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Mlle. Helle-Nice


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#151 David M. Kane

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Posted 25 July 2010 - 15:49

How about Sophia Moreau?

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#152 alfaronny

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Posted 25 July 2010 - 16:38

Danica Patrick ??

Looks great and knows how to drive a car ??




#153 Arjan de Roos

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Posted 26 July 2010 - 07:19

Danica Patrick ??

Looks great and knows how to drive a car ??


But can she dance, and does she know acrobatics?

#154 Fred Gallagher

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Posted 26 July 2010 - 08:10

The play "Fast Woman" referred to back in 2008 on another thread on TNF, is on the road again, at least in Guildford.

http://www.yvonne-ar...tudio.asp?s=755

Fred

#155 Jack-the-Lad

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Posted 27 July 2010 - 00:27

The play "Fast Woman" referred to back in 2008 on another thread on TNF, is on the road again, at least in Guildford.

http://www.yvonne-ar...tudio.asp?s=755

Fred


Looks like I'll miss it again. I'll be coming back to the 'States right after Revival.

#156 275 GTB-4

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Posted 28 July 2010 - 12:54

Looks like I'll miss it again. I'll be coming back to the 'States right after Revival.


Interesting...would love to see it....but may be too far north post-Revival :(


#157 LotusElise

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Posted 28 July 2010 - 16:24

Will have to keep an eye out for that. Lots of theatres near me that host that sort of production.
If we're playing the movie game, who would play the other characters in the Helle Nice story? Chiron, Ettore Bugatti?

#158 RStock

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Posted 29 July 2010 - 00:38

Recently I stumbled across this photo of Helle Nice in front of here Omega 6 at Montlhery. After reading Bugatti Queen I would say this is her about to start in her first race.
Noticed her relaxed somewhat tense (nervous?) expression, unlike most pictures where she appears exuberant as always. So most likely before the event.

Posted Image


This photo looks like from the same day.

Posted Image
photo - Jean-Pierre Poiter, Chelles, France/Random House



#159 Arjan de Roos

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Posted 29 July 2010 - 07:40

This photo looks like from the same day.

Posted Image
photo - Jean-Pierre Poiter, Chelles, France/Random House

Indeed! The bottom one is from the book, right? IMO one picture before and one after the event.

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#160 RStock

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Posted 29 July 2010 - 21:20

Indeed! The bottom one is from the book, right? IMO one picture before and one after the event.


Yes, it's from the book. I have no idea when it was taken though. It looks like some sort of pre-race photo-op, what with the way she is "powdering" her face.

I just want to add after looking through this thread, it's great to see her being remembered and honored, especially in light of how she lived in relative obscurity and poverty in the twilight of her life. I've always thought her story would make a great movie, and wish someone would get it done.

#161 speedman13

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Posted 09 September 2010 - 07:53

In a lovely ceremony last Saturday at the church of Sainte-Mesme a plaque was placed by the grave of Helle Nice and her name inscribed on the tombstone.

http://img409.images...6932/nicenx.jpg

http://img832.images.../1961/nice1.jpg


#162 Tim Murray

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Posted 09 September 2010 - 08:04

I am so glad this has finally happened - thanks for posting the photos.

#163 Tuboscocca

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Posted 09 September 2010 - 11:52

Fine story on Velocetoday:

http://www.velocetod.../archives/11524

And a mini-film clip: SHE in a Bugatti at Monthlery and even on-board!!(From French-TV)

http://telematin.fra...d_article=19094

Regards Michael

#164 LotusElise

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Posted 09 September 2010 - 22:06

And a mini-film clip: SHE in a Bugatti at Monthlery and even on-board!!(From French-TV)

http://telematin.fra...d_article=19094

Regards Michael


This is great, thanks. I never realised that film of Helle existed. She had a very pleasant speaking voice, which surprised me for some reason.

