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When did the 'Indy kiss' begin?


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#1 Flat Black

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Posted 14 February 2009 - 00:45

As you all doubtless know, there was once a venerable Indy 500 tradition that a Hollywood movie star be on hand in Victory Lane to plant a smooch on the race winner. My questions are, When did that tradition begin? When did it cease? And why did the tradition disappear? I've got my suspicions about the latter, but will defer until the forum has spoken.

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#2 Direct Drive

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Posted 14 February 2009 - 01:11

I recall that Graham Hill made some rude comment about the milk (vs. Scotch!) during the ceremonies before giving the lovely trophy queen a full throat massage, and then when Emerson totally refused the bottle of milk in exchange for a huge bottle of orange juice, which one of his various companies have a hand in producing.

Good for both of them!

#3 TrackDog

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Posted 14 February 2009 - 04:16

That tradition began in 1947 and lasted through the 1959 race. It was sponsored by Borg-Warner; the 500 Festival began in 1957, but the Queen didn't appear in Victory Lane until 1960.

I have a partial list of the Hollywood Starlets who appeared in Victory Lane:

1947--Carole Landis
1948--?
1949--?
1950--Barbara Stanwyck(?) I know she was there with Clark Gable promoting their film "To Please A Lady"
1951--Loretta Young
1952--Arlene Dahl
1953--Jane Greer
1954--?
1955--Dinah Shore a natural tie-in with the 1955 Bel Air pace car with the 265 V8
1956--Virginia Mayo who was married at one time to Michael O'Shea, who appeared in The Big Wheel with Mickey Rooney in 1949
1957--Cyd Charisse(?)
1958--Shirley MacLaine
1959--Erin O'Brien

The milk in Victory Lane tradition started in 1936, when Louis Meyer asked for a cold glass of buttermilk after winning; somebody got the idea to make it a regular feature after that, and except for Emmo in 1993, it has been ever since. Emmo drank orange juice because he had a huge orange farm in Brazil and was making his oown juice. He was so roundly booed that he decided to drink the milk after all...but ony after he took a swig of OJ...


Dan

#4 TrackDog

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Posted 14 February 2009 - 04:33

Here is a complete list of Hollywood Beauty Queens at Indy from 1947-1959:

1947--Carole Landis
1948--Barbara Britton
1949--Linda Darnall
1950--Barbara Stanwyck
1951--Loretta Young
1952--Arlene Dahl
1953--Jane Greer
1954--Marie Wilson
1955--Dinah Shore
1956--Virginia Mayo
1957--Cyd Charisse
1958--Shirley MacLaine
1959--Erin O'Brien


Dan

#5 RA Historian

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Posted 14 February 2009 - 15:04

Originally posted by TrackDog
That tradition began in 1947 and lasted through the 1959 race. Dan

Was that because Phyllis Diller was scheduled in 1960?
Tom

#6 Flat Black

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Posted 14 February 2009 - 15:18

Any idea why the starlet tradition was discontinued? And I must say I'm surprised it lapsed so early. Would have guessed the tradition lasted at least into the late 60s.

#7 red stick

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Posted 14 February 2009 - 15:30

That's about the same time the old Hollywood studio contract system was breaking down. Coincidence?

#8 TrackDog

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Posted 14 February 2009 - 15:52

It's possible that the 500 Festival didn't have a beauty pageant until 1960, I'm not sure. Originally, the parade was their main concern it seems.



Dan

#9 COUGAR508

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Posted 14 February 2009 - 15:58

Originally posted by Flat Black
Any idea why the starlet tradition was discontinued? And I must say I'm surprised it lapsed so early. Would have guessed the tradition lasted at least into the late 60s.


Yes, surely political correctness did not come into play for another couple of decades?

#10 Nigel Beresford

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Posted 14 February 2009 - 17:22

Originally posted by Direct Drive
I recall that Graham Hill made some rude comment about the milk (vs. Scotch!) during the ceremonies before giving the lovely trophy queen a full throat massage, and then when Emerson totally refused the bottle of milk in exchange for a huge bottle of orange juice, which one of his various companies have a hand in producing.

