When Jefferson Downs, just outside New Orleans, opened its fall racing season last week, it did so with "music to bet by." Three minutes before each post time the public address system blared forth a recording of the Colonel Bogey March, popularized in the movie The Bridge on the River Kwai.
At first opposed to the suggestion, the track management tested it on employees.
"The results were amazing," reports C. Ray Edmonds, president and general manager. "The march music seemed to perk everyone up. They'd throw back their shoulders and walk at a faster gait. Most of them would start humming and whistling the tune."
And, whether or not it was the music, Jefferson Downs enjoyed the heaviest fall opening-night handle in its five-year history, hardily defying the threat of Hurricane Hilda.
LETTER FROM HOME
People who are dirty and funny are much better members of mountain-climbing parties than those who are clean and sad, the Soviet Mountaineering Federation has been advised by Jim Whittaker of Seattle, conqueror of Everest. Asked by the Russian climbers for advice on the selection of members for a try in the Himalayas, Whittaker replied:
"Individuals with exaggerated cleanliness or neatness have created problems living at high altitude, where it is difficult to maintain normal hygiene. Also, hypochondriacs have pulled down morale."
Worst personalities, in Whittaker's opinion: hypochondriacs; fussy, motherly types; and melancholies. Best qualities: "comradeship, egoism (to an extent), responsibility, boldness, persistence, humor and motivation."
Bold, persistent, witty and highly motivated Jim Whittaker last week was awarded his big W from West Seattle High School, from which he was graduated in 1947. Because he worked after school and had no time to participate in athletics, Whittaker never did win a sports letter.