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October 20, 2005, 05:43:54 pm
Erik_
Guest

Nov 10, 2003, 11:03am

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...At the 1970 Miss Universe pageant? I certainly think so (surprise, surprise), and I actually saw the competition back in 1970. Now I'm not a pageant fan, but after seeing the Miss USA pageant that year (totally by accident), I made a point of checking out the Miss Universe contest to see how Deborah ('Debbie' back then) would make out. Going into the competition, Debbie was considered "unbeatable", but she finished 2nd (1st runner-up). Debbie was far more beautiful than the winner, Miss Puerto Rico! I was shocked, as were a lot of others who watched the competition.
Even to this day, the result remains controversial among pageant fans who recall the competition. Many feel that Deborah was ripped-off, including many non-Americans. (Before anyone accuses me of bias, they should know that I'm a Canadian, and I think Debbie made Miss Canada look like a moose by comparison...) No one knows what the judges were thinking, but they totally blew it.
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October 20, 2005, 05:44:33 pm
Garland_
Guest

On March 7,1970 I drove to Virginia Beach,Va.to see a total eclipse of the sun. It was to be in the middle of the moon's shadow where it would total the longest.On the beach it could be viewed without trees and buildings in the way.It was such a beautiful day. Not a cloud in the sky,and temperatures in the 70's.When it became total I couid not believe what I was seeing.A black disc in the sky with a brilliant light from behind it. It was like twilight with the brightest stars being visible,includingthe planet Venus.It was the most beautiful sight I've ever seen-until May 16,1970.I saw this most gourgest beautiful girl.Her name was Debbie Shelton.She was also Miss Virginia,my home state.She lived in Norfolk.When she won,she became the second consecutive Miss Virginia to win.It was a first for the Miss USA Pagaent.When she walked down to the end of the runway the camera was zoomed in on her beautiful face.When she blinked her beautiful green eyes I could see tears in them.she was deeply touched by the whole thing.Iwas deply touched,too. She eclipsed the eclipse. The next Saturday she flew home to Norfolk. I wanted to drive down there to at least see her or even greet her,but I had car trouble and couldn't make it. This has haunted me ever since. Next was the Miss Universe Pagent in July.I guess you know the rest. I was absolutly stunned. I could not belive it. I have nothing against Marasol Maloret Miss Puerto Rico,but Debbie was by far the prettiest of them all.I have also heard of the uproar in Miami,Beach,but what can you do about it?
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October 20, 2005, 05:45:01 pm
Erik_
Guest

Welcome to the board, Garland!
I'm very pleased to see another long-time fan here, especially one who recalls the 1970 Miss USA/Miss Universe competitions. I also recall how Deborah's victory was the first consecutive win by a state in the Miss USA pageant - up until then, back-to-back victories were unheard of. But Deborah's beauty and grace could not be denied.
Unfortunately, and I believe unfairly, this was not the case in the Miss Universe contest. The judging was a travesty. I too have nothing against Marisol Malaret, but her victory will forever be tainted.
Garland, how was the Miss Universe result received in Virginia? Pageants are still important in the South, and it would have been especially so in 1970. I imagine there must have been quite an uproar...Do you recall the reason given for why the judges suddenly went blind? A complete travesty, at any rate...
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October 20, 2005, 05:46:04 pm
Garland_
Guest

Eric that decision was very outrageous in Virginia especially in Norfolk. The feeling was that the more you complained about it,at least publicly,the more they would say it was sour grapes.I do'nt know how close the vote was, but Debbie accepted it very graciacly. The scores were not flashed on the TV screen like today,which gives you a better read on what the judges are thinking.The final balloting is still not flashed on the screen.There is one more thing I forgot about the Miss USA Pagaent. The photographors voted Debbie as The Most Photogenic.A blind man could see why. If the judges thought she was so sure of herself,then why did she finish secoond?This would take away so much of her inner beauty.All of them had one on one interviews with each of the contestants.I am glad that this feeling was also outside of Virginia and the U.S. I am glad 33 years later it still is.
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October 20, 2005, 05:46:29 pm
Erik_
Guest

Garland, if you go to the "Miss USA" section of the gallery, the 5th picture from the left in the third row is a shot of Debbie accepting her "Most Photogenic" award!
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October 20, 2005, 05:46:58 pm
esyptnzweuz_
Guest

Eric The Viking Thanks for setting me straight on that picture. I had it confused it with a picture of her winning the Miss Virginia Pageant . I can now see that's a photographer standing next to her. Thanks again.
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October 20, 2005, 05:47:26 pm
Erik_
Guest

Hey, no problem esyptnzweuz. BTW, welcome to the board!
I think the "Most Photogenic" award was called "Miss Pixable" (?) back then, named after the company that sponsored it. I think the guy in the photo with Deborah was the company owner. I guess sponsorship had its privileges...
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October 20, 2005, 05:47:53 pm
Garland_
Guest

It was Miss Pixable.Bob Barker asked her to tell us what that meant and she said it meant The Most Photogenic.
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October 20, 2005, 05:48:17 pm
Erik_
Guest

Thanks Garland - your memory comes through again!
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October 20, 2005, 05:48:43 pm
Garland_
Guest

I just remembered something else. In July,1978 I was watching the Miss Virginia- Miss America Pagaent. You had to win the local pagaent before going to the state pagaent. MIss Norfolk was named Patsy Shelton and looked a lot like Debbie Shelton from a distance. Close up you could see she wasn't Debbie but still had a resemblence to her. The more I watched the more I was sure she was her sister. I have no way to confirm this. Patsy finished as one of the runners up, but at least the girl who won became Miss America,1979. If she were Debbie's sister she must be several years younger.
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October 20, 2005, 05:49:58 pm
Erik_
Guest

Interesting, but probably just a coincidence. I'm pretty sure Deborah was an only child (I could be wrong). Of course, Patsy could have been a cousin. Then again, Shelton seems to be a fairly common name in the South and in Virginia in particular. Norfolk's a big town, and I bet there are a whole lot of Sheltons in the phone book. Still, it makes you wonder...
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October 20, 2005, 05:50:28 pm
Garland_
Guest

There are a lot of Sheltons in the Norfolk phone book.That's how I found her address so I could send her a Christmas card in 1970. Her father was Dr. John Shelton.I read this in the Richmond newspaper the day after she won.He was a dentist. The Norfolk phonebook gave both his office address and home address. If she recieved it,she probably didn't pay much attention to it.She was deeply involved in her wedding engagement. She most likely wouldn't remember it 33 years later.I still wish I knew for sure if Patsy was related to her.She had a strong resemblence.
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October 20, 2005, 05:50:51 pm
Erik_
Guest

And Debbie was probably getting a lot of attention as the new Miss USA - I bet yours wasn't the only unexpected Christmas
card she received that year...
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October 20, 2005, 05:51:27 pm
Garland_
Guest

I was just browsing the Miss USA section of the photo gallery.I just saw the picture(3rd row 4th picture from the left or right), in the words of President Roosevelt after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, July11,1970, a day which will live in infamy.I guess I'll never get over it.
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October 20, 2005, 05:51:50 pm
Garland_
Guest

The pictures have been rearranged in the Miss USA photo gallery.The"day of infamy picture"I was reffering to is now in the 2nd row,next to last. I also see a picture of her from behind in the swimsuit competition. She looks good from any direction you look at her. She is wearing a blue swimsuit.This may heve been in the Miss Universe Pagaent since she usually wore yellow.
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