Articles

My, uh, Dazzling Career as Miss Canada

To be a beauty queen, says this ex-queen, you have to be intelligent, talented and tireless. You have to ride an ostrich and be kissed by politicians. Above all, you must never believe that it’s true

MARILYN REDDICK September 15 1954
Articles

My, uh, Dazzling Career as Miss Canada

To be a beauty queen, says this ex-queen, you have to be intelligent, talented and tireless. You have to ride an ostrich and be kissed by politicians. Above all, you must never believe that it’s true

MARILYN REDDICK September 15 1954

My, uh, Dazzling Career as Miss Canada

To be a beauty queen, says this ex-queen, you have to be intelligent, talented and tireless. You have to ride an ostrich and be kissed by politicians. Above all, you must never believe that it’s true

MARILYN REDDICK

McKENZIE PORTER

I SUPPOSE there isn't a girl in Canada who hasn't hankered to be a beauty queen, or at least wondered what it would be like. To outsiders it seems the pinnacle of glamour and feminine fame and a sure key to the doors of television, show business and the movies. But they see little of a beauty contest except rather silly pictures in the papers of scantily clad girls parading on a platform.

The Miss America title is reputed to be worth $100,000 to the girl who wins it. Even the Miss Canada title has been worth $10,000 to some of its holders. I made between $7,000 and $8,000 out of it, and I think I earned every cent.

I’d like to tell you what it’s like from the point of view of the girl on the platform. From the suffocating nervous tension of the contest itself, to the brief whirl of fame and fortune, to the wolves who lie in wait I know the whole story. In August 1952, when I was eighteen, I won the title of Miss Canada.

Once a girl has been declared a beauty queen she becomes big -or at least medium-sized business. To do the job properly she must combine the appearance of a musical-comedy actress with the ethics of a Girl Guide. If she is to stand up to the nervous and physical strain she also requires the constitution of a Clydesdale mare.

Before I won the title I had to count every nickel of the money I scratched together for clothes. The moment I became Miss Canada I acquired trunks full of new clothes free. I was waited on from breakfast to bedtime. I drove in expensive convertibles to cocktail parties, carnivals, conventions, city halls, department stores, new factories, first nights, and big sporting events. I-was given lessons in singing, dancing, elocution and table

manners. Photographers awaited me and politicians were eager to pose with me. I appeared on the stage with world-famous artists and once made a speech to 25,000 people. I flew the Atlantic, saw the Coronation from a costly seat, and in Europe I dined with noblemen, millionaires and diplomats. Every time I made a public appearance in Canada somebody paid my father, who managed me, fifty, seventy-five, or a hundred dollars.

After I stepped down from the “throne” I was blacked out of the public eye just as suddenly and effectively as a vaudeville comedian who has delivered his final punch line. Today, a year after my “reign,” Pm still waiting for the thing I thought the Miss Canada title would provide automatically a chance to go on the stage.

My father Harvard Reddick, a singer in the Commodores, a Toronto novelty quartet, and my mother always wanted me to go into show business. That’s what I wanted too, and I felt that the way to do it would be to win a beauty contest.

At sixteen I placed third in the Miss Toronto contest run by the Toronto city police. At eighteen I won the Miss Bloor contest organized by the Bloor Street Business Men’s Association of Toronto and collected fifty dollars. I entered the Miss Toronto contest again and placed second. That same summer my parents took me to see Mr. and Mrs. Radcliffe Weaver, a handsome middle-aged couple who own a beauty salon, a steam bath, a Palomino stable and the rights to run the Miss Canada contest in Hamilton, Ont. They receive these rights in the form of a franchise from the organization which runs the Miss America contest in Atlantic City.

No girl can enter the Miss America contest unless she first wins a preliminary state title in the U. S. or a preliminary national title in South America, Central America, the West Indies, the Hawaiian Islands, or Canada. It seems to me that the Weavers were in a position to accept or reject any girl they liked for the Miss Canada preliminary. Mr. Weaver says that he gets in touch with service clubs, like the Lions, and gives them a franchise to elect a local beauty queen at their summer galas who would automatically qualify for entry to the national contest. “Of course,” he says, “I have to advise a number of girls that it would he hopeless for them to enter.”

When my parents asked the Weavers if I could enter, they didn’t appear interested at first. They said they had had hundreds of applications and had whittled these down to twelve girls. Then Mrs. Weaver took a long look at me. I acted up to her in my best girl-next-door style. Eventually she said I could enter Miss Canada after all, as No. 13.

