Broadway's latest hit is the Cole Porter musical, Silk Stockings, built around the Ninotchka theme that the luxuries of the West have an enticement for those who live on the Iron Curtain's iron rations. The heroine, a commissar of impressive grim-ness, succumbs to Paris and is transformed thereby from an ugly duckling into a lovely swan, worthy of the love of Don Ameche, who plays the singing lead.
This is a familiar theme in real life too, especially on the sports beat. Last week blonde Miroslava Nachodska, after competing for Czechoslovakia in the 1955 world figure-skating championships in Vienna, decided to improve her chic by slipping over into the American zone. She was by no means the first Czech athlete to make this decision. Preceding her had been tennis players Jaroslav Drobny (later a Wimbledon winner) and Vladimir Cernik, swimmers Jiri Kovar and Jiri Lin-hart, Olympic skier Antonin Sponar, ice-hockey players Olda Zabrodsky and Mirek Slama and figure-skating champions Aja Vrzanova and Jirina Nekolova. Vrzanova was world champion in 1949-50.
Blonde Miroslava Nachodska finished only 18th among 22 contestants in this year's world championships, but had led her eight teammates at Budapest a week earlier when she placed eighth in the European championships. As an amateur athlete she had received from the Communist state a monthly income of $200, which is considered good pay where she comes from, was able to travel, and sometimes could shop in capitalist countries. All told, an attractive setup. There were, however, drawbacks. Nachodska, who is 22 and likes to look it, had been criticized by her superiors for using lipstick and nail polish. She dared not wear slacks lest she be charged with "Bikini-ism," which is an offense against the very soul of Bolshevism.
Nachodska hopes to continue her skating career in the United States or Canada, where girls will be girls no matter which party is in power.
The Beak vs. The Belly
Not since Primo Camera defeated Paulino Uzcudun at Rome in 1933 has there been a heavyweight championship fight outside the United States. For all the putative efforts of British promoter Jack Solomons to bring the Rocky Marciano- Don Cockell bout to London, it appeared last week that the U.S.A. still is the natural home of the big gate.
Tender-nosed Marciano and spinnaker-bellied Cockell signed papers to meet in San Francisco sometime during the week of May 16. The place was left blank for a day out of deference to Solomons' pleading that his curious "bob-a-nob" plan still had a chance. Solomons' plan envisaged a shilling contribution from every BBC-TV license holder, of which there are 4,155,989, with BBC underwriting any shortages in the collection box. BBC was horrified and said it would do no such thing.
The two heavyweights—Marciano at 195 pounds, Cockell admitting to 218—sized each other up at the signing.
"Cockell looks more powerful than I expected," Marciano said. "He's only a little shorter than I am."