Category:
Awards, Prizes, Competitions and Contests

Miss Formula

Miss Formula, who made her debut in 1964, was said to be "a computer's idea of how the perfect female should look." Though she was actually what the engineers at California Computer Products, Inc. thought the perfect female should look like. They designed her and the computer printed her out.

California Computer Products (CalComp) was eventually acquired by the Lockheed Corporation. I wonder if Miss Formula still resides somewhere in their computer systems.

Tampa Tribune - July 31, 1964



Pittsburgh Press - July 29, 1964



Pomona Progress-Bulletin - July 29, 1964

Posted By: Alex - Fri Nov 25, 2022 - Comments (4)
Category: Awards, Prizes, Competitions and Contests, Technology, Computers, 1960s

Miss Magnetic Fly Reel of 1959

Source: The Times Dispatch (Richmond, Virginia) 09 Nov 1958, Sun Page 49


Posted By: Paul - Sat Nov 12, 2022 - Comments (2)
Category: Awards, Prizes, Competitions and Contests, Beauty, Ugliness and Other Aesthetic Issues, Oceans and Maritime Pursuits, Sports, Fish, 1950s

Signorina Grandi Firme

Le Grandi Firme (The Great Signatures) was an Italian literary magazine published as a fortnightly review from 1924 to 1936, and as a weekly review from 1937 to 1938. The weekly edition featured cover artwork by Gino Boccasile that always depicted an attractive young woman in a tight dress. These cover women became known as the "Signorine Grandi Firme."



The Signorine Grandi Firme became so popular that they inspired a national beauty contest to find a real-life "Signorina Grandi Firme," or Miss Grandi Firme. This was one of Italy's first beauty contests. It was won by 19-year-old Barbara Nardi.

Unfortunately I haven't been able to find any photos of Barbara Nardi, even though she went on to appear in a number of Italian movies.



Soon after the contest, Mussolini ordered the magazine to cease publication. Apparently he found its popularity to be a threat.



The beauty contest also inspired a swing song, Signorina Grandi Firme, sung by Carlo Moreno and the Trio Lescano.



More info: listal.com, MissItalia.it

Update: Paul succeeded in finding a photo of Barbara Nardi in an old Italian film magazine.

"The beautiful smile of Barbara Nardi"
Cinema - Apr 23, 1940

Posted By: Alex - Thu Nov 10, 2022 - Comments (3)
Category: Awards, Prizes, Competitions and Contests, 1930s

Miss Fine Brown Frame

A beauty contest inspired by a song! It started in 1947, but I'm not sure when it ended. But it was still active at least till 1983, as you can see below.



Source of text.






Posted By: Paul - Tue Nov 08, 2022 - Comments ()
Category: Awards, Prizes, Competitions and Contests, Beauty, Ugliness and Other Aesthetic Issues, Ethnic Groupings, Music, 1940s, 1980s

Miss Voodoo

Stella Danfray, aka "Miss Voodoo," seemed poised to become a movie star when she arrived in the United States from France in 1950. She had all kinds of meetings lined up with Hollywood bigwigs.

New Castle News - Jan 7, 1950



Source: Oklahoma Historical Society



But it turned out that Miss Voodoo had some peculiar views about marital relations. Unprompted, she told a reporter that she thought American husbands were browbeaten and should slap their wives.

I don't know if this comment ended her Hollywood career before it even began (as far as I can tell, she never appeared in any movies), but it definitely turned the American press against her. Within a few months she had left America. She continued working as a model in Europe for a number of years. I don't find any more references to her after 1955.

Montreal Daily Star - May 25, 1950



La Crosse Tribune - Sep 24, 1950

Posted By: Alex - Sun Oct 23, 2022 - Comments ()
Category: Awards, Prizes, Competitions and Contests, Husbands, Wives, Marriage, 1950s

Miss Esperanto

I have three references to this contest, from 1929, 1963 and 1967. No firm idea of how long it lasted, if it's still going on, or if it was held faithfully every year.







Puccini's opera 'La 66Bohème' was performed as a special performance for the Esperantists. Finally, Miss Maria Wenczel from Hungary was chosen as 'Miss Esperanto 1963'. Diethilde Magori from Germany and Helen Salmos from Sweden took second and third place in this competition. After the end of the congress, the young people drove to Sofija in a special caravan, where they were expected by the 48th Esperanto World Congress.








