Bert Parks must look like a Roto-Rooter in the grave.
The Miss American Pageant is leaving New Jersey, where the event has been held in Convention Hall in Atlantic City since 1921. The Atlantic City Convention Center & Visitors Authority, which provides the Pageant with an annual $720,000 subsidy, released the Miss American from its contract in order to “ensure the pageant’s continued vitality and growth.” The pageant organization claims that high production costs and sagging TV ratings have left it in $500,000 worth of red ink each year for the last few years.
So far, it appears that Nashville or Orlando is the best bet for the pageant’s new long-term home, assuming there is a long-term for the annual event.
I don’t think I have watched the Miss America Pageant since I was a little boy, which was a long, long time ago. I think that, even then, I realized that watching Betty Lou twirling batons and Mary Sue doing dramatic readings was too much to bear, the bathing suit portion of the event notwithstanding.
The clincher was, of course, the part when the finalists were asked questions so that the judges could pass on their poise.
Bert Parks: “Miss ______ (fill in the state), what do you think is one of the biggest problems in the world today and what do you think should be done about it?”
Miss _____ (fill in the state): “I think hunger is the biggest problem. I’m seriously against hunger, and I would, like, give everybody a sandwich.”
The fact is that people flock to Atlantic City on trains, planes, cars and buses (lots and lots of buses) to try to make the big score in the casinos. For better or worse, Atlantic City no longer needs the pageant.
“Poise” don’t mean shit.