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Pompon Circumstances

December 20, 1987

Was the word pompom in your review ("The Paddle or the Pompon Girl?") of "What Do Our 17-Year-Olds Know?" by Robert B. Stevens an oversight of the reviewer, intentional, or a typographical error? Coincidentally the words are synonymous in the context (high school students taking out pompom girls).

Pompon girls are usually cheerleaders who carry pompon s, those wands tufted with crepe paper ribbons, in parades and at sports events.

Pompom girls, however, were a World War II phenomenon named after a rapid-fire Swedish Bofors anti-aircraft gun, which in turn was named after a British automatic weapon first used in the South African War from 1898-1902. They were named from the sound of the rapid-fire discharge. The name was thereby associated with the rapid turnover of the clientele of the pompom girls in their business on the street.

DEAN W. TERLINDEN

Long Beach

Editor's note. Pompon , as once in the headline and once in the body of the review, was intentional. Pompom , once in the body of the review, was a typographical error.

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