- Chapter 1
- Chapter 2
- Chapter 3
- Chapter 4
- Chapter 5
- Chapter 6
- Chapter 7
- Chapter 8
- Chapter 9
- Chapter 10
- Chapter 11
- Chapter 12
- Chapter 13
- Chapter 14
- Chapter 15
- Chapter 16
- Chapter 17
- Chapter 18
- Chapter 19
- Chapter 20
- Chapter 21
- Chapter 22
- Chapter 23
- Chapter 24
- Chapter 25
- Chapter 26
- Chapter 27
- Chapter 28
1941: Sally Green, Lou Pagliaro Repeat as National Champions. 1941: Charney, Hawthorn Are Noticed. 1941: USTTA Officials: Some In, Some Out for Coming Season. 1941: Summer Tours.
Beginning with its Jan., 1941 issue, Topics began hyping the Apr. 2-4 (Wednesday through Friday) National’s with photos of New York, New York. The towering New Yorker sought to be the official tournament hotel. But, though it was conveniently next door to the playing venue, it was also by far, in offering a "Double Room with Bath—$5.00 to $10.00," the most expensive of the nearby hotel options. As if aware that table tennis players might need some special inducement to book there, it had ads in the Feb. and Mar. Topics stressing its newest service: "Protecto-Ray Bathrooms." Be assured that their 2500 bathrooms were rendered "thoroughly sanitary"—then "sealed with Cellophane!". The Feb. issue of Topics also had a page devoted to "Packing Hints." Yetta Sachs, "Famed Fashion Stylist," suggested the appropriateness of: "A two-piece gabardine suit with matching top coat. More dashing and sporty is the fine tweed outfit, in either plain color or plaid, with matching or contrasting top coat. For the sophisticates a dressmaker suit worn with furs is the acme of smartness" (7).
Later, in a letter published in the Mar., 1983 issue of Topics, John Kauderer, who was in charge of Publicity for this National’s, spoke of all the newspaper coverage the tournament got: "Allison Danzig of the NY Times, Al Laney of the NY Herald Tribune, James Pryor Allen of the New York Sun, Damon Runyan, John Kieran, Peter Brandwen, and a host of sports writers covered the event. The NY daily News, Daily Mirror, Journal American, New York Post all had people there. Even the magazines like Life and Look had interesting photos of Pagliaro" (12).*
Of course some columnists just continued to mouth...anything. Here’s Dan Parker in the Apr. 2, 1941 Daily Mirror:
"...[The] 11th Annual National Table Tennis Championships get under way today in the Manhattan Center, with 200 entrants from all over the country. And, illustrating the manly progress of the game there isn’t a swish in this carload. True, almost 50% per cent of the contestants are women [sic: not 30%] but the effeminacy is all on their side of the house. You can travel from one end of the men’s division to the other and not run into a single whiff of ‘Cashmere Bouquet’ or ‘Chanel 5.’ If even one hand is discovered resting on a hip, you have the management’s permission to slap the wrist thereof as a stern reminder to the transgressor that this is the new order.
Listless lobbing such as one would expect from Sweet Alice, Ben Bolt’s friend, is no longer seen in table tennis. He-men like Little Dynamite Louie Pagliaro, the national singles champion, can volley like a Tilden....[Louie] has the fastest serve in the game. If he ever quit table tennis, he can remain right at the table as a waiter and win his mark" (GSS I, 229).
Such inaccurate hype, such snide drivel. This brings people in to enjoy the matches?
Kauderer, perhaps after seeing a squib in Topics that 1940 Republican Presidential candidate Wendell L. Willkie played table tennis, invited him to the tournament, but (as John wrote Manny Moskowitz years later) Willkie in a Mar. 29 letter of reply regretted "he could not accept my invitation to award trophies because of a full calendar."
