News » News Stories

What About Betty Grable?

Fair St. Louis organizers dig up new ways to lure visitors

The highlight of this year's Fair St. Louis had to be the time Worm spent in the concession area. Worm means in the concession area -- sampling burgers, brats and beer. Talk about excitement: Ever experience a near-miss with a deep-fryer?

Let's have a moment of silence for Worm's less fortunate kin who ended up in funnel cakes.

While this ol' invertebrate was living on the edge, seemed like everybody else was bored silly by the festivities. Blame, of course, falls squarely on fair promoters. Last year, those boobs tried booking one act only to discover the performer had died three years earlier.

Not to be deterred, the fair's movers and shakers are busy scheduling what they're tentatively calling a "Better Late than Never" stage show for 2003.

The lineup will feature impersonators of dead entertainers, performing all day and into the evening. Promoters already have a lead on a Perry Como clone, as well as look-alikes for Bing Crosby, Milton Berle and Ed Sullivan, who would serve as emcee. Word has it they're waiting to see whether Bob Hope dies in time to qualify for inclusion.

Another attendance-boosting idea on the table involves rejuvenating the oh-so-predictable air show -- Gee, look, it's the hovering Harrier again! -- with staged, but unannounced, air crashes, complete with planes ditching in the Mississippi River and survivors being fished out by crusty rivermen on passing barges.

And in a year-early preview of the 100th anniversary of you-know-what, a World's Fair Village is planned for the Arch grounds, complete with new convenience-food inventions to rival the hotdog and the ice-cream cone. Daiquiri Popsicles, anyone? How about bratwurst tacos? Negotiations are under way with the Philippines to see whether a delegation of Igorots can be sent over for the July 4 weekend to re-enact their famous 1904 visit, complete with a visit to Dogtown.

Better keep your pooch on a short leash.

OFF THE WORM WIRE: Worm hears that St. Louis Symphony Orchestra brass plan to commission a musical tribute to Jack and Andy Taylor, the greatest car-rental moguls ever to grace the planet. The Taylors pledged $40 bazillion to the symphony in December 2000. Working title for the ditty: "The Surcharge Symphony." So, what kind of tune to expect? No flats and plenty of strings, purrs a highly strung matron of melody. Look for the symphony to begin advertising for a first-chair car horn. Sounds kinda like an oboe.