Do you remember when, Arkansas? 58 “UN ambassadors” sought the title of Miss Junior in 1963
Does anyone recognize what’s going on in this photo from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette archives?
Index: The year was 1963.
On January 4, 1963, 17-year-old Tamara Stevens (left), Marguerite Green and Mary Anne Bartlett forced Arkansas Gazette photographer Gene Prescott to take poses that reflected the suspense they felt at the idea to compete in Arkansas’ fourth annual Miss Junior pageant.
During a two-day contest at the Lafayette Hotel in downtown Little Rock, 58 high school students demonstrated “Youth Fitness” while wearing sportswear, “balance and appearance. By wearing evening dresses, and performed a talent on stage. The judges also sought “vigilance”.
Each teenage girl represented her hometown, her high school, and had a role to play as an ambassador for “a nation of the world” under the competition’s theme, “The United Nations in Session.”
Stevens portrayed the Polish Ambassador. The daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Arling Stevens from Stuttgart was sponsored by the Grand Prairie Beauty Pageant, and her talent was singing. She was a top 10 finalist.
Bartlett – Ambassador of Hungary – was a stick twirler. Her parents were Mr. and Mrs. Jack Bartlett of Wynne, and her godfather was Surginer Furniture & Appliance Co.
Green qualified to compete by winning the Miss Fuller title at Fuller High School, but was a last-minute addition to the contest after the judges accepted her documents, which had not been registered. The newspapers did not list his talent or the nation attributed to him; but her engagement announcement in July 1963 mentioned that she belonged to her high school’s Beta Club and that she was dating Girls State.
Joel Ruminer choreographed the group performances of the competitors. Charles Bill Black was master of ceremonies; Henry Keatts was the director and Charlie Wiseman the musical director.
The winner was a ballerina – Margo Dunaway, 17, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. WO Dunaway of Conway – the Ambassador of Guatemala for the contest. She received prizes including $ 300, sportswear and a camera. She then represented Arkansas at the National Pageant in Mobile, Alabama, where future TV reporter Diane Sawyer of Kentucky became the young American Miss.
The competition has evolved since 1963 and is known today as the Distinguished Young Women.