When the table tennis players weren’t sightseeing, or dressing and dining, they could be found, via their Program player-numbers, on the 7th floor of the Manhattan Center (8th Ave. and 34th St.). Matches in the six events would be on seven tables, starting each day (in deference to the expected post-play supper-club nite-life?) at 1:00 p.m. and, after the dinner break, supposedly concluding not later than 11:00 p.m. The Grand Ballroom venue could accommodate 1400 spectators at a price that ranged from $.55 for Wednesday afternoon General Admission to $5.00 for a reserved Box Seat good for all six sessions. From such a Box, 1938 and ‘39 U.S. Women’s Champion Emily Fuller was introduced and took a bow.
Some of the USATT directives to the Metro TTA sponsor were as follows:
The five final matches were to be: one Men’s semi’s, then the other, then the Men’s Doubles, the Women’s Singles, and the Men’s Singles in that order. Also, the "schedule of matches in the next to last session" had to be "carefully arranged to prevent more than one outstanding match being played at the same time."
"Hotel hospitality" was to be "provided by the sponsor for members of the National Executive Committee, Board of Regents, General Secretary and the National Ranking Chairman."
With regard to keeping the public informed, "Arm bands may be worn by the umpire to indicate games won by the player lateral to each arm. Umpires should announce the score plainly at each change of service and arise at the conclusion of each game or match to announce the winner and score."
As usual, Detroiter "A" tables would be used, accompanied by the P. Becker & Co. Coleman Clark ball, rather than the McClure one understandably in play last year at Indianapolis."** After a short welcome speech, Newbold Morris, acting Mayor during [Fiorello] La Guardia’s absence, opened the tournament by throwing out the first ball to Defending Women’s Champion, 18-year-old Sally Green.
Green Successfully Defends Women’s Title
The 31-entry Women’s—in which Ruthe Brewer Crist was conspicuously absent (she’d given up on table tennis? on her marriage? wanted to start a new life?) saw all eight seeds advance unchallenged to the quarter’s. However, two early-round matches deserve mention. Brooklyn’s Anne Sigman Willner, 1936 U.S. Open Women’s Singles runner-up to Ruth Aarons, now married, was momentarily back. Before losing in 4 to Mayo Rae Rolph, Anne held -17, 12, 20, 15 firm to get by Edna Sheinhart who after her play next season would be ranked U.S. #10. And in the most contested opener, Chicago’s Willa Gant rallied to take out New Rochelle’s Annabelle Slenker in 5.
Two newcomers headed for the USTTA Hall of Fame appear on the scene. One is 13-year-old Bernice Charney, who’ll be the 1946 U.S. Open Champion, and who, a remarkable 17 years later, as Mrs. Bernice Chotras, will again be the Champion. Here she’s a stubborn -11, -18, 20, -17 loser to Ohio’s Gladys "Pete" May. The other newcomer is 23-year-old Davida Hawthorn, who’ll be the 1945 U.S. Open Champion. Though never in the match with Magda Gal, she scored an impressive 26-24-in-the-4th 1st-round win over Marge Koolery, last season’s U.S. #10.
At this time Hawthorn was playing in the New York City Bankers Athletic League. J.P. Allen of the New York Sun, a friend of Kauderer’s whom John considered the "dean of the tennis writers of the period," gives us some background on her:
"Miss Hawthorn, a native of the Bronx, is a tall, typical outdoor girl, blonde and blue-eyed. Sports have always claimed her attention, and she has played football, baseball and softball and won honors at track and swimming. Her devotion to table tennis started a little more than a year ago in the recreation room at the bank. Last May she gained the final round of the New York City banks championships and also that of the Guaranty Trust. In both instances she lost her chance at a crown to her teammate, Ella May Schnepf."
Leah Thall, who came by plane to N.Y. but was delayed a day going back because of the continued heavy rain, flew high for one game with Hazi, but then was grounded. In the only contested quarter’s, Reba Monness, down 2-1, rallied to wet-weather Mary Baumbach’s sunny hopes. But then in the semi’s, Reba, up 2-1 on Green and seeming to have taken to heart that action photo in the N.Y. Journal-American showing her with the "Drive That May Win Table Net Title," was rerouted, and couldn’t come through a winner. Said the Apr. 4 N.Y. Times, in reference to this Green-Monness match where Sally, though behind in games, was perilously up 17-16 in the 4th: "The champion, whose forcing topspin-forehand had been overreaching the table, steadied at this tense juncture and, in spite of Mrs. Monness’s sturdy defense and severity from the backhand...went on to win the game and take the fifth fairly comfortably" (GSS I, 240).
