No blackouts have occurred in Temple City...

<i> From staff and wire reports</i>

No blackouts have occurred in Temple City in recent days, indicating perhaps that the Attack of the Electrical Wire-Munching Ants may have come to an end.

But Temple City, known more for such sedate events as an annual Camellia Festival, is still reeling from the publicity over the hungry critters that knocked out some intersection traffic signals.

“I can’t believe this made nationwide news,” said Public Works Director Chris Peterson. “A lot of other cities around here have had worse problems with them (the ants). “


Peterson said he’s even heard from callers from as far away as Utah and Alabama who have ant cures. (Public Works has its own ant poison recipe.)

Nor did the San Gabriel Valley consider it a public relations coup when syndicated broadcaster Paul Harvey commented that millions of Temple City ants were enjoying “a power lunch.”

Jack Paar, the former Tonight Show host, related in his autobiography that he was approached by the late Duchess of Windsor at a cocktail party in the 1950s.

“Can you tell me,” she asked Paar, “is the Roller Derby fixed?”

Paar didn’t reveal his answer, but the Duchess’ interest illustrated the popularity of the team-roller skating spectacle, which was one of the first network television hits for ABC.

A spin-off of indoor bicycle racing dating back to 1935, the sport--as it is called by some--enjoyed its heyday in Los Angeles in the 1960s with announcer Dick (“Whoaaa Nellie!”) Lane exclaiming over the high jinks of such unforgettable performers as Psycho Ronnie Rains, Shirley Hardman and Little Ralphie Vallidares.

But more recently, while wrestling was enjoying a big revival, Roller Derby took an elbow to the neck, ratings-wise.


Now, Roller Games--as it’s known for legal reasons--is attempting a comeback. The sport’s promoters held a tryout for a projected television show that drew 250 candidates to the Moonlight Roller Skating Rink in Glendale on Wednesday.

The winners will be distributed among six new teams named, the Thunderbirds, the Violators, Hot Flash, the Rockers, the Maniacs, and the club that figures to lead the league in villains--the Attitudes.

Kraco, a Sherman Oaks-based automotive electronics firm, announced this week that it’s conducting its second annual search for the driver who logs the most miles round-trip daily between home and work. The weary soul will win a variety of prizes.

Last year, believe it or not, a non-Southern Californian ranked No. 1--Rod Conklin, who slogged 408 miles between his digs in Darien, Conn., and his job in Boston. Conklin, perhaps to save his sanity, has switched to a shorter commute.

Kraco could have been a bit more sensitive in timing its announcement. After all, this is Bike to Work Week.