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Sports on Television
Recent Titles in The Praeger Television Collection David Bianculli, Series Editor Spy Television Wesley Britton Science Fiction Television M. Keith Booker Christmas on Television Diane Werts Reality Television Richard M. Huff Drawn to Television: Prime-Time Animation from The Flintstones to Family Guy M. Keith Booker Crime Television Douglas Snauffer Big Pictures on the Small Screen: Made-for-TV Movies and Anthology Dramas Alvin H. Marill Truth and Rumors: The Reality Behind TV’s Most Famous Myths Bill Brioux
Sports on Television
A LVIN H. M ARILL
The Praeger Television Collection David Bianculli, Series Editor
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Marill, Alvin H. Sports on television / Alvin H. Marill. p. cm. — (The Praeger television collection, ISSN 1549–2257) Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 978–0–313–35105–1 (alk. paper) 1. Television broadcasting of sports—United States—History. 2. Sports ﬁlms—History. I. Title. GV742.3.M37 2009 791.45'655—dc22 2008042615 British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data is available. Copyright © 2009 by Alvin H. Marill All rights reserved. No portion of this book may be reproduced, by any process or technique, without the express written consent of the publisher. Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 2008042615 ISBN: 978–0–313–35105–1 ISSN: 1549–2257 First published in 2009 Praeger Publishers, 88 Post Road West, Westport, CT 06881 An imprint of Greenwood Publishing Group, Inc. www.praeger.com Printed in the United States of America
The paper used in this book complies with the Permanent Paper Standard issued by the National Information Standards Organization (Z39.48–1984). 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Acknowledgments Introduction 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 The 1940s The 1950s The 1960s The 1970s The 1980s The 1990s The 2000s Scorecard Endnotes
vii ix 1 9 29 41 55 73 99 137 143 163 165
Appendix: Sports-Themed Programs Selected Bibliography Index
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Many thanks to the following for aiding this non-sports authority on his path that wended its way through television history to chronicle the assorted athletic-themed events on the tube during the past nine decades: Olympics impresario Bud Greenspan and his Cappy Productions associate Nancy Beffa and documentarian George Roy, as well as Jane Klain, manager of research services at The Paley Center for Media, Steve Friedman of PBS, and television historian and author Vincent Terrace. Without you all, I would have either gone into double overtime or struck out.
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would emerge large in the televised scheme of things. and Allen DuMont. both originals written for TV. auto racing. Virtually all sports dramas chronicled in this book took place off the field. of the somewhat short-lived network that bore his name in the early “commercial” days. except for stock footage on a flickering 10” TV screen in the background. informational. Not only sporting events—and in more recent times. as initially envisioned by its founding fathers. This applied across the board. Nevertheless. or even a tiny piece of one. golf. etc.—but also sports-related dramas. as in the case of drama. In perusing the books about these insightful men. sports. TV movie biographies. was reported to be a fount of cultural. whether it be Paul Newman’s 80-Yard Run or Bang the Drum Slowly.Introduction Television. or Brian’s Song or It’s Good to Be Alive. William S. series. comedies. It was even the case for not so enthralling . the word “sports” was hard to find. comedies. tennis. series and the like. instructional entertainments. and television movies. metaphors for life lived by fictional and sometimes real-life heroes in whatever sports world TV writers positioned them.” Sports were to be not only spectator events airing from many of the great outdoor stadiums and indoor rinks and courts but. Paley of CBS. cable networks devoted fulltime to baseball. it was too complicated to replicate an actual event. would more or less dominate what would familiarly be termed “the tube. David Sarnoff of NBC. or any number of Rod Serling originals (pre-Twilight Zone). an afterthought.
a major league baseball game. demonstrated TV in San Francisco on September 7. a hockey game.” a number of years before Philo T. 1928. with programs transmitted Tuesday. in his Washington labs. William Bendix in The Babe Ruth Story. among others. and. in newsreels and as popular short subjects.) These three films. spent the early part of the 1920s tinkering with the concept of “developing radio movies to be broadcast for entertainment in the home. respectively. Doc Blanchard and Glenn Davis starring as themselves in The Spirit of West Point.”) In any event. Farnsworth. Dennis Rodman. He made a comeback of sorts in the minors in 1947. 1928 in Schenectady. There were biographical features dealing with Army football heroes. especially in 1940s and 1950s sports-themed feature films. Carey of Boston proposed a television system in which every picture element is transmitted simultaneously. when George R. (Monty Stratton was a major league pitcher and an All Star for the Chicago White Sox in the mid-to-late 1930s who lost a leg during a hunting accident but was determined to continue in baseball despite his wooden leg. and whose somewhat fictionalized story is told in the later 2007 Broadway play. and . 1927. Of course. the first regular schedule of TV programming was begun by General Electric on May 11. and Friday from 1:30 to 3:30 P. and early gridiron All Star and 1940 Heisman trophy winner Tom Harmon (the late dad of NCIS’s Mark Harmon of the modern era) in Harmon of Michigan. sporting events long had been dominant on the big screen. and relatively unknown Greg McClure as fighter John L. The first televised sports event was a tennis match on July 12. Thursday. radio editor of the New York Times. Sullivan in The Great John L. Tiger Woods. The Farnsworth Invention. all of them were in direct competition with television in the latter’s infancy. Except for. (This was a year after Orrin Dunlap. Scientists had tinkered with the concept of television as far back as 1875. Charles Francis Jenkins.x Introduction made-for-TV movies on Mike Tyson. each over a separate circuit. Errol Flynn portraying boxer Jim Corbett in Gentleman Jim. This was four years before Thomas Edison invented the electric light bulb! It would be another 25 years before the term television was coined during the 1900 Paris Exhibition by Constantin Porskyi at the International Electricity Congress. (produced by Bing Crosby). and Michael Jordan. Pat O’Brien and Gary Cooper’s memorable performances of Notre Dame football coach Knute Rockne in 1940 and Lou Gehrig in 1942’s The Pride of the Yankees. described television as “an inventor’s will-o’-thewisp. Other sports firsts would take place more than a decade later—heavyweight boxing.M. and James Stewart in The Stratton Story. a college football game. long since considered the father of modern-day television.
Hurricane Carter. and Rhubarb. early baseball star Grover Cleveland Alexander.Introduction xi two of the very best boxing movies of the era. Paul Newman. as well as Angels in the Outfield. Braddock. Paley. and Anthony Perkins portraying. Ty Cobb. What would they have thought of the overarching excitement of. Tommy Lee Jones. Messrs. the memorable July 4. Sarnoff. Jake LaMotta. all nonactors. was the star of The Joe Louis Story. with professor Ray Milland inventing a compound that. that decades later would return as a Disney franchise on both the big screen and television. Ronald Reagan. Robinson. In later years there’d be. John Goodman. and how sports (the real games and the dramatic or comedic themes revolving around them. say. Glenn Ford. L. Rams football pro Elroy “Crazylegs” Hirsch. Muhammad Ali. golf champion Ben Hogan. and the Red Sox’s Jimmy Piersall (the last named coming directly from television). and Olympic star Bob Mathias. played themselves in their own (rather low budget) screen biographies. Denzel Washington. Will Smith. among others. In the early to mid 1950s. respectively. and DuMont would hardly know ye. There were also a handful of baseball-themed comedies: It Happens Every Spring (actually 1949). Robert De Niro. again with Milland. Dan Dailey and Richard Crenna (in his first film with billing) played baseball star brothers Dizzy and Daffy Dean in Pride of St. when rubbed on baseballs. about a cat who inherits a baseball team. respectively. and boxer Coley Wallace. in 1954. Babe Ruth. and Russell Crowe as. 2008 weekend when sports fans of many stripes—tennis enthusiasts and sportscasters alike—spent hours glued to their sets to thrill to what many already are calling the greatest one-oneone (doubled) athletic event—the women and men’s finals at Wimbledon.A. came during the immediate postwar years. in the new millennium. Edward G. and James J. another nonactor. Rocky Graziano. the rush of reality shows. The sisters Serena and Venus Williams battled for the championship and . And the Harlem Globetrotters were the subject of not one but two pseudobiographies—one of which. The Set-Up with Robert Ryan and Champion with Kirk Douglas. Gene Kelly and Esther Williams—a turn-of-the-century comedy about America’s then-greatest sport. Louis. But this book deals specifically with television. and. New York Giants farm team manager John Lobert (in Robert Aldrich’s B-movie The Big Leaguer). legendary Native-American athlete Jim Thorpe. sports documentaries. Then there were Burt Lancaster. some dealing with sports) have become all pervasive on the small screen and the now giant plasma ones. causes them to avoid wooden bats. along with Take Me Out to the Ballgame—with the MGM musical triumvirate of Frank Sinatra. had cast as a court “ringer” a young Sidney Poitier. baseball legend Jackie Robinson.
These were the antediluvian days of the medium when rudimentary camera technology (most events were limited to just two cameras) was used simply to capture the event. on October 5. And in June 1940. 1939—a match-up between New York’s Fordham University and Waynesburg College in Pennsylvania at Randall’s Island in New York. came another. Reportedly about 300 people saw the telecast in the smoking room of the New Amsterdam Theatre on 42nd Street in New York. NBC telecast racing from Belmont Park on Long Island. What has been described as the “first commercially televised pro football game” (on NBC) took place on October 22. and descending darkness swapping spectacular shots in an epic fiveset confrontation. the first televised hockey game was between the New York Rangers and the Montreal Canadiens. this being live television—pre-coaxial cable—these games were all telecast locally. the first collegiate baseball game was televised—the 10-inning Columbia–Princeton contest played on May 17 at Baker Field in New York City. carried on NBC. (Around the same time. called by Clem McCarthy. The first televised college football game aired on September 30. 1940. between the football Brooklyn Dodgers and the Philadelphia Eagles from Ebbets Field. two of the foremost tennis players of their generation among the men. It was a double-header called by Red Barber. 1939 against the Cincinnati Reds. During its experimental stage in the days leading up to World War II. there were telecasts to the few in the New York City area who had sets. with the University of Pittsburgh defeating Fordham University 50–37 at Madison Square Garden. the United Kingdom was experimenting with TV and the Henry Armstrong–Ernie Roderick fight was seen in London. A year later. Of course. It took place at Madison Square Garden. 1939. Bill Stern called the plays. and about 20. A month later the second game was telecast between Kansas State and the University of Nebraska. Three months prior to this. This was followed the same night by a game between Georgetown University and NYU. rain.) The first major league baseball game to be televised was played at Ebbets Field by the Brooklyn Dodgers on August 26. through wind. aside from the . from Yankee Stadium. 1939. and one of the more significant ones was of the Max Baer–Lou Nova championship bout on June 1. Three nights later the first basketball games were televised. went at it on the court. In February 1940.000 saw it in stores and dealer display rooms. with the Rangers winning 2–1. In the decades to come. Skip Walz called the game. when Philco sponsored the airing of the game between the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Maryland.xii Introduction then Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.
Open.S. 1951. the launching of ESPN. And there would be the steroid scandal in baseball in 2007 that occupied hours of discussion time on the sports networks and the network and cable news programs—and was compared in scope to the infamous Black Sox scandal of nine decades earlier. and regional niche channels. cable television. the beginning of The Golf Channel.S. NASCAR racing. the U. the Super Bowl. On August 29. Supreme Court got into the act in 1951 by upholding the FCC approval.Introduction xiii traditional sporting events. the Masters. the faux bowling “contest” between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton during their contentious 2008 run for their party’s presidential nomination. the Munich Olympics massacre. March Madness. (The network estimated that 40.) A few days later. . however. the Heidi Game. 1940. Peter Goldmark of CBS announced his invention of a color TV system. would be major television celebrations—and cultural events—like the World Series. It would be a decade later. the Rumble in the Jungle and the Thrilla in Manila. RCA demonstrated its own electronic color system. the Stanley Cup playoffs. and the U. before the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved CBS’s noncompatible color system. which ultimately was to become the standard.000 persons saw what CBS called the first sponsored color program in television history on its airing on June 25. Janet Jackson’s infamous “wardrobe malfunction” during the halftime show at Super Bowl XXXVIII.
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M. WNBT.CHAPTER 1 The 1940s lthough it generally has been accepted that commercial television was launched in late 1946.M. a check of the radio page of the New York Times offers listings of (local) television programs on a regular basis as early as September 1. Nicholas Arena on DuMont. Sports programming of baseball. (At that point. the listing schedule included wrestling from Jamaica or St. aired a limited lineup between 8:00 and 9:15 P. football. and boxing on NBC. 15-minute Sports Roundup on CBS at 6:30 P. these might well be among the earliest regularly scheduled sporting events on television. pro and college basketball on CBS. Although no more than a couple of hundred people at the most might have been watching on their rabbit-eared boxes with their seven-inch round screens—less in their living rooms but in the windows of appliance store of local Main Streets or maybe in bars (radio with pictures is what it familiarly was called). the station telecast boxing from Madison Square Garden from 8:30 to 11:00 P. which became the NBC outlet in New York. 1944. Subsequently over the next couple of years. and hockey were initially local or regional events. (How many fans on the West Coast really were enamored of games played by the Washington Senators? Same thing A . basketball. there was practically nothing but a test pattern on the screen from mid-afternoon until what was to become primetime. sportscaster Red Barber had a three-times-a-week. at least locally in the Big Apple—then as now the hub of the broadcast industry. Beginning in 1946. generally from Madison Square Garden.M.) The following night.
M. Go Lucky. and tricky camera angles. 1944. The 1940s established the basic sports broadcast techniques still used today. 1946 at Yankee Stadium. Gillette. and the next month. the largest TV audience to view a fight to that date.) One of the first important boxing matches on Cavalcade of Sports was the Joe Louis–Billy Conn fight on June 19. Louis Browns. NBC. the Pittsburgh Pirates or the St. at least in New York. called by Don Dunphy from Madison Square Garden. with Mel Allen calling the plays. and DuMont. and Ben Grauer added “color” to the match that aired over a three-city hookup. and on Friday from 9:30 to 11:00 P. slow motion.M. Initially Cavalcade of Sports was on twice weekly—on Monday from 9:00 to 11:00 P.) The first major sports program airing regularly on commercial television on a three-city network—New York. It wasn’t until the 1950s that TV added sports-themed dramas and comedies to its schedule of live events. Be Sharp” (aka “The Look Sharp March”) was about as familiar as another sponsor’s “Chiquita Banana” or “Be Happy. CBS.) NBC also televised National Football League (NFL) games as far back as 1939 on experimental television and then regularly from 1955 to 1963. on September 29. Gillette had the Joe Louis–Tami Mauriello match-up.2 Sports on Television goes with Bostonians. instant replays. who had the Braves and the Red Sox to cheer for and couldn’t bring themselves to root for. and Bob Stanton called. the razor company out of Boston sponsored.” (The TV day at this time began late in the afternoon with a test pattern. The sponsor’s jingle.000 people. (The 1947 World Series with the Yankees pitted against the Dodgers aired on three networks. NBC began broadcasting Major League Baseball on a regular schedule in 1947 and continued through 1959. minus all the flashy graphics. It’s often referred to as the first commercially televised heavyweight title fight and was seen by 141. (DuMont aired the National Football League championship two days before Christmas in 1951. the Tony Zale–Rocky Graziano fight. CBS broadcast the Columbia–Rutgers football game from New York.) The first Major League Baseball game on commercial television aired locally on WGN-TV in Chicago in 1940 (the Cubs vs. in November NBC aired the Army–Notre Dame game—the then-called Game of the Century that . say. “Look Sharp. and ended around midnight with a display of the American flag and then the playing of the Star Spangled Banner. the fight. Philadelphia and Schenectady—was the Gillette Cavalcade of Sports. In October 1946. the White Sox on April 16).—and continued as a Friday night boxing staple until 1960. And in September. it broadcast the World Series exclusively from 1948 through 1976. which premiered on NBC with the Willie PepChalky White Featherweight Championship bout.
