Chapter XII. 1935: Second "U.S." vs. "Canada" Match. 1935: Reluctance of USTTA Members to Support "Fighting Fund" for U.S. World Team. 1936: N.Y. Wins Intercities. 1936: Selection of U.S. Women’s Team to ‘36 World’s.
From the very beginning of the 1935-36 season, the new Topics Editor Sidney Biddell--he would also be the Captain of the U.S. Team to the Prague World’s--was pushing for U.S. participation in International play. The inaugural, and it was hoped annual, "U. S." vs. "Canada" Match, begun in New York in Sept., 1933, had not been resumed the following year because, as Zeisberg’s Aug. 14, 1934 letter to Quebec Association President Cooke had made clear, Quebec needed to change its name (which it soon did) to the Canadian TTA and join the ITTF. Otherwise, since ITTF member-countries were not permitted to compete against non-members, this initial rivalry could not have continued.
That September, with Biddell as Captain, the "U. S."--Cook, Silberman, Bacon, and Charlie Schmidt, all N.Y.-area players who’d survived a local play-off--traveled to Montreal to play "Canada." Though Ontario by this time had joined Quebec in the Canadian TTA, "Canada" was again represented by Quebec players only--Team Capt. R.R. Roberts, former Montreal Champ; William Travers, Quebec Champ; Roland Longtin, Montreal Champ; John Desjardins, Montreal Doubles Champ; and J. Paul Juneau, Province of Quebec TTA successor to now CTTA President Cooke. Quebec obviously fielded their best players, but at the National A.A.A. auditorium, before "a capacity audience of 1,000 spectators" who’d heard the points scored in both French and English, they were soundly beaten by the N.Y. players, 10-1. After the U.S. had been so hospitably welcomed at City Hall, and with the victorious banquet still to come, Bacon, as if the script demanded some friendly gesture in return, dropped the last match of the day, 24-22 in the 3rd, to Montreal Champ Longtin (TTT, Oct., 1935, 1 and 11).
USTTA Makes "Fighting Fund Appeal"
On returning home to put out his first, Oct. issue of Topics, Biddell announced in an editorial:
"No matter is of greater importance to all members of the USTTA than the Fighting Fund, which is to be used to send a team to Zagreb [soon changed to Prague] in March 1936. It was started after the last National’s and MUST contain $1250 before our representatives sail. The present plan is to send a [3-man?] men’s team and if possible two women players and this costs a great deal [roughly $250 a person?].
America can WIN the Corbillon cup for women players. Miss Aarons might well WIN Miss Kettnerova’s world title....
If every member will forward but 50 c[ents] to Chas. B. Dahmen, 919 Willow Ave., Hoboken, N.J., Chairman of the Fund, our problems will be solved.
...Topics will, beginning next issue, print the total, the contributors and the state leading in this most important support to the game in this country--DO IT NOW!" (TTT, Oct., 1935, 2).
Nearly 40 years later, as Editor of Topics and Captain of the U.S. Team to the ‘75 Calcutta World’s, I’d be making the same editorial appeal (though fortunately with more success). The problems Table Tennis faced in the ‘30’s would continue for decades to come. Without Parker Brothers, there just wasn’t any money in the Sport.
Editor Biddell will persist in his unanswered "Fighting Fund" appeal, but in the following unsigned editorial it’s surely not Biddell but President Zeisberg who writes so scornfully, so dismissively of those for whom 50 cents is just too much to part with:
"TO STATE ASSOCIATIONS
If you have the type of player who objects to paying 50 cents USTTA dues-- who says he ‘just wants to play for fun, doesn’t want to belong to a national association, doesn’t take the game that seriously,’ etc., don’t coax him.
Leave him out of your leagues, leave him out of your tournaments, let him shift for himself--and see how much fun he has.
Don’t waste any time on him. He’s the type who fails to show up to play, shows up late, balls up league schedules, causes extra work, doesn’t want to play according to rules, and won’t do any work for the game. You’re better off without him.