Perhaps it was after this match that Reba gave her Apr. 5 interview to Dave Camerer of the N.Y. World-Telegram in which she states that most playing venues are "pretty awful" and that the Sport isn’t a particularly healthy one. "You work up terrific steam in a good match....Then you sit around in damp clothes waiting for your next match. It’s a bad circuit for colds" (GSS I, 238).
Germaine, sweeping by Hazi, had reached the final without losing a game. But Sally’s "consistent driving" didn’t allow Helen any match-making control and she lost in straight games—was again the runner-up as she had been seven years earlier. Sally of course now had back-to-back Championships. "No," she told Camerer, quickly composing herself after crying for a moment (she hadn’t been as confident of repeating her 1940’s win as Pagliaro), "I don’t expect to make a career out of the game. I’m attending Jordan Conservatory of Music at home and expect to go on to teach theory and harmony" (GSS I, 241).
Since Mildred Wilkinson was tending to baby Susan, she couldn’t defend her Women’s Doubles title with Green, and Sally apparently didn’t try to find another partner. In the final, Hazi/Henrietta Wright lost a 23-21-in-the-5th trauma-tester to Thall/Baumbach. This U.S. title would be Leah’s first, Mary’s last.
In the Mixed, Lowry/Clouther had the defending Hazis 1-0 and at deuce in the 2nd before faltering. After which, Tibor and Magda easily disposed of Pinner/Moss to reach the final. On the other side of the Draw, Holzrichter/Baumbach proved 24-22-in-the-3rd shock-resistant to McClure/Green who might otherwise have been the event’s winners. After Bellak/Monness -17, 19, 17 escaped Schiff/Wright they fought a 5-game final—in which Reba reportedly drove the ball hard when she could, and Magda perhaps too safely concerned herself with merely placing the ball—with the result that Bellak/Monness avenged their last year’s semi’s loss and became the Champions.
The 22-entry Veterans’ event was won by soon-to-be Massachusetts TTA President Lloyd Shepherdson, 20, 18, 19, over Philly’s Al Nachsin. Shepherdson outlasted Defending Champ Bill Gunn, 18 in the 5th in the semi’s, and Nachsin knocked off both last year’s finalist, Tatom, 19 in the 4th in the quarter’s, and, in a 5-game semi’s, George Bacon, who’d beaten Al in the Veteran’s final at the ‘39 U.S. Open. In other notable matches, Long Island’s Bob Savage fell to Bacon, but earlier had -19, 13, -14, 21, 15 stopped Rochester’s Tex Lloyd, while Fred LaMear’s long trip back to Portland would have been lightened had he won, not -18, -19, 18, 19, 21 lost, his long, 5-game comeback against N.Y.’s Bob Strahl.
Carl Manley became the first USTTA Negro National Champion by pulling out a seemingly never-ending -18, 16, -26, 13, 20 Boys’ final over Allan Levy.
Pagliaro Successfully Defends Men’s Title
In the 72-entry Men’s, the following 1st-round matches were of more than routine interest: Bob Green, down 2-0, came back to beat Abbott Nelson, 19 in the 5th; Carl Manley prevailed 18 in the 5th over Paul Capelle, Ham Canning took a 5-gamer from Johnny Tatom, and Cal Fuhrman, affirming that, yes, this was his 11th straight Open, let a 2-0 lead slip away but still won in 5 from Jack Hartigan.
In the 2nd round, two favorites went down, and another almost crash-dived. The May, 1941 Topics, with I presume Editor Mel Evans, Jr. writing up the highlights of the tournament (8-9), said that against 16th seed Cartland’s "flat cross corner drives" Stan Fields "pulled the unexpected by suddenly switching from defense to offense with devastating backhand shots and mixed them with bothersome drop shots"—thus eliminating Doug ("soft" from teaching and non-tournament play in Florida?). Jimmy Jacobson got 19-in-the-5th by 10th seed Bill Price who, on sending in his entry, had filled in the Date of birth space with, "I’m sensitive." Seattle aeronautical student Ray Pearson, seeded #15, went into what might have been a fatal tailspin against Johnny Somael but -18, 19, -12, 22, 16 pulled up just in time. This match, and the fact that he’d won the Eastern’s Consolation, would help Somael earn his first National Ranking, a last-place #40. And yet in just three years he’d be our U.S. Champion.