#165 D-Type

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Posted 09 September 2010 - 22:25

All I can say is a hearty "Well done" to Sheryl Greene, Miranda Seymour, Warner Dailey and all who have been involved. :up:

#166 Tuboscocca

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Posted 10 September 2010 - 16:32

This is great, thanks. I never realised that film of Helle existed. She had a very pleasant speaking voice, which surprised me for some reason.

According to my 'rudimentary' French (they told in the intro): they showed the first newsreel for cinema with audio..And we are lucky that they choose, beside other 'strange' themes, Helle Nice!!
Regards
Michael

#167 paulhooft

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Posted 10 September 2010 - 17:31

[[/quote]
And a mini-film clip: SHE in a Bugatti at Monthlery and even on-board!!(From French-TV)

http://telematin.fra...d_article=19094

Regards Michael

Sorry, the link don't seem to work..

#168 Tuboscocca

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Posted 10 September 2010 - 18:46

[
And a mini-film clip: SHE in a Bugatti at Monthlery and even on-board!!(From French-TV)

http://telematin.fra...d_article=19094

Regards Michael

Sorry, the link don't seem to work..



Paul
Just checked it --it still works( 20.45 German time)

http://telematin.fra...d_article=19094

after 30 sec of advertising the 'show' starts.Short intro in the studio and then the newsreel..

Regards Michael

#169 paulhooft

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Posted 10 September 2010 - 19:47

Hi I tried to get it but only get some sounds,
apity, as I really want to have the video parts..
I am a Bugattiste..
Paul Hooft,
Pays Bas

Paul
Just checked it --it still works( 20.45 German time)

http://telematin.fra...d_article=19094

after 30 sec of advertising the 'show' starts.Short intro in the studio and then the newsreel..

Regards Michael



#170 LotusElise

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Posted 10 September 2010 - 20:32

Hi I tried to get it but only get some sounds,
apity, as I really want to have the video parts..
I am a Bugattiste..
Paul Hooft,
Pays Bas


It does work - you have to wait a while for the ads to load and finish. Don't press anything once you're on the page; wait for it to settle down.

#171 Vitesse2

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Posted 11 September 2010 - 19:47

It does work - you have to wait a while for the ads to load and finish. Don't press anything once you're on the page; wait for it to settle down.

If you are only getting sound, you may need to update the plug-in for your browser, Paul. The page is using Windows Media Player. I'm not sure how it would work in Explorer, but you need a separate plug-in for other browsers like Firefox, Opera and Chrome.

Edited by Vitesse2, 11 September 2010 - 19:47.


#172 D-Type

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Posted 11 September 2010 - 22:05

Using Opera, I got a prompt to download some additional Microsoft software, ie not Media player - I can't remember the name. I did so and after restarting my computer the clip ran perfectly.

#173 Michael Ferner

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Posted 09 November 2010 - 16:44

Posted Image

When Hellé Nice came to the US on July 29 in 1930 to compete in various "exhibition drives" for the Hankinson Speedways Co., this was one of the pictures adorning a pre-race publicity article in THE WOODBRIDGE LEADER, FRIDAY, AUGUST 8, 1930, accompanied by this entertainig article:

Woman "Gas-Jockey" to Race Here

Woman's viewpoint on races discussed by Mlle. Helle-Nice. Newspaper woman in interview with "Queen of Race Tracks", discovers that musical comedy star works in gym each day to keep in trim.

By KATHRYN CRAWFORD

It is not an uncommon fault to judge people inaccurately from hearsay only to find, more often than not, that our impressions were entirely wrong. You have all had the experience, so you will understand how I felt upon meeting Mlle. Helle-Nice, the French woman race driver, who will make her first appearance in America at the Woodbridge Speedway, Sunday. (*)

Being a woman myself, I had imagined her as a rough-and-ready, hard-boiled type. Entirely unfeminine, of course. Any woman who drove in competition against men would have to be. But I realised within a moment of entering her hotel suite how mistaken I had been.