Dennis James became defined by his enthusiastic “Okay. C. wrote: “Show emerged as one of the most amateurish jobs yet televised by the NBC Stations. In the early days. and pieces of wood. James regularly added his own show biz touch to the proceedings as the man at ringside. when NBC aired a 45-minute playlet. The elder Nugent starred as the boxer’s father-in-law. Based on an unproduced play by veteran actor J. and camerawork. and to a lesser extent ABC.The 1940s 3 ended in a 0–0 tie. Washington Senators. was Russ Hodges (Mel Allen reportedly got him the gig). it was Wayne Griffin announcing from Rainbow Arena. script. and. Knockout. it was not well received (and probably seen by only a handful of viewers). for instance. Perhaps because this was the infancy of dramatic television. 1951. It was Hodges who was at the microphone for slugger Bobby Thomson’s famous “Shot Heard ’Round the World” late in the afternoon of October 3. affable style. more or less proved that wrestling was more show biz than sport. And Dennis James did the matches from arenas around the New York area: Sunnyside Gardens. Along with Jack Brickhouse. 1946. direction. equipped with dog biscuits. with acting. and Cincinnati Reds before landing in the Bronx with the New York Yankees. All-around announcer and later familiar game show host Dennis James was the wrestling commentator for DuMont virtually from the beginning. which he would crack into the mike whenever a wrestler would apply a bone-crushing hold. the original “voice” of DuMont in the sports arena. And NBC in October 1947 offered pro football: New York Giants versus Boston Yanks (the predecessor to the Patriots) from the Polo Grounds. he hosted the nightly Russ Hodges’ Scoreboard on DuMont before finding a home with the New York Giants. Mother” phrase when describing a particular fall or hold—a phrase made so popular by him that he used it later as the title for one of his numerous daytime game shows. and Jerome. Jack Brickhouse called the action from Marigold Garden for nearly six years. all placing . DuMont. Fictional sports-themed drama made what might well have been its TV debut on February 24. Jamaica. Born in Dayton. For ABC. walnut shells. in his unique. Between April 1948 and April 1949. On Sunday nights on DuPont. showing up. Nugent and his actor/writer/director son Elliott. Variety. it was the story of a young fighter (played by Michael Road) too proud to take money from his wealthy wife to further his career. Among the extremely popular wrestling shows were those that originated locally from Chicago. and Columbia Park Arenas. it has been reported. Hodges began his career in 1929 and worked for the Chicago Cubs. televised the bulk of sports events. Tennessee.
DuMont: Wrestling from Jamaica Arena in New York January 2. DuMont: Wrestling from Jamaica Arena January 10. (Another “filler” program on NBC in 1949 was Let’s Look at Sports with Tom Duggan as host. CBS: NHL Hockey from MSG—Rangers versus Chicago January 5. NBC: Boxing from St. hosted by Jimmy Evans. the first TV sports newsreel. NBC aired boxing from St. Four years later the Rose Bowl game became the first college football match to be broadcast nationally. sports-minded Gillette sponsored the airing on KTTV of television’s first Rose Bowl game on January 1. Jim Stevenson narrated newsreel films of some of the century’s major boxing matches.4 Sports on Television in the elementary class. DuMont: Boxing from Jamaica Arena January 6. DuMont: Sports to Remember. also on NBC. CBS: NBA basketball from MSG—Knicks versus Chicago January 8. with a myriad of cable channels.” Until TV got its live-acting act together. Wednesday. CBS: College basketball doubleheader from MSG January 8. NBC: Boxing from MSG January 9. On the West Coast in 1948. NBC: Sports Review of 1947. Here. On the West Coast. the first coast-to-coast telecast of a college football game. that could still be called a full slate of nighttime sporting events. there was a local sports show called Hail the Champ on KLAC-TV in Los Angeles. for instance. and even pro hockey periodically from Madison Square Garden. What might have been the earliest “reality” show on television. on NBC. Nicholas Arena in New York on Mondays and wrestling on Tuesdays. with CBS broadcasting college basketball on Monday. Greatest Fights of the Century was a 15-minute “filler” show on NBC that aired on Friday nights between October 1948 and July 1954 after the Gillette Cavalcade of Sports. A more or less full evening schedule on all four networks didn’t come about until 1948. in November 1948. CBS: Basketball from Madison Square Garden (MSG) January 2. DuMont: Wrestling from Park Arena January 9. CBS: College basketball from MSG Even today. followed by boxing at MSG January 4. and in 1962. when the Rangers played.) . in effect. few dramas dealing with sports were aired (at least on the East Coast) until 1950. it was a kid participation program stressing athletic prowess. and Saturday nights. Nicholas Arena January 5. is the TV sports lineup in New York for the first 10 days of 1948 (ABC hadn’t yet come into the game): January 1. and CBS offered Top Views in Sports. followed by boxing from Park Arena January 7.
starting the day after Christmas 1948. from White Plains on Wednesdays. DuMont’s schedule included boxing (again with Dennis James from Jamaica Arena in New York on Mondays. . noted: “He grew his hair out so it was long. dubbed himself ‘The Human Orchid. DuMont programming was heavy into sports—particularly from the New York area—because of its limited finances and inexpensive programming that has a ready audience. Fledgling ABC aired one of television’s first bowling shows. which ran from March 1949 to August 1951. baseball. CBS aired the Golden Gloves boxing championship. allowing for lots of close-ups and medium shots. and NBC offered the alternative live drama programming: the Kraft Television Theatre. According to the Web site.com. he developed a gimmick that would forever change both him and the sport. from Park Arena on Tuesdays. and from Sunnyside Gardens and Dexter Arena on Thursdays) with wrestling on Fridays. as each sport is limited to the square ring (or an alley). Nebraska with little success. . with disinfectant perfume. WrestlingMuseum. primarily because all three were ideal for television. He was the originator of using entrance music [à la the later Elvis] and was . He wore elegant robes. and extremely popular. During its second season. In contrast. Another early. followed on May 14 by live coverage of the running of the Preakness at Pimlico. To put it succinctly there was an awful lot of wrestling and boxing in the infant years. 1949. George began his wrestling career as a teenager in his hometown of Seward. was hosted initially by Jimmy Powers. while DuMont was “dark” (the only weekend programming on that network was the Original Amateur Hour on Sundays at 7:00 P.The 1940s 5 On March 4.’ and was always escorted by one of his male ring valets . The first real sports star in television—in fact he became a superstar of both biblical and Berle (as in Milton) proportions—was blond-wigged and glitteringly robed Gorgeous George (aka George Wagner). of The Ring Chronicle. and even basketball and hockey are played in wide-open spaces. Bowling Headliners.M. with Al Cirillo hosting. and dyed it blond. On Saturdays. the other three featured competing college basketball games. it had moved over to DuMont (1949–1950). He changed his style as an entertainer in the 1940s. The half-hour weekly series. Physically unimposing. Then it more or less vanished from the tube. could be curled and pinned back with gold-plated bobby pins. who was to pro wrestling what Liberace would be to the piano. During the 1950s a variation of this sport was ubiquitous in syndication. ABC show was Roller Derby. Writer Steve Slagle. and then bowling. as well as George’s opponents. CBS and ABC countered on Wednesdays with wrestling and boxing.). who would spray his corner of the ring. football. and said to be even more popular on TV than major league baseball. golf.
Schenectady. Mel Allen called the first televised World Series and all the others through 1963. . Mel Allen covered games for CBS beginning in 1950 on Monday nights. There’d be another 15 years before it was seen nationally on TV when. which were called on Sunday nights by Bob Stanton. Mel Allen called the first All-Star Game on television. Subsequently. After a few years it was televised with same-day coverage in tape delay. Pro wrestling was TV’s first real ‘hit’ with the public. it became an ESPN on ABC event. It was pure show business. and Philadelphia. NBC. during the college tournament season.” Gorgeous George and Haystack Calhoun.” George’s ring entrances were legendary and often took nearly as long as his matches. ABC has continued a television association with the Indianapolis 500 ever since. The Rock. Gorgeous George singlehandedly established the unproven new technology of television as a viable. and DuMont aired television’s first World Series in 1947 (manager Bucky Harris’s New York Yankees lost to Burt Shotton’s Brooklyn Dodgers). professional) basketball to television— a court doubleheader from Madison Square Garden that was simulcast on New York radio’s WHN—in early January 1946. According to writer Slagle. broadcast after Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts. ABC.” George not only put on an effeminate act but also played the hissable bad guy. television’s major sports network. which was seen in just four cities—New York. from Ebbets Field. ABC began airing a combination of film and taped highlights of it on Wide World of Sports. Washington. and Stone Cold Steve Austin. and in 2007. NBC had the game from 1950 through 1975. This was a forerunner. at least in the New York area. in 1965. These were in the years predating ESPN. Rowdy Roddy Piper. During the 1948–1949 season. “In a very real sense. Auto racing on television goes back to 1949 and 1950. Fox). of the network’s March Madness days. Starting in 1986. and in more contemporary times. In July 1949. CBS first brought college (and later. Since that time. entertaining new medium that could reach literally millions of homes. by many decades. CBS. broadcasting of the World Series has been alternated among the four networks (NBC. Modern generations know only Hulk Hogan. when the Indianapolis 500 aired live locally from station WFBM. with his theatrics cheating as often as possible and infuriating the fans. CBS.6 Sports on Television always accompanied by “Pomp and Circumstance. the race aired for the first time live with flag-to-flag coverage. Killer Kowalsky and Nature Boy Buddy Rogers were of another era. NBC aired the games of the semipro New York Gothams.
It was a 15-minute sports commentary show following the Dodgers games initially. longtime radio sportscaster Red Barber began a long run with Red Barber’s Corner. where Barber called the play-by-play. when he was doing the Yankees games (until he was fired in 1966). a sports mainstay that aired first on CBS (1949–1955) and then on NBC (1955–1958).The 1940s 7 Also in those early television days. Later. . he hosted a local post-game show in New York.
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In “The Wrestling Match. he landed his own TV gig in 1950 in The Buster Keaton Studebaker Show. which premiered live from the West Coast (and kinescoped for New York) on October 6. Bud and Lou. Bud Abbott and Lou Costello. on their own syndicated show in 1952. boxing was the perfect fodder. taken from one of his early silents. The Ed Wynn Show. Red Skelton to Jackie Gleason. as big-name movie I . (This had nothing to do with one of reported fitness freak Keaton’s most famous films of the 1920s. also managed to indulge in TV’s reigning sport of the time: wrestling. And of course. Jack Benny to the Three Stooges.) And there were others. for one. And invariably.” Lou is forced to get into the ring with a guy named Ivan the Terrible in a charity match when his (Lou’s) buddy Stinky ( Joe Besser) gets sick. even Lucille Ball. All of these legends at one time or another did a skit or two dealing with boxing in the early TV days. Battling Butler. Take Buster Keaton. from Ed Wynn to Milton Berle.CHAPTER 2 The 1950s n the early 1950s. Having worn out his welcome on the screen years before and now reduced to a script supervisor and gag writer. On one episode. Keaton found himself having to climb into the ring to face a boxer with whose wife Keaton inadvertently had been seen out on the town. in some cases resurrecting or doing variations on routines they had perfected in earlier days. an assortment of comics who had come out of films (and radio) plied their humor on the new medium. 1949 on CBS immediately ran into a talent booking problem. syndicated from the West Coast.
one-time fighter Art Aragon made a guest appearance when Lily Ruskin (Byington) invites him to a celebrity match. became involved innocently with the boxer named Mushy Callahan. Alice. on The Lucy Show. was a real-life fighter who was World Middle-Welterweight (renamed junior welterweight) boxing champion and was inducted into the World Boxing Hall of Fame in 1989. The title of the episode was “The Boxing Show. Lucille Ball and Vivian Vance become “TV boxing widows” when Desi Arnaz and William Frawley go ga-ga over the sport in a 1953 episode called “Ricky and Fred Are TV Fans. In “The Next Champ. subscribing to the old “no hitting below the belt” boxing adage. in 1954. And in a 1956 episode of a show (one of the socalled 39 lost episodes) titled “The Bensonhurst Bomber. wants to KO Ralph for this bright idea of taking on a green boxer with two bouts and two defeats. . only to discover she has actually gotten a real pugilist—a washed-up one—in the person of Aldo Ray.O. to the bemusement of “husband” Jim Backus.” More to the subject. of course.” On the March 1955 I Married Joan episode. one of his repertoire of distinctive characters. in 1967. Ralph Kramden comes up with his weekly hair-brained scheme—to become fight manager to a smalltime boxer named Dynamite Moran. in the guise of Dennis Day. On I Love Lucy. was an episode of the Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse in 1958 (Lucy sans Desi). Lucy found herself once again as a prizefight manager—to Don Rickles—on the episode “Fight Manager. on one of this earlier TV shows. who moves in with him and Alice.” On the Spring Byington show in 1955.” Joan Davis. which preceded Wynn’s by16 months. And on The Milton Berle Show.” Ralph is goaded by Norton into challenging a pool hall pal to a boxing match at Kelsey’s Gym. Jack Benny himself climbed into the ring. from radio when he premiered his 20-year-run television show at the start of the 1951–1952 season. Uncle Miltie had to gear himself up for a match with heavyweight champion Ezzard Charles!) Red Skelton brought punch-drunk Cauliflower McPugg. of course. did a skit in which he daydreamed about being a fight manager for Kid Dynamite. and later. though. Its star did some boxing spoofs (old pal Buster Keaton was one of the early stars and Lucy and Desi made their TV debuts on it).” a 1954 episode of The Honeymooners. Berle frequently donned baggy boxing shorts.10 Sports on Television performers wanted nothing to do with the new medium. Kitty. titled “The Lady and the Prize Fighter. of course. Mushy. and oversized gloves. called “K. December Bride. in April 1954. (The basic storyline was suspiciously like the one used years later in the Barbra Streisand/Ryan O’Neal movie The Main Event.” Lucy plays a woman who inherits a boxer from her uncle and expects a cute pooch. (On Berle’s Texaco Star Theatre. as a boastful coward.) And even later. usually pulled up to his armpits.
(The agreement ran until 1987. hosted local kids who got a chance to toss the ball around at Ebbets Field with some of the players. In the spring of 1950.Yankees’ slugger Joe DiMaggio—the first major sports figure outside his milieu on the new medium—had his own syndicated television show. Wrestling. CBS aired the first baseball game on color television (not the same color system that later was developed by NBC and has become the standard). The CBS game(s) was between the Brooklyn Dodgers and the Boston Braves (a double-header) from Ebbets Field. There would not be another sports category until 1953. The four other nominees were College Basketball Games and College Football Games (both on CBS) and Hollywood Baseball and Los Angeles Baseball (both local programs). The filmed show.) The next year the Emmys had a Best Sports Program category. Jackie Robinson’s Sports Classroom was a 15-minute show that aired on Thursday evenings locally in New York (on WPIX) beginning in December 1950. Louis. and radio comic. In the early days. produced and hosted. NBC sewed up a deal to broadcast college football. Since the Emmys in those days originated exclusively on the West Coast.) The match-up . Amateur Boxing. Jack Barry. the five nominees were local broadcasts: USC-UCLA Football (ABC). DiMaggio also hosted another sports quiz show. who chatted up many of their fellow players on the diamond. broadcast from New York every Monday night at 7:30 on NBC. and Ralph Kiner.) On August 11. stage.The 1950s 11 The 1949 Emmys—awarded in the spring of 1950—for the first time had a category for TV sports: Best Sports Coverage. sponsored by the Lionel Train Company. and Ice Hockey (all local on KTLA). Joe DiMaggio’s Dugout. Among the more enduring and nostalgic ones was Happy Felton’s Knothole Gang. The five nominees were based on West Coast broadcasts. generally locally late in the 1950s with Roy Campanella. a former vaudeville. and College Basketball (CBS). a 1951 syndicated TV series. (There’d be similar type of shows. To this day there remains confusion over the actual winner. 1951. In 1951. NBC won for its coverage of Rams Football. which preceded the Brooklyn Dodgers games in New York beginning in April 1950 and continued for seven years until “Dem Bums” left town. later moved to Saturday afternoons at 5:30. Red Barber and Connie Desmond called the games. later of game show fame. many local TV stations had their own popular pregame and postgame shows. Felton. and DiMaggio answered questions from a panel of youngsters about how to play sports properly and other sports trivia. and kinescope was the method by which syndicated shows could be seen nationally. (Microwave transmissions out of New York before the early 1950s could reach only as far west as St. after his devastating automobile accident.