The Miss Canada contest wasn’t really very representative of Canada. All the other girls except one, a British Columbian, came from Ontario. One

girl was a dancer with the

Continued on page 104

THE BIG BUILD-UP. MARILYN SAYS A BEAUTY QUEEN NEEDS “THE CONSTITUTION OF A CLYDESDALE MARE”

My, Uh, Dazzling Career As Miss Canada

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 19

Rockettes at the Radio City Music Hall in New York.

The contest was to be at the Brant Inn, a big roadhouse in Burlington, near Hamilton, early in August. The winner was to be entered two weeks later in the Miss America contest in Atlantic City. One quarter of the points would be awarded for looks, one quarter for talent, one quarter for intelligence and one quarter for manners. This, apparently, was no bathingbeauty contest.

“No girl will have to display her legs in public,” Mrs. Weaver told us. “The physical judging will be done privately. Even then no girl will be asked to wear a bathing suit. Each will have to appear in shorts and a blouse.”

Five or six days before the contest we thirteen candidates were called down to Burlington. Each of us was placed with a chaperoning family. The family’s job was to protect us, relax us, and generally get us ready for the contest. They were also to report on how we behaved in their homes. This would be taken into account by the judges.

Some of these families were personal friends of the Weavers and some were local people who volunteered to help. “Nobody,” Mr. Weaver insisted, “makes a penny out of the Miss Canada contest. It is held solely to help Canadian youth.” He told me later there was never any difficulty getting chaperone families. Most of them liked the publicity. I joined a Burlington couple named Mr. and Mrs. Jay Shaver.

At first twelve of us girls were chummy. There didn’t seem to be any jealousy among us. But there was one girl who kept herself very much apart. We called her “the Dark Horse.” Her name was Diane Brisson—she was the girl with the Rockettes. She qualified because her parents lived in St. Catharines, Ont. She was so beautiful and cool and smart and had such gorgeous legs I thought she was bound to win. I was always worried about my thighs which tended to be too plump.

We visited factories, town halls, department stores, hotels and all sorts of places where people wanted publicity. We rode in a cavalcade of convertibles loaned by automobile agents who also wanted publicity for their new I cars.

We had to be tactful with photographers. Mrs. Weaver told us to encourage them but not to let them take any cheesecake shots—which meant lifting our skirts and showing I our legs. The photographers, of course, wanted nothing else but cheesecake. “Come on kid,” they would say, “show ; a leg.” Or: “Chest out, honey! Be proud of yourself!” They shot us sitting on fences, and standing at the top of stairs, and they kept pestering us to go away and come back in shorts.

“Don’t let them tempt you, girls!” Mrs. Weaver would say. “You’ll let j down the tone of the contest.”

The photographers all went goo-goo[ eyed over Diane Brisson. The rest of us girls alternately admired, envied and reviled her knack of getting the best out of every pose without quite breaking the cheesecake rule.

We were treated like nobility at the receptions, especially by the men. Presidents of companies, promotion men and politicians put their arms round my shoulder and called me “little girl.” At some places there were coek|. tails. But we girls weren’t allowed to drink or smoke. “Smoking and drinkI ing do not become a girl who aspires

to represent the youth of Canada, Mrs. Weaver declared.

At one point, one of the girls, a very sweet angelic little thing, disappeared for a time with a photographer and was seen having a drink. There was a terrible row. “She has disgraced us, Mrs. Weaver said. Before the finals came up the girl was eliminated.

On the Saturday afternoon before the contest we went before the judges in a private room for our “physical. Although bathing suits were banned some of the girls wore shorts that were even more revealing. When I saw what I was up against I swiftly rolled up the bottoms of my shorts to make them briefer.

The judges were Fay Bainter, an American actress, Celia Franca, director of the Canadian National Ballet, Jimmy Shields, the Toronto singer, Betty Jean Ferguson, who was Miss Canada in 1949, Jack Leonard, the musical arranger for Tommy Dorsey’s band, and John Holden, a New York producer.

“None of the judges ever takes a penny for his services,” Mr. Weaver told us. “They just get their plane fares and food.” I’m told they do it for the publicity. Even Sarah Churchill’s done it.

That Saturday night, at the Brant Inn, we were to meet the judges at supper so that they could watch our table manners and listen to our conversation. We got very edgy. We all knew about which knife and fork to use, but we were worried about spilling things. “If it’s peas I just give up,” one girl said.