For every one of his type, you can find two who do take the game seriously and who know that teamwork is needed to accomplish anything" (TTT, Jan., 1936, 2).
Biddell’s voice is a very different one from Zeisberg’s. Here he tries a 50-cent appeal to one’s Patriotism.
Wouldn’t you be proud to see the U.S. mow down opposition in the World Championships at Prague?
Wouldn’t you like to be on the team--over there--fighting for the good old U.S.A.? Oh, boy! Who wouldn’t? [Earlier, in an Oct. 28, 1935 letter to Reginald Hammond, Biddell, whether he had in mind only the strong N.Y. Intercity team or the World team as well, had written rather ingenuously, for he had never been much of a player, "I’d give almost anything to be able to make the team but guess I am just too old."]
Not all of us can go--only the best. But each one of us can help to send a strong team to represent us all. And we can all rejoice in its victories, proud to know that each of us had a share in making them possible.
Sort of makes your spine tingle, doesn’t it?..." (TTT, Jan., 1936, 1).
Despite the repeated pleas for help, Biddell in another editorial, in the Feb., ‘36 Topics, would last-call lament that, with less than a month to go before contributions would close, only 18 individuals had contributed to the Fund. "It does not seem possible," he wrote, "with a membership as large as we have from which to call upon, so few have realized the necessity of sending their contributions to the fund weeks ago."
And now he adds a new appeal:
"The USTTA is striving to bring the World championships to the United States in 1937, and to be awarded this greatest of all table tennis events, it must be represented at the Swaythling Cup matches in Prague, so your contribution serves a double purpose. Think of having all the famous European stars playing in a tournament over here. Is not that worth a small sum which otherwise you would spend on something soon forgotten?" (TTT, Feb., 1936, 2).
Of course as far back as Mar. 5, 1935, President Stewart had come back from London with a "six-month option" on the ‘37 World’s. That option was still viable, was it? Providing the U.S. had an "official representative" to the "ITTF Annual General Meeting"?
Perhaps. But 60 competitive years later, option or no option, the U.S. had still not held a World Championship (except for the lesser, unfavorably looked on one for players 40 and Over in Baltimore in 1990).
By Jan. 14, 1936 only a total of $464 ($264 of it from an Illinois TTA raffle) had been raised toward the now not $1250 but $1500 necessary (for not unreasonably the Captain/Delegate’s way, that is, Biddell’s way, is to be paid too?).
President Zeisberg, by nature more given to proclamations than pleas, felt that Biddell’s soft rhetoric wouldn’t get the job done, so he applied pressure. He sent out a Jan. 14, 1936 To Whom It May Concern letter stating that the USTTA E.C. was going to select the U.S. World Team based on recommendations from the Ranking Committee. In doing so, he said, it would use the following "measuring sticks":
"(1) Ability as a player. (2) His general spirit of co-operation, as evidenced by his participation in the American Zone and other ways. (3) The co- operation of his friends and his [local] association in raising the $1,500 Fighting Fund. These things will weigh equally."
Zeisberg emphasized that "there is no player in the U.S. who is so much better than half-a-dozen others that he will be selected regardless of how little cooperation he and his friends and association show in regard to helping to raise the Fighting Fund." Zeisberg even went so far as to write--as if the competition might be wide open--"If there is a player in your city who has chances of making the team if he and his friends and association show some cooperation in raising his expenses, please call this letter to his attention or to the attention of his best friend--immediately....The Executive Committee has learned that cooperation is needed in this stage of our development more than playing ability and I for one am voting for the guy with the cooperative spirit."
He means the guy who can best buy his way onto the team?...
Zeisberg’s rhetoric aside, the two most important tournaments Reginald Hammond’s Ranking Committee would consider in picking the U.S. Men’s Team to the March, ‘36 Prague World’s were the Chicago Intercities the first week of January and the American Zone Qualifier in Washington D.C. four weeks later.