Good for both of them!


In 1993 Emerson did drink milk, but after he'd drunk OJ first. There was a heck of a fuss, and the unpublicised sanction which Indy levied on us was a cut in the winner's purse - Al Jr. won $1,244 184 in '92 yet Emerson was only awarded $1,155 300 in '93, so it cost us a lot of prize money. Remember that the purse is supposedly decided by the Hulman-George family after the race, so they must have been very unhappy. The Penske mechanics were unhappy too, since they took a hit via a significantly reduced bonus (which is based on a percentage of the race purse).

#11 Flat Black

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Posted 15 February 2009 - 01:52

Originally posted by COUGAR508


Yes, surely political correctness did not come into play for another couple of decades?


My suspicion was that the tradition was seen as demeaning to women, but that probably is not an attitude that would have prevailed widely until the 70s. Then again, Hollywood has usually been ahead of the times, for better or worse.

#12 lil'chris

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Posted 15 February 2009 - 02:11

Originally posted by Nigel Beresford


In 1993 Emerson did drink milk, but after he'd drunk OJ first. There was a heck of a fuss, and the unpublicised sanction which Indy levied on us was a cut in the winner's purse - Al Jr. won $1,244 184 in '92 yet Emerson was only awarded $1,155 300 in '93, so it cost us a lot of prize money. Remember that the purse is supposedly decided by the Hulman-George family after the race, so they must have been very unhappy. The Penske mechanics were unhappy too, since they took a hit via a significantly reduced bonus (which is based on a percentage of the race purse).


Hello Nigel,

Just wondering. Did anyone take Emmo to task about the loss of earnings after his show of non respect to tradition ( Nostalgia :D ) that cost the team in 1993 ?

Rgds

Chris

#13 Jim Thurman

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Posted 15 February 2009 - 03:13

Originally posted by Flat Black


My suspicion was that the tradition was seen as demeaning to women, but that probably is not an attitude that would have prevailed widely until the 70s. Then again, Hollywood has usually been ahead of the times, for better or worse.

:confused: There are "trophy girls" ranging from locals to local beauty queens to scantily clad "hotties" at many short track races around the country...to this date. It is still quite common.

A search of any number of websites featuring photos, particularly from the open wheel short track, would turn up many. There are plenty of places where Hooters girls have served as "trophy girls".

#14 Nigel Beresford

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Posted 15 February 2009 - 13:03

Originally posted by lil'chris


Hello Nigel,

Just wondering. Did anyone take Emmo to task about the loss of earnings after his show of non respect to tradition ( Nostalgia :D ) that cost the team in 1993 ?

Rgds

Chris


I know RP wasn't very happy and he grumbled about it in private, but nothing public. Other members of the team were unhappy too, but on the other hand we had just won the Indy 500 and it's impossible to overstate how important that is in the world of Penske Racing. The pressure to win Indy is immense and nothing whatsoever is left to chance.

#15 COUGAR508

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Posted 15 February 2009 - 13:07

Originally posted by Flat Black


My suspicion was that the tradition was seen as demeaning to women, but that probably is not an attitude that would have prevailed widely until the 70s. Then again, Hollywood has usually been ahead of the times, for better or worse.


They still had "race queens" of sorts at the Grands Prix in the USA well into the 1980s, certainly at Long Beach.

#16 Der Pate

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Posted 15 February 2009 - 13:08

What about the "Trophy-girls" when a girl like Danica wins...???

#17 Flat Black

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Posted 15 February 2009 - 16:12

Originally posted by Jim Thurman

:confused: There are "trophy girls" ranging from locals to local beauty queens to scantily clad "hotties" at many short track races around the country...to this date. It is still quite common.

A search of any number of websites featuring photos, particularly from the open wheel short track, would turn up many. There are plenty of places where Hooters girls have served as "trophy girls".


Are any of those "trophy girls" Halle Berry, Angelina Jolie or Jennifer Aniston? Can you imagine any of that trio, or any other really famous actress "stooping" to plant one on Scott Dixon or Tony Kanaan? And what's more, do any of those races with trophy girls compare to the Indy 500 in terms of popularity and importance?