The Judges Didn’t Talk

Each of the judges sat for a time at each table where there were three or four girls. It was really tough on the judges because every now and then, just when they were getting a chance to eat something themselves, Mr. Weaver rang a little bell and they had to pick up their plates and move to another table.

“Wolf your dinner girls, if you like, and don’t mind me,” John Holden said to us. “I’m finishing this course here if it chokes me.”

It was difficult to make conversation with a constantly changing round of judges who arrived chewing anxiously and were thrown off-balance at each new place by the fact that the knives and forks were getting more and more mixed up. Most of us had studied up on the latest political situation, but our plans to talk intelligently went all wrong because none of the judges seemed to care for the subject.

All day Sunday we were supposed to rest, but most of us had been frightened by rumors that in the intelligence test on the stage we would be questioned about celebrities.

I sneaked into a drugstore and bought a thirty-five-cent pocketbook entitled The Hundred Most Important People. I memorized one bit in case it might come in useful:

Doctor James B. Conant, the President of Harvard University, America’s oldest, richest and best known educational institution, has a motto upon which he regularly acts. It is: "Behold the turtle: he makes progress only when his neck is out.’’

On the Sunday night before the contest it is a custom for all the would-be Miss Canadas to go to church to show the surrounding community that they are religious. It was a Protestant church with a very well-dressed congregation.

The feature of the service is always a sacred solo sung in farewell by the retiring Miss Canada. In that year it

was Marjorie Kelly and she sang The Holy City.

On the Monday morning we heard eight girls had been eliminated for bad manners, poor deportment, unfortunate dress tastes and other reasons. I was among the five finalists.

Almost all of us had been so friendly during the early days that we had helped each other dress, adjusted each other’s hats, and said nice things to each other like: “I know yon are going to win. You look so lovely.” Rut now as the final test approached our ambitions got the better of us. We were moody. We kept apart. And when we spoke we were cool with one another. One girl who wasn’t very optimistic even when she reached the finals said: “I know it’s fixed. I can feel it.”

There is a big open-air arena at the Brant Inn for moonlight dancing and shows. It holds several thousand and yields enough gate money to engage big-name bands like Duke Ellington’s. The night of the Miss Canada contest it was packed and I guess the ticket sales paid all expenses—although Mr. Weaver says he sometimes has to put his hand in his pocket to make up deficiencies. Premier Leslie Frost of Ontario made a speech about the youth of Canada.

We five finalists walked onto the stage amid applause. I was wearing a long Mediterranean-sea-blue formal and my heart was pumping like mad. I could see my Mum and Dad and little sister Carol out there and I determined to do my best for them. Movie cameras were turning and still cameras were flashing. A band was throbbing softly. Sitting on thrones in all their regalia, side by side at the back of the stage, were Colleen Hutchens, the reigning Miss America, and Marjorie Kelly, the retiring Miss Canada.

Then the emcee. Bob Evans, a professional from Arkansas, asked the crowd to encourage every girl by applauding and please not to start booing or catcalling at girls they didn’t like.

Each girl then had to step forward in turn and to a musical accompaniment model her gown; that means pacing about, making turns and striking poses like models do at fashion shows.

Then in turn we had to display our talent. Diana Brisson, the Rockette, did a sort of slow St. Louis Blues tap dance and every now and then she jolted everybody by hotting it up with some can-can steps. Joan Treble, of Alderwood, Ont., recited passages of Eliza in the flower-girl scene from Shaw’s Pygmalion. Pat Carter, of Simcoe, Ont., danced to some sort of “Deep Purple” music.

Having had experience singing with hands I guessed crooning was my best talent. I started with an up-tempo number, Zing Went The Strings Of My Heart. That was to lift them. Then I sang a wistful number, Please Mister Sun. That was to hold them. I was holding them all right when I realized

the air was alive with bugs. One as big as a bat kept fluttering round my face. I didn’t flinch even when it started thrashing about in my hair. The audience didn’t seem to notice it.

Next came the dreaded intelligence test. The candidates were locked in a room and brought to the stage one at a time to answer three questions to determine their intelligence. The first question was easy: Where was I born? Where did I live? What did I do? 1 was relieved and my answers got cheers. The next question was: “Assuming you were about to be married which country would you choose for a honeymoon?”

I was too hasty. Apparently I should have answered: “I would not choose any country until I had determined the wishes in this matter of my prospective husband.” But because I had always wanted to go there I said: “England.” Luckily, the audience cheered.

The third question floored me: “Who do you consider the greatest living Canadian personality?” I couldn’t remember reading about a single Canadian in The Hundred Most Important People.