For it immediately became impossible to associate her with anything that isn't imminently feminine. The aroma of perfume pleasantly blending with faint powder, the numerous trunks, and bags, the dresses, hats — everything in charming disarray — all this led me to believe instantly that here was someone who could be hailed an honorable member to any Junior League.

My impression was strengthened when Mlle. Helle-Nice herself entered the room. She is a very attractive blonde with beautiful skin, delicately tanned. Out of feminine curiosity I asked her after a few minutes, "How do you manage to keep your skin in such perfect condition when you drive? Doesn't the burning wind beating on your face, the heat of the sun reflected from the track and the dust and grime that goes with racing toughen it?"

"Oh, that's something I learned from my experience on the stage. It's an easy thing to put plenty of cream on before I start. I can't afford not to. You see, I haven't given up the stage. This racing is something I work at during the slack part of the theatrical season. Moreover, what woman wants to have poor skin?"

"So you have been on the stage? It seems odd that you should turn from that to racing."

"Well, I suppose it does, but then again it doesn't. You see I appear in musical comedies as an acrobatic dancer, have in fact played, along side of Maurice Chevalier and Mlle. Danielle Bregis, and the training for the stage has gone a long way in preparing me for a racing career."

"How do you explain that?" was the natural query.

"Well, in the beginning it was my connection with the stage that thrust me into the racing game. Nine years ago, I first began driving a car, and three years ago, as an artist, I competed in an annual auto race, of the French artists and I won. My showing was so great that race magnates made overtures to me. So fervid were they, so attractive their offers, that finally I succumbed.

"And then it was that my stage training stood me in good stead. Constant training for stage work had primed me for racing. Physically I was in perfect shape and by continuing my arduous training, consisting of gym work of over an hour a day, I was always fit. And so today, I always am in good shape." ''Look," she exclaimed as she flexed the muscle in her arm, "see how firm, how strong it is?"

"But didn't you ever feel any qualms about racing? Weren't you afraid of a spill?"

"No, I'm never troubled that way. I have seen a man killed in a race in which I was driving. Once I was the one to pick a driver up and take him to a hospital where he died shortly after, but it doesn't bother me. Professionally, that is. Of course, I do feel for those injured or killed. I have been to Woodbridge track, where, I understand, two drivers have been killed in as many years, yet I am unafraid."

From racing the conversation veered to other things, among them American men.

Asked her option (sic!) of them, she said, "Ah, I think they're very charming, but they all seem to be very conscious of their big beautiful smiles and their lovely broad shoulders", this with gestures to indicate the size of those shoulders.

Speaking of smiles, if anyone has a right to be conscious of one, it is she. Any toothpaste company would be glad to get her endorsement, for each smile uncovers her perfect teeth.

So here you see Mlle. Nice, the world's champion lady driver, A woman like every other woman, who has thirty hats, and gowns, and fourteen pairs of shoes, who displays a well laden dressing table and who is justly proud of her exquisite skin.

Yet she has that certain quality which makes her a woman among men. And that is fearlessness. It is that and the certain conviction that she cannot fail to do anything she sets out to accomplish that puts her on top.

Greater than all this, however, is the knowledge that although many covet her position, she has lost none of her feminine charm. She is still a woman.


Violette Morris, eat your heart out!" :lol:


(*) She had actually already appeared at the dirt track races in Harrington, Delaware, the Saturday before.

#174 Michael Ferner

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Posted 09 November 2010 - 17:44

So, how'd she do?

A week later, the WOODBRIDGE INDEPENDENT" had this to say:

Mlle. Helle-Nice, of Paris, France the world's champion woman driver, was escorted to the track by the Woodbridge American Legion Drum and Bugle Corps, with its color bearers carrying the flags of United States and France. Promoter Ralph A. Hankinson introduced Mlle. Nice to the crowd. After waving kisses to everybody she climbed into Larry Beal's Miller special, which, incidentally, had taken second place in the feature race.