Stick Keenan and Honest John McCorkindale (played by Lee Tracy and J. and wrestling—sports-themed dramas and comedies were beginning to become part of the network schedules. Along with sports programming that was now being telecast on a regular basis—baseball. Also from that period (April 1950) was a one-shot. played a onetime pug who refuses to throw a fight to a man he knows he can lick. Shortly after making one final movie. showed headline boxing matches live on the big screen. In February 1950. Because of their lesser esteem in the eyes of audiences through the years. as dramas. On June 5. (Beulah starring Ethel Waters didn’t begin airing for another 10 months. The Hazel Scott Show. The Final Bell would be Lee’s only television acting.” It was a whimsical yarn about a young prizefighter ( James Lydon) who raised pigeons for a hobby. played Jimmy Brand. and television alone became the fight game’s showcase—unless one preferred to be in the arena ringside. on DuMont during the summer of 1950. college football. he died in 1952 at the age of 45. airing on NBC’s Chevrolet Tele-Theatre. has-beens. 1952.12 Sports on Television between Duke and the University of Pittsburgh. much as Marlon Brando’s boxing alter ego did later in On the Waterfront. Actor and onetime pro boxer Canada Lee made his television debut in January 1950 as the star of writer Frank Alexander’s story. at the expense of television stations. The story revolved around two rival fight managers. and the International Boxing Commission got 40 cents for every theater seat sold. Boxing also was at the heart of a rivalry around this time between movie theaters and TV stations to see televised fights. there was a telecast of Howard Rodman’s original. was to be the first live coast-to-coast sporting event. A young Marlon Brando. sponsored by Gillette and airing on the three major networks. And on October 3 came the first coast-to-coast telecast of a World Series game. “Never Hit a Pigeon. This arrangement soon wore out its novelty. He was blacklisted and driven from the country. The Final Bell. Edward Bloomberg). although it had been a hit on radio since 1944. in just his second known TV acting gig. on The Silver Theatre on CBS. the green . as it was called. half-hour NBC drama titled Come Out Fighting set in the world of prizefighting. was the first network variety series to be hosted by an African American woman.) For the record. Boxing in particular generally portrayed their protagonists as washed-up. the Joe Walcott–Ezzard Charles fight from Philadelphia became the first boxing event televised nationally. frequently were on the seedy side. Lee. the first black actor to star in a television drama. Theater TV. on September 22. wrestling and boxing. boxing. and down-and-outers looking for another chance in the ring for a few more moments of glory.
following the home games of the Queens of America. One of his boxing buddies was played by virtual TV newcomer James Dean. with Don Dunphy doing the play-byplay and Bob Finnegan providing color commentary. in late October 1951. Veteran actor J. In May 1951. of a filmed drama on the syndicated Bigelow Theatre. Bud Abbott and Lou Costello. NBC brought men’s major league baseball to primetime. Major League Baseball was generally all local or regional. performed their legendary “Who’s on First?” baseball classic for the first time on television. as well as many times through the years on radio and television. It later was restaged on Studio One on CBS in 1951 with Dick Foran and Cloris Leachman and again in 1954 with Jack Warden and Sally Gracie. On March 11. Sylvester Stallone’s new millennium Contender. In the half-hour playlet by writer Ted Thomas (the father of classical pianist/symphony conductor Michael Tilson Thomas) called “T. Written by Mel Goldberg. The program. ABC broadcast the first nighttime network baseball series (on Saturday nights) featuring all-women teams: the National Women’s Professional Baseball League Games. 1951. Dunphy..K.” a garage mechanic. was performed by Bud and Lou in two of their movies. CBS aired an audience participation boxing show called Kid Gloves. . aired live locally in New York. The comics had introduced the routine in their burlesque act in the 1930s and brought it to radio as recurring guests on the Kate Smith Show in 1939. who had been calling games for Gillette since the radio days.” which was “inducted” into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. Otherwise. it told of an average “shlub. For several months in 1951. which also featured Russ Hodges as the ring announcer. was to become the voice of boxing on television over the next decades.The 1950s 13 fighter of one of them.” a 19-year-old Martin Milner (a decade before he starred as footloose Tod Stiles on Route 66 and then Officer Pete Malloy on Adam 12) played a young boxer told to take a dive into a fixed match. and his pursuit of his dream of being a major league pitcher. The first season. in their second appearance on the Colgate Comedy Hour on NBC. the second. It was broadcast live from Philadelphia and featured kids ranging in age from 3 to 12 who were given the opportunity to test their prospective boxing skills in three-round matches. aired from Chicago. The comedy/drama “The Screwball” aired live in the spring of 1950 on CBS’s The Play’s the Thing with Jack Gilford and Lee Grant. Twenty years later.O. anyone? Boxing was the theme. Edward Bromberg did quite possibly his last work here before being blacklisted and moving to England where he died the next year. “Who’s on First?. New York (the games of the Arthur Murray Girls).
in 1952. It would be two decades before it got its second act on the tube. where they stayed until DuMont went out of the network business in 1956. along with Vinton Hayworth. and Lew Parker also were in the cast. It starred James Broderick (Matthew’s dad) as a ballplayer who comes to appreciate the value of home and family after a shaky start in professional baseball. On January 5 of that year. was always popular in Canada. “Old MacDonald Had a Curve. It told of a sixty-something ex-major league pitcher (Cameron Prud’homme) . that there was a real change yet in the world of televised sports. By 1954. That doesn’t mean. It was the network’s last series when it ceased operations (as a network) on August 6. In 1953. an early Rod Serling baseball tale (he was equally prolific). has been credited with being possibly the most prolific writer in the days of live television. for instance. Paul Ford. was still basically into sports. Shaw. Eva Marie Saint and Arthur O’Connell also starred.” a 1952 baseball drama by writer David Shaw (a fireball pitching young woman proves she’s good enough for a men’s team). Hockey. though. CBS became the first U. aired on NBC’s Philco Television Playhouse. who died in 2007. Boxing events—live in the East—were still on tape to the West Coast. “A Man’s Game. DuMont.S. Gene Nelson. a “niche” sport. Five years later. David Susskind produced it and five years later had it reworked and expanded as a musical for Nanette Fabray on The Kaiser Aluminum Hour. Baseball and football games were still local or regional (which they would remain basically for the next 40 or 50 years). where NHL games were televised nationally by the Canadian Broadcasting Company beginning in 1952. and the longest-running on the struggling network were Famous Fights From Madison Square Garden that year and then Boxing From Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn (between May 1954 and August 1956). with Patricia Benoit in the lead.14 Sports on Television September 4. relegated more or less to local and regional programming. David Shaw’s “0 for 37” opened the 1953–1954 Philco season. although it covered hockey locally as far back as 1947.” aired on the Kraft Television Theatre. At that time it became even more popular with the launching of the WWF (World Wrestling Federation) and WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment). with first Ted Husing as the announcer and then young Chris Schenkel. CBS aired a game between the New York Rangers and Chicago Blackhawks at Madison Square Garden. often called by its nonenthusiasts. wrestling had just about vanished from the network schedules as a major TV sport. television network to carry NHL games. Ultimately the bouts moved to St Nicholas Arena. 1951 marked America’s first regular coast-to-coast telecast. as well as cult shows like Friday Night Smackdown.
The son (played by .” The actual star of the drama was Don DeFore. E. novelist Eliot Asinov turned his baseball-themed book. was a baseball story that aired on The United States Steel Hour in 1954. C.” written by Steven Gethers. that aired on an anthology called Stage 7 in spring 1955. square-jawed Frank Lovejoy playing a 40-year-old pitcher facing his retirement from the game.” at the time baseball’s unofficial chaplain and director of the Christian Athletes’ Foundation of Tullahoma. Variety pointed to Connors as “a young actor who should be around a long time. Lovejoy hired himself out as a bodyguard for a swaggering prizefighter named Pretty Boy Mandero (played by Biff Elliot). then for the Brooklyn Dodgers for a short time in 1949 and for the Chicago Cubs in 1951. In another baseball tale. (Leo Durocher also acted in this show) After World War II. On the sports side. Lovejoy. was baseball legend Rogers Hornsby to Ronald Reagan’s Grover Cleveland Alexander on the big screen a couple of years earlier. it dealt with the father-son relationship in a broken home. one of his gigs on ABC’s primetime religious program Crossroads. In late 1956. Man on Spikes.” Another television drama by writer Mel Goldberg. for NBC’s Goodyear Television Theatre in 1955. Ultimately he abandoned sports for acting. then kicked around in baseball for awhile. “Baseball Blues. before becoming an actor. Connors played center for basketball’s Boston Celtics briefly during the 1946–1947 season. starred him as Philadelphia A’s (and later Cleveland Indians) Lou Brissie. incidentally. Also in 1955. himself a onetime major leaguer.The 1950s 15 who. about a thirty-something minor leaguer (Warren Stevens) and his struggle to become a big league player into an hour-long teleplay. after developing a freakish curve ball. Meet McGraw. as a baseballloving Soviet citizen who defects to the United States to play for the Cincinnati Reds. Two other Rod Serling baseball-themed dramas also aired in the mid1950s: “The Man Who Caught the Ball at Coogan’s Bluff” (on Studio One) with comedian Alan Young as a baseball fan who becomes a reluctant national celebrity after making a spectacular catch in the stands of a home run ball. The rather whimsical “O’Toole From Moscow” (on NBC Matinee Theatre) featured Chuck Connors. Tennessee. playing in the minors. attempts to get back into the game with his former team. taking on bigger assignments. Buster Crabbe starred on Kraft Television Theatre in “Million-Dollar Rookie. in the pilot episode (actually the second pilot) of his later private eye series. Rev. playing Brissie’s spiritual adviser. a player who came out of the war with a serious leg injury and overcame his handicap to pitch in the majors in the late 1940s and early 1950s. “Stoney Jackson. with stalwart. The father had dropped out of baseball and left his family after throwing a beanball that killed a batter.
which dramatized true story articles from the magazine. glamorous Loretta Young found herself playing a mom coaching her young son’s Little League team with her friend (Mabel Albertson) as the manager. Nugent. Marshall narrated and Danny Scholl starred as the stalwart player. Thayer’s famed baseball poem. Ward Bond. chooses to kill the story. G. aired live in 1955 on CBS’s Omnibus. is driven by an overpowering desire to win and hits a player on the opposing team. Regis Toomey. Lee Marvin starred in the baseball-oriented drama. played by the Duke’s real-life son. the legendary John Ford. Still another Kraft drama the next year was titled “The Life of Mickey Mantle” (Kevin Coughlin was The Mick as a kid and James Olson played the Yankees star to the age of 24).” veteran actor Thomas Mitchell was a once promising ball player who now finds himself groundskeeper for a team in the minors. Joe DiMaggio and other Bronx Bombers made guest appearances in the hour-long biodrama. Vera Miles. And on CBS’s Schlitz Playhouse of Stars. in a rare foray into television. Baehr. a rookie just entering the majors. as the club’s big hitter. and Touch (later Mike) Connors. Adapted by Frank S. from a Frank O’Rourke story. And Duke. naturally. The original teleplay was by veteran Nicholas E. Burnett. a short American opera by William Schulman (libretto by Jeremy Gury). Also in 1955. on the ABC anthology series TV’s Reader’s Digest.” . also starred in this drama by Douglas Morrow. James Gleason. The Mighty Casey. In “The Last Out. E. there was a baseball-themed drama that year. and other Ford regulars also appeared in this half-hour filmed drama. Patrick Wayne. out of decency. with James Stewart along with Pat Wayne and Ward Bond. Casey at the Bat.” Faust was the real-life pre-World War I pitcher for the New York Giants under John McGraw (played by Alan Reed). And on Screen Director’s Playhouse. later to be one of the two Darrin’s on Bewitched). from a story by W. R. “Little League. as a big league scout who was one of his long ago protégés. “How Charlie Faust Won a Pennant for the Giants. On NBC’s popular weekly anthology series named after her. Flashing Spikes. it tells how the journalist stumbles on a scoop: the father (Bond) of the Major League “Rookie of the Year” (the younger Wayne in his debut) happens to have been a disgraced player who was involved in a White Sox-like bribery scandal. directed pal John Wayne as a cynical small town sports writer in Rookie of the Year. The premise was similar to that of another Ford TV film in the 1960s. The Loretta Young Show episode was called. who’d scripted a number of John Ford movie classics.16 Sports on Television Richard York. adapted from Ernest L.
“Corey.” Variety’s critic found.” which had the then-Brooklyn Dodgers’ Sal Maglie turning up as himself in a guest appearance. A half-hour drama titled “For the Record” was written by Lou Rusoff. despite an obvious lack of thespic polish. the (condensed) story of Jackie Jensen. rich ball clubs. Bob Feller. whose sports goals were set by his junior high school coach. jockey Eddie Arcaro.utexas.edu/collections. Baseball also was the theme of a popular episode of The Phil Silvers Show in October 1957.hrc. was dramatized on ABC’s DuPont Cavalcade of America in mid 1956.” basically focusing on the Yankees legend’s battle against the disease that took his life. beer companies as sponsors. and Joe DiMaggio versus Ted Williams.” Lou Gehrig’s Greatest Day: July 4. Berkeley. the reserve clause. 1939 was reenacted on CBS’s You Are There in the year before the Climax! drama. was retold by writer Mel Goldberg in a live episode of the weekly hour-long show Climax! on baseball’s opening day in 1956. and in the major leagues. and Variety noted: “The ballplayer himself registers warmly.” He had the unique distinction of having played in both the Rose Bowl as a college star where he was an All-American halfback from the University of California. Ralph Kerchum (played by Ross Elliott). discussing ballplayers’ salaries. when Sergeant Bilko’s team from the motor pool got . with Gary Gray as the teenage Jackie. He was also the only player ever to be the subject of a Norman Rockwell magazine cover. At the end. bean balls. during the show’s run on ABC during the 1957–1958 season.The 1950s 17 “The Lou Gehrig Story. understanding wife.) On the Alcoa Hour in 1957. a precocious youngster with baseball in his eyes (despite his parents’ misgivings) in veteran writer Blanche Hanalis’s “The Littlest Little Leaguer. pride and restraint. who saved him—according to the playlet—from becoming a juvenile delinquent. Wendell Corey and Jean Hagen portrayed Lou and Eleanor Gehrig. “gave the Gehrig portrayal becoming dignity. Jean Hagen was excellent as his loving. and at least one other sports personality. gambling. Wallace also interviewed other celebrities and world figures in the series. which were donated by Mike Wallace. Jackie Jensen turned up on the show as himself. young Peter Lazer starred as Benjie Hauptmann. Pay TV. and the transcripts of the interviews can be read online at www. (The Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin has a complete collection of the interviews. Just two nights before the Gehrig show. the Cleveland Indians star pitcher. the golden boy of the Boston Red Sox during the 1950s. talked about his career on The Mike Wallace Interview series in 1957. where he became the Most Valuable Player in 1958.
in a 1959 episode titled “Comeback. an actual “B” actor with a Runyonesque name) for building the perfect fighter is to breed one. Benny Toledo (Slapsie . Runyon also pseudo-hosted his own weekly half-hour series. a Southern hillbilly with a great arm. Wilbur offers to loan an ex-boxer. In 1956. sports was the theme. Still another Runyon tale was “Bred for Battle” on The Damon Runyon Theatre. Whitey Ford. knocking around the country and with the help of an attractive young widow. turned up as Pvt. garrulous goons. On CBS’s Desilu Playhouse. guys and dolls. On occasion. it has been pointed out. gives up the ring. and Gil McDougald. and his particular verbal patois became familiar as Runyonesque. And on Lassie. a decade before the show bearing his name in the title aired. These short stories. Steve Brodie played the father and Stuffy Singer was the rather shady kid. Roy Campanella turned up as himself in a 1959 episode called “The Mascot. The Damon Runyon Theatre on CBS every Saturday night in the mid 1950s (although actor Donald Woods did the actual narration). His button-busting dad then sponsors his own team for the kid to give him a chance. regains his self-respect coaching a small Midwestern town’s Little League team. Take for instance “The Pee Wees Take Over. were written in a distinctive vernacular style: a mixture of formal speech and colorful slang. Phil Rizzuto. gangsters. whom scheming Bilko saw as a chance to make a fortune by selling him to the New York Yankees.” in which the son of a bookie finds himself tossed off a Little League baseball team for unsportsmanlike conduct. Although he died in 1946. making what appears to have been his TV acting debut. The idea of an idealistic fight manager named Wilbur (Race Gentry.” in which he visits Timmy’s ( Jon Provost) local Little League baseball team in his wheelchair. Harry Lumpkin. there were several others out of the Runyon library dealing with the boxing game: “The Face of Johnny Dolliver” (Biff Elliott had the title role as a battered prizefighter who falls for a deb. Big Apple newspaperman Damon Runyon became known in the late 1930s for his humorous New York-ese tales about the low-life who inhabited a rather unique Manhattan.” veteran actor Dan Duryea starred as a down-and-out ex-baseball star who.” Dick Van Dyke. and has his face remodeled) and “The Big Umbrella” ( James Gleason as a fight promoter who discovers a promising boxer who happens to be the deposed and broke king of a mythical country). almost always in present tense. His habitués were gamblers. Coming aboard in cameos were Yogi Berra. and. of all shows. to use the terminology of his own show that became a huge Broadway hit.18 Sports on Television shellacked in a big game against Company B’s WAC team of typists in an episode called “The Hillbilly Whiz.