1 took a grip on the mike. My father had always taught me to stop and think rather than blurt out something silly. So I just kept staring at the audience. I could see my mother crying because she thought I was going to fluff it. Suddenly I got an inspiration.

I said: “Prime Minister Louis St.

Laurent!” There was thunderous applause. Then I was asked why. I said: “Because he has done a lot for the youth of Canada and has a nice kind face.” The audience seemed to agree with me, especially Mr. and Mrs. Shaver, who were leading their friends and my rooters in applause.

Breakfast for a Queen

When one girl was asked about the great Canadian personality she answered too quickly. She said: “Churchill!” Then she clapped her hands to her mouth and said: “Oooh no! That was the answer to last year’s question wasn’t it?”

Soon afterwards they announced the winner. We were all off-stage and they first called forward No. 5, then No. 4 and so on. When No. 2 was called and it wasn’t me I knew I had won.

I can’t remember much about what happened afterwards except, photographers jumping onto the stage and fighting with one another, and my mother hugging me and crying, and my father nearly crying, and my little sister jumping round my legs, and reporters asking me about my diet, and men putting their arms round my shoulders and saying: “I knew you’d win all the time, kid.”

My prize was a thousand dollars, some in cash and some in grants for dancing, singing and elocution lessons.

Next morning Mrs. Shaver brought me my breakfast in bed, made a curtsy in fun and said: “For Miss Canada!” I stayed with the Shavers two more weeks while the Weavers got me in trim for the Miss America contest. From that point on I learned what it’s like to be a beauty queen. Every minute of my day was planned. I was helped to get dressed by Mrs. Shaver, Mrs. Weaver and various other women who came around. Before I left the house my clothes were carefully inspected. I had steam baths and pared a couple of pounds off my infuriating thighs. I also had massages, facials, hairdos, manicures and pedicures—all at the Weavers’ place. Photographers “shot” me inside and outside the building and I guess the Weavers got plenty of publicity. I don’t know whether I was happy or unhappy. I was dizzy. I think I felt more like a boxer in train-

ing than like anything else.

Hundreds of letters and telegrams poured in. One of them read:

THE COUNCIL OF THE CORPORATION OF THE TOWNSHIP OF NORTH YORK ON BEHALF OF THE RESIDENTS OF THE TOWNSHIP WISH TO CONGRATULATE YOU ON THE HONOR WHICH YOU HAVE BROUGHT TO THE TOWNSHIP BY BEING CHOSEN MISS CANADA OF 1952. WE SEND YOU OUR BEST WISHES FOR FURTHER SUCCESS IN ATLANTIC CITY.

Signed: N. A. BOYLEN, REEVE.

A man who signed his name under a Port Rowan, Ont., address, sent me a photograph of himself in a frogman’s suit and wrote on the back: “Any time you would like to try underwater sports drop me a line. What say?”

My father became my manager and he got in touch with various firms. Eaton’s gave me eight complete outfits of clothes. Phantom Hosiery promised to keep me in stockings for the remainder of my “reign.” Silknit gave me slips, brassieres, pants, a bed jacket, lounging pyjamas and a negligee. Catalina gave me swim suits. Beauty Counselor gave me a make-up kit full of every conceivable cosmetic. I also got heaps of hats, shoes, bags and costume jewelry from other companies.

Before I left for the Miss America contest I had to make a speech to 25,000 people at the Grandstand Show at the Canadian National Exhibition. Tony Martin, the singer, introduced me. 1 said 1 felt like an ambassador of good will and would do all I could for Toronto’s reputation down in the States. Then Mayor Alan Lamport thanked me and hugged me.

Mrs. Weaver was my chaperone at Atlantic City. In some ways it was just like the preparations for Miss Canada, but on a bigger, brassier scale. We drove up and down the Boardwalk in convertibles waving to the crowds and blowing kisses. But some things were very different. I had my photograph taken with Marilyn Monroe and she made me look just like a girl from the farm. Miss Alabama actually sneered at my legs. At a talent rehearsal some of the other girls winced when I did my songs. Though most of them were kind I soon realized that they were nearly all professional artists already established in show business. The receptions were such a razzle-dazzle I can hardly remember anything about them except the shouting.

A woman executive in the Miss America organization kept telling us: “No smoking, no drinking, and no making up to men. While you’re here you’re in a convent. Remember!”

