Saturday, April 17, 2010

Palisades Amusement Park's Miss American Teen-Ager Contest

This gorgeous summer-like weather of late has had me thinking of all the fun activities that go along with the season. There is always swimming or barbecues, but nothing says summer quite like a trip to an amusement park! When I was little we would always go to Six Flag's Great America in Illinois, but perhaps some of you who grew up on the east coast visited the legendary Palisades Amusement Park in New Jersey? The park closed in 1971, but prior to its closing, a popular program run by the park was the Miss American Teen-Ager pageant.

Started in 1960, the contest was open to young women ages 13 to 17. The winner received a bevy of awesome prizes -- some of which are listed on this entry form that appeared in Falling in Love #100 (July 1968).

DC often ran advertisements for the amusement park and frequently provided cut-out coupons for the park in their comic books. DC's involvement with the park didn't end there, however. The July 1968 issue of Girls' Romances (#134) featured the three page story, "Princess -- American Style" about Miss American Teen-Ager winner, Michele Patrick as interpreted by John Rosenberger.

Wow! A $5,000 wardrobe? That is the equivalent of over $30,000 today! That would buy a whole lot of clothes!!! But that wasn't all for the lucky winner...

How exciting it must have been to be Miss American Teen-Ager! They even sang a song to you during the pageant! Sleestak over at Lady, That's My Skull posted on this story a few years ago and received a bunch of really great comments from ladies who had been involved in the contest at various points during its run. Be sure to read them!

Have a great weekend!!!


  1. Wow! A crown AND a date with Robert Wagner. TERRIFIC!

  2. Palisades also had a giant Bat-Man slide. I used to love that place.

  3. Why is date is quotes? What are they implying?

  4. I'm guessing they are trying to warn potential winners that there will be no sex. Or perhaps that sex is not optional.


  5. Wagner was married at the time to actress Marion Marshall, so I'm sure the "date" was going to consist of a tour of the Universal Pictures Studio and lunch at the commissary.

    BTW, it's interesting that they ask for a "full figure" picture, because I recall seeing an ad recently that said the beauty contest portion would be done in party dresses and not in a bathing suit.

    Photos of the winners (including Michele Patrick shown above):

    I went to Palisades Park for my 8th grade trip in 1969. It's my memory that the park was pretty fun, but small. About the only rides I remember are the Batman slide and the one where you were whirled around in a barrel and then they dropped the floor out from under you, but the centrifugal force kept you pinned against the wall.

  6. Aaron: Those prizes are amazing... and a crown to top it off!

    Michael: It looks like you and Pat remember the Batman slide... it must have been pretty cool!

    Spectergirl: Though not a real date, it is cute how he is holding her hands in that panel.

    Marshall: Yup, strictly platonic. Plus... she was just a kid!

    Pat: Thanks for that link, its great! That is quite a good likeness for her based on the picture. I guess they wanted the full body shot to ensure that the contestants were slim and pretty -- even if they were going to just be in a dress and not a bathing suit.

  7. Miss American Teenager 1963 winner Paulette appeared in one of DC's ubiquitous public service announcements titled "Smoking is for Squares!" drawn by Sheldon Moldoff and scripted by Jack Schiff. This one was printed in several October 1964 DC titles.

    Breen went on to a role on All My Children and even an episode of Lynda Carter's Wonder Woman show.

  8. sorry, that was Paulette Breen

  9. My parents Dempsey and Florence Hovland were partners with the east coast owner. My parents ran 26 states of the pageant, the Midwest, southwest western states.

    1. Thank you for sharing, Ms. Erin! I just read the wikipedia page on Dempsey, and their story is quite fascinating! I wonder who's idea it was to involve the romance comics in the pageant?