LIVE AND IN COLOR
Government pressure on television first led to the ostensibly voluntary decision to eliminate cigarette advertising from TV. Now it has encouraged a movement to cut down drastically on the incidence of sex and violence in dramatic shows. An unfortunate consequence, according to critical previews, is that the new, laundered 1969-70 entertainment programs are sillier than ever. Health and morals must be protected, but no similar concern is expressed for the human intelligence.
Yet the trend might prove a boon for sport, since sport and general news are about the only "safe" things on TV that are also exciting and entertaining. Televised sports seem likely to draw larger and larger audiences, and that (follow the ratings, men!) could bring about an even wider exposure. It might mean a slight cutback on quiz shows and reruns of Gale Storm, but those are the sacrifices you have to make.
FIT TO BE TIED
October 5, 1969
As this football season began, the University of Louisville had the rather bizarre distinction of owning the alltime collegiate record for most consecutive games played without a tie: 171. Its first game this year was with Drake, which by happy coincidence had the second longest no-tie streak: 169.
The final score? What else? Louisville 24, Drake 24.
AFTERNOON IN PHILADELPHIA
"I came here to rumble," shouted Muhammad Ali last week in a tiny gymnasium in Philadelphia. "If Joe Frazier don't follow me, I want it known he backed down."
He left the gym, got into a sleek red convertible and headed for Fairmount Park. Earlier, on a radio talk show, Ali had called Frazier flat-footed, slow and without class. Frazier reacted by inviting Ali to the gymnasium for a showdown, but the gym had room for only 50 or 60 onlookers. When more than 1,000 would-be spectators showed up, Ali and Frazier, stripped down to boxing togs, were told by police to move their fight to the park.
Ali dressed, loudly insulting Frazier as he did. Frazier, told by friends to ignore the insults, said angrily, "He came here to run me out of my home town. If I don't take him on, he'll try to run me out of my own house next."
Ali yelled, "He wants to show he can whip me. He says he's the champion. Let him prove it in the ghetto, where the colored folks can see it."
When Ali reached Fairmount Park, the mob following along had grown to 2,000 people. But Frazier did not appear, finally, Ali yelled to the crowd, "If Joe Frazier had come down here this afternoon, then seven days from today he'd be a week-old ghost. Here I am, haven't had a fight in three years, 25 pounds overweight, and Joe Frazier won't show up. What kind of champ can he be?"
"A smart one," said Yank Durham, Frazier's trainer. "Neither one of these men are animals. Joe wasn't going to have a street fight in Fairmount Park, and Clay wasn't about to either."
The excitement in the park died down, and Ali got back into the red convertible. "Remember who's champ," he called out as the car drove off.
"You tell 'em, baby!" shouted a man, but a small boy, unimpressed, said, "Nothin' but mouth. He talks loud, but Joe's the champ."
Shickley High in Nebraska plays eight-man football (it has only 50 boys in a four-year high school), while Kenesaw High, somewhat larger, plays the standard 11-man game. The two schools wanted to play each other but did not quite know how. Finally, the wisdom of Solomon prevailed and it was decided that each team would do its own thing—on offense, anyway. When Shickley had the ball, Kenesaw took three players off the field and used an eight-man defense. When Kenesaw got possession, it went back to 11 men, and Shickley evened things up by adding three men to its defense.
Shickley, skilled in the razzle-dazzle offense of the eight-man game, romped to a 46-6 win. "Never again," said Kenesaw Coach Larry Adams. "My kids weren't used to covering that much territory per man on defense."
But what of Kenesaw's offense? Richard Ideau, Shickley's coach, said, "It's no wonder they couldn't move the ball. It's too crowded out there with 22 players on the field at the same time."
GO NORTH, YOUNG MAN
If you had had the foresight to buy stock in the Montreal Canadiens a year or so ago, you wouldn't be complaining so much about the market today. Canadian Arena, the company that owns the Canadiens, the Montreal Forum, in which the team plays, the new Voyageurs of the American Hockey League and several minor league franchises, sold at 265 a share in 1968, but this month the Stock soared past the 900 mark (it jumped 175 points in one day). The company has announced a 50-for-1 split, said to be the largest in the history of the Canadian securities business.
Hockey's new expansion plans (SCORECARD, Sept. 22) are a factor in the extraordinary growth of the stock, but mostly it is because Canadian Arena had been drastically underpriced. The company—which has no holdings beyond the hockey teams and the Forum—is said to be worth about $30 million; even at its high point of $920, before the split, the stock was selling at less than 20 times earnings.
The only problem with it is finding someone willing to sell. The Molson brothers, William, David and Peter, own about 65% of the 19,700 shares outstanding, and another 15% is owned by other members of the family. There are only about 150 shareholders in all.
TOP TENNIS, ANYONE?