Again, I don't know why the tradition fell into desuetude, but I certainly do know something about Hollywood mores and I can well imagine the Indy 500 trying to keep its image au courant . Until somebody provides me with evidence for why the tradtion was dropped I'll stick with my hypothesis.

#18 Der Pate

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Posted 15 February 2009 - 19:17

Maybe some feminists were against it...

Unfortunately also the tradition of of the crest for the winners in F1 is over...because the sponsors said, that their logo couldn´t be seen...

#19 RA Historian

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Posted 16 February 2009 - 02:08

Of course Ashley Judd planted one on Dario Franchitti in 2007, but I don't think that qualifies for what is being discussed here. :lol:

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#20 URY914

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Posted 16 February 2009 - 02:23

Originally posted by Der Pate
What about the "Trophy-girls" when a girl like Danica wins...???


I don't think you'll have to worry about that....

#21 TrackDog

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Posted 16 February 2009 - 17:31

I would imagine that the beauty Pageant really brings in a lot of publicity and money toward the 500 Festival, and that's why the starlets are no longer in vogue. Also, it was probably rather expensive for Borg-Warner to secure contracts with the studios to guarantee a movie star's appearance at the track. And by 1960 or so, there were a lot more opportunities for up-and-coming starlets to gain exposure than there were in years previously[read:television]. In the late '40's the Indy 500 was guaranteed to make it onto the newsreels of the day, and it was a great way to boost a career, to get before the public. By 1960, that was passe. If a publicist wanted to boost a client's career, there was always the Tonight Show or Ed Sullivan...

I wonder if the emphasis that ABC puts on showing the leader's wife or girlfriend during the last few laps is a way of taking up the slack, though...



Dan

#22 Flat Black 84

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 16:05

Here is a complete list of Hollywood Beauty Queens at Indy from 1947-1959:

1947--Carole Landis
1948--Barbara Britton
1949--Linda Darnall
1950--Barbara Stanwyck
1951--Loretta Young
1952--Arlene Dahl
1953--Jane Greer
1954--Marie Wilson
1955--Dinah Shore
1956--Virginia Mayo
1957--Cyd Charisse
1958--Shirley MacLaine
1959--Erin O'Brien


Dan


Gene Tierney was on hand to give Wilbur Shaw a smooch in 1939, so this was a pre-war tradition.


#23 Michael Ferner

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 16:45

1969--Andy Granatelli...


... though he may not really qualify as a "Beauty" Queen!

Edited by Michael Ferner, 29 May 2012 - 16:46.


#24 Flat Black 84

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 17:12

Foreknowledge of an impending Granatelli victory kiss would have been enough to make me wall it like Sato.

#25 maxim64

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 17:44

A bit off topic, sorry!
After his victory at 1982 Las Vegas GP, didn't Michele Alboreto get plenty of kisses from Diana Ross ?

#26 ChrisJson

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 19:25

Slightly off-topic but when did the tradition of kissing the bricks
at NASCAR Indy races start? And what is the reason behind it?

Christer

#27 Doug Nye

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 20:44

Slightly off-topic but when did the tradition of kissing the bricks
at NASCAR Indy races start? And what is the reason behind it?

Christer


Least risky option?

DCN

#28 rdrcr

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 00:51

Slightly off-topic but when did the tradition of kissing the bricks at NASCAR Indy races start? And what is the reason behind it?

Christer



Pretty sure that was Dale Jarrett and his crew (the idea may have come from his crew chief, Todd Parrott). mid '90s?

#29 Arjan de Roos

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 07:09

Did anyone of you also see this (seemingly) beauty queen kiss Dario last sunday? She disapeared as fast as she approached.

#30 ChrisJson

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Posted 02 June 2012 - 12:01

Pretty sure that was Dale Jarrett and his crew (the idea may have come from his crew chief, Todd Parrott). mid '90s?



Yes you´re right. 1996 Brickyard 400.