The Men’s Consolation (no Women’s Consolation was held) was won by Ben Dattel. Almost 40 years later, Ben would tell Reba Monness—see her Profile of him in the July-Aug., 1979 issue of Topics—that Johnny Somael always said he, Ben, had been "an inspiration" to him. Though Ben had lost in the 1st round to Chicago’s Bill Ablin he was by this time a pretty good player (would be ranked U.S. #38 this season). A New Yorker, born in 1917, he’d "started to play table tennis in the public playgrounds...[then] graduated to the Y.M.C.A.," and later to Herwald Lawrence’s Broadway Courts. While he was still a teenager he’d won P.A.L. (Police Athletic League) tournaments—so that when Somael first began playing him at Lawrence’s, Ben, a southpaw, "would play Johnny with his right hand and beat him" (29).
Dattel defeated Tatom 3-0 in the Consolation final—but his toughest match was his deuce-in-the-4th semi’s against Freddie Borges. Earlier Freddie had been -23, 23, 15 almost beaten by Gar Gomon who, with Detroit buddy, Max Hersh, had thumbed his way East and so wouldn’t be one of those likely to stay at the New Yorker.
Through the Men’s 8th’s, the most notable match had to be Pearson’s big upset of #2 seed Charlie Schmidt who, as Elmer Cinnater said, was simply at a loss to solve Ray’s unusual game. But poor Pearson—he then had to meet Bellak for the second National’s in a row. Which reminds me—you’ll guess why—of a story Laci once told me. He was playing in a tournament somewhere and in the 1st game beat his opponent soundly. So of course this fellow asks his coach how better to play Bellak. The coach says, "Don’t let him hit his forehand." When the guy is getting killed halfway through the 2nd game, he turns and asks for help again. "Play to his backhand," says the coach. But of course the result is the same. So before the 3rd game, he asks again, "What should I do?" "Aw," says the coach, "give up." Much to the coach’s astonishment and Bellak’s amusement, the fellow takes the coach’s "advice" literally and comes over and shakes hands with Laci. Pearson, as he did last year, at least played out the 3rd game—though Laci just kept the ball low, wouldn’t allow Ray to topspin. After this match, Bellak had to struggle for a deuce-in-the-4th win over #7 seed Garrett Nash. Topics commented that "Nash played a smart defensive game, mixed with lightning placements which forced Bellak to open up his assortment of drives" (8).
Three of the four quarter’s matches were closely contested. Strangely, Topics hadn’t a word to say about Pagliaro’s 5-game match with Sol Schiff—though the two had played in the final last year. Nor would 21-year-old Pagliaro’s private practice with 15-year-old Dick Miles at the 79th and Broadway Club Louie was managing (want lessons? $2 an hour) be mentioned in print—though Sol or any other potential threat to Paggy must have been aware not only of how Louie was staying sharp but how fast Dick was improving.
In Pagliaro’s half, Tibor Hazi, after leading 3rd-seed Billy Holzrichter 2-0, seemed -7, -11 out of it, but then managed to win the 5th (for after Tibor had seen his 18-13 lead shrivel to 18-all, Billy hit the last three balls off). Completing Bellak’s half was what Topics called "the finest match of the entire tournament up to the semi-finals"—between Eddie Pinner and Les Lowry, who’d earlier eliminated ‘39 U.S. Open Champ McClure. Apparently -14, -19 about to be overcome by Eddie’s "terrific cross court driving," Les "came back strong to flick over some lightning backhands that Pinner couldn’t even reach." In the 5th, Lowry for a while continued to outdo himself—at one point " went clear back to the barricades to counter-smash a Pinner drive"—but couldn’t pull out the win. Still, as Elmer Cinnater said in a letter to a friend, "You never saw Lowry play before like he did at the Nationals."
