Pro supergames and college superties notwithstanding, one of the most emphatic reactions SPORTS ILLUSTRATED arouses is to covers like this week's picture of Marilyn Tindall holidaying at Apache Lake, Ariz. Four January "Fun in the Sun" covers in four years have drawn hundreds of letters. Many are somewhat subtler enlargements upon the theme of one West Pointer whose correspondence read, in its entirety: "Dear Miss SI, I love you. Will you marry me?"
Some are at least mildly reproachful, like one from the Rev. Wayne Scott of the Berean Fundamental Church of Morrill, Neb. "Good Night! Let's watch those covers," Rev. Scott complained cheerfully. "They raise too many eyebrows when my parishioners see something like that coming into my study."
Naturally, it has occurred to some of the enthusiasts to wonder who gets to choose the girls. The selector is Jule Campbell, the magazine's fashion writer and arbiter of active sportswear. "I just look for a girl who seems the type my husband would like," Jule says. "The girl," she prescribes, "has to look healthy, has to be the kind men turn around to stare at, has to have visible spirit and should be athletic."
Scouting out attractive girls inevitably has its wild moments. Jule wryly remembers the parting words of the mother of Sue Peterson (SI, Jan. 18, 1965), whose picture on our cover led to her becoming one of the top pinup girls in Vietnam. "I hope you'll take good care of Sue," said Mrs. Peterson. "She's never been away from home before." ( Senior Editor Jack Olsen, who met Sue on that Baja California assignment, is taking care of her now. They were married last September.)
Jule's solution to girl care is to "work them so hard they're glad to stay home at night." This is no problem, because the picture-shooting is almost always strenuous. Last year's Exuma photos with Sunny Bippus (SI, Jan. 17, 1966), for example, required diving in and out of the James Bond Thunderball cave through an underwater passage with cameras and gear. "The girls were wearing silver suits," Jule shudders. "That's already shark bait."
Jule goes on such assignments laden with the likes of hair dryers, snake boots, native hats, chocolate bars for sole sustenance, lead falsies (as used in scuba diving), quarts of OFF insect repellent and 300 horse-size seasick pills.
There was the time in the Everglades when Sunny Bippus' airboat crashed into a sandbank, and Miss Bippus went hurtling out, rolling across the sand. Photographer John Zimmerman rushed up yelling, "Are you hurt? Are you hurt?" "No-n-no," said Miss Bippus, picking herself up unsteadily. "Well," Zimmerman said, "get back on the boat before your bruises come out."
Good times all. The only disadvantage, if it can be called that, to Jule's unique job is that girl-scouting tends to become a compulsion. "I've ruined whole summers having to look at girls," says Mrs. Campbell. "I find myself girl-watching at football games and even running up to squint at girls' faces on Malibu Beach. It sometimes gets so bad I have to make my husband help look."
Mr. Campbell is a model husband. He never complains.