” Based on the short story by Bob Foreman.” about a punch-drunk boxing mug. what might have been his TV acting debut. Allen Reisner directed. Sheldon Leonard turned up as a sleazy manager/handler colorfully called Silky Mitts. a onetime big name fighter on his way down. 1953) with Jack Palance. On CBS’s General Electric Theatre in early 1955. who never made it to the big money and now is . “The Sunday Punch.” on CBS’s Schlitz Playhouse of Stars. whose character was merely “The Champ. and Joe Louis. Joe Louis. Some months later. Between the two General Electric Theatre dramas. Rod Serling wrote the TV adaptation. It would be expanded and restaged in 1955 on Playwrights ’56 with Paul Newman. the cash needed to get married—on the condition that he gets to train the couple’s first boy as a boxer. Marilyn Erskine. first aired on network television (Omnibus. was restaged with Rory Calhoun in the lead as somewhat unscrupulous boxer Midge Kelly opposite Geraldine Brooks. the half-hour playlet had Corbett returning to the living in 1947 to engage in a prizefight with current champion. host Ronald Reagan introduced a tale called “The Return of Gentleman Jim.” with a cast that included George Montgomery (in the title role as Victorian era boxer Jim Corbett). in 1956.” which had made a top ranking star of Kirk Douglas in the 1949 theatrical feature. And on Climax!. Ernest Hemingway’s short story. On the NBC anthology series Robert Montgomery Presents in late 1953. Pressured to take a dive in a match with an up-and-comer. It was a short story (22 minutes or so) in which Belafonte was an ambitious young prizefighter on the cusp of fame and fortune in the ring (under somewhat unscrupulous Roy Glenn. Tommy McDermott. playing an undefeated middleweight champ who retires from the ring and then disappoints his son when he turns his back on taunts from the new champion (Keith Larson) to defend his title. Jesse White. Waters was Belafonte’s far-sighted mom who pulls him up short with her motherly advice. Reagan (now listed as “on-air program supervisor”) hosted “Winner by Decision. who years later would play Sidney Poitier’s down-to-earth dad in Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner). he becomes irate and nearly kills the younger guy in the ring. “The Battler.” as Tony Marino.The 1950s 19 Maxie Rosenbloom). Parisi’s original boxing-themed drama. who later played the part in the movies. Gig Young starred in writer Thomas C. James Whitmore played an ex boxer. there was “The Big Payday. and veteran Ethel Waters. Ring Lardner’s short story “Champion. Ronald Reagan himself starred in the General Electric Theatre episode “Father and Son Night” in late 1957.” an original Budd Schulberg boxing drama costarring Harry Belafonte.
20 Sports on Television the crusty manager of a fighter in whom he sees. on ABC’s primetime religion-oriented series Crossroads. “The Fight”. Richard English’s teleplay unravels a behind-the-scenes story. finally. and One Step Beyond’s “The Last Round” in 1961. Leonard Nimoy played a young Golden Gloves middleweight champion who follows in the footsteps of his successful boxer brother (played by onetime baseball star John Beradino) and enters West Point.” Variety observed. on an episode titled “Ringside Padre.” Stephen McNally portrayed the real-life Major Harold Engle. the big payday.” Roy rides to the aid of an old woman whose boxer grandson (young Charles Bronson in an early TV performance) has come under the thumb of crooks. “Bang the Drum .” the disappearance of a Puerto Rican boxer named Paco Vidella on the eve of his fight for the featherweight championship. In October 1959. He begins a crusade to make it illegal for a fighter to turn professional until the age of 16 after seeing one teenage boxer (a young Michael Landon) disfigured in the ring. and the baseball stories “Fear Strikes Out” and “Bang the Drum Slowly. arguably. got into the sports game. with pro boxer (and character actor) Jimmy Murphy as Paco and Miriam Colon as his mom.” Even NBC’s The Roy Rogers Show. building up to a championship match and an attempt by gamblers to fix the fight.” Around the same time. only to have the latter try to get him expelled so that the young sibling can pursue a ring career. “Fear Strikes Out” (adapted from Red Sox star Jim Piersall’s autobiography) starred Tab Hunter and Anthony Perkins in the later film. “ ‘The Big Payday’ packs more punch than many a square-ringed saga. The episode was written by Gerald Orsini. airing on CBS in the late 1950s. playing a down-and-out pugilist haunted by a ghost. Johnny Staccato. set in contemporary times rather than the Old West (Roy rode around not only atop Trigger but also in a Jeep lovingly called Nellybelle). The three most famous sports-themed dramas of the decade were. in which Johnny investigated in “Viva. West Point Story. Bronson also would play put-upon boxers in other television melodramas including “The Boxing Match” on the Brian Keith series The Crusader in late 1955. as a refugee from a communist country who gets mixed up with crooked fight promoter. In a late December 1952 episode called “The Knockout. The episode was called “His Brother’s Fist. In the series. John Cassavetes introduced his hipster TV series (his one and only). director of New York City’s Catholic Youth Organization. Paco!. Rod Serling’s memorable “Requiem for a Heavyweight” on Playhouse 90 in 1956 with Jack Palance as the washed-up fighter hoping to rehabilitate himself but forced to make a clown of himself in the wrestling ring.” On Climax!. a 1958 M Squad episode. “A fight story without a fight.
later to become a prolific television producer and director. Around the same time. Ham Fisher’s popular comic strip about upstanding.The 1950s 21 Slowly” was adapted by Arnold Schulman for the United States Steel Hour from Mark Harris’s novel. Real-life lightweight contender Art Aragon and Johnny Indrisano. the Bobcats. and Canadian Opens and was Dwight D. Square-jawed ex-golf champion (like his dad) Joe Kirkwood Jr. trying to entice him back to the ring. and be its catcher. Moochie of Pop Warner Football. Robert De Niro had the Salmi role about a dying major leaguer). Humphrey Pennyworth (played in films by Robert Coogan). And on the short-lived NBC show So This Is Hollywood. was the lead. Aragon also had an acting gig guest starring (as a boxer) on Spring Byington’s . in another kid’s sports two-parter. Former heavyweight champ Max Baer discombobulated Lou Costello in the 1953 episode “Killer’s Wife. if rather clueless. Moochie Morgan (played by Kevin Corcoran) led a campaign to start a Little League team. as a jealous fighter who suspects that his sexy wife (Mary Beth Hughes) is carrying on with neighbor Lou. Moochie of the Little League (aka A Diamond Is a Boy’s Best Friend) aired in two parts on ABC’s Disneyland. During the 1920s and 1930s. Disney had Moochie try football. Paul Newman. Australian. Eisenhower’s personal golfing instructor. in his spare time. the latter begins dating boxer Max Baer. The Duke (not to be confused with the similarly titled later detective series also on NBC and also dealing peripherally with sports). and Sheldon Leonard. Albert Salmi. New Zealand. and Luis Van Rooten was Knobby Walsh (popular character actors Leon Errol and later James Gleason had that role in the theatrical series). as he had been in the “B” series of theatrical Palooka films of the late 1940s. Joe Sr. and George Peppard starred (when the theatrical version of it was made some years later. Not long afterward. each guest starred in the 1955 episode (“He Done Her Wrong”) as well. low-budget 1954 syndicated series The Joe Palooka Story (among the first “scripted” sports-oriented series in television). Paul Gilbert and Phyllis Coates (Lois Lane of Superman fame) starred. In the 1954–1955 TV series “Slapsie” Maxie Rosenbloom was Palooka’s pal. a then barely known Paul Newman can be spotted as a fight spectator. pugilist Joe Palooka came to TV in a short-lived. In one TV episode. played the Duke’s “dese-dems-dose” fight promoter.” on the syndicated Abbott and Costello Show. becomes an accomplished artist. won the British. NBC began airing what might be the earliest sports-oriented network weekly sitcom. about two aspiring actresses played by Virginia Gibson and Mitzi Green. The July–September 1954 sitcom dealt with a streetwise professional boxer who. who also had a ring career.
Two years later. as the champ. Lee Grant. in a 30-minute episode by series writer Stirling Silliphant called “The Canvas Bullet. On ABC’s Naked City in June 1959. generally in the role of a fighter. Sullivan/Jim Corbett fight. playing the disenchanted sister of a sportswriter. an incident in the life of Jewish ex-lightweight champ Benny Leonard. And on Jane Wyman Presents the Fireside Theatre. is thrown together with Eli Wallach. “he doesn’t do it for his mother or his girlfriend. on host/ narrator John Nesbitt’s Telephone Time on CBS.” starring Broderick Crawford as a handler who sees to it that his fighter. in the 1956 episode “Assignment Champ. a young heavyweight played by Ron Hargrave. “Knockout. “Warden.” Aragon never won a world title but had a celebrity lifestyle that made him a top drawing card in the ring in the 1940s and 1950s before turning to acting gigs and many TV appearances. NBC’s Philco Television Playhouse scored with “Shadow of the Champ” (1955).” “The Birth of Modern Boxing” was the title of a You Are There episode in June 1955. was robust and ruthless.” Variety reported at the time. the boyhood chum and much abused manager of the heavyweight champion of the world ( Jack Warden). but because it’s the right thing to do.” Michael Landon played Leonard. “yet reluctantly understanding. in which host Walter Cronkite and a crew of CBS reporters covered the 1892 John L. refuses to take a dive in a fight that was fixed by his opponent’s crooked manager (Ted DeCorsia).” Harry Guardino played an ex-boxer who needs money for his wife (Diane Ladd) to enter her prize . he clobbers the champ loose from the title?” Blake Edwards directed and co-wrote it (one of his first TV gigs). Need it be added that in the rematch. known as the “Ghetto Wizard.22 Sports on Television popular sitcom December Bride. titled “Count of Ten. Assorted 1950s dramas dealing with boxing included the 1953 Four Star Playhouse tale. On an ocean voyage. written by prolific TV drama scribe Robert Alan Aurthur and directed by veteran Robert Mulligan. in a 1955 episode titled “The Boxing Show. giving a great performance. It differs slightly from the typical fight drama in that.” Once labeled boxing’s “Golden Boy. whose boxing career was centered in the 1920s. Aragon was given an impressive obit in the New York Times and elsewhere when he died in the spring of 2008. and she slowly proceeds to draw him away from his lifelong shadow-like attachment to the champ.” Donald Curtis was a misanthropic boxing champion who dislikes women. There also was a 1954 Loretta Young Show.” in which Loretta is a critically ill wife of retired boxer Tiger Tipton (played by Eddie Albert) who climbs back into the ring to raise money for a life-saving operation for her.” was dramatized in “Fight for the Title. as Variety said in its review at the time.
were fictionalized in an episode of the Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse. ABC broadcast Notre Dame football highlights on Sunday nights. as a fellow Brocktonian who used to spot Rocky doing daily “road work”—today it’s probably called jogging—in front of my parents’ house as he literally ran around the city every morning. the Lockheed Bomber. . “The Brockton Blockbuster” Rocky Marciano. Chicago-born Barnum’s real name was Guiseppi Rosselli Jr. so hometown fans would either have to travel to the fight or wait a few days to see a film of the fight in the local movie house. In March 1950. with Harry Wismer and Ford Bond doing the play-by-play. In later life he was a fight manager. Most of Rocky’s early ring matches were held in Providence. In the world of boxing. it was remade for Naked City several years later as the hour-long “Five Cranks for Winter . and even. Rocky Graziano had a prominent role as. but he fought as Gentleman Joey. narrated by Bill Fisher. CBS joined the weekly boxing fray with its Pabst Blue Ribbon bouts on Wednesday nights in competition with NBC’s Gillette Cavalcade of Sports (Ted Husing. for a while. (On a personal note. “The Killer Instinct. and later Jack Drees called the fights for Pabst). Starring was a dubiously cast Rory Calhoun as Hispanic ring idol Juan O’Rourke who gives up his career at its peak to return to his hometown in Mexico and there takes up the management of a promising amateur named Angel (played by Michael Dante). Rhode Island.” in mid-1959. Stuart Rosenberg directed. ABC also brought a weekly highlight film of a major college football contest. In those days. . Several years later during the 1950s. Meanwhile ABC offered Roller Derby three times a week beginning in 1950 and pro baseball on Saturday afternoon. one of Marilyn Monroe’s reported bodyguards.. I saw the fight on a movie theatre screen and cheering Rocky on was my choice. then bail bondsman. whose ring career coincided with the advent of commercial television. what else. a boxer. much like televised pay-per-view .The 1950s 23 roses in a flower show. 1947. a welterweight boxer of the 1940s. north of Boston in Holyoke. The Game of the Week. With a new title. Ten Cranks for Spring” with Robert Duvall and Shirley Knight.) Other pro fights during that time were telecast directly from movie houses on a special hookup. Events in the career of ex-boxer Joey Barnum. He goes to his former manager who gets an alcoholic ex-doctor to ensure that the guy can fight again safely. television coverage was blacked out in the home turf of one or the other of the combatants if the match was being held within a radius of 50 miles of that fighter. turned pro with a third-round knockout over Lee Epperson on March 17. Roller Derby was practically an unknown sport until TV discovered it. then Russ Hodges. written by Joseph Landon.
also an unbeaten heavyweight prospect. CBS’s hit big money TV game show of the day on which she appeared as an expert in the subject area of boxing. on CBS’s half-hour anthology series Schlitz Playhouse of Stars. Dr. noted celebrity psychologist whose name became woven through television and all of show biz. Marciano. who ultimately hung up his gloves with a perfect record— 49 fights. was told. in not one but two made-for-TV movies several decades later. featured filmed highlights of events that had taken place at Madison Square Garden through the years. The rematch lasted one round. A year later. One from Philco Television Playhouse in late 1951 was “Education of a Fullback. two of the significant football-themed dramas of the decade were written by David Shaw. LaStarza is just one of three men to have gone the distance with The Rock. as Marciano scored the 11th first-round KO of his career. who was an old-forthe-ring 37. with a teleplay by Shaw. Or else they could be watched through the storefront window of TV appliance dealers. ABC’s weekly Greatest Sports Thrills. which aired between 1954 and 1956 (sometimes five times a week as a filler). And on the subject of pugilists and the square ring.” in which a philosophy teacher ( Joseph Buloff) has the whole university on his case when he flunks the school’s star football player (Logan Field). Leif Erickson starred in “Homecoming. particularly boxing. he later said) knocked out former heavyweight champion and Marciano hero and mentor. The story of the Brockton Blockbuster. Joe Louis. Louis was trying for a comeback. Marciano overcame a first-round knockdown to win the title on a 13th-round knockout.” as an ex-football star with a huge ego who returns for his college reunion and is forced to face his own aging. or in bars. where crowds would sometimes gather. James Dunn.000 Question. 49 wins—first made an impact on boxing in 1950 when he won a decision over Roland LaStarza. gained fame initially in 1955 by winning The $64. The other was “80-Yard Run.” played a college .” in the late 1950s. Joyce Brothers. In this Playhouse 90 production. With the IRS hounding him. Rocky (reluctantly. Earlier in the decade. That bout led to a title fight in 1952 against 38-year-old champion Jersey Joe Walcott. Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward costarred as a disillusioned onetime halfback living off a legendary 80-yard run he’d once made and the wealthy girl he marries but is frustrated by his inability to support her. based on a short story by his novelist brother Irwin Shaw. The sports were discussed on the series by Marty Glickman and Stan Lomax. in “Nothing to Do Till Next Fall. somewhat fancifully.24 Sports on Television boxing events of a somewhat later era. Rocco Francis Marchegiano. On the gridiron.