Since play at the Lake Shore Athletic Club would be on just four tables, Illinois TTA President George Littell and Tournament Director Dougall ("Kitt") Kittermaster agreed that only seven teams could be accomodated: Defending Champ New York, the contesting St. Louis, Chicago, and Indianapolis teams, and teams from Detroit, Cincinnati (who, with momentary Miami Valley TTA President Berne Abelew, Cal Fuhrman, Merle Arens, and James Ratliff, in a sectional play-off had defeated Dayton, headed by Mark Neff and Howard Thomas), and Omaha (who, with players from as many as 30 League teams to choose from, qualified by beating Kansas City).
It was understood of course that far-off California wouldn’t be sending a team--though it had serious players, two of whom were Don Terry (born Don Locher), 4-time California Open Champ from 1935-1940, and a movie serial hero (see, for example, the 1938 "Secret of Treasure Island" or the 1941 "Don Winslow of the Navy") and the 1934 California Open and 1935 Western States Champ Don Siegel.
Laszlo "Laci" Bellak told me that Siegel wanted "Laci" (who for a time lived in Nice--I believe in 1932, when novelist Romain Gary reportedly was City Champion there) to hustle the French Riviera with him. (At Nice, for example, crowds would line the balustrades along the waterfront boulevard to watch those on the beach play table tennis.)
Out of money abroad, Siegel finagled his way back to the U.S. by pretending to be a drummer. Laci said that the outraged band that needed him and had paid his passage sure made him into one in the days at sea before the ship docked. Later, Siegel, who’d "started at Warner Brothers in 1934 as an assistant in the film library at $1 an hour," became a well-known Hollywood director (see, for example, the 1956 "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" or the 1972 Clint Eastwood movie "Dirty Harry").* Both Terry and Siegel were featured in MGM’s early 1936 Pete Smith "Sports Parade" short, starring Coleman Clark (TTT, Mar., 1936, 3 and Oct., 1936, 6).
Nor at these 1936 Intercities did anyone expect an entry from the Northwest’s Seattle stars--headed by Elwood Martin and 14-year-old Ray Pearson, who’d just -14, -20, 21, 12, 17 upset Martin to win the Washington State Championship.
But what about other sections of the country not that far from Chicago? The South Jersey affiliate had just joined the New Jersey affiliate to form one united NJTTA. It reportedly for a time even had its own mimeographed newsletter (the "Announcer"), though this was not unique, for other associations--Illinois, Oregon, and Washington--had or would have them too.** Since the NJTTA accounted for nearly a fourth of the total USTTA membership at this time (TTT, Feb., 1936, 8), wouldn’t you think they’d try to field a team of, say, National Doubles Champ Ed Silverglade who’d recently won the Delaware County Open, past and present Newark City Champions Ed Byers and John Bondier, and past and soon to be again N.J. #1 Manny Moskowitz?
Also, where was Pennsylvania with Irv Edelstein, Gene Smolens, Joe LeBow, Ray Lipschutz, and the precocious Izzy Bellis who this spring would successfully defend his Philadelphia City Championship? Supposing they’d have had a sectional qualifier with New Jersey, wouldn’t that have been exciting?...But Chicago was just too far, too costly a trip for so many players?
And what happened to Cleveland? Even with their very own practice-makes-perfect Harry S. Wahle 14-table club--members pay $1 a year plus $1.50 a month to play; non-members 60 cents an hour (TTT, Oct., 1935, 3)), and their Miami Valley Open Champ Jack Boksenbom, their just crowned Ohio Open Champ Al Findlay, and their among-the-top-5-in-Ohio circuit regulars Courtney Bock and George Sturgiss, they didn’t want to contest with Detroit, Cincinnati, Dayton? Or for some reason they couldn’t? Strangely, Wahle did bring a Cleveland team to Chicago "in hopes of finding an opening," but when none materialized supposedly the Cleveland players were "perfectly content to watch" (see Neuberger’s National Intercity Binder, 59).
The powerful Biddell-Captained New York team--Berenbaum, Schiff, Pagliaro, and Jacobson--drove the 900 miles to Chicago over "sleet-covered and blizzard-swept roads" (TTT, Feb., ‘36, 4)--and as it turned out their victory demanded a similar perseverence, patience, and maybe a little luck. In winning the Championship they beat Indianapolis 5-4 (after being 3-4 down), beat Chicago, 5-3 (after being 0-2 down), and beat St. Louis, 5-3 (in a climactic tie that could easily have seen St. Louis the winner).
