Skip to main content
Original Issue


Frank Shorter, the first American marathoner to win a gold medal in 64 years, has seen more serious problems than anything he met at Munich—like nearly getting murdered every time he ran. That, it has emerged, was when he did his training around Taos, N. Mex. One day after having already run 12 miles, Shorter met a earful of youths trying to pick up two protesting girls. A fight ensued, a knife was pulled, and while the girls escaped in one direction, Shorter led a chase across the sage in another, outrunning the gang. After that, he was a marked man. "There were very definite attempts to commit vehicular homicide," his father, Dr. Samuel Shorter, says. "Cars made U-turns when they didn't hit him the first time." Frank finally gave up and moved to Florida. Asked if he thought Shorter might be bitter, Mayor Phillip Cantu Jr. of Taos said, "I don't think he should be. People are people. You can't change them."

Rick Barry is an athlete who lives by the sword and, alas, dies by it. "The officials," the New York Net cum San Francisco Warrior said, "made Elgin Baylor an All-Pro, letting him take that one extra step during his career. He must have walked 15 times a game. Charlie Scott [late of the Virginia Squires] did so well so soon that he has a swelled head now. He'll have to change to be successful with Phoenix." So what about Barry? "Rick's a hypochondriac," says his wife Pam. "He feels a twinge of pain and dies. He's accident prone—a lummox. Whenever I ask him to do something, he hurts himself. When he barbecues, he burns himself. He twists a light bulb and breaks it."

Buddy Boggs' mother is able to breathe easily when the Baltimore welterweight steps into a ring. It is an island of safety in a dangerous world. As a boy in Baltimore, Boggs swapped his mother's prize poodle for a timber wolf that had a nasty habit of chewing up all the dogs in the neighborhood. As a teen-ager, he leaped from a burning house after attempting to rescue his father and brother. And this summer, working as an iron worker on the 25th floor of a new building, he plummeted in a basket lift 20 floors before someone threw a bar into the gears. For recreation, one could almost guess, Boggs hunts alligators. "I was on one hunt where we captured an alligator bigger than the boat," he says. "I got the job of sitting on his back and riding him so he wouldn't swat anyone with his tail. But we decided he was too big and tossed him back."

As much as he may dislike creeping inflation, H. L. Hunt believes wholeheartedly in creeping yoga. Here he is not looking for a dropped dime but demonstrating the exercise he performs several times a day. The Texas billionaire also takes yoga lessons twice each week and eats primarily organically grown health foods.

Would Mark Spitz' mother be embarrassed to see him an naturel across two pages of Cosmopolitan magazine? "Well, I wouldn't want my daughter to pose for Playboy," Mrs. Spitz said, then grinned and added, "but my son—well, I don't know...."

Klaus Klingner, a Social Democrat deputy in Germany's Schleswig-Holstein state parliament, is demanding that license plates be required either for amateur horseback riders or their mounts. The idea is to identify the equestrians who have been badgering pedestrians in public forests. Klingner did not specify where he would attach a license plate to a horse.

Every morning in Elm Grove, Wis. Duke Larson would go out on his porch and imitate the mating call of a cardinal. After a few days he began getting an answer. When the romance became really hot, Larson just had to tell somebody. Too bad. It seems neighbor Carl Stoddard had been having startling success with his own bird call.

An estate worth $14 million is going to the dogs. Eighty-one of them at last count. Eleanor Ritchey, heir to the Quaker State oil fortune, left her entire $4.5 million to 150 stray pooches. After four years of litigation by relatives, 69 of the dogs have died, and the money—through remarkable investment—has more than tripled. Now a court has decided the dogs deserve the dough, and they are living in an antiseptic clinic on a 180-acre ranch near Deerfield Beach, Fla. Their one hardship is segregation by sex. There will be no accidental offspring carrying this business on indefinitely.

An Indianapolis bank is peddling credit cards with a TV commercial light-years ahead of Joe Namath's "Woo!" The Hoosier hustle starts, "I'm Fran Tarkenton of the Minnesota Vikings, and this thing next to me is Dick Butkus of the Chicago Bears. We're both wearing the knit shirts that NFL teams wear. Now you can have one of these shirts embroidered with the helmet of your favorite team...." Whereupon Butkus chimes in with, "It's as simple as that. Get a Merchants Master Charge card." Then, grabbing a huge fistful of Tarkenton's shirt front, he concludes, "...and we'll give you the shirt off our quarterback."

The bank got 5,000 applications the first six days, which is fine by Tarkenton just as long as Butkus knows the shirt nonsense stops in the studio.