The 1950s 25 football coach with a problem for the big homecoming game: his star player has a knee injury. He indulges in the Army game of who can outfox whom as he tries to wriggle his way out of uniform by pretending to be unfit mentally.” on Schlitz Playhouse of Stars in early 1955. told the story of the real-life Mark Wilson.” on NBC Matinee Theatre the day after Christmas 1955. in Loring Mandel and Mayo Simon’s psychodrama “The Army Game. beloved football coach of the UCLA Trojans from 1949 to the mid-1950s (he was with Vanderbilt before that. as well as football fundamentals to his players. Another. One such drama was called “The Army-Navy Game. with Chuck Connors in a recurring role. Jackie Cooper played a former basketball player. a high school football coach (played by Dabbs Greer) who taught the principles of living. now . Red continued through 1957 and died suddenly just before the 1958 season. Several fellow players from the Los Angeles Rams also were on the episode. “The Red Sanders Story. G.” It starred Don Taylor and Joanne Woodward as a college football star and the rich coed he falls for and could be his ticket to the pros.” pro football stars Elroy Hirsch and Norm Van Brocklin turned up to help rehabilitate a high school gridiron player injured in a fire.” Football also was the theme of several episodes of the anthology series West Point (aka The West Point Story) on CBS in 1957. One of them was Otto Graham of the Cleveland Browns of the 1940s and 1950s. And on NBC’s Robert Montgomery Presents in 1954 there was “Homecoming. once jailed for throwing a game. Studio One’s fictional 1955 football-themed drama “Like Father.” Newman played a small-town football hero who gets a draft notice and turns out to be a malingerer. dramatized the life of Henry Russell “Red” Sanders (played by veteran actor Richard Arlen). Like Son” (Ralph Bellamy is an ex-football hero turned-successful businessman who tries to mold his son in his own image) was called by the New York Times “thrilling full-hour drama of a man possessed by power and ambition and ready to destroy himself together with his family. “Saturday Story. In “Fast Break. George Gaynes as His Highness. “His Highness and the Halfback. Felix “Doc” Blanchard. Paul Newman starred in the premiere episode of the Kaiser Aluminum Hour at the start of the 1956–1957 season. Graham and Wilson both turned up at the end of the drama. after having been a playing star there). in the 1955 “The Boy and the Coach. And on ABC’s Pepsi Cola Playhouse.” dealing fictionally with the famed gridiron match-up that has been played annually for decades.” had Connors in his occasional part as Major Neilsen. Armstrong as the coach. real-life football star of an earlier decade and West Pointer.” on DuPont’s Cavalcade of America in May 1954. and R.
golf found its TV groove and went national when CBS began televising the Masters golf tournament from Augusta. in Variety’s words. dealt with horseracing. “The Lady Was a Flop” (CBS 1957). In this cut-down version of the Kirk Douglas mid-1950s film The Racers. The source of this drama was a Saturday Evening Post story by veteran writer Borden Chase. “Cooper scores most of the dramatic points with his strong portrayal of the young ex-athlete who’s been matured beyond his years by a life-shaping brush with notoriety. Golf coverage switched over to NBC in 1961 for two seasons. in April 2007. dominated the game for years in the early days of television. Shell’s Wonderful World of Golf. The show featured 18hole matches between some of the top American players of the era. One sport that was not a huge factor in commercial television during its first decade was golf. a colorized version of the event that Arnold Palmer won for the second of four times. Beginning in 1956. where Fox theatrical films of the past got “vest-pocket” 50-odd minute television adaptations. began airing All-Star Golf in the network’s block of weekend sports events. and then Milton Berle (during the 1960–1961 and final season). Arnold Palmer.” Variety’s critic found. hosted . Beginning in 1963. he is taken by a newborn thoroughbred filly he thinks has what it takes to race at Santa Anita. and Don Carter. Gene Littler. CBS aired Jim Nantz Remembers Augusta: The 1960 Masters. who was succeeded by Mel Allen. In any event. Sam Snead. “an ex-jockey who hangs up his task after losing his saddlesmith nerves when injured in a fall. and Byron Nelson were the stars of the game at the time. Bowling was really a natural for television because of its single-camera coverage.” Now an exercise boy at the tracks. NBC offered Jackpot Bowling on Friday nights after the Cavalcade of Sports. ( Jack Burke Jr. Mickey Rooney starred as. or perhaps it was not a blue-collar sport. Another Schlitz playlet. (1958). Farley Granger costarred with Mona Freeman and Rick Jason.) Honoring the tradition 50 years later. in 1957. and former champ Jimmy Demaret (1959–1960) hosted. Georgia. a bowler with an unorthodox style. but soon other courses around the country became involved. the matches were filmed in the Chicago area. ABC. Dick Danehe.26 Sports on Television running from his past only to have the reverend of his church wanting to use his skills as the church’s athletic director. Bud Palmer. NBC aired World Championship Golf in 1959–1960. something the network has continued to do ever since. won it that first telecast year. Initially. It initially was hosted by scrappy baseball manager Leo Durocher. there was the auto-racing movie Men Against Speed in December 1956. On CBS’s Twentieth Century-Fox Hour. Perhaps it was too leisurely a game spread over too much ground. Sportscaster Jim Britt (1957). in 1956.
titled The Strongest Man in the World.” The State Department paid him $50. ‘This is a good business. It aired in 1964 and is available on DVD. Olympic Committee maintained: “One of the greatest and most obscure champions in Olympic history. Arthur Hiller directed this episode. He won gold medals at the 1948 (London) and 1952 (Helinski) Olympic Games.’ ” Through the next five decades Bud Greenspan would become the premiere documentarian. radio sportscaster turned writer and then filmmaker Bud Greenspan made the first of his extensive output of sports-oriented films. a gullible tennis player with a nose for snooping.S. “and Pop was getting a little upset because the money was supposed to be returned. at the age of 21. John would have easily won two more gold medals. been sports director of radio station WMGM in New York. aired as a taped Sunday afternoon series that more or less continues today first on the networks and then on ESPN and. In “Disappearing Trick. as are many other head-to-head contests. and her supposedly dead hubby (Raymond Bailey). One press release of the time from the U. a 15minute documentary. but found himself scammed by a gorgeous woman he has met (Betsy Von Furstenberg).” Greenspan said years later. which was adapted from a short story by prolific novelist Victor Canning. “I didn’t know what I was doing. his “widowed” tennis partner. One of the truly memorable matches featured Ben Hogan and Sam Snead. At some point he asked his dad to loan him $25. “I said to myself. on The Golf Channel. He was the most dominating competitor in his sport. John Davis (USA) won his first world championship in weightlifting in 1938 at the age of 17 and was undefeated in 15 years of international competition. through his Cappy Productions.000 to make the Davis film.The 1950s 27 initially by Gene Sarazan and George Rogers. One of TV’s first tennis-themed dramas was a 1958 episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents (Hitch earlier had used tennis as an important plot line in Strangers on a Train). broadcasting such programs as “Warm-Up Time” and “Sports Extra. of Olympic-oriented TV . The story goes that ultimately he left WMGM and turned to magazine writing (fiction and nonfiction). Greenspan had. and later Jack Whitaker. and renowned as the strongest man in the world.” Before this documentary. In 1952.000 for his short film. about a black weightlifting champion who also was studying to be an opera singer. in the mid-2000s.” the pregame and postgame coverage of the Brooklyn Dodgers. and had the 1940 and 1944 Games not been canceled. Initially he was unable to sell it.” Robert Horton starred as Walter Richmond. I finally heard that the State Department was looking for a vehicle to offset Korean War propaganda from the Soviet Union that said blacks had no opportunities in the United States.
and unabashed know-it-all Howard Cosell. particularly in sports. In the late 1940s. producing Roots. Cosell also narrated cult director George A. Sports Focus. winning the bronze in the 1948 games and the gold in 1952 and 1956. Cosell took part in his own 1991 tribute on ESPN: Outside the Lines. O. Simpson: Juice on the Loose (about O. Richards later moved into the ministry and even ran for president of the United States in 1964 on the Populist Party. on ABC’s Monday Night Football from 1970 to 1983. In addition. He played himself toward the end of the drama.28 Sports on Television films. J. J. Wolper would rival him in output as a TV documentarian. . Only David L. The story of Bob Richards. Through the years he’d be an integral part of television. although Wolper became involved in other TV areas.’s storied football career). North Carolina. known as the “Vaulting Vicar.” was dramatized on the DuPont Cavalcade of America in “Leap of Faith” in 1957. brought to the medium distinctive sportscaster. Richards was played as a child by Hal Stalmaster and as a teen by Richard Tyler. the erstwhile Howard Cohen of Winston-Salem. Saturday Night Live With Howard Cosell (ABC 1975–1976). an ABC show that aired live from New York nightly from 7:00 to 7:15 in 1957–1958. commentator. Richards was a young football halfback who became an Olympic pole-vault champion. Romero’s 1974 documentary. and Monday Night Baseball (ABC 1977–1985). The Life and Times of Howard Cosell.
a beautiful chestnut thoroughbred named King. Many of the racing sequences were deleted by Ford. Straightaway was an adventure series on ABC during the 1961–1962 season. The show’s premise unexpectedly ran afoul of its sponsor. starred Lori Martin as Velvet Brown. a young girl with dreams of running her horse. The Wide Country (NBC) and Stoney Burke (ABC) vied during the 1962– 1963 season for the same audience. This. Autolite. Mi Taylor. was the television version of the 1944 movie that made a star of 12-year-old Elizabeth Taylor. however. National Velvet. both being about professional rodeo riders Earl Holliman and Andrew Prine. when the Ford Motor Company just happened to buy out the initial corporate backer. who played brothers in the former . built. and the rodeo circuit. played originally by Mickey Rooney. auto racing. Brian Kelly and John Ashley played partners in a garage where they designed.CHAPTER 3 The 1960s D uring the 1960s. reset from rural England to a dairy farm in America’s Midwest. airing on NBC for two seasons beginning in September 1960. the battery maker. network television offered several short-lived series dealing with sports—but not baseball. and serviced racing cars. of course. in a championship race. football. Instead it was horseracing. basketball or hockey. James McCallion had the part of Velvet Brown’s trainer. The series is best remembered today for the music score by jazz great Maynard Ferguson. and that angle of the show’s premise was deemphasized. an ex-jockey. prior to the series premiere.
was titled “The Big. In “Steel. we learn in Serling’s ironic epilogue. In the company of Eddie “Rochester” Anderson and Mantan Moreland.” It starred Ivan Dixon (boxer Archie Moore initially had been approached to star) as Bolie Jackson. dealing with boxing. who finds the blueprint for Casey and soon is fielding an all-robot team to victory after victory. retired boxer Steel Kelly (played by Lee Marvin). His wish is granted one night. against a long-dead master pool shark. “A Game of Pool. included the original ending that was scrapped initially. written by either Rod Serling or Richard Matheson. in a rare serious role). had Jack Warden in “The Mighty Casey” as Mouth McGarry. Aside from these programs. Pool was played by Flip Wilson. Jesse Cardiff (Jack Klugman). Another drama in the series.” pitted a confident pool hustler. who arrives in town with his manager and handler. writer Richard Matheson tells of an android pugilist called Battling Maxo.” on Twilight Zone. the coach of the hapless (and fictional) Hoboken Zephyrs where a human-looking android has been signed up as the team’s star pitcher. as a hustler named Big Red.30 Sports on Television series as “rodeo bums. there were several interesting sports-themed dramas for The Twilight Zone. and out goes the one job for which he was qualified. an aging ex-fighter who gets another chance in the ring with the encouragement of his neighbor’s young son. One that aired in spring 1960. the rules say. Nine men make up a team.” Jack Lord (in the years before Hawaii Five-O) starred as the titular rodeo performer in the latter. and without a heart. Casey is not a man. Tall Wish. The new version. The team is on its way until the stalwart southpaw robot. Casey. The story was written not by Serling but by longtime Twilight Zone contributor George Clayton Johnson and was directed by Buzz Kulik. a heavyweight. In 1963. Rod Serling’s famous “The Last Night of a Jockey” starred Mickey Rooney in a Twilight Zone tour-de-force performance as a jockey who finds his life at a crossroads and prays desperately to become taller. But not McGarry. is beaned by a ball and it is discovered that he has no heart. for a . and he soon finds himself much too big to be a jockey. Later it was remade for the New Twilight Zone series of the late 1980s and cast this time with slick Esai Morales and rotund Maury Chaykin. Another memorable sports-themed Twilight Zone episode. along with up-and-comers Bruce Dern and Warren Oates. in fact. Fats Brown ( Jonathan Winters. Flip tried to instruct a fine young lady (Gail Fisher) in the finer points of the game. He secretly is given a heart but becomes too compassionate to strike out other players and finds himself washed up in baseball. several months later. on the premiere episode of ABC’s Love American Style (titled “Love and the Hustler”) in September 1969.
scheduled six-round bout. As Rod Serling reveals in his introduction to the short tale, “Only these automatons have been permitted in the ring since prizefighting was legally abolished in 1968.” Just before the bout, however, Maxo breaks down and Steel, desperate for the money to repair him, disguises himself as a robot and gets into the ring with Maynard Flash, an android challenger. Steel takes a punishing beating, but his share of the purse he figures will be enough to repair Maxo. Matheson adapted this drama from his own short story. Between 1960 and 1964, Route 66 was a hugely popular on-the-road weekly CBS series in which Martin Milner, as Tod Stiles, and, first George Chakiris, as Buz Murdock, and later Glenn Corbett, as Linc Case, toured America in a spiffy Corvette in search of adventure (stopping not so coincidentally in cities that had CBS television affiliates to give local Screen Actors Guild talent supporting acting gigs). Some of the dramas in this anthology were sports themed, like “The Opponent” (airdate June 2, 1961), written by veteran Stirling Silliphant. Guest star Darren McGavin played Johnny Copa, onetime boxing great, who was Buz’s boyhood idol. Now, years later, Buz and Tod encounter Copa in a small Ohio town making a living by throwing fights. Lois Nettleton played Copa’s girlfriend and Edward Asner his manager. Charles Bronson won an Emmy nomination for his 1961 performance as boxer Soldier Conlon in the General Electric Theatre episode, “Memory in White,” adapted by Budd Schulberg from a story he wrote for Collier’s Magazine two decades earlier. Sammy Davis Jr. (who actually had the lead) played his trainer, an ex-boxer named Pancho Villa III, who is now a handyman at a local gym with dreams of becoming a ring announcer, but he feels he needs a white suit for the job (according to the TV Guide write-up of the show at the time). Fighter-turned-actor Art Aragon was Bronson’s sparring partner. Bronson also put on the gloves to play one Yank Dawson—also in 1961— in an episode of Alcoa Presents One Step Beyond titled “The Last Round.” He’s an American fighter boxing in World War II England after being banned in the States because of an accident in the ring and now finds himself in an arena haunted by a ghost. A boxing drama, “Ten O’Clock Tiger,” an original by prolific writer William Fay, was offered up on Alfred Hitchcock Presents in early 1962, with Robert Keith as a crooked manager who dopes up his hasbeen fighter (Karl Lucas) by turning to a racetrack habitué (Frankie Darro) for some illegal drugs. “The Meal Ticket,” adapted from a Budd Schulberg story for the Bob Hope Chrysler Theater (airing on NBC in February 1964), starred Cliff Robertson as an up-and-coming boxer, Broderick Crawford as his ambitious dad who
Sports on Television
wants him to go for the big time, and Chris Robinson as the black sheep other son, a broken down ex-fighter. In an early episode of The Fugitive on ABC in 1963, “Decision in the Ring,” David Janssen as on-the-run Richard Kimble becomes the anonymous Ray Miller, cut man for troubled boxer Joe Smith ( James Edwards). Ruby Dee guest starred as Joe’s wife and James Dunn was his possibly crooked manager. Robert Duvall and Shirley Knight costarred in “Five Cranks for Winter . . . Ten Cranks for Summer,” in late 1962, a reworking on Naked City of the 1959 episode “The Canvas Bullet” (about a has-been fighter who wants to earn money in the ring so that his wife can enter his prize roses in a flower show). Boxing even played a pivotal role in a 1965 episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show, titled “Body and Sol.” In flashback, Rob recalls how, during his army days, he had a short-lived career as “Pitter Patter” Petrie, middleweight champ of Company A. Writer Garry Marshall had a humorous cameo as a boxing referee. And on Car 54, Where Are You?, in spring 1963, Toody and Muldoon ( Joe E. Ross and Fred Gwynne) meet an aspiring boxer in the episode “Puncher and Judy.” Guest stars included ex-fighters Rocky Graziano and Sugar Ray Robinson. Also boxing played for laughs was a bit on the 1969 Laugh-In (the skit was titled “Drop Your Socks and Grab Your Pencils”) in which diminutive Sammy Davis Jr. has a world championship match against basketball legend Wilt Chamberlain and decks him with an uppercut to the knees. In The Munsters, in “Herman the Rookie,” Leo Durocher turned up to investigate Herman Munster’s prowess as an incredible batter after being beaned by a ball Herman hit eight blocks away. The Monkees also got into the fight game in the January 1967 episode “Monkees in the Ring,” when a crooked fight manager tells Davy he could be a featherweight champ and starts fixing fights so that “Dynamite” Davy Jones quickly makes a career. D’Urville Martin guest starred as The Champ who shared the ring with “Dynamite.” Three on an Island was a 1965 CBS sitcom pilot dealing with three beautiful girls ( Julie Newmar and Pamela Tiffin among them) who acquire a glass-jawed boxer named Julius “Bulldog” Sweetley (played by Jody McCrea). Veteran sitcom creator Hal Kanter wrote it and veteran film director Vincent Sherman was behind the camera. The aforementioned Flashing Spikes, directed by John Ford for Alcoa Premiere in 1962, starred James Stewart as a notorious, now-banned veteran baseball star once at the center of a Major League bribery scandal, and whose story is about to be revealed by a sports reporter. The film, based on
a novel by Frank O’Rourke, also had in its cast Jack Warden (ubiquitous, it seems, in sports dramas) and Patrick Wayne. Martin Milner—post Route 66; pre Adam 12—had the lead in the syndicated 1965 pilot Starr, First Baseman (aka Starr of the Yankees), playing a New York Yankees rookie, Joe Starr, who has problems after being hit by a baseball. Stuart Whitman played his coach; Freddy Gordon, and Arthur Hiller directed. This pilot was made in late 1957 and sat unsold on the shelf for the next seven years. The famed Broadway baseball musical, Damn Yankees, was restaged for television as an NBC Color Special in 1967. Lee Remick, as the seductive Lola; Jerry Lanning, as the innocent Shoeless Joe from Hannibal, Mo.; and Phil Silvers, as the devilish Mr. Applegate, starred in this two-hour version of the 1955 George Abbott and Douglas Wallop musical comedy, based on Wallop’s novel, The Year the Yankees Lost the Pennant, with music and lyrics by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross. The Yankees’ Joe Garagiola had a cameo. Lee Mendelson, later the longtime producer with Bill Melendez of Charles Schulz’s beloved Peanuts series on television, formed his own production company in the spring of 1963, and his first project followed Willie Mays through that season’s baseball campaign. That hour-long documentary, A Man Named Mays, aired on NBC on October 6. Mendelson became fond of recalling that “I had done a Willie Mays documentary in 1963, which had done really well. Then I was reading a Charlie Brown baseball strip, and the idea came to me: I’ve just done the world’s greatest baseball player; now I’ll do the world’s worst.” Good old Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang made their TV debut at the end of 1965, and many of their sandlot adventures through the decades have revolved around sports beginning with the second entry, Charlie Brown’s All-Stars, in June 1966. In this one, Charlie Brown finds himself alone on the pitcher’s mound when the entire team quits to pursue skateboarding, surfing, and other sports. He scouts around for uniforms from local merchants, but the new league won’t allow dogs or girls—no Snoopy or Lucy or Peppermint Patty—and he forgoes this opportunity. Producer Bill Melendez mused in the twentieth anniversary Charlie Brown booklet for New York’s Museum of Broadcasting (now the Paley Center for Media): “There’s a scene in Charlie Brown’s All-Stars where Snoopy takes his supper dish in his teeth, walks over to Charlie Brown on the pitcher’s mound, and spits out the dish as a gesture of disgust at the way the game is going. Now what is the sound of a dog spitting out a dish at a pitcher” Melendez concluded: “After all, who’s to complain except maybe another beagle.”