McClure’s sweep of Schiff, Pagliaro, and Jacobson helped him to an 11-0 record and the Best Performance medal. (Only once was he decidedly in jeopardy: in the Chicago tie when Billy Condy had him 11-1 in the 3rd.) Indianapolis gained a 4-3 lead over New York because Earl Coulson (who’d earlier won the Wabash Valley Open over Condy), was able to -19, 20, 19 beat Jimmy Jacobson (who’d earlier won the Providence Southern New England Open over George Bacon). With only seven teams competing, there were always players out there who, given the chance, knew how to win.
Two Chicagoans, Mort Ladin and Herbert "Chubby" Aronson (who’d lost the late Nov. Chicago District Championship final to Herman Leavitt) had their moments. Ladin’s quick, deceptive backhand flicked out an upset win over Berenbaum, and Aronson (sometimes he stroked the ball with two hands on the racket), winner of the Windy City’s fall Membership Open that had brought in over 100 State or National members, -19, 21, 15 downed Bud Blattner. Poor Bud--as Hammond’s Jan. 11, ‘36 letter to Biddell made clear--he was still suffering the effects of food poisoning from a Friday night dinner at former USTTA President Stewart’s house.
The wildly exciting final between the undefeated New York and St. Louis teams (New York listeners could hear at least some of this tie broadcast over WEAF by sports announcer Hal Totten) began with Blattner, up 1-0 but down 17-8 in the second to Pagliaro, then rallying to win at deuce two straight. Schiff, after losing the first, then beat 21-year-old defender Bill Price. But Dick Tindall hit through Berenbaum in three to put St. Louis ahead again.
The first turning point of the tie came in the fourth match when Schiff just got by Blattner, 19 in the 3rd. George "Gus" Sempeles, ‘36 Maryland Champ, told me that this was one of those rare times when Sol was able to beat fellow attacker Blattner. Ordinarily Sol couldn’t take the offense, for Bud’s shorter strokes allowed him to keep the table. Though this was Blattner’s fourth loss at this for him ptomaine tournament, he had been playing well--had won the Dec. St. Louis District Open over Tindall and Price, and would continue playing well, would win the Missouri State over Tindall. So, were he to distinguish himself in the upcoming American Zone tournament, the Ranking Committee would be inclined to consider that Bud had been somewhat indisposed, not quite himself, here in Chicago and was still very much in the running for a spot on the U.S. World Team.
The second and deciding turning point came when Schiff, down match point in the third to Tindall (the two of them had lost only to McClure), got an edge ball that eventually gave him a 24-22 win. After that, St. Louis was finished, for Berenbaum (who had a 7-2 record) easily beat Blattner (9-4).
This Intercity (TTT, Feb., 1936, 1 and 4) was proclaimed by everyone present as the "greatest" so far. Thanks to Coleman Clark’s huge ever-changing scoreboard and his "deft manipulation of the loud speaker," the standings of the teams were always made perfectly clear to onlookers. Also, Clark, ever the promoter, who had started a series of weekly columns in the Chicago Tribune, teamed with Sandor Glancz to entertain the spectators with a professional exhibition played on a P. Becker and Co. burgundy-colored table, "said by experts to be more restful than green to the eyes" (TTT, Feb., 1936, 6).*** Though Clark’s short competitive career was over, he continued to be as serious about his show-biz exhibitions as any world-class player was about winning tournaments. Within a month of these Intercities, he’d finished that Pete Smith one-reeler I’d mentioned earlier--about which table tennis historians Laflin and Roberts had this to say:
"...A specially built plate-glass table permitted the play to be photographed from below, and marked balls made the spin and bounce easy to follow, especially in slow motion. At one point "Cokey" Clark was able to knock down three tiny tenpins in three successive shots, which he modestly disclaimed as normally impossible" (TTT, Apr., 1948, 8).