Rod Laver's streak of 31 consecutive tournament victories was broken a week or so ago, but that did not affect Layer's place in the world tennis rankings announced by London's The Daily Telegraph, which has been doing this sort of thing for 55 years. This year's list, with last year's ranking in parentheses:
1. Rod Laver, Australia (1)
2. Tony Roche, Australia (5)
3. John Newcombe, Australia (6)
4. Tom Okker, Netherlands (4)
5. Ken Rosewall, Australia (3)
6. Arthur Ashe, U.S. (2)
7. Cliff Drysdale, South Africa (9)
8. Pancho Gonzales, U.S. (10)
9. Andres Gimeno, Spain (unranked)
10. Fred Stolle, Australia (unranked)
1. Margaret Court, Australia (5)
2. Ann Jones, Great Britain (6)
3. Billie Jean King, U.S. (1)
4. Nancy Richey, U.S. (3)
5. Julie Heldman, U.S. (unranked)
6. Rosemary Casals, U.S. (10)
7. Kerry Melville, Australia (unranked)
8. Peaches Bartkowicz, U.S. (unranked)
9. Virginia Wade, Great Britain (2)
10. Lesley Bowrey, Australia (9)
Men's tennis in the U.S. obviously declined in 1969 (only two in the top 10 and none in the top five). But America's women are coming on (five in the top 10 and three in the top five).
BEER AND BASEBALL
Here is a little more news from the financial front. Rheingold, the beer company that sponsors New York Mets baseball on radio and TV, has revealed a fascinating parallel between its fortunes and those of the ball club. For instance, in 1966, alter finishing last in each of their first four seasons, the Mets rose to ninth place, their best ever, won 66 games, their most ever, and drew 1,932,693 to Shea Stadium, another record. That same year Rheingold's sales reached $190 million, a record, and the company's stock hit an alltime high.
But in 1967 the Mets fell hack to 10th place, went over the 100 mark in losses, saw the paid attendance drop more than 350,000 and fired Wes Westrum as manager. Rheingold, too, had a rough year. The Company lost more than $200,000, the stock nose-dived and changes were made in top management.
In 1968 the Mets started up again. They finished ninth, won a record high of 73 games and attendance jumped more than 200,000. Rheingold rallied as well. Sales totaled $189 million, just below the record, and net earnings were almost $4.5 million.
This year the Mets—well, we know what they have done. And Rheingold, with its season not over, reports a 39.6% increase in net income for the first half, record sales, and—in this bleak year—a near record high for its stock.
Let's go Mets! Drink up, everybody!
ANDROCLES IN UPPER MICHIGAN
These wilderness stories always sound like something your great-grandfather first heard from Dan'l Boone, but here we go with another one. Frank Stebbins, a logger in Amasa, Mich., on the Upper Peninsula, was checking his trap line the other day when he found a bear caught by the foot in one of the traps. The bear was not happy, and neither was Stebbins, since trapping bears is illegal in Michigan. He had to get the animal out of the trap without shooting it, but the question was how? The easy way would be to walk up and say, "Here, fella. Let me get you out of that thing," but this bear did not seem to be the type to buy that dodge. So Stebbins decided to experiment.
He cut a five-foot branch off a nearby sapling and gingerly approached the angry, thrashing animal. "He quieted down a little," says Stebbins, "and I began to scratch him behind the ears with the tip of the branch." The bear stopped muttering, became downright docile and, in fact (or in story), rolled over and covered his eyes with his paws. While he was freaked out, Stebbins quickly opened the trap.
The tale would be perfect, of course, if the hear had then gratefully licked his benefactor's hand, saved him from starving by leading him to a honey tree and subsequently protected him from a treacherous attack by a timber wolf. But no. Stebbins says that the bear, once free, raced for the woods, pausing only for one Meeting glance back from a safe distance.
On the chance that someone might be looking for something to use as a station car, we pass along word that the Aston Martin D85 featured in the James Bond film Goldfinger is, so to speak, sitting in an English used-car lot. Bond's beauty is silver gray, cost more than $36,000 to build, has gone only 10,000 miles, can hit 150 mph and includes such standard equipment as machine guns, ejector seal, bulletproof shield, smoke-screen blower, oil-slick sprayer, radar and revolving license plates. Its owner, K. H. Luscombe-Whyte, decided he wanted to buy an airplane instead and was offering it for $12,000, if you hurried right down to the corner of Oddjob and Galore. "It's been tremendous fun," said Luscombe-Whyte, who obtained the car in a trade for a 250 GTO Ferrari, "but I think it's a luxury for a richer man than me." Luscombe-Whyte admitted that he had never actually used the oil spray or the smoke screen. "They were tempting sometimes." he said, "but one might have become rather unpopular."
THEY SAID IT
•Billy Martin, manager of the Minnesota Twins, on how to celebrate winning the American League Western Division championship: "You split a bottle of champagne and drink the Western half."
•Jim Sweeney, Washington State football coach and former coach at Montana State, about the defensive line of Weber State, which he coached against in the Big Sky Conference: "One guy was so mean he got kicked out of the Marines for unnecessary roughness."
•Dick O'Connell, Boston Red Sox general manager, alter firing Manager Dick Williams, who in 1967 led the Red Sox to their first pennant in 21 years: "There's a great deal of difference between being a crown prince and a king, between bidding for success and then attaining it. After you attain success, what do you do with it?"