Sports on Television
Another baseball-themed animated show was Hanna-Barbera’s The Flintstones, on ABC. In 1962, one episode, “Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” had Fred becoming umpire for pal Barney Rubble’s Little League team, and finding, on the day of the big game between the Bedrock Giants and the Grittsburg Pirates, that the parents of the players take things way too seriously. The next season, in an episode dealing with bowling called “Bowling Ballet,” Fred blows the big championship game pitting his Water Buffalo team against the Rockland Rockets because of his lack of coordination, and finds he might be better off taking a little ballet at Bedrock’s Dance School! Biography of a Rookie: The Willie Davis Story was a David L. Wolper production that aired four days on CBS before the JFK assassination. Co-directed and photographed by the estimable James Wong Howe and narrated by Mike Wallace, it followed teenage Willie Davis, a track athlete trying to cross over to baseball, who went to the Los Angeles Dodgers’ rookie camp. He played with the Dodgers from 1960 to 1973, was a member of the National League All-Star Team in 1971 and 1973, and won the Golden Gloves for three consecutive years (1971–1973). Later after his playing career, he got into trouble with the law on gun charges. Another Wolper baseball documentary, airing in 1965 on ABC, was October Madness: The World Series, narrated by Gene Kelly. Wolper followed this program a month later with a football documentary, Pro Football: Mayhem on a Sunday Afternoon. Veteran actor Van Heflin told of the anatomy of football in America—its origin and growth, plus a look at the sport on the contemporary scene of the mid 1960s. In 1965, Howard Cosell hosted, locally in New York on WABC, Mickey Mantle: A Self-Portrait, in which The Mick sat down for 30 minutes with Cosell and, as Variety put it, “came off as a likeable, winning guy . . . To Cosell’s credit, he was able to elicit a word picture of a baseball hero’s life, his background, his tribulations, hopes, and glories.” In Boston, coincidentally on the next night, there was a half-hour program about the athletic achievements of “The Golden Greek,” Harry Agganis, who, in the 1940s and early 1950s, was the much sought after local baseball and football phenomenon out of Boston University. Agganis the Man recounted the brief life of the sports star and local guy made good who went from being an All-American quarterback in college to a baseball star with the Red Sox (at a bonus of bigmoney-at-the-time $40,000). In his sophomore year with the club (1955), tragedy struck him out. At 26, he died suddenly of a massive blood clot in his lungs. The Group W documentary on Agganis later was released on DVD together with the 1957 TV drama of fellow Sox star Jackie Jensen that played out on DuPont Cavalcade of America.
and the sport’s biggest booster. which really came into being on television in 1960 and lasted until 1990 kept adding to its fan base. and The Brady Bunch (“The Dropout. with series host Ronald Reagan playing the father of a hoop star. the humorous “Leo Durocher Meets Mister Ed. In January 1966. Tod Stiles (Milner) takes a job as assistant to a wheelchairbound wrestling promoter named Steiner ( Joe DeSantis). “A Feat of Strength” (May 18. Sandy Koufax.” with TV’s most famous talking horse parrying with The Lip. in 1963. and Dodgers catcher Johnny Roseborough. None of the networks seemed much interested in it. and Drysdale turns up as the team manager) in 1969. His first assignment is to drive Steiner to the bus station to meet the promoter’s newest attraction. which appears to have been the first serious TV drama about the sport. in Los Angeles. Onetime welterweight champion Mushy Callahan turned up as the referee. Since sort of fading from national view in the early days of television. Hungarian refuge Sandor Biro ( Jack Warden). But AWA-Star Wrestling. The AWA subsequently merged with the WWF (World Wrestling Federation). Moose Skowran. “Shadow of a Hero” was an early high school basketball-themed drama airing on the General Electric Theater in 1962. Jeff elected to continue his education rather than seek a pro career. 1962) was another Route 66 episode. thanks to the American Wrestling Association (AWA). Hulk Hogan. The Flying Nun (“The Big Game” in which Sally Field as Sister Bertrille takes over as coach of her convent’s baseball team. it began reemerging as a popular (if generally syndicated) TV sport. two other Donna Reed episodes (“Play Ball” and “My Son the Catcher”) in 1964. wrestling maintained a local TV niche in various parts of the country. Bret Hart.” The plot concerned the players’ competition to sign hot prospect Jeff Stone. who brought along such cohorts as play-by-play guy Vin Scully. Wrestling was back in the 1960s. to one of their clubs. Hall of Famer Don Drysdale also made guest appearances as himself in Leave It to Beaver (“Long Distance Call” episode) in 1962. Jesse Ventura. pitcher Don Drysdale of the Los Angeles Dodgers. . where. Reed’s son (played by Paul Peterson) on the show. Willie Davis. with stars like André the Giant. Each played himself in the episode “Calling Willie Mays. Howard Rodman wrote this episode.The 1960s 35 And in the realm of baseball there was. The coach (David Janssen) becomes concerned about the boy because his best player has been skipping practice to study for an exam. the San Francisco Giants’ Willie Mays had a guest-starring role on The Donna Reed Show with his longtime rival.” where Greg Brady is thinking of ditching school to become a professional ballplayer) in 1970. In keeping with the feel-good endings of 1960s sitcoms. In the 1980s.
Decades later. 1959. and later late night versions of Frankenstein.) And then there was “Country Club Munsters” (1964). now editor emeritus of National Speed Sports News and a former longtime race commentator for ABC and CBS who at the time was Daytona’s track announcer. The Munsters. On the carefully kept greens. Fred MacMurray. others felt that this could increase its popularity of the club by inviting him along with wife Lily. In racing. rebroadcast the series beginning in 2003. and others) in a nine-hole match for charity.” Colleague-in-arms Ed Norton (Art Carney) offered the finer point of the swing. After starting as a salesman for NBC in the early 1960s. as well as The Night Stalker and the granddaddies of the miniseries genre. NBC offered the weekly 1960 series Celebrity Golf. He has left a mark on medium and popular culture that is impossible to ignore. Of the 500 that now is the crown jewel of NASCAR. with Dark Shadows.36 Sports on Television Best known as the man who brought the horror genre to television. Jerry Lewis. but much to the dismay of many members of the local country club. without ever leaving his kitchen. and Grandpa. had said: “You can’t believe how bad the reviews were. and The Turn of the Screw. pitting champion Sam Snead against a parade of Hollywood stars (Bob Hope. an episode of the CBS series. The sitcom world had golf as a comedy topic in the 1960 episode “The Golf Champion” of Hanna-Barbera’s animated ABC series The Flintstones. (Herman has the opportunity to practice his golfing skills. Harpo Marx. Dan Curtis. despite all his efforts. was in his early career an estimable sports producer. Danny Thomas. because he hasn’t paid his membership dues. but it was his venture into daytime television that earned him a place in television history. The Winds of War and War and Remembrance. Herman practically destroys the course with his strong swings. Perry Como. Dean Martin. televised two hours of the 25-mile polequalifying events for the Daytona 500.” Lee Petty. Richard.) This episode is reminiscent of Jackie Gleason (as Ralph Kramden) who managed to deconstruct the game of golf. in 1960.” Chris Economaki. though. on a 1950s episode of The Honeymooners called “The Golfer. which was launched in January 1995. CBS Sports. the Lodge’s president. instructing Ralph in how to address the ball. Curtis formed his own production company to produce such fare as the CBS Golf Classic. leaving his giant footprints around the links. The Golf Channel. The Daytona 500 was the first 500-mile auto race to be . won the first Daytona 500 on February 22. Dracula. who died in 2006. Harry von Zell was host and commentator. The Hollywood Reporter’s review said: “It went over about as well as an oil leak. (Fred wins a golf championship sponsored by the Loyal Order of the Dinosaurs and is stripped of his trophy by pal Barney Rubble. patriarch of a famous racing family whose most renowned member was his son.
” Bud remembered. Johnson was chosen to light the torch at the opening of the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. from the very box where Adolf Hitler had viewed the 1936 games. The Squaw Valley games that year cost CBS only $50. using RCA and Farnsworth equipment. Wolper’s The Rafer Johnson Story was an hour-long documentary. They were televised by two German firms.tv. The Olympic Games first were televised in Berlin in 1936. it told the story of the decathlon winner at the 1960 games in Rome. and 72 hours of live transmission went over the airwaves to special viewing booths (called Public Television Offices) in Berlin and Potsdam. respectively. team. he met Jesse after reading a piece about him in 1951 in the New York Times after Jesse had returned to the site of his most famous sports moment and was greeted by the mayor of West Berlin at an event at the Olympic stadium that had survived the war. Bud Greenspan and wife Cappy Patrash produced their first film together. The Olympics first attracted a significant television audience during the 1968 summer games when Roone Arledge was at the helm of ABC Sports. a one-hour documentary film based on the Olympic career of Jesse Owens. Walter Cronkite anchored the games.” It was estimated that more than 150. The combination of his in-depth. More than two decades later. Telefunken and Ferbseh. “Jesse and I became the best of friends. Producer David L. CBS also aired the summer games from Rome.S. the race alternated between Fox Sports and NBC under a $2.48 billion NASCAR television contract.The 1960s 37 televised live flag-to-flag on network television when CBS aired it in 1979. Starting in 2007. Harry Reasoner. “This marked the first live television coverage of a sports event in world history.” .” and I found Jesse in the mid-1960s and got him to go back with me after nearly three decades for Jesse Owens Returns to Berlin.” Jesse himself narrated the 1964 film. Four different areas were telecast using three cameras. such as satellite feeds and videotape.000 in rights fees. which became part of Bud’s landmark series The Olympiad. along with commentators Jim McKay. From 2001 to 2006. and captain of the U. personalized approach to sports broadcasting (embodied by ABC Wide World of Sports) and the technological advances in the field. set the standard for Olympic telecasts. airing on CBS in 1961. According to the Web site www. The first Olympics televised worldwide were in 1960. in poor health.tvhistory. how sorry the German people were about Jesse’s slight at those games and he extended both hands to Jesse to apologize for Hitler’s refusing even to extend one. Fox became the exclusive home of the Daytona 500 under the terms of NASCAR’s new television package. As Bud related in the 2008 ESPN documentary about himself. “The story stayed with me. and Dick Button. CBS continued telecasting the Daytona 500 until 2000.000 Germans followed the Olympic games via television at 21 television centers. Narrated by Mike Wallace. Several years later. The mayor told him.
Wide World of Sports continued through the late 1990s. A creation of Edgar J. Scherick. (The Daytona 500 would be exclusive to CBS from 1975 to 2000. Wide World of Sports. the show featured in its premiere broadcast the Drake Relays from Des Moines’s Drake University. even badminton. was hosted for most of its history by Jim McKay. rodeo. The drama of the games was overshadowed. Peter O’Toole. Arledge also was responsible for Saturday Night Live With Howard Cosell (1975). on the show. log rolling. which ran on Saturday afternoons for 90 minutes. Traditional Olympic sports such as track and field. which debuted April 29. which also began featuring events like the Daytona 500. Intended as a “fill-in” show for a single summer season.) Arledge eventually would become the executive producer. however. with host Curt Gowdy (dealing primarily with fishing and hunting) and NFL Monday Night Football in 1970. one of his closest friends. 20/20 (1978). gymnastics. jai-alai. hurling. and skiing competitions were also regular features of the show. by the grisly murders of 11 Israeli athletes at the hands of Palestinian terrorists—the single worst tragedy in the history of sports broadcasting. In his extraordinary broadcasting career . and former Red Sox slugger Ted Williams. then president of ABC Sports (as well as president of ABC News). “The thrill of victory. Viewers watched in horror as the events of the September 5 and 6 massacre unfolded. After later selling his production company to ABC. Its goal was to showcase two or three separate sports events each week from around the globe. American Sportsman had as its host veteran sportscaster Curt Gowdy. hunted or fished with the likes of Bing Crosby. figure skating. until the start of fall sports seasons. 1961. firefighters’ competitions. even Frank Sinatra: The Main Event in 1974. and television turned into an international forum for the extremist politics of the Black September Organization. later a top TV producer of Made for Television movies. Nightline with Ted Koppel (1980). Scherick hired a young Roone Arledge to produce the show. Running on ABC from 1965 to 1985. President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn. who. showed further growth in costs and coverage. Phil Harris. demolition derby. The broadcast. curling. West Germany. became unexpectedly popular. Roone Arledge might be said to have been the most significant force behind sports in television until his death in 2002. In addition. such as surfing. These included many types not normally featured on national television. Robert Stack. he created American Sportsman in 1965.38 Sports on Television The 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich. the agony of defeat” became the familiar catchphrase popularized to promote ABC Wide World of Sports.
Ray Scott. found himself with a short-lived syndicated television sports talk show called. 11 All-Star Games. In 1967. from a book by Jim Dent. and Super Bowl III. Joe’s Jets coach Weeb Eubanks. the Super Bowl became more than simply a season-ending championship game between the two leading NFL teams. 1967. basketball’s Dave DeBusschere. effectively bringing professional hockey back to the American TV screen—and in color. another football great. The storied sportscaster. was involved in the broadcast of 13 World Series. one of the football greats was profiled by sportscaster Chris Schenkel in an hour-long ABC primetime special called Coach Bryant: Alabama’s Bear. It is a true cultural event. On January 15. Jack Whitaker. With the Jets leading 32–29 with only 65 seconds left in the game. NBC aired its first Stanley Cup Playoffs. Joe Namath. Gowdy. Through the years. the Raiders quickly scored 14 points . Among Broadway Joe’s guests over the weeks were baseball’s Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays. Gowdy was to call Super Bowl I (and eight others). The Joe Namath Show. the AFL’s infamous “Heidi” game of 1968. both CBS and NBC aired the first Super Bowl Game in which Vince Lombardi’s Green Bay Packers beat the Kansas City Chiefs in Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles. Frank Gifford. sports or otherwise. including the defining moment in 1960 when Ted Williams hit a home run in Fenway Park for his last at bat in the major leagues. 14 Rose Bowls. and 24 NCAA Final Fours.The 1960s 39 that spanned more than 40 years. when the upstart New York Jets under Joe Namath upset the favored Baltimore Colts. what else?. (Legendary Paul “Bear” Bryant. and Pat Summerall called the game. He left the Red Sox in 1966 for a 10-year stint with NBC’s baseball Game of the Week. who was to die in 1983. Gowdy was the first sportscaster to receive broadcasting’s George Foster Peabody Award (in 1969) and was inducted into baseball’s Hall of Fame in 1984. football’s Willie Richardson. co-hosting with Dick Schaap. for the first time. California. In April 1966. in the precable television era. would be the catalyst in a TV movie called The Junction Boys. and boxing’s Rocky Graziano (the latter on the same show with Truman Capote!). covered baseball for the Boston Red Sox for 15 years. several decades later. Hank Aaron’s 715th home run in 1974. the sportswriter. 8 Olympic Games. Pittsburgh Steelers Frank Harris’s “Immaculate Reception” against the Oakland Raiders in 1972. The infamous Heidi Game (also sometimes called the Heidi Bowl) refers to the 1968 AFL game between the New York Jets and the Oakland Raiders. played on November 17 in Oakland. probably the single most watched television spectacular of the year. in addition to 9 Super Bowls.) Two years later.