After these Intercities, the leading contenders for the Men’s Team coming into the deciding American Zone tournament were McClure, Schiff, Tindall, Berenbaum, and Blattner (all hitters, except for Berenbaum). Doubtless Zeisberg is more than a little put out that these particular players and their friends aren’t raising much money. In a Jan. 14, 1936 note, he urges George Schein to see if New York can’t raise some money--he means more money, for they’ve raised some but not much--and asks him if he couldn’t hold a raffle at his YMHA.
By the time the U.S. actually sets sail, the Indiana, Missouri, and New York TTAs have, along with others, made contributions, and with further sums expected and about $1130 in hand, the E.C., "rather than cut down the full representation," advances the Team the remainder of the money necessary. Eventually, with an anonymous donor [the Aarons family?] giving $225, the $1500 needed for a "5-player team [and Biddell?] is reached, and the books are closed with $44. 53 to spare. Later, in a final final tally, with $572. 16 having been advanced by the USTTA, a grand total of almost $2500 has been received--which as it turns out is just enough to pay the Team’s expenses.
Now just who has gone to Prague with Team Captain and ITTF Delegate Biddell to represent us?...The two-part answer to this question is a little story in itself.
Selection of U.S. Women’s Team to the ‘36 World’s
Back in the Oct., ‘35 Topics, Biddell was saying that the U.S. "can WIN the Corbillon Cup" at the ‘36 World’s and that Ruth Aarons "might well WIN" the Women’s Singles (2). Naturally, if the U.S. is to win the Women’s Team event, Ruth must be partnered with someone--that is, if she’s going to Prague. In an Oct. 25, 1935 letter to Biddell (copies to Zeisberg and Elmer Cinnater among others), Ranking Chair Hammond offers some comments on a possible partner for Ruth, on the possibility of Ruth herself going to the World’s, and the problem of the expense to the USTTA of sending both a Men’s and a Women’s team:
"Helen Ovenden [U.S. #6 but the only ranked woman player with World Championship experience] says she is definitely going, but she is so unreliable that this doesn’t mean anything. Under no circumstances should we consider helping her, and in fact, if our limit to be offered hospitality should otherwise be reached, I would not be in favor of including her in our official team.
[She] has proven in winning only one Corbillon cup match last year that she has little value on a United States team, and her conduct is always such that she is no credit to the country."
Poor Helen--what awful things has she been doing? I mean, besides startling the gallery at the last World’s "by appearing in blue satin trousers and a spotted check blouse." Perhaps she and Hammond saw too much, or not enough, of one another there in Chicago? In Oct. 12 and 13, 1993 letters written to George Hendry, Mildred Wilkinson Shipman, whom Ovenden had recently beaten in a Chicago Membership tournament, recalls Helen differently:
"I went to the Net and Paddle Club [Mildred means the Stay and Play Club] in Chicago’s loop from my basement table tennis. I was awed. Helen Ovenden made me feel welcome. She was one of the greats, and was also beautiful and charming. I did not dare ask her to play me, but one day she and Ed Dugan needed a fourth for a doubles match, and she asked me to join them. Thus I discovered she was a terrific table tennis player and a most gracious but tough competitor. They gave me confidence. After that Helen asked me to fill in whenever needed. Helen and I agreed that table tennis made you forget your troubles."
Mildred wrote that "a noontime match...was the highlight of Helen’s and my day." She was "sad," she said, when Helen "stopped coming to the club to play." For some intriguing reason, Mildred was never able to obtain Helen’s "home telephone or office number." She thought Helen "was reserved...because of her work...in the field of brokerage and real estate." Mildred said that, if she could, she would "unequivocally vote to induct Helen Ovenden into the Hall of Fame."
U.S. #3 Emily Fuller was a real possibility to partner Aarons? In that Oct. 25, 1935 letter to Biddell, Hammond said he’d like to see Emily make the trip to the World’s, but, he added, "her means are such [that is, she’s well-off--has already contributed the relatively large sum of $25 to the "Fighting Fund"] that there is no sense in considering her for any help from the USTTA as the small amount we could give her, if we wanted to, would only be a fraction of her expense."