Posted By: Paul - Sun Oct 16, 2022 - Comments ()
Category: Awards, Prizes, Competitions and Contests, Beauty, Ugliness and Other Aesthetic Issues, Languages, 1920s, 1950s, 1960s

Miss Drive-In Teller

According to wikipedia, drive-through windows began appearing at banks in the early 1930s. By 1958, over 4000 women were working as drive-in tellers, and that's the year that the Mosler Safe Company sponsored the first nationwide "Miss Drive-In Teller" contest.

Contestants were judged on "personality, courtesy, and efficiency." And, of course, appearance. The winner got a two-week all-expense-paid trip for two to Havana, Cuba. Plus $500 in spending money. So it attracted quite a few contestants. In later years, winners went to places like Bermuda and Norway.

Marion Polk, a teller at Peoples National Bank in Rock Hill, South Carolina, became the first Miss Drive-In Teller. She must have been fairly proud of this because it's mentioned in her obituary. The contest continued to be held annually until 1972 (as far as I can tell) when Jacqueline Fleming became the final Miss Drive-In Teller.

Marion Polk, Miss Drive-In Teller of 1958
Columbia Record - Oct 4, 1958



Tamra Evans, Miss Drive-In Teller of 1961
Wausau Daily Herald - Oct 3, 1961



San Rafael Daily Independent Journal - June 27, 1961



Susan Erickson, Miss Drive-In Teller of 1962
Corvallis Gazette-Times - Aug 16, 1962



Jean Doggett, Miss Drive-In Teller of 1964
Morgan City Daily Review - July 3, 1964



Jeanie Archer, Miss Drive-In Teller of 1966
Racine Journal Times - Sep 1, 1966



Jacqueline Fleming, Miss Drive-In Teller of 1972
Sioux City Journal - Oct 23, 1972

Posted By: Alex - Fri Sep 30, 2022 - Comments ()
Category: Awards, Prizes, Competitions and Contests, Money

The National College Queen

This contest for top female college student ("fifty percent beauty, fifty percent brains") appears to have begun in 1953:



Source: ETSU Collegian (Johnson City, Tennessee) 01 Apr 1955, Fri Page 5

The first photo below is from 1969, and I can't envision the contest surviving much beyond that revolutionary date.



Source: The Aggielite (Tishomingo, Oklahoma) 15 Mar 1955, Tue Page 1





It was once so popular, it was televised nationwide.

Source: The Kingston Daily Freeman (Kingston, New York) 10 Jun 1967, Sat Page 16











Posted By: Paul - Fri Sep 23, 2022 - Comments (3)
Category: Awards, Prizes, Competitions and Contests, Beauty, Ugliness and Other Aesthetic Issues, Intelligence, Television, 1950s, 1960s

The Miss Black America Crown

The Miss Black America beauty contest was launched in 1968 to protest the lack of black women in the Miss America pageant. There's nothing weird about that. But what is a bit odd is the crown that was introduced in the second year of the contest. It looks like miniature Christmas ornaments on sticks, or extraterrestrial antennae.

There must have been a reason for this unusual crown, but I haven't been able to find any info about it. Perhaps the contest organizers thought it looked more modern and space-age?

It was used for three years and then, in 1972, the contest reverted to a more traditional crown. Again, no explanation given that I can find.

Gloria O. Smith, Miss Black America 1969



Stephanie Clark, Miss Black America 1970



Joyce Warner, Miss Black America 1971

Posted By: Alex - Mon Sep 19, 2022 - Comments (1)
Category: Awards, Prizes, Competitions and Contests, Headgear

Miss Stainless Steel Wire

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.

Indianapolis Star - June 9, 1949

Posted By: Alex - Sat Sep 10, 2022 - Comments ()
Category: Awards, Prizes, Competitions and Contests, 1940s

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Alex Boese
Alex is the creator and curator of the Museum of Hoaxes. He's also the author of various weird, non-fiction, science-themed books such as Elephants on Acid and Psychedelic Apes.

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