à la the big screen’s The Great Race with Tony Curtis and Peter Falk. was filmed in 1968. The Challengers. there was a two-season Saturday morning cartoon series from Hanna-Barbera on CBS with a sports theme: Wacky Races—about a transcontinental automobile race. and a Prayer. a new made-for-TV version of the classic children’s story. It starred Michael Parks as a hot-dogging driver. Betsy Palmer played Indian John’s wife and Ralph Meeker. hosted by Fred Astaire.” an hour-long drama on Alcoa Premiere on ABC in late 1962. Darren McGavin starred as a driver preparing for the Grand Prix. Ray starred in a never-aired CBS pilot. in “A Punt. Dave Willock was the zany host. sitting out a season feeling sorry for himself after a head-shattering injury. . and who initially was accused of having been a naive girl led astray. a teammate and rival. Another would-be series dealing with stock car racing—this a live-action one—was a busted pilot in 1962 for ABC called Tack Reynolds.) On the Hallmark Hall of Fame in November 1968. It was written by Everett Freeman.” critic Jack Gould wrote in the New York Times. and Tom Donovan. Aldo Ray guest starred with Sandy Dennis in “Idylls of a Running Back. a Pass. “dug out the old chestnut of the professional athlete who does not know he is through because of age and injuries. the director.40 Sports on Television to win. “Mark. Ray played a football star. shot by a woman who was accused of putting the make on her.” “The Long Walk Home. Toward the end of the 1960s. Hugh O’Brian manfully ran through the accepted clichés of the familiar situation. 43–32.” an original sports drama by David Mark. was about a high school football coach (Lin McCarthy) who is blackmailed into throwing his team’s big championship game. The Rock. Meanwhile. In mid-1962. scrupulously required the supporting company not to break the mold of gridiron corn. (In 1961. Some consider this one of the best cartoon series of the 1960s. but it didn’t air until 1970. Hugh O’Brian starred as Indian John Aragon. and Janet Waldo voiced the character of Penelope Pitstop from another Hanna-Barbera series. a big-league football quarterback. millions of American television viewers were unable to see Oakland’s comeback. playing a pro athlete who moonlighted as a writer of articles for a sports magazine. NBC cut off the live broadcast in favor of a prescheduled airing of Heidi. Although the new genre of movies made for television kicked off during mid decade. The first movie made for television dealing in its own way with sports. it wasn’t until the 1970s that sports-themed films and biographies of major athletes began proliferating.” a Naked City episode on ABC written by Ernest Kinoy.
and Bubba McCoy (Mel Blanc). The memorable theme of the original by Michel Legrand was interpolated into this new version that starred Mekhi Phifer as Sayers and Sean Maher as Piccolo. with Richard Crenna as a win-or-else coach. the Rhinos. This was one of the landmark made-for-TV films. a multi-Emmy Award winner and a four-handkerchief tearjerker. Billy Dee Williams is Sayers. two friends (and rivals) who were teammates on football’s Chicago Bears in the 1960s. Veteran actor Ben Gazzara took the role of George Halas. and it resonates to this day as a classic of the genre. Later Hanna-Barbera’s . James Caan is Piccolo. was to be the first great sports-themed television movie. his neighbor and best friend.M. Where’s Huddles? followed the luck of a hapless football team. Jack Warden played Bears coach George Halas. hired to whip a small college football team into shape. There were just 10 episodes. who died of cancer at the height of his career. It tells the story of Gale Sayers and Brian Piccolo. The film was based on the novel Paddy by Hamilton Maule. A primetime animated sitcom on CBS on Wednesday nights at 7:30 P.CHAPTER 4 The 1970s B rian’s Song. on whose 1970 book I Am Third this movie was based. Footsteps (1972). is the team’s center. in 1971. Shortly after Brian’s Song was another (fictional) football movie. who plan to set the odds. during the 1970–1971 season. Ed Huddles is the quarterback (voiced by Cliff Norton). The film was remade in 2001. He soon finds himself in trouble with heavy gamblers on the squad’s success.
The Way It Was. Among the other Afterschool Specials in the 1970s dealing with young people and sports were Rookie of the Year. a version— in black-and-white—of Barbara Cohen’s 1974 novel for young people. the Bedrock Broncos. she was Flicka Huffman in what might have been her very first TV work at age 16) run the family hotel. A Special Gift (a teen basketball player’s decision to pursue ballet dancing troubles his family and friend in this adaptation of the novel by Marcia L. and blindly refuses to recognize the talents of his daughter Pebbles. and the youngster form a warm friendship and bond over their love of the Dodgers and of newly acquired Jackie Robinson. the team manager. an avid Brooklyn Dodgers fan who has never been to Ebbets Field. Thank You. His mother and older sister (played by early Felicity Huffman—at the time. generally in 45. was produced (under the title A Home Run for Love). hosted primarily by Curt Gowdy (who also produced along with Dick Enberg) . where the new cook. The Gymnast (a high school coed is determined to become a world-class athlete). with preteen Jodie Foster as an 11-year-old who wants to join her brother’s all-male Little League Baseball team (sounds like her earlier TV pilot. one of which (in 1978) was The Flintstones: Little Big League. the Sandstone Sluggers—pal Barney Rubble. Simon). a sixty-something black man named Davey (Charles Lampkin). But Davey. To make matters worse.42 Sports on Television iconic cartoon series of the 1960s returned in the form of an animated special or two. threatening to leave the boy once more without a father figure. he’s having a tiff with the coach of the opposing team. and a number of others through the life of the ABC series that aired periodically between 1972 and 1995. On one of ABC’s quality Afterschool Specials in the late 1970s. in which Fred finds himself coaching a hopeless team of Little Leaguers. played by Clarence Williams III. The occasional 1974–1978 PBS sports series. Mighty Moose and the Quarterback Kid (a high school football coach. The Rag Tag Champs (a 14-year-old basketball star and his “winning is everything” uncle. has a heart condition. finds himself mediating a conflict between his star quarterback and the latter’s dad).to 50-minute segments. The Hero Who Couldn’t Read (a teacher. Soon they are going to Ebbets Field regularly with Davey’s daughter and son-in-law. Jackie Robinson. It’s a Mile From Here to Glory (an adaptation of Robert C. My Sister Hank). It dealt with a fatherless young 12-year-old white boy (Ronnie Scribner). find themselves at odds). discovers that the star basketball player is illiterate and makes it his mission to teach him how to read). played by Alex Karras. The Skating Rink (a teenager overcomes his stuttering by becoming a championship figure skater). Lee’s 1972 young adult novel about a high school track star who becomes involved in a debilitating accident and now must learn to depend on others for his day-to-day living). it turns out.
The first made-for-television movie dealing with baseball was It’s Good to Be Alive. a 1974 docudrama about the Brooklyn Dodgers’ Hall of Famer. After his playing days. with dramatic license. My Luke and I. He played six seasons with the Tigers beginning in 1974 before being traded to the Montreal Expos and finally retiring from the Chicago White Sox in 1982. where he became an outstanding player. the 1968 Harvard-Yale football match-up. Based on Campanella’s best-selling autobiography. both as a sportscaster and a member of The Today Show team. usually grainy black and white film. he became a coach and manager in the minors. a daytime game show on NBC in 1971. 1950s. It was an adaptation of Eleanor Gehrig’s 1976 book. Among the other baseball figures from Gehrig’s life were Babe Ruth . Scrappy Billy Martin turned up playing himself. A Love Affair: Eleanor and Lou Gehrig was a sentimental retelling of the love story of the New York Yankees baseball immortal and his wife (played by Edward Herrmann and Blythe Danner). the 1963 Rose Bowl Game. the 1958 NFL championship games. Produced by Major League Baseball Productions. the 1946 and 1947 World Series. The Yankees’ 1977 championship season was the focus of a documentary that year called A Winning Tradition. the 1946 Army-Navy game. the 1960 Summer Olympics. Breakout. Shows were devoted to the 1950. Roy Campanella. it was played movingly by Paul Winfield and Ruby Dee. Michael Landon directed. The story was told from Eleanor’s point of view. One in a Million told. He stole 455 bases in his career and was an American League All-Star selection in 1976. the 1946 Rocky GrazianoTony Zale fight. the 1962 NBA finals. and 1960s. LeVar Burton (Kunta Kinte in Roots) starred as LeFlore. Instead it had its initial airing opposite the Super Bowl Game in early 1978. Former Yankees player Joe Garagiola became a familiar face on television in the 1970s. from assorted sports. preceding Monday night major league baseball on the network. and then The Baseball World of Joe Garagiola on the network from 1972 to 1975. 1953. written with Jim Hawkins) from his days as a street-corner punk with no future to his time behind bars on a petty robbery conviction and his ultimate once-in-alifetime chance with the Detroit Tigers. but ironically it was preempted by the World Series. He also hosted Joe Garagiola’s Memory Game. with its appeal mainly on the game footage. and a look at the Negro Leagues in baseball.The 1970s 43 served as a nostalgic showcase for a variety of sports events from the 1940s. written with sportswriter Joseph Durso. and the auto accident in 1958 that paralyzed him and put him in a wheelchair. the 1951 Giants-Dodgers playoff game. Originally this drama was to have premiered in October 1977. it was narrated by Yankees broadcaster and former star Phil Rizzuto. the true story of baseball star Ron LeFlore (based on his autobiography.
First. as an alternative to a prospective jail term. In the latter. The former movie was directed by Andrew McLaglen. the second movie was directed by Adell Aldrich. It was based on the hit movie that starred Walter Matthau. Two sitcoms during the 1970s dealt with baseball. Next came The Bad News Bears on CBS in 1979 and 1980. The team was composed of disadvantaged and minority kids. who had tried out for the Houston Astros baseball team and been rejected. The CBS series fouled out and was gone after five episodes.000 boys and girls. The characters are a bunch of Chicago Cubs fans. with a cast of familiar TV names of the day. another Wayne pal (and one of her very few directing credits). although most of the action took place in the locker room. Jean Stapleton played the real-life Mary Dobkin in Aunt Mary. a baseball has-been who’s now reduced to hawking refreshments in the stands. Over the next four decades. Lefty Gomez ( Joe E. plots to take his revenge by a number of kidnappings during the World Series.44 Sports on Television (played by Ramon Bieri). Bleacher Bums was a 1979 PBS adaptation of a play familiar in Chicago but little known elsewhere. an original written by veteran Cy Chermak. where tickets were about a buck. who. He also starred as the pitcher for the hapless Washington Americans. and Bill Dickey (William Wellman Jr. the cheap seats set at the back of a baseball stadium. Tony Lazzeri ( James Luisi). Two baseball-themed fictional dramas that aired during the 1970s were Murder at the World Series and The Kid From Left Field. agrees to coach baseball at a school for problem . a longtime Wayne acting and drinking pal. Tata). a batboy guides the San Diego Padres to the World Series with the secret help of his dad. Jack Warden took on Matthau’s role as grumpy (if less foul-mouthed than in the theatrical version) Morris Buttermaker. developed by 1960s’ star pitcher for the New York Yankees and later New York sportscaster. In the former. she ended up coaching more than 50. in the 1940s. Jim Bouton (from his book of the same title that provided an inside view of pro baseball). It takes place in the bleachers.). the Dobkin Dynamiters. there was Ball Four. a disturbed young man. in 1976. manager Joe McCarthy (Gerald S. O’Louglin). daughter of veteran director Robert Aldrich. a remake of the 1953 theatrical film refashioned for young Gary Coleman for his own production company. a protégé of John Wayne and son of veteran actor Victor McLaglen. Bleacher Bums was restaged as a movie made for television three decades later. a swimming pool cleaner. but the viewer needed binoculars. a 1979 Hallmark Hall of Fame drama about a physically handicapped Baltimore woman living on welfare who organized a sandlot baseball team.
The 1970s 45 youngsters.) The show lasted just four episodes. as a witty angel in a business suit in Good Heavens. Diana Sands played the wife in both incarnations. granted a wish to a sporting goods salesman to try out in the big leagues in the episode. where Bill Macy (late of Maude) was the new president after his days as a pro football star.) And toward the end of the decade. Real-life football star Joe Namath turned up on a 1973 episode of The Brady Bunch titled “Mail Order Hero. Tracing the development of the sport from the end of the nineteenth century through the first decade and a half of the twentieth. vintage film footage. Vince Lombardi. Ernest Borgnine starred as one of football’s greatest coaches. who band together to help the team’s new coach and then discover its playing field is about to become a parking lot. On another series. In Profile: Legend in Granite. among many others) was a star trying to balance his playing career with the needs of his wife. there were a couple of unsold CBS pilots in 1972 and 1973. The Glory of Their Times aired on PBS in spring 1977. a Southern college. (This was after producer Norman Lear created several pilots. It was retooled the next year as Two’s Company in which onetime football star John Amos (also of Roots as the adult Kunta Kinte and the series Good Times. then with Cleavon Little. Lou Gossett (later Fiddler of Roots) was an aging running back for the Chicago Cherokees. none of which made it.” The hopeful was son Rob Reiner whose girlfriend in the episode was real-life then-wife Penny Marshall. New York and San Francisco Giants slugger—and subsequent Hall of Famer—Willie Mays (or rather his voice) made his “acting” debut in an hourlong animated Rankin-Bass cartoon called “Willie Mays and the Say-Hey Kid” on ABC’s Saturday Superstar Movie in mid October 1972. an hour-long 1970s film on ABC. respectively. Carl Reiner. On the football scene. “Take Me Out to the Ball Game. using still photographs. It dealt with five former members of a neighborhood kids’ baseball team in Brooklyn. Documentarian Bud Greenspan made a film in 1977 of Lawrence Ritter’s 1966 book The Glory of Their Times: The Story of Baseball as Told by the Men Who Played It. first with John Amos. a short-lived 1976 ABC sitcom. and interviews with some of baseball’s early stars. There also was an unsold CBS pilot that aired early in 1979 called Flatbush. The hour-long documentary was narrated by Alexander Scourby. the Flatbush Fungos. along . who’s faking a fatal illness and wants to meet the Hall of Famer as a dying wish. who had domestic problems at home. set on the campus of Braddock University. a pro-football team.” (Broadway Joe pays a visit to Bobby Brady. In The Living End. there was a short-lived 1979 CBS sitcom called Hangin’ In.