In his semi’s against Laci, Pinner "made remarkable retrieves of Bellak’s forehand drives and often leaped in quickly with a sudden backhand placement that caught the Hungarian completely off guard." The Pagliaro-Hazi semi’s went to whoever could sustain the attack. Paggy, wearing his wife’s ring for luck, "caught Hazi off balance consistently with perfectly executed drop shots," while Tibor scored with a "powerful point-getter, a terrific backhand smash to Lou’s backhand corner." Match, finally, to the Defending Champ, 18 in the 5th.
Commenting on the final, one reporter was struck by how "wonderfully secure" the 5’, 2’’, 115-pound Pagliaro was with his "sliced backhand" and praised his "mobile defense." Another spoke of how an "unbelievable return from 20 feet...[drew] a startled gasp from the crowds then a tremendous roar as Lou’s ‘get’ ball sailed over the net."—however, this reporter said it was really Lou’s ability to attack, by driving to both corners, that allowed him to defeat Pinner in straight games (the last at deuce after Eddie, whom Leah Thall called "the best driver" at the tournament, had led 17-11).
So Paggy’s private practice with 15-year-old Dick Miles had paid off, and, as we’ll soon see, for Dick too.
The Men’s Doubles was noteworthy for the unusual number of close matches played. In the top half of the Draw, Jack Hartigan/Jimmy Jacobson won their opener from Price and pick-up partner Mel Rose, 19 in the 4th. That brought them to the Defending Champions, McClure and Schiff, against whom they acquitted themselves well, losing 25-23 in the 4th. Meanwhile, in the adjacent bracket, the Michigan pair of Hersh/Gomon, having outlasted Levy/Dick Morgan in 5, reached the #1 seeds by -24, 13, 19, 17 getting the better of the Seattle team of Ray Pearson/Roland Jones. In an extraordinary quarter’s match, Hersh/Gomon took a 2-0 lead over the former World Champions, but couldn’t hold it. Advancing to meet Schiff/McClure was Holzrichter/Anderson, their established partnership never more tested than in their down 2-0, 19-in-the-5th victory over Hazi/Bellis in the quarter’s. In the semi’s, it turned out that the deuce 1st-game winner for Schiff/McClure would permit the 5th-game winner, so exit Billy/Bob.
In the bottom half of the Draw, Pagliaro/Nash, faced with something of a -19, 19 12, 15 start-off problem against Somael/ Jacques Tartakower, recovered to sail serenely by Grimes/Whitey Sheraga who’d struggled into the 5th with Fields/Capelle. Pinner/Sussman moved to the semi’s where their deuce in the 5th match vs. Paggy/Nash enabled them to reach the final. There, in another 5-gamer, "Sussman’s backhand shots were the big siege guns of the attack," a convincing counter-force to McClure’s "smashing forehands." Thus the 17-year-old Pinner and the 18-year-old Sussman became the youngest team to win the Doubles in the 11-year history of the Open.
A number of mostly Midwestern players took advantage of the fact that the National’s ended on Friday night and, en route home, arranged a stopover so as to play Sunday in the Middle States Men’s Invitational, held at the L. B. Harrison Club in Cincinnati. Holzrichter won this tournament—first, over Price, then Nash, without the loss of a game. The "Ohio Net News" (Apr. 15, 1941) reported that Billy was hitting everything—said his "drives to either corner and his perfect defense shots were skimming the net with remarkable accuracy." In other matches, Nash 27-25-in-the-4th bid Bob Anderson adieu, after Bob was fortunate to 19-in-the-5th get by Max Hersh; and Seattle’s Pearson, though he didn’t stop Price, certainly 19, -16, -21, -17 challenged him.
