THERE she is -- again. If it's September, then this must...

salmagundi

September 17, 1993

THERE she is -- again. If it's September, then this must be Miss America time. The annual pageant in which the epitome of American femininity is crowned in Atlantic City takes place tomorrow.

But before you settle in front of the set for all the tap-dancing, baton-twirling, teeth-flashing, flesh-baring fun, you might enjoy this list of historical highlights from the pageant, as derived from the book "Miss America: In Pursuit of the Crown" by Ann-Marie Bivans and printed recently in the Orlando Sentinel:

1921 -- First Miss America pageant won by Margaret Gorman, Miss Washington, D.C. 1928 -- Pageant discontinued after scandals (married contestants, one with a child). 1933 -- Pageant revived but troubles persist (Miss Oklahoma has appendicitis, Miss Arkansas has a husband). 1934 -- Pageant discontinued again. 1938 -- Pageant revived. Talent becomes a mandatory element.

1943 -- Miss California Jean Bartel becomes first "college girl" to win the crown. 1945 -- Miss New York Bess Myerson becomes first (and only) Jewish Miss America. 1949 -- Animals barred from talent competition after Miss Montana's horse nearly falls into orchestra pit.

1951 -- Miss Alabama Yolande Betbeze wins crown but refuses to do swimsuit fashion shows for Catalina, a pageant sponsor. The company withdraws and starts the rival Miss Universe contest. 1955 -- First telecast of pageant. 1956 -- "There She Is" becomes pageant theme song. 1959 -- Miss Mississippi Mary Ann Mobley performs a mock strip tease, a dance form that is henceforth barred.

1968 -- Pageant picketed by Women's Liberation Front as sexist and exploitative. Bra-burning protests continue into the '70s. 1969 -- Miss Illinois Judith Ford wins crown with daring 30-foot trampoline flips. This harks back to talents of 1940s archers who shot arrows through convention hall before weapons (including fire batons) were nixed.

1970 -- Miss Iowa Cheryl Brown is first black contestant. 1980 -- Longtime emcee Bert Parks dismissed. 1983 -- Miss Texas Debra Sue Maffett is first contestant forced to admit having plastic surgery (a nose job). 1984 -- Miss New York Vanessa Williams becomes first black Miss America; resigns 10 months later when Penthouse publishes nude pre-pageant photos of Williams and another woman.

1993 -- Contestants required to do their own hair and makeup so they do not, in the words of telecast producer Jeff Margolis, "look like beautiful, dynamic 21-year-olds" during rehearsals and "40-year-old Stepford wives" during competition.

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