Tag Archives: Contest

If You Were An Animal, Here’s A Contest You Wouldn’t Want To Win

Win This Contest…And You Die 

From Steer Of The Year To The Dinner Plate in Two Weeks

A Contest Where The Winning Bovine Gets A Trip To The Slaughterhouse

lucky-boy-1-copyright-life-magazine-jan-8-1940Reading old Life magazines, you can come across some unusual pictorials and stories. This  graphically illustrated story from 1940 could lead you to vegetarianism. Unlike dog and cat shows, livestock shows don’t necessarily have a happy ending for the winner.

The Life story concerns a steer (a castrated male bull) ironically named “Lucky Boy II.” Below is the brief text and photographs from the January 8, 1940 issue. Continue reading

Miss America, Not Once, But Twice

There She Is, Mary Campbell, The Only Two Time Miss America

Miss America 1922 1923 winner Mary Campbell

Growing up I have slight memories of the Miss America Beauty Pageant: mostly of the perennial emcee Bert Parks singing the “There She Is, Miss America” song, while some young woman was given flowers and started crying.

The Miss America Beauty Pageant and all beauty pageants are generally a bore. They are really thinly disguised T & A shows.

But back in the 1920’s when the Miss America Beauty Pageant began, things were set up a little differently.

In 1922 Mary Campbell was named the winner of the second Miss America Beauty Pageant. Nothing extraordinary in that. As you can see in the above portrait and below that Mary Campbell was not breathtakingly beautiful, but still an attractive girl.

But what caught my attention was that this 17-year-old was not just the winner of the Miss America Beauty Pageant in 1922, but also the winner of the pageant in 1923!

Miss America 1922 winner Mary Campbell on beachHow Mary Campbell became the only two time Miss America winner is an amusing story.

Mary Campbell did not even consider herself the least bit good-looking. In 1922 when Campbell was watching the preliminaries for an Ohio beauty contest, a judge suggested she enter the contest. She did and surprisingly won the contest becoming “Miss Columbus.”

Later she was told she won because of her figure, which was 35-26-36. Being self admittedly  very naive, Campbell did not even know what a “figure” was. She asked her mother who replied, “It’s none of your business.” Continue reading

Posture Queen And The Creation Of The World War II Pin-Up Girl

Stand Up Straight Please, This Is A Publicity Stunt

Lillian McKevitt

New York, NY – Miss Lillian McKevitt, of Jackson Heights, New York is chosen as “Posture Queen” from among forty beautiful Walter Thornton models who demonstrated exercises to provide good posture in celebration of Good Posture Week (May 4-11), has her posture matched by Mr. Thornton with that of Sgt. Lester Hare of the military police of the Canadian army, who attended the matinee performance on the penthouse terrace of the Mayflower Hotel.  –  April 27, 1942: Acme News Photograph

By whom Lillian McKevitt was chosen Posture Queen is not noted in the news photo caption.

The interesting story here is about the modeling agency Lillian came from, The Walter Thornton Modeling Agency which began its business in 1931.

A June 27, 1948 Associated Press article describes how Walter Thornton created the World War II “Pin-Up Girl.”  Strangely this is based only on Walter Thornton’s assertion.

The story goes, “while in the service, Thornton pinned his girlfriend’s picture to the canvas wall of his tent. The pin put a hole in the tent and the Sergeant put Thornton on K.P. (Kitchen Punishment duty).  The new soldiers however lived in lush barracks and could pin up pictures of pretty girls without punching a hole in the wall. So one day in 1940, Thornton dug out about 5,000 photos of girls from his modeling agency and sent them to Fort Dix, NJ. The idea was a winner and the World War II pin-up girl was born.”


Thornton also put on a hair-pulling match in 1940 at Palisades Amusement Park which we previously profiled here.

Time Magazine noted in 1954, “He (Thornton) also has shown a talent for getting publicity for Walter Thornton.” Continue reading

Miss Pigtail Contest – New York 1955

Childhood Innocence

Chester Bugello age 7, borrows Maureen Albanese’s pigtail at the Miss Pigtail contest held at the Sullivan Street Children’s Center, New York City, July 8, 1955.

The look on Maureen’s face is priceless.

There were no “classy” contests like Toddler’s and Tiaras in the 1950’s. Whatever became of Chester and Maureen?

Miss Universe Contestant 1970

Miss Czechoslovakia – Kristina Hanzalova

News photographs used to get sent over the newswires to subscribing newspapers with captions. Some papers would use the “slug” – the suggested title that was written by the service providing the photo, other papers didn’t. In 1970, I cannot imagine that many newspapers used the title suggested by UPI (United Press International.) The slug and full caption are below.

Chesty Czech

Miami Beach, Florida:- Kristina Hanzalova, 21-year-old Miss Czechoslovakia, literally threw newsmen for a loop when she replied “94-58-90” when asked about her vital statistics. She was referring to centimeters, of course, not inches to which the boys are accustomed. Kristina is one of the competitors in the Miss Universe contest being held in Miami Beach.

Credit (UPI Photo)   7/7/70

It was obvious that Kristina could fill out a bathing suit, so I don’t think any editor would have used the “Chesty Czech” headline, but maybe some harried or unimaginative editors couldn’t come up with anything better.  Kristina was featured in other bathing suit photos before the contest took place, like this one which ran in the Miami Herald.

The 1970 Miss Universe contest was held on July 11, and Kristina ended up being a semi-finalist, but lost the title to Puerto Rico’s Marisol Malaret.

Kristina then made exactly one motion picture in Czechoslovakia entitled Nudity (1970).

And yes, she has a nude scene in it.

After that, she seems to have vanished from the public eye.

Hair Pulling Contest 1940

And They Are Doing This Because?

On a hot July day, is there anything more entertaining than a contest featuring beautiful women pulling each others hair?

If you agree, then this July 11, 1940 news photograph entitled “Models in Hair Pulling Match” should fit the bill.

The caption reads as follows:

Palisades Park, N.J. – In the first official contest of its kind, two dozen beautiful New York models competed in a hair pulling contest at the Palisades Amusement Park on July 11th. Object of the contestants was to drag their opponents across a finish line by their lustrous locks. Here are Florence Goodman (top) and Alice Schinkel battling it out for championship near the finish line. Florence was declared the winner of the knock-down, drag ’em across contest. 7-11-40 credit: Acme

Old New York in Photos #9 – Coney Island Ring The Bell

Hit Bell, Win Prize

Coney Island July 5, 1946.

Before the mall-ification of New York, Coney Island had lots of things to do besides the rides. One was this common amusement which was found at lots of carnivals and amusement parks. To test your strength you would swing a large mallet, hitting a levered board with a weight attached to a pole. Hitting it as hard as you could would drive the weight up the pole. If you hit it hard enough, the weight would go the top, anywhere from 10-15 feet from the ground and strike a bell. Doing so would entitle you to a prize.

It was a great way to impress a date, Continue reading