JINX FALKENBERG, whose face smiled out of practically every magazine cover in the late '30s and the early '40s, and who was known on radio and early television as one half of "Tex and Jinx" sounded great on the phone the other day and only bragged a little bit about the 40 golf tournaments she played last year with her handicap of 11.
Now almost 59, the most popular model of her day was brought up in a sports-minded family and was swimming at 18 months and a junior swimming champ by age 13.
She spent musch of her young life in Chile where her father was an engineer, but went to Hollywood High School (class of 1935), was spotted by Warner Brothers talent scout and moved on to MGM where she posed for her first of 56 national magazine covers.
She met Al Jolson while both were convalescing in the same hospital and landed in a part in the Jolson Broadway musical "Hold On to Your Hats."
The show opened in 1940 at at the Shubert Theater on Broadway and Jinx began to attract a following at once. The New York Mirror sent over a reporter to interview her named Tex McCrary. Subsequently he spent years interviewing her - and others with her. They were married in 1945.
While she was on Broadway, Falkenberg let herself be talked into attending the posh Tuxedo Park autumn ball for the season's debuntes and stirred up a little public notice. Read one 1940 social dispatch: "Jinx Falkenberg, who looks gorgeous in any little thing and often less than that, almost caused the effete East's dowager industry to break down over the weekend. The celebrated model and featured beauty . . . stormed the autumn ball at Tuxedo Park and practically took it over, lock, stock and lorgnette. . . For a Broadwayite, and especially a showgirl even to get inside sacrosanct Tuxedo Park is (amazing) and to make the autumn ball and become the belle thereof, well, words fail us."
Debs," pronounced a subhead in the story, "Were Put in the Shade."
In 1942 Falkenberg went on one of the earliest USO celebrity tours of war theathers and by 1945 she had logged about 90,000 miles . Her act was to stand on a stage wearing a tennis outfit and whacking autographed tennis balls to cheering GIs.
McCrary held a commission in the Army Air Force and the two crossed path several times during the war. They became engaged in '42 and were married by a New York Supreme Court Justice (Ferdinand Pecora).
The first show - on radio - went on the air in April 1946. It was called "Hi Jinx." But it was popular and included controversial issues of the moment such as the UN, the atom, the venereal disease.
This was followed by a series of fairly successful radio and TV shows including one radio show that lasted until 1958. At the height of the Tex-Jinx success it was hard to switch a radio or TV dial or pick up a newspaper or a magazine without seeing or hearing a Tex and Jinx celebrity interview, household hint or expose political corruption.
The couple had two sons, John Reagan McCrary III (Paddy) and Kevin Jock. Their's has been an ambiguous relationship for some years.
Today Jinx Falkenberg is active in community projects, a member of the board of trustees at North Shore University Hospital on Long Island, avid golfer and bridge player.
Son Paddy is a tennis pro. Kevin is a photographer.