T-Bob Taylor, of Panama City Beach, Florida, says our Mike the Tiger stories remind him of the time Mike IV took a stroll around the LSU campus.

Early on Nov. 28, 1981, someone cut the locks on Mike's cage, and the tiger went out. A history of the event says he "attacked a small tree, and appeared to be enjoying himself before becoming trapped in the track stadium.

"Three tranquilizer shots later, the wandering mascot was returned to his home without further incident …"

This account called whoever cut the locks "pranksters." I think "idiots" is more accurate, and shudder to think what would have happened if Mike had encountered someone during his time out. That "prank" would have turned deadly serious … 

State of horrors

Mary Pramuk says after our recent story of the lighthearted alligator hunter, "I wondered about our daughter, who works for another state’s government.

"She wrote that she would be out of touch for a while when she goes with a group to view landfills.

"She said, 'There is an invasion of giant tarantulas.' We didn’t know if the two things were related, but we knew she could handle this; when she lived in Texas she had to boot them off the doorstep to get in or out of her house.

"When we spoke to her a couple of days ago, she said they didn’t see any of the giant tarantulas, but lots of rattlesnakes. She assured us that all they did was view them."

(Please tell me the name of that state, Mary, so I can be sure not to drive through it next time I travel …) 

Young smugglers

Earl Newman says, "Early in my young adult life, not long after my active duty in the Navy, I worked at The Athletic House in Baton Rouge and participated in sponsored sports teams.

"In 1972 or '73, I was invited to go to Norman, Oklahoma, by bus with the champion fast-pitch softball team sponsored by E.N. Edwards Insurance, which was in a tournament.

"On the way back, somewhere in Texas, the bus had a flat. A Texas policeman stopped to see if we needed assistance.

"Our luggage was stored in the seating area to make room in the luggage compartment for 50-odd cases of Coors beer we were 'smuggling' back to Baton Rouge."

Earl says the officer didn't comment on their "luggage."

Special People Dept.

  • Virgie Panepinto celebrates her 99th birthday Thursday, Oct. 3.
  • Mercy Aydell Lobell, of Azalea Estates Retirement Community in Gonzales, celebrates her 94th birthday Thursday, Oct. 3. A longtime French Settlement resident, she is a retired state employee.
  • Marie Craig Matherne, of French Settlement, celebrates her 92nd birthday Thursday, Oct. 3. She is a retired Dutchtown High School teacher.
  • Lucy Domingue, of Scott, celebrates her 92nd birthday Thursday, Oct. 3.

Baseball trivia revisited

Here is the question Ronnie Stutes posed in the Wednesday column:

"This African-American baseball player recorded an important 'first' when he played for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947, after having served in the military in World War II and playing in the Negro Leagues. He hit a home run in his first at-bat for the Dodgers. Who was he?"

Ronnie says, "The answer is: Dan Bankhead.

"Of course, this is one of those questions designed to make the reader think of someone else. Bankhead was the first black pitcher in the major leagues. Jackie Robinson did not get a hit in his first game (he did walk and score a run)."

And the first two readers to answer correctly were Algie Petrere and A. Richard Chenot. Nice work, folks.

The un-skinny

Kathy Groft says my mention of a full-figured lady in a “classical scene” on a Paramount Theater mural "reminded me of an incident in Paris.

"I was on a trip with my middle school students to England and France. While exploring the Louvre, which has many such 'classical scenes' of full-figured ladies, a student turned to me and said, 'Geez, Mrs. Groft, you would have been a fox back in those days!'"   

Write Smiley at Smiley@theadvocate.com. He can also be reached by mail at P.O. Box 588, Baton Rouge, LA 70821. Follow Smiley Anders on Twitter, @SmileyAndersAdv.