Hammond also mentions a new and unknown woman player. She’s a 21-year-old Salem, Massachusetts American citizen studying piano in Vienna, who has suddenly come to the USTTA’s attention. Her name is Corinne Migneco, and she’s been recommended to Hammond in an Oct. 10, 1935 letter from Dr. Richard Pick, the German Language Secretary of the ITTF. Although she’s been playing table tennis for just a year, this past summer in an international meet in Hungary she [20, -22, -13] finished second to Hungary’s Magda Gal, World runner-up in London last February. "Today I don’t think she can be beaten by anybody," said Dr. Pick. "Of late she has not lost a single game. Last week she defeated Vindobona, 1935 champion, without loss of a game. [Is Dr. Pick referring here to the 1935 Czech World Champion Marie Kettnerova? "Vindobona" was the name of the Club the young Austrian Richard Bergmann belonged to in 1935.] We are sorry that being an American citizen she cannot represent Austria." Hammond says to Biddell, "If we are to believe Dr. Richard Pick, Corinne Migneco and Ruth Aarons would make a Corbillon cup team pretty hard to beat."
But will Ruth go? Hammond urges that "if we KNEW that she could not go unless we contributed the two or three hundred dollars that at best will be available, I would be strongly in favor of sending her, even though it meant leaving a deserving man off the team." He adds, "She is the only person in the United States capable of winning a title and I feel that a winner or even a runner-up would do us much more good than having Jimmy McClure or Abe Berenbaum put up a good fight against one of the leading Europeans in an early round; or providing needed experience for some youngster." However, he concludes, "I doubt if this matter of a few hundred dollars is the deciding factor in Ruth’s going. If members of her family feel it necessary to accompany her to Cleveland and Chicago, they certainly will not let her go off alone to a remote and war ridden part of Europe [at this time it looked like the site of the World Championships would be Zagreb]. Therefore her family [members] are up against sending two people, which could easily cost $2,000, as they undoubtedly would go to Europe on the same scale they have come to the last two nationals. This makes our contribution look so small that if her family [members] are able to supply the balance, they might as well do the whole thing, especially when they consider that our helping Ruth keeps us from sending an additional man."
Biddell, answering Hammond, says that "both girls [Ruth and Emily] would be much reassured were you definite about Kitt’s [Dougall Kittermaster’s] going as non-playing captain, since I am sure they would fee[l] that he was well able to take care of them if they were to make the trip alone, which I doubt would be the case." (Understandably, Biddell, who will be named Captain when Kittermaster begs off, is indirectly making the point that a protective Captain is probably a necessity if the U.S. is to send a women’s team?)
It’s not clear to Biddell, though, that Fuller will go. She’s told him she’s "taking a course in dramatics here in New York which would interfere with such an extended stay-away-from-New York trip."
It’s not clear to me just what Fuller’s status at this point is with the NYSTTA and the USTTA, or how she’s getting along with Biddell who is now on the USTTA E. C. Back in April, 1935, at a meeting of the NYSTTA, Biddell made a motion to suspend Fuller until March 1, 1936 and it was carried unanimously. Further, the NYSTTA had asked USTTA organizations to recognize that the suspension be "effective throughout the USTTA." Fuller’s offense? In a recent "Eastern Ping-Pong Tournament" in Boston--sic, stop right there: she was playing in a "Ping Pong" tournament? That’s offense enough for USTTA officials. Turns out Emily had defaulted her final match in the Women’s Singles, and, as an Apr. 26, 1935 letter to Fuller from NYSTTA President Schneider makes clear, this was thought the more reprehensible because she’d earlier demanded that an opponent be compelled to default to her on a technicality, "thereby depriving her [this opponent] of an opportunity to advance in the tournament, and precipitating a controversy which ultimately resulted in the suspension of another player by this Association."
