In a jubilant conclusion to a special edition of The Amazing Race, three Brits (leader Prince Philip and team members Dame Maggie Smith and Sir Paul McCartney) parachuted into Central Park yesterday, startling late afternoon visitors. In the race from San Francisco to New York City, the Brits emerged victorious over the American team (leader, Sixty Minutes commentator Andy Rooney, and team members Barbara Walters and Mother Angelica), still trying to find its way out of Cleveland.
Sadie Sunbather thought she had died and gone to heaven. "There I am taking a nice little nap on the great lawn. I wake up and there's a prince in a parachute lying on top of me and a couple of yards away a fellow singing 'I wanna hold your hand.'" Brian Booklover, who is visiting from London and had been relaxing in a beach chair reading "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie," expressed similar sentiments. "I heard a big whoosh right in front of me. Then all of a sudden I saw her. Miss Jean Brodie in the flesh, trying to climb out of an entangled parachute. Blimey!"
When this edition of The Amazing Race is aired on CBS, it's expected to break all viewer records, a feather in the cap of executives who set up this unique race, designed to increase interest among older viewers. They personally chose Prince Philip and Andy Rooney, each of whom was asked to choose two team members, but only from the over-60 population.
Prince Philip confided to friends that he had decided to limit his selection to those with titles. Andy Rooney was mum on the rationale for his choices. Some have speculated that choosing ABC journalist Barbara Walters was a direct slap in the face of his CBS colleagues. One onlooker commented, "Look, he passed over all those old fogeys on Sixty Minutes. He was clearly sending a message." Most are clueless as to why he chose Mother Angelica, founder of the Eternal Word Television Network, although some suggest he may have felt that his team needed divine intercession and a direct line to the Lord.
Rooney has told friends that his fruitless quest to win the competition was a nightmare. The night in Cleveland was the worst, he confided. Because of budget constraints, the three team members were forced to share a hotel room with only one king-sized bed. It was impossible to get much sleep, he said. Mother Angelica insisted on going to bed in her full religious habit; Rooney described her starched collar as "prickly" and her rosary beads as "little nails" against his back. Barbara Walters drove him crazy with her constant yakking and primping. "She thought this was The View," he fumed. The final straw was when he awoke in the middle of the night to find Walters standing over him. Tweezers in hand, she was about to pluck his eyebrows!
Prince Philip was ecstatic in victory. "I always wanted to lead someone or something," he said. He graciously thanked his teammates and called the efforts of the opposing teammates "valiant." Privately he mocked the opposition, telling friends that, "As commoners, they never had a chance."