Some players and officials were in no hurry to get home from the National’s, and may well have begun a looked-forward-to Apr. 5-6 weekend in New York. Topics took inventory of the New Yorker’s cocktail bar at 3 a.m. Saturday and found "the [Jimmy] O’Connors, Hazis, Greens and Clouthers. Also George Blom, Will [ard] Rogers, Bill Gillfillan, Jimmy McClure, Leah Thall, Marge Koolery, Sandor Glancz and a host of others." Gillfillan deserved to celebrate, for the Metro TTA deemed this season-ending National’s a big success—and as of May 1 would claim 142 paid-up members, only 30 of whom were group members. With a well-planned soliciting campaign, many more could be expected? Well, maybe not—for, within a few May days, George Schein, who’d taken over the MTTA Membership Chair, would be inducted into the Army and sent, at least for the moment, to the 42nd Engineers Corps in Shelby, Mississippi, not exactly a beehive of table tennis activity. After several months, George thought he wouldn’t have to serve long because men over 28 were going to be released from compulsory training. Little did he know that he was about to spend five years in the Service as a mine demolition expert.
Before George left, he tried to console Elmer Cinnater, dejected because his bid to hold the 1942 National’s at St. Louis had been rebuffed in favor of one from Detroit. In an April 28, 1941 letter to Elmer, George tries to dissuade him from retiring, says: "I still believe that you are fortunate in not having the Nationals in St. Louis next season. (Reasons: conscription, financial responsibilities, and work.) Table tennis in St. Louis needs your guidance and I can’t see why an unjust decision by a few officials of the National Organization can make you retire." To Elmer—whose other hobby is sailing, so much so that he’s known to his Seascout Troop as "Skip" or "Skipper"—George urges, "Don’t give up the ship!"
1941-42 USTTA Officials
Cinnater did continue to be the USATT Ranking Chair (rather than turn it over, as he thought of doing, to Reginald Hammond or Harry Kitselman). But USATT President Jim Clouther—he, too, had another hobby: was a member of the Minute Men Sportsmen’s Club and the National Rifle Association—retired from office, his leaving hastened perhaps by the beginnings of appendicitis he’d been stricken with at the National’s.
Morest had taken Kittermaster’s place as Nominating Chair, and when his Committee proposed an unchallenged slate, Vic Rupp became the new USTTA President; Larry B. Minneker replaced Bill Gunn as 3rd V.P.; and C. Bronson Allen succeeded Don Larson as Recording Secretary. Thomas E. "Bob" Berna was now both General Secretary and Executive Secretary, as well as Tournament Chair. Omaha’s Mrs. Louise Woodruff (West) and Mary Reilly (East) were named Co-Chairs of the USTTA’s Women’s Division, and advocated, among other things, having "attractive uniformed Umpirettes and Usherettes on duty" during tournaments. George Egee succeeded Mel Evans, Jr. as Topics Editor, but he didn’t even get two issues out before, about to be inducted into the Army, he joined the Royal Canadian Air Force, and left Rupp and Berna to do the editing. Because the USTTA said it needed more space, its Philadelphia Headquarters, including its Publication Office, moved from the Middle City Building to the 7th floor of the C.R. Smith Building, S.E. Corner, 18th & Market Sts.
Cartland/Schiff, Clark/Hendry on Tour
So what else is new? Cartland’s means of making a living? "Dixie," as he was sometimes called, had been an "honor grad" at the University of North Carolina, had reportedly written stories for pulp magazines, and, most importantly was "a puzzle expert. Indeed—had won $15,000 in a New York Post contest. "Worst thing that could have happened," he later lamented—"all the players kept trying to borrow money from me." Which of course didn’t stop him from winning $10,000 in another contest only a year later, one he wasn’t eligible for—this time under an assumed name.
Likely it was for one of these contests that Doug went to the sponsor’s headquarters and got the official Dictionary the contestants would be bound by. He then saw what 99% of the others didn’t see—that a single word could become two if used as a noun: nut, and also as a verb: to nut, "to seek for or gather nuts"—and so ended up a couple of thousand words ahead of his competition.
Since Cartland was so adept at reading dictionaries, and once at least constructing one (using all the letters of a contest word or phrase), it may not have been surprising that on one occasion Webster’s gave Doug a job going through their "New International Dictionary" to "check out misprints." Since Doug was being paid so much for each misprint he uncovered, one could readily believe he found "150-160 misspelled words"—"rerag" for "retag," for example. Alas, though, when the computer came in, Doug’s rapt attention was no longer needed.
