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EVENTS & DISCOVERIES
December 21, 1959
End-of-year Notes
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December 21, 1959

Events & Discoveries

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But don't you be discouraged, golfers. The new rules will help your scores in 1960; they really will. In any case, Happy New Year.

Canned Baseball

"Baseball, like watermelon, traditionally belongs to the summer pleasures and pastimes of the American people. No one has successfully canned a watermelon yet, but a couple of rival television producers are now doing their best to accomplish this for baseball.

Producer No. 1 is Max Cooper of Chicago, a public relations man who views the world through sleepy eyes and a wide-awake mind. Cooper is filling baseball's winter void with a 26-game series lifted from the Cuban League, starring, among others, Chicago's Minnie Minoso. The notion to tape Cuba's winter games and replay them in the U.S. at a later date, Cooper claims, came to him in a dream one March night in 1958, and he bolted out of bed forthwith. He has been moving at a pretty fair clip ever since, and when the Cuban League's season opened this fall, he had 11 TV stations around this country signed up and waiting. The games are taped in Havana, edited, and air-expressed to such day-in and day-out baseball strongholds as Chicago, Milwaukee and Los Angeles, where they are broadcast at the rate of one a week. Cooper admits he does not know what to expect from any one game (he describes his first attempt as "the dullest sport show ever made"), but he says he does know how to improve upon the raw material in the cutting room. A typical 2�-hour game is reduced, with some 200 splices, to 78 minutes, and a lissome Latin lady is slipped on camera between innings to post the scores. And, because Cooper's shooting schedule is shorter than the league's schedule, Cooper has devised a synthetic, midseason "playoff," for which all participants will be handsomely rewarded.

Producer No. 2 is Peter De Met of Chicago and Coral Gables, Fla. De Met shows no Cuban games but rather tapes of U.S. major league games warmed over from last summer. Game dates and scores remain unannounced until the end, and the whole thing is through and done with in a fleeting 53 minutes, for the duller passages, says De Met, translate better in synopsis form. De Met has sold his 26-game series to some 90 TV stations, which seems to prove that more people will watch a major league ball game twice than will watch a Cuban League ball game once. And though his series will contain no playoff, contrived or otherwise, De Met has his own surprise. Just as soon as the canned baseball series has run its course and fresh baseball is getting started again, De Met hopes to grasp his audience anew with 1959 professional football games—concentrated, warmed up and, for the absent-minded, exciting through the final second.

Everybody in the Pool

Winter's traces may be here, but the days were never sunnier for the swimming-pool crowd. We're referring, of course, to the contractors, distributors and dealers who sell the pools. Business was the best ever during 1959, the National Swimming Pool Institute declared, and the figures proved the point. Some 70,000 pools were installed, boosting the total number now in use to 250,000, and almost two-thirds were sold to private home owners.

It seemed a good time to find out how a home owner goes about buying one, and what sort he usually selects. So we directed our questions to a trio of NSPI men who were in New York for the opening of the National Swimming Pool Exposition.

"Buying a pool today," enthused Robert Greene, the NSPI's executive secretary, "is like buying an auto used to be. The average person finds people who have pools and he gets their opinions. Then he visits a dealer's showroom. He sees full-scale models on exhibit, full to the brim and completely landscaped. The customer usually feels the urge then and there to jump in for a swim."

"The pool can be just about any size or shape," said Bob Hoffman, the Exposition's co-chairman. "But our statistics show that a home-owner's average dive-and-swim pool is rectangular, about 16 by 36. Its depth at the deep end is 8 to 8� feet. Another interesting statistic is that the cost of the average pool was slightly under $4,100 in 1959. That's down from $4,250 last year, and it's one of the few costs in the economy that has gone down."

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