did in 1965, but Vonda Kay, a professional ventriloquist, was not among them. Three years after her hour of triumph in Atlantic City, she is still ventriloquizing and is a senior at UCLA, a fashion model, a documentary film star, a singer, an author, a wife—and now a pilot as well.
"Rarely do you find on the sea a night so splendid." said Roman Prince Giovanni Pignatelli. "I was all taken by the spectacle of the moon lighting up the surface of the sea when I noted an insistent odor of burning." The perceptive prince was quite right. The moon was not the only thing lighting up the surface of the sea—the boat was on fire. All seven persons aboard the 30-ton motor sailer en route from Monte Carlo to Port' Ercole, Italy, escaped in two rowboats before the craft sank, and after seven hours they were picked up by a Sicilian fishing boat. Pignatelli rested for a day and then went off to find his rescuers and ask what it had cost them to spend the day saving princes instead of catching fish. He was told about 20,000 lire, which is about $32—a modest enough sum for a haul of a prince, his wife, two children, one chauffeur, a guest and a sailor.
"I'm not much good at aiming them," sighed Lynda Bird Johnson, discussing a certain weakness in her dart game. It sounds like one of the more unfortunate weaknesses, but Lynda Bird, playing in a London pub, did finally throw a double six to win one game with escort Oscar Molinari and Film Director Peter Collinson. And she picked up public-relations points by managing to grasp the game's English scoring and to say of the unfamiliarly warm beer, "It's just great."
Director Alfred Hitchcock, in his film The Birds and Director Roger Vadim, in his film Barbarella, both went to ridiculous lengths to get shots of a bunch of birds attacking a human being. They could have saved themselves the trouble by hiring Larry Elkins, flanker for the Houston Oilers. A year ago Elkins was riding his bicycle when a duck shot out of a Houston bayou into his front wheel. Elkins landed in the bayou and the duck just kept going. Now Elkins has been attacked by a turkey. He was driving back to the Oiler training camp at Kerrville, Texas, with teammates Alvin Reed and Jerry Jolley, when the turkey flew out of a ditch straight into the car's windshield. "I was sitting on the back scat eating cookies," says Reed, "when all of a sudden I heard this noise and then something struck me in the chest...it was the rear-view mirror. I didn't know what was going on." Of course, if Hitchcock and Vadim had hired Elkins, the Oiler flanker would have had to play the roles of Tippi Hedren and Jane Fonda.
September 3, 1967
While England's Sir John Whitmore was hunting from a motorcycle—rather than a horse—here in the U.S. Film Star Steve McQueen put his motorcycle away and climbed on a horse to learn to play polo. Sir John and English Motor Racing Team Manager Alan Mann bagged two stags and 50 brace of grouse. Steve McQueen got blisters.
Former Middleweight and Welterweight Champ Sugar Ray Robinson has made his debut on the legitimate stage. He opened recently in a Las Vegas production of The Odd Couple with Mickey Rooney, Buddy Lester, Gary Crosby and Tony Randall (above), in the role of one of the poker players. Pro Actors Rooney and Randall drew enthusiastic reviews, but Sugar Ray's performance seems to have stopped the critics dead at their typewriters to grope for a tactful word. "He neatly blends into the hilarity," one of them said, easing off the hook, and another came up with the observation that Sugar Ray had offered a "strongly realistic image." Not as strongly realistic an image, obviously, as he offered to Randy Turpin back in 1951.
The football season is getting under way in most of the country, but Santa Fe, N. Mex. has been lagging behind, as the state's Governor Dave Cargo learned when a group of little boys turned up in his office recently. A small spokesman announced, "Ralph told us we couldn't play football in the park no more. He turned the water on when we started to play, then turned it off when we left." "What park?" asked the governor. "Down on the river," the boy answered (meaning the Santa Fe River Park near the capital). Governor Cargo briskly instructed his secretary to get hold of the head of the state parks department and request one good reason why kids should not be playing football in the Santa Fe River Park. The department head proved to have no good reason, and the football season is on in Santa Fe. As one of the little boys observed to another, "See, you hafta go to the top."