A 1943 AP story about a jeep that traveled around the Pacific tied to a submarine became the centerpiece of an ad for ice cream the following year. The somewhat tenuous connection between the two was that the submarine crew eventually sold the jeep to a warship in exchange for three gallons of ice cream.
In addition to winning the non-glamorous title of Miss Stainless Steel Wire, Claire Dennis was named Miss Photoflash of 1949. She managed to leverage the publicity from that award into a small role in the 1950 film The Petty Girl. After that, her career as a model/actress seems to have ended.
Frederick N. Goldsmith published a successful stock-market newsletter from 1916 to 1948, when he came under investigation by the New York Attorney General for telling his subscribers that his market advice was based on "inside information."
Goldsmith, however, had an unusual defense. He revealed that the primary source of his inside information was the comic strip "Bringing Up Father." Goldsmith believed that the comic strip provided clues, in code, about the direction of the market. The clues had been placed there by "big insiders." This was apparently their way of communicating with each other. But Goldsmith believed he had cracked the code. Details from The Manipulators (1966) by Leslie Gould:
Goldsmith got the "word" as to what the market and individual stocks would do from following the antics of Jiggs in the "Bringing Up Father" comic strip, which for years was drawn by George McManus. If Jiggs was pictured with his right hand in his pocket, the market was a buy. If there were two puffs rising from Jiggs' cigar, it meant the second hour would be strong.
In one episode, explained Goldsmith, Jiggs was at the theater and remarked: "The intermissions are the only good thing about this show." Goldsmith interpreted that as a sure-fire tip to buy Mission Oil, which he passed on to his market letter subscribers. It went up fifteen points the next day.
When questioned, McManus (author of the comic-strip) insisted he knew nothing about the stock market and pointed out that he prepared his strip nine weeks ahead of publication. He also noted, "What would I be doing with cartoons if I were so hot on the stock market?"
Having learned the truth, the AG could have dropped the case, but he decided to shut down Goldsmith anyway for misleading his subscribers.
NY Daily News - Nov 18, 1948
The problem that the AG faced at the trial, however, was that Goldsmith's predictions had actually been pretty good and had served his subscribers well. In fact, many of his subscribers came to his defense during the trial. Nevertheless, the judge shut down Goldsmith's business. More details from The Manipulators:
Despite Goldsmith's record of accurate predictions, New York County Supreme Court Justice Benjamin F. Schreiber signed an injunction putting him out of business for keeps in these words:
The defendant. . . was engaged in the business of writing and distributing a market letter to the public which attempted to forecast and predict future prices of securities and commodities.
Subscribers were led to believe that the defendant used statistics, financial reports and charts in preparing. . . prognostications of future price movements. The letter was also so worded as to imply that the defendant had sources of special and secret information concerning stock movements. . .
The subscribers to the defendant's daily market letter had the right to assume that the defendant possessed a superior knowledge of the stock market, that whatever information he had came from living persons and recognized sources and not as a result of interpretations of comic strips. When he failed to inform his subscribers of the alleged sources of information he was concealing a material fact.
Marvene Fischer won the title of Miss Wisconsin in 1948. The Armour food company then decided to name a brand of cheese 'Miss Wisconsin' in her honor. It simultaneously hired her to serve as the traveling ambassador for the brand. In this position, she became known as Miss Wisconsin Cheese.
She ended up working for nine years as Miss Wisconsin Cheese. During this time she reportedly traveled more than two million miles in 48 states, visited more than a thousand towns, and distributed over 15 tons of cheese samples in more than 8000 food stores.
Binghamton Press and Sun-Bulleting - June 6, 1951
Here are some more details about her job from the Portage Daily Register (Dec 21, 1953):
Miss Fischer's carefully planned visit to a town usually sets off a varied series of events, most of which are reported in the press and over radio and TV broadcasts.
She is greeted by mayors, governors, senators, congressmen, movie stars, chiefs of police, food editors, currently reigning local beauty queens, and other assorted celebrities.
Most of these meetings are highlighted by a formal presentation of a basket of cheese by Miss Fischer in exchange for a gift symbolic of the city being visited. She has received roses, posies, rhododendrons, wine, fruit, foam rubber pillows, cake, and Indian headdress, and any number of giant keys of the city. In St. Joseph, Mo., she was made a deputy sheriff. At the Rockingham Park race track, Miss Wisconsin Day was proclaimed in her honor. In San Francisco, she toured a submarine, and the event was officially publicized by the U.S. Navy.
Miss Fischer takes all this gracefully, in fact gives a continuous impression that it's all a lot of fun. Actually, a lot of good hard salesmanship is involved.
Miss Fischer does most of her traveling by air and prefers to travel alone. She says she has no need for a chaperone. "Why I have about 65,000 chaperones — all Armour employees," she says.
Glamour may be fleeting, figures Miss Fischer, but cheese is here to stay.
Unfortunately I haven't been able to find many details about what became of Marvene Fischer after her time as Miss Wisconsin Cheese. The only info I came across was a listing for a Marvene Fischer, age 94, living in Wisconsin. About the right age, and living in the right state — so I'm guessing it's her.
Paul Di Filippo
Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.