Celebrating 60 Years of Miss Universe: 25th Miss Universe 1976 Hong Kong (Far East). History!

by on December 15th, 2014
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1. After hosting the 1974 Central American and Caribbean Games at Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic’s rule wants to hold the 1977 Miss Universe pageant. Just weeks before the beginning of the Miss Universe 1976, MU 1977 is scheduled to be held at Santo Domingo, capital of the Dominican Republic (four years after, the global contest will be back in the Caribbean). The National Theater will host the international event. The Dominican building is one of the iconic symbols of Santo Domingo.

2. All eyes on Hong Kong (Far East)! Thanks to the visionary policy of Harold Glasser (President of MU), the telecast is held in Hong Kong, a few kilometers from the People’s Republic of China (PRC), an anti-pageant country between 1949 and 2002.

3. 25th Anniversary of MU! It has been held at the following locations: Long Beach, California (1952-1959); Miami Beach, Florida (1960-1971); Dorado, Puerto Rico (1972); Athens, Greece (1973); Manila, Philippines (1974); and San Salvador (El Salvador). Meanwhile there are winners from 18 countries (America,Argentina,Australia, Brazil, Colombia, Finland,France, Germany, Greece, Israel, Japan,Lebanon, Peru, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Spain, Sweden, and Thailand). And international judges from Mexico and the United Kingdom to Italy and Hong Kong.

4. Back-to-back victory for Trinidad Tobago! The Caribbean island wins Miss Amity for the second straight time with their black contestant Margaret Elizabeth McFarlane, thus paving the way for a universal title in July 1977.

5. Miss Bolivia, Carolina Aramayo, who hails from La Paz ( world’s highest capital), is the youngest candidate!

6. A difficult election! On the morning of 6 July, Rina Messinger of Israel -an ex-Israeli army sargeant like several beauty queens from that tiny country– gains the contest at Victory City, Hong Kong (UK’s dependency), just few days (July 4, 1976) after an Israeli commando rescued 103 hostages who had been seized by Palestinian terrorists at Enttebe, Uganda (East Africa), under the support of the African tyrant Idi Amin Dada. Four years earlier, the 1972 Munich Summer Olympics were marred when Palestinian terrorists killed 11 Jewish athletes. Because of those attacks, she was accompanied by bodyguards all times during her year as MU, especially when she made trips to South America, Asia, and Oceania. However, Miss Messinger did not worry about her safety. She once said, ” I don’t have to worry about it, I’m not a politician. I’m going to have a wonderful year”. At the time, her dream was to make an official visit to an Arab state.

7. After a great comeback on July 19, 1975, surprisingly Haiti, the world’s first black republic, does not participate in the telecast at Hong Kong (Asia), ushering in a long period of decline.

8. Latin America’s only judge in Hong Kong is Brazilian actress Florinda Bolkan.

9. Incredibly Miss USA does not reach the semis in 1976 (just when the States celebrated 200 th anniversary of independence). Certainly America’s Minnesota-born delegate Barbara Elaine Petersen -who was born under the sign of the Snake in the Chinese horoscope– does not make the top 12, becoming the first American girl to be eliminated in the first phase in MU history. Considered as “the huge favorite” in the British colony, she became one of the most notorious frauds of the MUP in the 70s.

10. For the second time in a row, France holds a personality in the jury. Roman Polanski, acclaimed French director of such 70s and 60s films as “Repulsion”, “Rosemary’s Baby”, “Chinatown”, and “Tess”, appears as an international judge . As occurred in July 1975, ironically, Miss France is defeated in the first round.

11. Who is who in MU? :Miss Papua New Guinea! Nine months after Papua New Guinea (southwest Pacific) gained full independence from Australia, the new country -more than twice the size of Minnesota (U.S.)– sends a top-class candidate for the first time in its history to participate at Miss Universe. By 1975,Miss PNG Universe 1976, Eva Regina Arni, had been crowned Miss Asia-Pacific. After her participation in Hong Kong, she went to Manila (Philippines’ capital) to make a movie with Joseph Ejercito Estrada (two decades later elected president of the Philippines). Historically, Arni, an aspiring actress, is regarded as the “most beautiful girl” in the Independent State of Papua New Guinea in the 20 th century.

12. England’s contestant Pauline Davis is elected Miss Photogenic by the media. The young Briton says that her “lifelong ambition is to win a major pageant”. She is the most talked-about candidate in the tiny British colony.

13. Run Run Shaw a well-known filmmaker in the Chinese-speaking world, is among the international judges, helping Hong Kong to pass to semis.

14. MUO likes to invite its former winners:Armi Kuusela-Hilario ( 1952), Akiko Kojima (1959), and Margarita Moran (1973) are special guests.


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