Attired in a white racing suit, a white beret and a flaming red, white and blue scarf, she made an attractive picture as she carefully drove the Miller around the saucer in a few trial spins before opening it up. Getting the blue starting flag, she gave the Miller the throttle, and roared into a ten lap spin. On the first lap, while passing the spot where Bob Robinson rode to his doom, she flung the scarf to the winds as a tribute to the daring southerner. Banking into the next turn, she tossed away the white beret,
waved a slim arm, and with her blonde hair streaming behind her in the breeze, she completed the five miles in 4 minutes, 29 seconds. She was given a tremendous ovation by the fans, as she pulled up ot the finish line.


Well, if correct, the time she made works out to an average speed of 66.9 mph. Freddy Frame won the main event over 25 miles at 76.2 mph, after Frank Farmer had dropped out leading the race. Farmer's average in the fast heat over the same 5-mile distance that Hellé-Nice had driven was 87.4 mph, according to all sources, though that may be due to a typo and should actually read 83.4 mph, and his qualifying speed was 84.9 mph. The lap record was held by Lou Moore, 86.5 mph, made four weeks earlier. All those drivers had supercharged 1500 cc Millers at their disposal, and all three were considered to be amongst the ten, fifteen best drivers in the United States at the time.

Hellé-Nice's car was an older Miller, of 1924 vintage, and apparently fitted with a Model A Duesenberg engine at the time. It's true that its owner, Larry Beals, had just finished 2nd in the main event, but that was a rather flattering result. Only four cars finished the race, and Beals was, according to reports, "nearly five laps" in arrears at the finish, which works out to an average speed of approximately 69 mph. He had also won a heat race of five miles, at 77.5 mph. Beals was a veteran of about ten years in racing, but never an ace. Still, he was capable of producing results such as this, competing against the strongest opposition in the country. He had qualified at 78.2 mph, 6th fastest in a field of 31.

From these figures, we can see that Hellé-Nice's five-mile average equates to a qualifying speed of approximately 68 mph, which would've put her in 24th position in this field of 31, not bad for a board track rookie. Bob Sall, later one of the greatest dirt track drivers of the thirties, but just a novice in 1930, was only 26th at 65.6 mph, though his car was probably inferior to the Miller/Duesenberg hybrid of Larry Beals. Other future stars, such as Doc MacKenzie (23rd at 68.7 mph), Chuck Tabor (18th at 72.0 mph), Ben Shaw (17th, same speed), Billy Winn (11th at 75.6 mph) or Jimmy Patterson (9th at 76.2 mph) were not that much faster than Hellè-Nice, and all of them had competed once or twice at Woodbridge before. Again, it's difficult to compare mounts, and one likes to think that any of them would have done better in the Miller (and, in MacKenzie's case, without the injuries he had sustained just a couple of months before), but it all adds up to a rather favourable impression of the lady driver. Clearly, Hellé-Nice was no fake, and no circus-type attraction - she was a real racer, and she showed it to America!

#175 Michael Ferner

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Posted 09 November 2010 - 23:38

Tying in two recent posts, Hellé-Nice seems to have had a weak spot for Herman Schurch, who starred on the Hankinson circuit in 1930. "Smiling" Herman "the German" was clearly a ladies man, capturing the hearts of the racing enthusiasts with his daring driving, and the hearts of their wives with his good looks. He met his future wife at Woodbridge Speedway, prying her from the hands of her fiancé, and it was also there about the same time that Hellé-Nice was caught talking tenderly of 'Erman.

So many women, so little time! :)

#176 sramoa

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 17:46

I think she journeyed in the USA in 1930.I found an article from Spartanburg,SC at 2nd of November.She raced with Jimmy Patterson's Miller in special event.