But the male attack was tremendous. We were all billeted in hotels and every time we left or arrived there were packs of wolves trying to cut girls out from the flock. Some of them were old men, very gentlemanly and crafty, and some were young fellows just out of short pants but most enterprising. These total strangers telephoned our hotel rooms asking for dates. But the chaperones were always there, dashing in and breaking it up if ever the girls and the wolves looked like getting together, and snatching up the phone every time it rang. Mrs. Weaver didn’t say much but I could tell she thought the affair lacked the tone of the Miss Canada contest .

I put all I could into the contest and tried to keep my thighs out of it as much as possible. But we had to wear bathing suits and my thighs felt like balloons. In any average crowd of girls I would have been okay. But I was among flank upon flank of lofty sirens whose measurements were right to a fraction of an inch, everywhere, and I

felt stubby and ordinary.

The talent was fantastic. The winner, Neva Jane Langley (Miss Georgia), was ravishing and during all the preliminaries she was surrounded and encouraged by a growing swarm of photographers and rooters. When she came to her act she staggered everybody by playing classical music on a big grand piano and it sounded just like the real thing.

I never had a ghost of a chance and was eliminated in the first round. That night I cried and cried.

On the way back to Toronto in the plane Mrs. Weaver said to cheer up as I was still big stuff at home and there would be a crowd of photographers and reporters waiting to meet us. But there was only one little old photographer at the airport. All I got was a tiny picture on an inside page. It turned out that that day the Boyd Gang had escaped from jail. Mrs. Weaver said if only she could get her hands on the Boyd Gang she’d strangle them.

Men Called Her Honey

Mr. Weaver thought up a plan for getting me back into the headlines. When he thinks up these plans he gets very enthusiastic and says: “I have a story for the whole world.” The story was that I was going to the Coronation. The papers took it up in a big way. Mrs. Weaver told me that he would have to dig down into his own pocket to pay my expenses because there wasn’t enough left in the Miss Canada kitty. But he thought that it would be worthwhile. “Why,” he said, “you might even meet the Queen and think of the publicity that would mean.”

The next eight months were hectic. We received so many phone calls at my parents’ home that other people on our party line complained and we had to be cut off at set periods every day to give them a chance to talk.

I dropped the puck at the opening of hockey matches and I threw the first ball at the opening of the Maple Leaf Stadium baseball season. I went to the opening of new stores and factories and to dozens of conventions. At one convention I had my picture taken with Dana Porter, the Ontario AttorneyGeneral, a very cultured man. Once in a while I went off to some small Ontario town to head the bill at a local variety concert. My father did all the negotiations regarding fees.

At the Sportsmen’s Show in Toronto I had to ride in shorts on an ostrich named Jughead. I was terrified because I thought it would swivel its head right

around and peck me. But it was most docile. The photographers wanted a picture of the ostrich throwing me. But it wouldn’t buck at all, although I kept trying to make it. In the end I had to pretend to be thrown. The picture got quite a splash and the Sportsmen’s Show was very pleased.

I was invited to parties at swanky homes. While everybody else drank liquor I drank milk. Mr. Weaver once smiled and called me his milk-fed baby. The men were always calling me “honey,” “kid,” and “sweetheart.” But the women weren’t so kind. I once overheard a woman remark: “That child has neither the figure nor the face to carry such fashionable clothes.”

When 1 did a TV show I took a blow smack on the chin. I was told, delicately, that I had “one or two unpleasant expressions.” I got more and more baffled about what people wanted me to be like.

One day I heard I was on the cover of Flash, a Toronto tabloid. Inside there was a story saying that the Miss Canada contest was fixed. My mother cried and cried. Then I cried. And the doctors ordered me to take a twomonth rest.

I was better in time for the Coronation trip and my father wrote to George Prudham, Canadian Minister of Mines, a distant relative of my mother’s, and asked him if he could make arrangements for me to entertain Canadian troops in Europe after I had seen the Coronation. Mr. Prudham wrote to Defense Minister Brooke Claxton and it was arranged—because the services like publicity too. My father got in touch with various companies. Monarch Knit gave me sweaters, Varden Petite gave me dresses, Camile gave me hats, and Bata gave me shoes. Eaton’s gave me costume jewelry and a complete set of matching luggage. They also lent me a diamond tiara in case I was presented to the Queen.

This was looked after carefully by Mrs. Robert Tucker, my chaperone, a cultured young matron from Port Credit, Ont., who worked as a teacher of oral expression at the University of Toronto. She told me she was going to help me by being quite frank. One of the things she told me about myself was that my table manners were atrocious.

