Buster Mottram is another of the fast-rising stars in pro tennis—maybe the fastest. At 19 he has already beaten Stan Smith, Rod Laver and Jan Kodes and was given an outside chance to beat Dick Stockton in the Wimbledon men’s singles competition. Unfortunately, Mottram was stricken with tonsillitis and withdrew. Buster is the youngest player on Billie Jean King’s touring Philadelphia Freedoms, which by mid-August had scored 34 wins and five losses in World Team Tennis competition.
Like his two sisters—one of whom, Linda, 17, also competed at Wimbledon this year—Buster learned the game from his father, ’50s tennis ace Tony Mottram, national coach for Britain today. Though planning to retain his British citizenship, Buster recently moved to Valley Forge, Pa., “where your General George Washington got ready to take on the British. Ironic, isn’t it?” But even as Mottram plots ways to wreak his own kind of devastation on the American tennis circuit, he professes to love the States—especially the way tennis spectators erupt with noisy enthusiasm considered taboo at British courtsides. His father, however, does not betray Old Blighty tradition in his reaction to Buster’s success: “Needless to say,” he murmurs, “I am hardly displeased.”
Dr. Demento contends that rock music is stagnating these days. But that poses no programming problems for the 33-year-old star-bound radio DJ. His two-bedroom house in northeast Los Angeles is a connoisseurs’ archive of 40,000 hoary or simply daffy discs (a third of them 78s) which he jockeys over the airwaves of station KMET-FM every Sunday night. In four years Dr. Demento has hooked an astonishing 25 per cent of Los Angeles’ four million radio listeners with his weekly dose of “Dementia”—fast-paced patter and nutty golden oldies dating back to the ’20s. Last July the show was offered for national syndication, and Dr. Demento’s twanging tenor already pierces the Sunday night calm in 20 cities. Born plain Barry Hansen in Minneapolis, Dr. Demento as a sixth-grader began pawing through Salvation Army record bins, a trove he still mines for such nuggets as a rare Groucho Marx vocal or a missing Spike Jones release. Trained as a scholar of dead-serious classical music at Reed College in Oregon, Hansen’s interest had shifted to rock’s prehistory by the time he completed his master’s dissertation at UCLA. How did an accomplished musicologist fasten on the sobriquet Dr. Demento? “I got interested in rock ‘n’ roll and it warped my mind,” explains Barry Hansen. He has a habit, it seems, of enlivening his guest appearances by rolling on the floor.