No doubt this sort of exacting work was fun for Cartland, but surely there had to be more chance for rewards through an illegitimate rather than a legitimate application of such diligence. Likely a new automobile he’d win in a contest was the result of some energetic deception. However, sometimes a hustle wouldn’t come off. As when Doug enlisted a West Coast player to enter a contest for him, then sent the fellow a contest-unlocking list of words, and followed by dispatching an intermediary to check and see if all was going to plan. The intermediary and the player quarreled, the police came and confiscated the golden list, and only after the contest was over did Doug get it back. Ah, well, win some—and with more than a bit of foot-stamping and more than a few choice words—lose some.
Ten days after the National’s, Doug had returned to Florida and was the model of respectability—doing shows with Schiff who, since it was essential not to make errors, appreciated the dependability of Doug’s locked forehand. Of course by this time their exhibitions were routine. They’d get used to whatever table they’d be playing on, do the "trick" shots—hit the ball behind their back, under their leg, blow the ball, pretend to swallow it, blow it back out, keep 1-2-3-4 balls going, play jingle bells with pots and pans—then follow a 7-point pre-arranged game plan, and finally invite audience participation.
Nightclub shows would last 12-15 minutes; theatre shows maybe half that because there were more of them. During one-night stands before a table tennis audience, they would play a 2/3 game match and accept challenges from the best local player(s)—Doug or Sol giving a talk while the other played. On Apr. 16, for example, they were doing an exhibition at Stetson University in De Land, Florida. And if in their free time Cartland wasn’t too busy writing letters to set up future exhibitions, or if they weren’t traveling that day, they could see a Hope/Crosby/Lamour "Road" movie, then go over to Jo Ann’s Coffee Shop and have a "Fountain Special"—an ice cream soda, two for $.15.
On the road is where of course Coleman Clark always is, and, according to the proposed new USTTA Exhibition rules, so long as he performs "under sanction of the affiliate in which the exhibition is being played," he need now only pay a registration fee to the Association of $2. This will allow him to be considered in the "Show" rather than the "Educational" class, and so he’ll be permitted to receive "a remuneration."
As it happens, however, Cokey needs a summer partner. So who’s willing to tour not only in the summer but in the fall before he returns to his Missouri Military Academy but George Hendry, following in the footsteps of other St. Louis stars. From the number of balls that Clark can routinely stuff into his mouth and spit back at him, George understands that his share of the proceeds won’t be much. But he can’t pass up the opportunity, for he and Cokey will be booked big time--Chicago, Pittsburgh, Montreal....In New York, they’ll play the Roxy Theatre and Radio City Music Hall. Along the way they’ll share celebrity billing with singer Dinah Shore and renowned bandleaders Benny Goodman, Jimmy Dorsey, and Cab Calloway. And it’ll all be great fun, so long as George remembers not to play anything to Cokey’s backhand, or chop a ball. High ones to Cokey’s forehand that George can’t return—those are the winners.
And that most humorous of all exhibitionists, Bellak? Where with the wind might he be blowing the ball about these hot-air days? I’ll tell you: he’s begun his tour—tour of duty—serving at Fort Davis, North Carolina. He’s in the Balloon Squadron there.
*In this Mar., 1983 letter Kauderer went on to lament how in contrast to 1941 "There is no decent place to play in New York. There is no publicity. There is no organization to turn to here in the EAST."
**Will Schnur’s P. Becker and Co. was also one of about 10 companies that made USTTA-approved tables, as well as the net sets used in the previous U.S. Opens at Toledo and Indianapolis. When USATT Public Relations Chairman George Koehnke put hinges on the legs of his table to fold them into sections and thus reduce their height so that his young daughters might play, Becker sent him some special miniature rackets. Encouraged so, these Koehnke sisters, Sharon and Jackie, as we’ll see, turn out to be very good teenage players. For what a tot’s toy table would look like, see the photo of Jimmy McClure’s niece Amelia Ann on the cover of the Jan., 1941 cover of Topics.