During the flight to London I knew a big crowd was waiting for us and before we landed I said a prayer: “Oh Cod, let them like me. Let them think Muss Canada does mean something."

We watched the Coronation procession from seats in Hyde Park. Later the crowds all started running toward

Buckingham Palace. I ran too. Mrs. Tucker tried to stop me. “Running is so undignified,” she said. But I broke away from her and ran and ran. Hours later, after I had seen the Queen on the balcony, I walked back alone to the hotel, about three miles, filled with the joy of what I had seen.

Next day we had tea with Mrs. Thomas Bata, a very rich and beautiful woman. That night we were taken to the Bagatelle, Princess Margaret’s favorite night club. Some Guatemalan diplomats asked me to pose with them for pictures. Afterwards I danced with them until about three in the morning. They were very Latin.

On Friday, June 5, I was introduced to Crown Prince Hussein of Jordan, who gave me a funny smile and wrote me his autograph in Arabic.

Next day we went to North Luffenham, the RCAF base, and did two shows. They were having a Coronation ball: I met Sir John Baldwin and the Marquis of Mantón and at ten o’clock I was sent to bed in the airwomen’s quarters.

Then we were flown to Gros Tenquin, an RCAF base in France. The pilot, let me fly the plane and make it go up and down. When he was flying low I foolishly pushed the controls away forward and the plane dived. The pilot who had turned white, took over quickly and flew straight up into the clouds.

We flew to Zweibrucken, another base, and did a second show. Then we arrived four hours late at Hanover to entertain Canadian soldiers. Some of the troops had got drunk waiting for us. One man kept coming up to me and crying and saying I reminded him of his wife.

The Deck Caved In

In Paris we went to a big party at the Canadian Embassy. Mrs. Tucker was at ease with the diplomats, but I felt out of it and sat in a corner. A man came up with champagne. I had never had a drink in my life, but I had a tummy ache and I felt it would help. I had two drinks. I drank them too quickly as if they were Bromo Seltzers. Then I felt dizzy and had to go to the bathroom. I remember I had to climb a long curving staircase that led out of a hall. I had to hang onto the balustrade all the way up. I felt awful because I thought I was letting the youth of Canada down.

We flew back to England and were taken out to the Canadian warships formed uffc'or the Spithead review. As we climbed aboard HMCS Quebec Rear Admiral R. E. S. Bidwell and all the officers lined up to salute. I bowed gravely just like I’d seen the Queen do.

On the carrier Magnificent I stepped forward to introduce myself and begin my act. Suddenly the deck seemed to cave in beneath me. I felt myself falling down through a trap door of some kind. I hit a lot of dirty old pipes in a deep dark hole and shouted “Jeez!”

Up above there was some nervous laughter, then a lot of ringing commands and running about. Finally five men lifted me out and 1 had a heck of a job keeping my skirts down.

My leg was covered with blood and oil. Two ships’ doctors attended me. Then they sent a boat for two more from another ship. I was X-rayed, hour doctors kept messing around with my leg. When I was all bandaged up Mrs. Tucker took me back to London. The navy got plenty of publicity out of that. Ever since I’ve always said I fell for the navy.

A few days later we flew back to Toronto. At Malton airport there was a big crowd of newspapermen who were expecting me to step out on crutches.

But I managed by using one of those high English umbrellas as a stick. I never felt less glamorous in my life. When my mother saw me she cried.

I was under contract to start singing immediately with a band at the Royal York Hotel. On the stage I still had to wear bandages for a week or so but I hid them under a long gown.

When it came time to elect another Miss Canada I had to go down to Burlington to sing the traditional sacred solo in church. There was a lot of bickering among the congregation who didn’t think it was right a dance-

band singer should perform in church. But Mr. Weaver quieted them down and I sang Bless This House. On the final night, when I handed over my crown, I sang I Believe. But really I didn’t believe as much as I had done a year previously.

For the whole year that I had been Miss Canada I had been feted and encouraged to believe that I was famous. But once it was over, I was forgotten. After a three-month job singing at the Chateau Frontenac, I started taking lessons in specialty dancing. I paid for them by teaching ballroom dancing at

Arthur Murray’s. I was still desperately keen on getting into show business. But one night when I was practicing adagio I just broke down. In hospital they told me I was a nervous wreck, and I had to rest for several months.

Last July I decided to have another crack at show business. I called on Lucien Jarraud, the Montreal theatrical agent. When he asked me about my experience I told him about being Miss Canada. He hadn’t even heard of me. That’s when I knew that I wasn’t a beauty queen anymore. ★