Sunday, November 28, 1999

Illustrators draw for 'SI'




BY JIM KNIPPENBERG
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Doesn't it just figure? Sports Illustrated decides to celebrate sports events of the century and where does it turn? To Cincinnati.

        Specifically, to illustrators — C.F. Payne and Loren Long.

        Here's the deal: SI asked 18 of its favorite writers to do an essay on a sports event of the last century they would like to have attended.

        Then, Long says, “they called what the art director told me are their 18 favorite illustrators and matched them up with an essay.

        Long's was the 1904 Olympic basketball tournament in St. Louis between Hiram College and Latter Day Saints College. A plenty daunting job, that: “Basketball was young and it was its first Olympics. No one was interested, so there were zero photos for me to work from.

        “Researchers scoured sources, but we couldn't even confirm that they had backboards back then. We did confirm that players looked nerdy — football type pants and cleats — and played outdoors. The art director finally told me to improvise but be as accurate as possible.”

        Payne had a better starting point. His assignment was Jesse Owens at the 1936 Berlin Olympics — the one where Hitler trotted out his dream team and watched in horror as the Germans got clobbered by an African-American.

        “The story is multilayered,” Payne says, “about Nazi hate and the friendship Owens forged with German track star Luz Long and, finally, how Owens returned a hero but still couldn't make a living.

        “The only thing to do was to show Owens rising above all the hate — soaring over the whole stadium.”

        Watch for the special edition any minute now.

        IN THE NEWS: Meanwhile, off in the steamy world of daytime soaps, here's Rebecca Budig popping up in a three-page spread in the Nov. 30 Soap Opera Digest.

        Budig, recall, is the Fort Mitchell native who made a name for herself as the oh so virtuous Michelle Bauer (1995-'98) on Guiding Light and who now has a permanent spot on All My Children as naughty, lusty debutante Greenlee Smythe.

        And apparently looking good, with Digest breathlessly reporting, “Greenlee has mostly traipsed about in her undies . . . racy skin-baring scenes . . . steaming up the small screen, like the time Greenlee stripped down to her lacy lingerie to seduce Scott at the Valley Inn.”

        “You know how many compliments I got on the lingerie?” she asks interviewer Elaine Flores. “Everyone I know turned on the show.”

        Oh.

        YO, BIKERS: Hmm. Let's see if we can't give Mr. John Chisnall a little help.

        Chisnall, of West Sussex, England, dreamed all his life of owning a Harley-Davidson. At age 72, he finally got one and is now tooling around on a Road King.

        And looking for a pen pal. Seems someone sent him an Oct. 10 Enquirer story on Dave Otto, Harley fan and owner of Otto Printing and Entertainment Graphics.

        Now he's wondering if Otto or one of his buddies in the Pink Fairies (a local bike riders club) could write him: “Surely in that group there must be another Harley fan who could spare the time to send a few lines to this old codger in little old England,” he writes. “I pray that this letter will find its way to someone over there who will write back.”

        Bikers? Write: John Chisnall, “Wagtails,” 4 Lindsey Court, Felpham, Bognor Regis, West Sussex PO22 8JQ, England.

        Knip's Eye View appears Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Have an item to report? Call Jim Knippenberg at 768-8513; fax: 768-8330.