Miss America 1951

And the winner is.... As pageants do, they included vital stats when announcing to the world that the winner was "a brown-haired 5-foot-5 1/2 inch tall, Yolande Betbeze, who just happened to weigh 119 pounds, with a 35-inch bust, 24-inch waist and a "suntan" complexion. Yolande, from Mobile, Alabama, was also winner of a $5000 scholarship, which she planned to use by "continuing with my musical education and dramatic training."

In September 1950, for the first time, the woman crowned Miss America would reign in the next calendar year, not the year in which she won. The first winner thus effected was Yolande Betbeze, Miss America 1951 and since it post-dated the title three months, 1950 didn't have a Miss America. Another first for the winner occurred when Miss Betzele, who won the bathing suit competition, ironically enough, refused to model a swimsuit after winning, thus putting the pageant and a major sponsor, Catalina Swimwear in sort of a pickle. I'm an opera singer, not a pin-up, Yolande declared, and the pageant stood by her decision. Catalina took their sponsorship and their swimwear to a newly created "Miss U.S.A. pageant."

Another first in 1951 was the introduction of color television, and three years later, the Miss America Pageant was televised, and as they say, the rest is history, sadly enough.

sources: http://www.geocities.com/missusamagic/MA1951.html

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