Columnist George Dolan of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram tells this story. Herb Maurice and Jim Holmes work for the same company, and each phoned the office on Monday morning to report he would not be in that day. Each had to have dental work done. A few days later, Holmes explained why.
"Herb and I went fishing Saturday," said Holmes. "When we were out in the middle of the lake, Herb took out his dentures and put them on the boat seat. I decided I'd play a prank on him. When he wasn't looking, I put his teeth in my pocket. Then later, when I got the chance, I took my dentures out and put them where his had been.
"We fished awhile, then decided to go to another spot. Herb picked up the teeth and tried several times to get them in his mouth. He got fiery mad, threw them as far as he could and said, 'Those dang things never have fit me right.'
"Well, I froze, because mine fit me perfectly and cost me a bundle, besides. I sat stunned a few seconds, then reached in my pocket, got his teeth, threw them as far as I could and said, 'Mine don't fit, either.' "
The strange and fragile plane designed by Dr. Paul MacCready and known as the Gossamer Condor (SI, Aug. 1) has finally done it. Last week in Shafter, Calif. it became the first successful man-powered aircraft. The man power was supplied by Bryan Allen, 24, who furiously pedaled to turn the prop. By completing the figure-eight, one-mile course and by being at an altitude of at least 10 feet at the start and finish, the Gossamer Condor, which weighs 77 pounds and has a 96-foot wingspread, fulfilled the conditions for an $86,000 prize offered by London's Royal Aeronautical Society. "It was a successful flight," said Bill Richardson, who was hired as official observer for the society, which will now go over his report.
After completing the flight in seven minutes and 20 seconds the exhausted Allen said, "Making the climbs was very difficult, and it took all the power I could generate to make the turns around the pylons. I got half to three-quarters of the way around before I realized I had a chance. When I got to the last pylon, I knew I was going to finish." Bushed as he was, Allen had good reason to keep going. "My cycle shoes were fastened to the pedals," he explained, "and there was no way I could pull my feet out."
And then there are those who can't make it up into the wild blue yonder. Take the Black Eagle, a former doughnut maker whose real name is Walter Heywood. The Black Eagle paid $15,000 to rent Boston Garden on a recent Sunday night for an attempt to break the world indoor jump record in his homemade rocket. To call the show the flop of the year would be an understatement.
The advance sale totaled nine.