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It’s a simple love story: A timeless tale of two people coming together against all odds to change the course of history. Boy Meets Girl. Boy Gets Girl to Play Exhibition Match for 50 Million People to Prove Boy is Superior. Boy Gets Trounced. 

Okay, so it’s not “Romeo and Juliet.” But it is a great story. And that’s one of the reasons writer and director Jane Anderson signed up to re-tell this “metaphorical love story,” as she puts it, the 1973 tennis match between 29-year-old tennis star Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs, a 55-year-old publicity “hustler” seeking to prove his “male superiority” in what was universally accepted as the “Battle of the Sexes”. 

“It was the seminal event in modern feminist history, but the great thing about it is, it was surrounded by such a circus! And that’s what I love about the subject. It’s very serious and (had) huge results, but it was absurd at the same time.” Anderson explains. 

Even Billie Jean King called it “lousy tennis”! But, “she knew it was vitally important, that it was life and death that she win this match… Billie told me that she still gets nightmares that she still hasn’t played the match yet.” 

On September 20, 1973 at the Houston Astrodome, celebrities like Rod Laver and John Newcombe pick Bobby Riggs over Billie Jean. Says Newcombe, “he’s got a little too much control and know-how for the girls.” Cliff Robertson’s for Billie, “She plays, as some people would say, very much like a man.” The unforgettable Howard Cosell, tuxedoed and sideburned, setting the scene for a record crowd of 30,000, compliments her new tennis skirt and says, “If she let her hair grow below her shoulders and took off her glasses, she’d be vying for a Hollywood contract.” 

Then the match begins. And as Billie Jean King runs Bobby Riggs all over the court the tone

www.Dishmag.com / Issue 13 - September 5478
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