BL: There She Isn’t … any more… Miss America
I knew if I was patient it would pay off… and sure enough. Amid the 24/7 carpet-bombing by “the media” of anything remotely TRUMP there arose a genuine “News Story”. Actually TWO genuine “news stories”.
• The last living Munchkin isn’t living any more (LINK)… and
• The Miss America Pageant isn’t a “pageant” any more and… there will be no swimsuit competition at The Miss America Whatever It Is. – LINK.
At least they didn’t have Roger Goodell make either announcement. Roger doesn’t do well “making announcements”.
I purposely waited 36 hours to offer my thoughts on this pivotal moment in American history. The Miss America thing… not the departed Munchkin. Although has there ever been a time in our nation’s history when we needed a munchkin more than now?
No word yet on whether the Philadelphia Eagles will attend the Munchkin’s funeral… or if they will “kneel” at the playing of “Somewhere Over The Rainbow”.
NOTE: At some point there were two “last living Munchkins”. Surely they both knew that only “THE last Munchkin” was going to be celebrated. The “next-to-last living Munchkin” was doomed to anonymity if “being a Munchkin” could ever be anonymous.
Imagine being a 90 year old non-Munchkin midget and going through the past 70 years having to say “No, I was NOT a Munchkin… or in the circus. I am a systems analyst for IBM.” And seeing the disappointment on children’s’ faces.
So in the past 36 hours have you uttered your zinger on the vapidness of “pretty girls with big hair and really white teeth determined to make The World a better place “by opening a chain of baton-twirling studios in the inner cities…”?
Without Mr. Google… I can name six “former Miss Americas”… Bess Myerson – Phyllis George – Lee Meriwether – Vanessa Williams – Maria Beale Fletcher – and Gretchen Carlson. Maybe Mary Ann Mobley but I’m not sure about her. How many could you have named before I named all the obvious ones?
Vanna White was NOT a Miss America, of course, but is probably more famous today for doing “former Miss America-type stuff” than any of them.
Maria Beale Fletcher was Miss North Carolina 1962 which is why I remember her. She was from Asheville.
Surely every Baby Boomer remembers if “Miss Your State” wins… unless “Your State” is Texas or Mississippi which have had way too many MA’s to keep track of.
At its height of popularity, Miss America pageants were as fiercely competitive among rival states as The Olympics. If “Your State’s Miss” didn’t make it… you screamed Crooked Judges !!!. Wonder if “East German Judges” ever worked Miss America?
The Miss America Pageant started in 1921 to promote Atlantic City. But it arguably reached its Hey Day in the 60s – AKA When Baby Boomer America was at its zenith.
Sure, Bert Parks was sorta creepy but there was so much goodness and sugary sweetness about the whole darn thing that we could momentarily forget about “The Cold War”… JFK’s Assassination … exploding Pintos … and how they would fit 50 stars on “The Flag”.
I can do dozens of snarky zingers about how corny the whole thing is/was, but I’ll let others do that. “Corny” is not all bad…
The late 50s to mid 60s were “Good Times” for middle-class America. OK, middle-class White America. I’m not sure how many RCA Victor TVs over in “East Kinston” were tuned in to Bert & The Beauties back then. Probably not too many.
Viet Nam and Haight-Asbury came along and I’m not sure Miss America was ever quite the same. The Ester Williams swimsuits finally gave way to “bikinis” (Hubba Hubba) and Ol’ Bert himself eventually gave way to a series of toothy Gary Collins-types.
Atlantic City became so run-down scary that “the pageant” moved. Even the doomed plan to turn AC into Vegas-East failed to do much to revitalize that swamp. Our family visited in the early 60s and I recall salt water taffy and “the diving horse”.
Remember that annual picture of the 50 contestants lined up “on the Boardwalk” for their group picture?
All of them with their “portable hair dryers” of course.
I rather suspect there was both “hanky” and “panky” going on “behind the scenes” from Day One because that’s just how we as humans are hard-wired. Surely there were lecherous judges as well as skanky gals “back then”.
Do you recall where you were when you learned that Vanessa Williams AKA “The first black MA” had posed for “dirty pictures”? Vanessa had to relinquish her crown but they gave it to another black girl because… well, just because.
As there been a Lesbian MA… yet? Has there / will there be “a Trany MA”?
I don’t recall when “it” stopped being MUST SEE TV for me. Probably in the early-mid 70s. I REALLY stopped watching when they did away with the “fire-batons twirlers”. Cello players can’t compare to a fire baton twirler… on a unicycle.
In 1970 what we know as The Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders made their debut. If one’s interest in watching Miss America was primarily for prurient purposes… the DCCs were even more better.
The DCCs were basically the same gals but without the goofy evening gowns and dopey questions… and in spandex.
“Beauty pageants” in general have fallen into the realm of stand-up comedy routines what with the rabid “pageant moms” and all the “wink, wink, giggle, giggle” regarding the aforementioned “hanky panky”.
It was inevitable… sigh, sob, sniff.
This week’s announcement regarding “no more swimsuits” was hardly OMG-worthy. That the “pageant” will now be “a competition” for young women to blah blah yadda yadda whatever is only BIG NEWS because “the media” can take a few giant leaps and blame it on “Donald You Know Who” somehow. …and CNN’s Brian Stelter gets all tingly saying “girls in bikinis” on-air.
I suspect “they” will try to blame POTUS DT for the Last Munchkin’s death too.
I’ve outlived the entire Cartwright Family, Lucy & Ricky (and Fred & Ethel), Matt Dillon & Miss Kitty, Lawrence Welk… and now all The Munchkins. OUCH!
Red Schoendienst died yesterday. … and Kate Spade hung herself. OK, that last one had very little emotional impact on me.
“Miss America” will go on as whatever-it-is. Yawn… Both warring sides in America’s Bitter Cultural War stopped yelling at one another for five minutes this week to ponder that reality… then commenced to yelling again.
QUESTION For Boomer Guys:
Which of the following do you recall most “fondly”:
“Miss Kitty” … “Jeannie” … “Annette” … “Ginger” … “MaryAnn” ?
…or, if you were into comic books – Betty or Veronica?