Psychologist Joyce Brothers has analyzed the baseball fan. She says that a man "unable to prove his masculinity by besting another male in a fencing match or bringing fresh bear meat back to the cave uses baseball as a symbolic release. Following the actions of top heroes via the sports pages provides the same satisfaction to a man that reading a Hollywood gossip column does for his wife. As for women, they go to a ball game simply to please the men in their lives. Baseball is something to be endured."
"Dear Tom," wrote Groucho Marx (below) to T. S. Eliot. "If this isn't your first name, I'm in a hell of a fix! But I think I read somewhere that your first name is the same as Tom Gibbons', a prizefighter who once lived in St. Paul...." "Dear Groucho," replied Eliot, "Yours of October 1st to hand. I cannot recall the name of Tom Gibbons at present, but if he helps you to remember my name that is all right with me...." The correspondence between Marx and Eliot is included in The Groucho Letters, published last week by Simon and Schuster. In another letter Groucho tells of seeing Joe DiMaggio in a restaurant one night. "He wasn't wearing his baseball suit. This struck me as rather foolish. Suppose a ball game broke out...." Marx, it would seem, even had the last word with Eliot. He wrote, "Since you are actually an early American (I don't mean that you are an old piece of furniture, but you are a fugitive from St. Louis), you should have heard of Tom Gibbons. For your edification, Tom Gibbons was a native of St. Paul, Minnesota, which is only a stone's throw from Missouri. That is, if the stone is encased in a missile. Tom was, at one time, the lightheavyweight champion of the world; although outweighed by twenty pounds by Jack Dempsey, he fought him to a standstill in Shelby, Montana.... When I call you Tom, this means you are a mixture of a heavyweight prizefighter, a male alley cat and the third President of the United States."
Perhaps convinced, after the Beatles and Twiggy, that you can sell some of the people all of the time, the British have a new merchandising phenomenon, Sir Francis Chichester. Still 4,000 miles away from the end of his one-man round-the-world voyage in the 50-foot ketch Gipsy Moth IV, Sir Francis has lent his name and approval to beer, wool. Daks slacks (he wears them on shipboard to demonstrate the permanence of their crease), certain dyes (a limited number, since Sir Francis' taste is restricted to variations of navy blue), carpets, underwear, T shirts, socks and sweaters. The makers of everything from the bunting on Gipsy Moth to the Chichester sailing cap have trumpeted their part in the trip. Now the agency that handles Batman has taken over the merchandising of the Chichester name, and there are plans to manufacture a toy Gipsy Moth, which would sail around bathtubs. Unfortunately, one promoter points out, "Sir Francis' name is a bit of a mouthful for kids."
"I am personally interested in sports cars," said French Premier Georges Pompidou at the Paris auto show last year, but just how interested no one could have guessed. Last week Pompidou announced a loan of $1.2 million from the government's budget for the development of a "100% French" Formula I car. Said an official of Matra, the missile and satellite manufacturer whom Pompidou picked to get the new racer off the ground, "If we turn out a successful car, we're supposed to repay the loan. We're also planning a Ferrari-type French sports car. It will be good for French prestige."
Meanwhile, in his shop on South Broadway in Santa Ana, Calif., Dan Gurney has been working on his American Eagle, the car with which he hopes to win the Grand Prix world championship for the U.S. The last victory in a Grand Prix race by an American-built car was back in 1921 when a Duesenberg driven by Jimmy Murphy won the French Grand Prix. Gurney, who needs at least $300,000 to race on the Grand Prix circuit this year, is raising the money by selling $15 memberships in an organization he has founded called the All-American Racers Eagle Club. Some 300 people have applied so far, including housewives, doctors, secretaries, a butcher and a botanist. With the membership comes jacket patches, decals, a silver eagle tie tack, an eagle T shirt and an autographed picture of Gurney.
When he found leg irons under the front seat of a Cadillac parked in Pittsburgh's Chatham Center garage, the attendant became suspicious. The car, bearing Canadian license plates, had been there for almost a week, and no one seemed to know who owned it. The police were notified, and they uncovered some 20-gauge shells under the rear seat. The Mounties were called in, and the owner was finally tracked down. He turned out to be Doug Harvey, the former NHL defenseman who now plays for the Pittsburgh Hornets. Harvey told police he had been on a road trip. As for the leg irons, Harvey is a deputy constable in Montreal in the off-season.
For the kickoff of New York's party season next fall, fashionable women will be wearing football jerseys as evening dresses, or so suggests America's leading designer, Geoffrey Beene. In his new collection are three floor-length football shirts (below) with high necks, long sleeves, yokes, stripes, armbands and numbers back and front. The dresses are made of sequins and chiffon, which should have tear-away qualities to suit any coach. The cost per uniform: $1,000.