This other player, known for his "fighting spirit," was 1933 NYTTA National Champion and 1935 USTTA Mixed Doubles Champion Sydney Heitner. He was suspended until Jan. 1, 1936, but with the proviso that he could play in the "Round Robin Tournament"--that is, the MTTA Tournament or League Play that took place during most of the season (all ties were played on a home-to-home basis, involved 3-7 players on a team, and consisted of 9 singles and 2 doubles matches). Perhaps it was this suspension, or the fact that the USTTA was coming down hard on defenders, or some other, outside-table-tennis reason that precipitated Heitner’s retirement from the Sport--but no further mention of him appears in Topics until notice of his strange disappearance in 1950.
Warned but not suspended along with Fuller and Heitner was Emily’s coach and mixed doubles partner Sam Silberman, NYSTTA Education Committee Chair, who had "questioned the authority of the Boston tournament committee" and had "participated in several unsanctioned exhibitions" (TTT, June, 1935, 3).
I’ve no record of Fuller playing in the first half of the 1935-36 season--but apparently Biddell and others think, practice or no practice, tournament play or no tournament play, Emily should be encouraged to compete not in the U.S. but in Czechoslovakia, especially if she can pay her own way. I don’t know what Emily herself thinks of all this (her suspension until Mar. 1, 1936 has been waived?)--but, after it looks like she is going to the World’s at her own expense, she then decides not to go. (Her straight-game loss to Anne Sigman in the Jan. 30-Feb. 1 American Zone is a contributing factor?)
That leaves--since there’s to be no specific competition and little, if any, money for the Women’s team--U.S. #2 Jay Purves. Or U.S. #4 Ethel Baer Schneider, who’d easily defeated Ovenden in the 1/4’s of the ‘34 National’s but who in the Missouri State Championships in late Jan. would be upset, 19 in the 3rd, by soon-to-be Western Open Champion Dolores Probert (winner over Wilkinson, 19 in the 5th). Or U.S. #5 Anne Sigman? Before the ‘36 American Zone tournament, before the ‘36 Eastern’s, before the ‘36 National’s, who could predict that Sigman was twice going to beat Fuller and lose (as she always did) only to Ruth? Better now to go with Purves--‘33 APPA Champ and ‘34 APPA and ‘35 USTTA runner-up to Aarons--though the very weekend the Team was named, Jay was -19, -17, 22, 16, 17 almost beaten by Wilkinson.
Anyway, who had reason to believe Schneider or Sigman would be able or willing to pay her own way, whereas, as Hammond writes on Jan. 18, 1936 to Biddell and others:
"Jay Purves is definitely going at her own expense. The letter I wrote her more as a compliment to her position as our No. 2 player than with the hope that she would go, seems to have done its work. She will try to obtain some funds through friends, but failing in that she will spent [sic] some of the money she has saved from her teacher’s salary, which I know is at least $2,000."
So, with Jay contributing $200 raised through exhibitions, and with Migneco already cost-cutting-close to Prague, the U.S. Women’s Team to the ‘36 World’s would be Aarons, Purves, and Migneco.
*See Halliwell’s Filmgoer’s Companion (8th ed.), Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1985). Terry (Don Locher) was born in 1902, Siegel in 1912. There’s a reference to Siegel in Aljean Harmetz’s Round Up The Usual Suspects (on the making of the movie "Casablanca"), New York: Hyperion, 1992, 264. Note Romain Gary’s obituary in TTT, Feb., 1981, 2. For comment on Nice table tennis players on the beach, see GSSI, 143.
**For reference to Illinois Newsletter (ed.by Gerry Schnur), see TTT, Jan., 1936, 4. For Oregon’s "Chops and Drives" (ed. by Don and June Vaughan) see TTT, Mar., 1936, 4), and for Washington’s "WSTTA Monthly" with its "bright yellow cover" (ed. by Max Canterbury) see TTT, Dec. 1935, 3. Earlier, Canterbury had put out a Seattle Newsletter on green paper (see TTT, June, 1935, 7).
***Becker at one time reportedly also experimented, unsuccessfully, with "purple tables with yellow lines" (TTT, Apr., 1945, 16).