#177 Michael Ferner

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 19:09

Indeed she did, see post 173. I have notes about her appearing at the following events: Aug 2 - Harrington (DE), Aug 10 - Woodbridge (NJ), Aug 16 - Middletown (NY), Aug 23 - Lancaster (PA), Aug 30/Sep 1 - Flemington (NJ), Sep 6 - Trenton (NJ), Sep 13 - Brockton (MA), Oct 11 - Winston-Salem (NC), Oct 18 - Concord (NC), Oct 24 - Kinston (NC), Oct 25 - Wilson (NC), Nov 1 - Spartanburg (SC) and Nov 11 - Richmond (VA). I'm sure she even had a few more engagements in between, as Hankinson ran at least twenty programmes during that time span. She also must've been the envy of most of the drivers for all the cars she got to drive - my info is far from complete, but she seems to have had the call on a different car for every meeting! A partial list reads:

Larry Beal's 1924 Miller/Duesenberg (ex-Ira Vail, two Indy 500 starts)
Bill Albertson's Duesenberg '183' (also ex-Vail, and a regular winner at local fairs for almost ten years, e.g. in 1929 at the same track she drove the car)
Ralph de Palma's 1923 Miller '122' (main event winner the same day she drove)
Herman Schurch's new Clemons (winner of at least two main events that year with Billy Winn)
Charlie Ganung's Miller '183' (a main event winner earlier that year with Bob Robinson)
Rick Decker's 1923 Miller '122' (main event winner the same day she drove)

Apart from the Woodbridge event, her performances were recorded at Middletown (35.0" in the Albertson=Duesenberg), Lancaster (37.0" in unknown car), Trenton (33.6", and 1'07.6" for 2 laps in the de Palma=Miller) and Brockton (34.4"/1'09.4" with the Schurch=Clemons). Remember, all of those venues were half-mile dirt tracks, not the kind of driving she had learned in Europe! It's difficult to know exactly how trustworthy those figures are, as newspapers tended to be somewhat fuzzy with numbers, and the same goes for the comparison figures which I have distilled from several sources over a period of many years: At Middletown, Decker had fast time at either 28.0" or 28.8", against de Palma's track record of 28.4" or 28.8" from the year before, while at Lancaster, Fred Frame (in Clarence Tarbet's 1926 Miller 'LJ8') established a track record of 29.4" on the day. At Brockton, the track record was apparently held by Norm Batten (probably at 30.0" with his 1926 Miller 'LJ8' in '28), and at Trenton Winn had fast time at 30.4" against Zeke Meyer's track record of 30.2" from 1929 in a Miller '122' - Hellé Nice's time was good enough that day for 11th in a field of 15, with de Palma 2.6" faster over a lap and 2nd in the same car. Not bad, I say!

#178 Tim Murray

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 19:36

Indeed she did, see post 173. I have notes about her appearing at the following events: Aug 2 - Harrington (DE), Aug 10 - Woodbridge (NJ), Aug 16 - Middletown (NY), Aug 23 - Lancaster (PA), Aug 30/Sep 1 - Flemington (NJ), Sep 6 - Trenton (NJ), Sep 13 - Brockton (MA), Oct 11 - Winston-Salem (NC), Oct 18 - Concord (NC), Oct 24 - Kinston (NC), Oct 25 - Wilson (NC), Nov 1 - Spartanburg (SC) and Nov 11 - Richmond (VA). I'm sure she even had a few more engagements in between, as Hankinson ran at least twenty programmes during that time span.

The Miranda Seymour biography lists a couple more dates in September:

19/20 September - Allentown (Fair), Pennsylvania: half-mile dirt track in De Palma Miller
27 September - Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania: half-mile dirt track in De Palma Miller

For October Seymour has her at Winston-Salem on the 11th, Concord on the 12th, Langhorne on the 18th, Kinston on the 24th and Wilson on the 25th.

Otherwise her listings match Michael's.

#179 FrankB

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Posted 16 September 2014 - 22:31

The stage show "Fast Woman" is on in Peterborough next weekend, and presumably other venues as well... http://www.vivacity-...vent/fast-women