1969 Miss America Pageant
The 1969 Miss America pageant, which was won by Judith Ford, Miss Illinois, held in September 1968, is one of the most unusual in pageant history...best remembered for a trampoline champion being named Miss America 1969, and noisy protestors marring the broadcast before being dragged away by police.
Judy Ford, Miss Illinois, a trampolinist, was named Miss America 1969.
The theme of the 1969 pageant is "Once Upon a Someday", a Cinderella-inspired fairytale theme featuring a giant fairytale book onstage, "Little Miss Someday", and a "pageant prince" who leads the other featured performers as they skip (yes, literally) around the stage. At one point, they get lost in a magic forest during a lightning storm and hide under a giant mushroom... until Prince Pageant leads them safely away to "somewhere road" ... happily skipping all the way.
The quaint theme is in stark contrast to the ominous mood of the year's politics - the assassinations of Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr and Robert Kennedy, riots in many cities, women's liberation protests, and nationwide anti-war protests.
1969 broadcast interrupted by protestors
The broadcast is interrupted by women's liberation movement protestors who infiltrate the Convention Hall auditorium and create a loud commotion which becomes audible during the broadcast. Observing the shrieking protestors from her anchor booth, commentator Bess Myerson (Miss America 1945), is noticeably unnerved but manages to regain her composure. Police quickly drag the protestors off to jail.
Judy Ford, Miss America 1969, Miss Illinois, won the talent competition performing on a trampoline.
Bert Parks announces the wrong names
The broadcast becomes even more offbeat when, as Bert Parks introduces the non-finalist talent winners on live television, they stop Parks to tell him that he has the right states - but the wrong names. Someone in the orchestra pit interrupts Parks to inform him that they somehow handed him the previous year's names. "This is what?" Parks exclaimed in shock. "1967? You have 1967 here?! Oh this is swwwwellllll!"
Judy Ford, a champion trampolinist, walks off with the 1969 Miss America title
The 1968 pageant also marks the first time a contestant performs on a trampoline during the talent competition. Miss Illinois, Judy Ford, a junior national trampoline champion, performs a gymnastics routine which concludes with her jumping onto a trampoline and performing a variety of impressive leaps, twists and flips in mid-air. There is no spotter, and at one point she appears to be uncomfortably close to the trampoline's edge.
The strikingly pretty blue-eyed blond has won both the preliminary swimsuit and talent competitions earlier in the week - which, according to pageant lore, essentially makes her a shoe-in to win the crown. Indeed, she bounces off with the national title, but she is visibly shocked by her victory.
Pageant Results > Miss America Pageant > 1969 Judy Ford
1969 Talent Competition
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