Simpson: Juice on the Loose. covering the football superstar’s glory days long before the infamous events leading to the “trial of the century. where they had never been together. J. and his brother. Producer David L. The fighters had duked it out (fictionally) for more than 100 rounds in the ring. Plimpton: The Great Quarterback Sneak. was a made-for-TV movie dramatization focusing on the relationship between 1973 Heisman Trophy-winning Penn State football star John Cappelletti (Marc Singer) and his brother. A silent killer stalks New Orleans and threatens the Super Bowl football game. Marciano. And in 1974. was a lighthearted pseudo-drama about the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders. written by Jerry McNeely. his sister. and there even was a sequel the next year. in 1979. and it’s up to David Janssen to track him down. O. never learned that he had won the computer fight after all of their records. and his wife at the time. Marie.46 Sports on Television with Colleen Dewhurst as his wife. styles. and techniques were minutely analyzed. Then there was Superdome in early 1978. In early 1970. was shown only one time in about 1. from one of the legendary “Seven Blocks of Granite” at Fordham University to coaching great with the Green Bay Packers (1959–1967) and.A.” Among those partaking in the documentary were Howard Cosell. Wolper followed eclectic writer George Plimpton through various endeavors for ABC in 1971. It traced Lombardi’s football career. for a season. Joey. L. Times reporter Dwight Chaplin.500 movie houses around the world. putting a roster full of familiar TV faces in jeopardy. Immediately afterward. who died in a plane crash less than four months before the release of the film. a rip-off of the big screen TwoMinute Warning. Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders. the Washington Redskins (1969). Plimpton joined the NFL’s Baltimore Colts for a month of preseason training and then guided the team as quarterback for four plays during halftime against the Detroit Lions. ABC aired cult director George A. Months after the “event. on January 20. and others. all of the 35mm prints reportedly were destroyed except for the one sent to the Library of Congress for copyright purposes. stricken with leukemia. one of the unique fight films in the history of the sport— the famed Ali-Marciano Computer Super Fight.” the fight aired only once on television. Something for Joey (1977). pitting two of the greatest heavyweight champions of all time against one another based on computerized records from the high points of their individual careers—was secretly assembled and. Romero’s hour-long documentary O. John Calvin and Alex Rocco as Green Bay Packers stars Paul Hornung and Tony Canadeo. J.’s mother Eunice Simpson. on ABC’s Wide . Houston Oilers’ star Al Cowlings.
although not as a sports figure. were produced within months of each other in the late 1970s. He guest starred (always as himself ) on The Sonny and Cher Show and The Captain and Tennille Show in 1977. he even had his own animated show on Saturday mornings (1977–1978). “The Eleventh Event”). in which George Foreman defeated Joe Frazier in the second round for the title. Bernie Casey and Stephen Macht played the two battling adversaries. was on “Fighting the Good Fight. never shied away from good-sportedly mixing it up with assorted TV stars on varied sitcoms and the like. More than 25 years later. Ring of Passion was a drama about the two Louis–Schmeling heavyweight fights and the way both boxers unwittingly became symbols of political ideologies on the eve of World War II. As one of the best known sports figures of the twentieth century.” which was inspired by the Sammy Davis–Wilt Chamberlain skit on Laugh-In a decade earlier. Godfrey Cambridge and Ketty Lester starred with him in the episode. Sonny Liston. with Ali decking Foreman. Jamaica. before his growing incapacitation.The 1970s 47 World of Sports. HBO premiered the leading show of the boxing world. of course. HBO World Championship Boxing in January 1973. among others. Before and after hanging up the gloves. Joe Louis and Rocky Marciano. Ali. One of Ali’s more controversial opponents. but an ex-slave who became a U. whether fighting bad guys or wrestling crocodiles. Ali starred in one dramatic TV movie. A pint-sized Gary Coleman finds himself faceto-knee with Muhammad Ali. and alternate endings. 1974. as well as Vega$ (the 1979 episode. tweaking. the fight became available on DVD—complete with tinkering. he found himself being vamped by Flip’s icon character. Marciano. starring the ideally . Senator during Reconstruction. did an unlikely bit in comedy in “Love and the Champ. The first event was the heavyweight championship bout in Kingston. Biopics of two of the boxing world’s greatest champions. Two of the memorable fights in modern-day boxing also were on World Championship Boxing—the famed Rumble in the Jungle on October 10. Ali’s most recent TV guest-starring (acting) role. for which he provided the voice of the lead character. an adaptation of Howard Fast’s Freedom Road. Ali guest-starred on Diff’rent Strokes in late 1979 in an episode called “Arnold’s Hero.” an episode of CBS’s Touched by an Angel in 1999. sassy Geraldine Jones. In a January 1971 episode of The Flip Wilson Show. NBC’s I Am the Greatest: The Adventures of Muhammad Ali.S. and it continues to this day. and the equally famous Thrilla in Manila the next year between Ali and Frazier.” an episode of ABC’s Love American Style that aired a month before Liston’s mysterious and still unexplained death.
Also in the cast was twenty-something Denzel Washington.” of Burt Reynolds’s Dan August series in 1971 on ABC (tough guy Burt investigates the death of a boxer and finds that two of the guy’s brothers. Meanwhile. including such veteran actors as Robert Alda. including one against the aging Joe Louis). And in the initial episode of CBS’s .” Queen (played by Jim Hutton) is dubious when. his dedicated fight manager. are involved along with a fighter named Tiger. four-hour drama. J. and Lloyd Nolan. In a second Marciano movie (Canadian-made) two decades later. playing a former boxer named Big Jerry who joins her in tracking down the potential assassin of a visiting British prime minister to New York City in a 1978 episode called “The Lady on Thursday at Ten” on ABC’s Nancy Drew Mysteries. the only heavyweight to retire with a perfect record (49 fights. Boxing also was in the plot of an episode. played by Dane Clark and Don Stroud. a young street-tough-turned boxer in a two-part. Then he discovers that the boxer had a number of enemies. the finger points to his sparring partner (portrayed by guest star Otis Young). A sequel the next year was titled Goldie and the Boxer Go to Hollywood. His opponent is Big Dan Anger (played by menacing Ji-Tu Cumbaka). Simpson TV movie called Goldie and the Boxer (he’s a struggling fighter with a 10-year-old girl who talks him into letting her become his manager). Rod Serling’s Night Gallery (he didn’t write this one) offered a boxingthemed playlet in 1972 called “The Ring With the Velvet Ropes. John Cassavetes received an Emmy nomination as Gus Caputo. was a somewhat romanticized drama about the last great white champion of the ring. Dane Clark. Lo Bianco appeared again in another role. Jerry Quarry also got himself involved with perennial teenage sleuth Nancy Drew (Pamela Sue Martin).” Gary Lockwood portrayed a newly crowned boxing champ who discovers that he still has one more bout—unscheduled—before grabbing the title.48 Sports on Television cast Tony Lo Bianco. Two fictional boxing dramas were The Duke. Flesh and Blood. played by Art Aragon). Tom Berenger had his first important television role as Bobby Fallon. and then of an NBC Ellery Queen mystery in 1976’s “The Adventures of the Sunday Punch. and a lighthearted O. 49 wins. In cameos in this episode were the former boxers Jerry Quarry and Art Aragon. his romance with an attractive TV reporter is complicated by an incestuous relationship with his mother (played by Suzanne Pleshette. a short-lived NBC series in 1979 starring Robert Conrad as an aging fighter turned Chicago private eye. based on Pete Hamill’s 1977 novel about a fighter struggling to reach the top. “The Meal Ticket. after a boxer is killed while training for a championship bout. who is just 12 years older than her “son”).
a well-received. with Lemon and a number of his teammates featured along with young Rodney Allen Rippy and character actor/writer Avery Schreiber. The championship game also became available on DVD. in which six businessmen/pals get together each week to play hoops. Al McGuire. but the latter ran for three seasons. a half-hour sitcom on NBC. and the boys dribbled their unique way up and down the court— shooting and invariably scoring—in two Saturday morning series during the 1970s. Bruce Paltrow (Gwyneth’s dad) was the executive producer. played at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. in March 1978. it is immortalized as Magic vs. 1978 on NBC) played on Saturday morning television in a Hanna-Barbera cartoon series. Twenty-five years later. sans commercials. On disc. including a rare interview with Bird. One of the most significant basketball games historically in all of NCAA Championships was the match-up between Michigan State University and Indiana State University—always known to fans as the duel of two future Hall of Famers. starring Ken Howard as a former basketball pro turned beloved. only to learn that the gym’s owner is a drug dealer. The boys also were on TV in the live-action The Harlem Globetrotters Popcorn Machine on CBS weekly between 1974 and 1976. “The Final Round. inspirational high school coach. . was written and produced by Bruce Paltrow. too. Basketball also was the game. Two 1970s series dealing with high school basketball were The Waverly Wonders. the classic game (won by MSU 75–64) was released on tape nationally to network affiliates as The Birth of Legends. 1979. Bird: The 1979 NCAA Championship Game. of course. hour-long drama on CBS. This sardonic comedy. was called by Bryant Gumbel. of the legendary Harlem Globetrotters.The 1970s 49 The Incredible Hulk. The Harlem Globetrotters (1970–1972 on CBS. in April 2004. with ex-football great Joe Namath as a basketball coach saddled with a hapless team (the series lasted four episodes) and The White Shadow. Magic and Bird were credited with lifting the game to new heights of popularity. Billy Packer. Magic and Bird (the Michigan Spartans’ Earvin “Magic” Johnson—in the days before he tore up the league with the Lakers—and the Indiana Sycamores’s Larry Bird—before he went to the Boston Celtics). and Dick Enberg. Both aired in 1978.” David Banner (aka The Hulk) is saved from a pair of muggers by a boxer named Rocky Welsh (played by Martin Kove) and takes a job as his corner man in the fighter’s gym. Another 1970s made-for-TV movie on CBS dealing with basketball was Shirts/Skins. The game. Meadowlark Lemon. broadcast live on NBC on March 26. with Scatman Crothers providing the voice for the team’s famed star.
and by New York City. A Couple of Days in the Life of Charlie Boswell. He was the greatest young chess champion in history. paranoid recluse. and her marriage to wrestler-turned-sports promoter George Zaharias. the court great who. and.” and died of cancer in 1969 at the age of 34. four-hour contest that demands withering concentration. that chess never became a TV sport beloved by more than the dedicated aficionados is the slowness of the game—slow even when compared to golf. in 1970 (Boswell was the noted blind golfer who in his career won a number of professional tournaments). and Webb was billed as executive producer. and then through the years he went into a strange new place. Susan Clark won an Outstanding Actress Emmy. He died there in 2008. and by 1975’s Babe. chess—a new-to-television sport (or is it just a game?)—riveted audiences almost daily for three months on PBS. baseball? As to the aforementioned golf. for never again would chess attract huge audiences on television. Bobby Fischer was one of the most prolific sports celebrities ever produced by our nation. He eventually returned to Iceland and became a citizen there. was hounded by the State Department and the tax people who wanted him extradited to America. went into exile in Japan. American child chess prodigy turned grandmaster. Fischer won. as an adult faced off across the chessboard internationally with Russian grandmaster Boris Spassky in Reykjavik. as a matter of deep pride in the United States. America’s foremost woman athlete who won two Olympic track-and-field gold medals in 1932 and went on to become a world champion golfer. dare it be said. as a teenager.50 Sports on Television In the summer of 1972. and anybody who doesn’t think that chess is a sport should try hanging in there physically and mentally during a draining. This would be what the Brits are fond of calling a “one-off”— a one-time only television event. with Anne Baxter (initially it was to have been Lana Turner) as her mother. the New York Daily News wrote: “Long before he was a white-bearded. and fought lengthy court battles as a virtual recluse. He denounced his country. The film traced her development as an athlete. Glynnis O’Connor starred in the title role. top-level. For her performance in the title role. there was the half-hour documentary by Bud Greenspan. was the first woman to win the Grand Slam of Tennis. her battles to be accepted in sports. the story of Babe Didrickson. however. . Jack Webb’s production company Mark VII Ltd. produced this one. In an “appreciation” just after his death. Tennis was represented by Little Mo (1978). the legendary Bobby Fischer. in what came to be known as the Cold War Chess Championship. a biopic about Maureen Connelly. He later was stripped of his title when he refused a rematch. Iceland. became world-renowned as “Little Mo.” One reason.
1972. (They were teamed again in the landmark TV film. Approximately three years later (December 13. produced. the CBS TV movie. The Deadliest Season (1977). a young Meryl Streep gave one of her earliest film performances. Pennsylvania. a top-ranked distance runner who is suddenly struck with . He was inadvertently forced into this training because he was a teenage bed wetter and had to run home from school every day to retrieve the wet sheets his mother hanged from the bedroom window to punish him.) Hockey also happened to be the game du jour as the first sports telecast by HBO. on November 6. dramatized the true story of John Baker. It told of the childhood years of Wilma Rudolph. Holocaust. born Eugene Orowitz. Michael Moriarty played professional hockey player compelled by his drive to succeed and by financial pressures to adopt a more aggressive playing style. The match-up at Madison Square Garden between the New York Rangers and the Vancouver Canucks was called by Marty Glickman and reportedly reached HBO’s 365 subscribers in Wilkes Barre. HBO became the first network to broadcast its signal via satellite when it showed the famous “Thrilla in Manila” heavyweight championship bout between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier. In a fictional story about running. was one of the more serious looks at the sport. written by veteran TV dramatist Ernest Kinoy. written. sports-themed dramas to this time had been hockey. As his concerned wife. Shirley Jo Finney had the title role and Cicely Tyson played her mother. as its initial show on its launch as pay channel Home Box Office. In the part of a teenage athlete was Denzel Washington (then 23) in his film debut. Wilma (1977) was an NBC docudrama. 1975). was a javelin thrower and won the New Jersey State Championship for his high school in 1954. Michael Landon wrote. about how during his teenage days he became a competitive runner. He takes a more violent stance on the ice. the next year. A Shining Season. See How She Runs (1978). In 1979.The 1970s 51 Among the lesser-explored. after spending a lifetime giving to others. Joanne Woodward won an Emmy Award for her performance as a middle-age housewife and mother (one of her fictional daughters was played by real-life daughter Lissy Newman) who. decides to claim a piece for herself and enters the grueling 26-mile Boston marathon as an obsessive means of self-expression. Before making his name as an actor. winning three gold medals in the 1960 Rome Olympics. Landon. and directed the autobiographical The Loneliest Runner (NBC 1976). and directed by Bud Greenspan for his Cappy Productions. a Tennessee girl who overcame physical handicaps with her parents’ encouragement and became a champion track sprinter. resulting in the death of a player and a manslaughter charge against him. produced.
52 Sports on Television cancer and spends his remaining time coaching a girls track team. played a former football star and widower who becomes a cooking show host. leading them to a national championship. It was adapted from the Baker biography by William Buchanan And in filmmaker Michael Mann’s CBS TV movie in 1979. in Big Daddy. was told in 1979’s Silent Victory: The Kitty O’Neil Story. The 1979 drama Champions: A Love Story portrayed two adolescents hoping to reach their goal—the national figure skating championships. a man serving a life term in prison who. Edgar Bergen had the role of her grandfather. Goldenrod. in Babe. too. to occupy his time. George Zaharias. playing a rambunctious tomboy. Henrietta “Hank” Bennett. Karras also acted in the previous year’s ABC Afterschool Special. Karras played an empty-headed hillbilly turned weightlifting champion at the Olympics in the made-for-TV movie comedy. Another Hall of Famer. Rosey Grier. The real-life account of a deaf girl who overcame her handicap to become one of Hollywood’s top stuntwomen and holder of the women’s world land-speed record in a rocket-powered racing car. the 2008 Lifetime TV movie Racing for Time appeared to be a revision of Mann’s earlier film. the Duke City Dashers.” playing a high school football coach. A 1977 Canadian-made film. ending his winning streak and breaking up his marriage. and then was with the Detroit Lions from the late 1950s to the early 1970s) starred in the 1977 wrestling drama Mad Bull. adapted by Lionel Chetwynd from Herbert Harker’s 1972 novel. And in 1973. a 10-year-old Jodie Foster starred in a CBS pilot called My Sister Hank. (Tony Lo Bianco was in this one. who wants to play baseball with the local guys. and reset in a women’s prison. The drama was written by John Sacret Young. In 1972. Peter Strauss won an Emmy as Best Actor for his performance as Rain Murphy. “Mighty Moose and the Quarterback Kid. as well as Babe Didrickson’s onetime wrestler husband. The Jericho Mile. Timothy Bottoms had the starring role and Ed Begley Jr. with Stockard Channing starring and Brian Dennehy (who is a mere six years older than she) as her encouraging dad. ex-lineman for the Los Angeles Rams. runs the recreational track in near isolation and soon becomes Olympics material. but goes all soft for a comely Russian gymnast. played his best friend. was about a once-successful champion of the Western Canadian rodeo circuit (Tony Lo Bianco) in the 1950s who is crippled in the ring. . Dutton (who also plays a male prison guard encouraging the girls in an unconventional track program). With a change of gender. a CBS pilot. It was directed by actor Charles S. as their coach. The 500-Pound Jerk.) Football Hall of Famer Alex Karras (he was with the Iowa Hawkeyes and played in the 1956 Rose Bowl.
And an unsold NBC pilot in 1972 titled Movin’ On. the Pittsburgh Pitts.The 1970s 53 Evel Knievel. The Blood of Israel) that had the dubious distinction of premiering opposite the initial TV showing of Gone With the Wind. Roller skating was also the subject of TV fare in the 1970s. turned up in 21 Hours in Munich. so popular in the early days of television. when wrestling wasn’t a popular sport outside of the hinterlands. A well-made. In the 1978 Special Olympics. Evel’s career was dramatized in a made-for-television movie. In Bailey’s Comets (CBS 1973–1975). dealing with a sexy if rather inept all-girl team. a widowed father (Charles Durning) struggles to hold together his family of three teenagers. starred Sam Elliott as the famed reallife motorcycle daredevil (played in the earlier film of the same name by George Hamilton). 30-minute 1978 syndicated series) was. with José Perez as a would-be race car driver and Raul Julia as his auto designer friend. emulating his older. a 1974 CBS pilot. Three decades later. one of whom is mentally retarded and enrolled in a state school for “special” children where he finds self-fulfillment in his love of sports. It was produced by the cartoon team of David DePatie and Friz Freleng. followed the adventures of Patrick Wayne and Geoffrey Deuel as a couple of stock car racing buddies. A later cable docudrama. both building the dream car they hope someday to race in professional competition. and their hustling chauvinist manager. thoughtful 1976 film (adapted from Serge Groussard’s book. Sword of Gideon. about a horse named Little Vic and an orphaned black teenager. Several sports-oriented programs that aired during the 1970s were in categories of their own. The source book for this movie also was used more than three decades later by Steven Spielberg for his theatrical film. Little Vic (six-part. it focused on sports only tangentially—off the field. Roller Derby. a teenage roller skating team competes in a global roller derby. Munich. made a brief comeback (four episodes before being canceled) in the 1978 NBC sitcom The Roller Girls. Linda Marmelstein. who trained and raced him. dealt with Israel’s Mossad and its relentless worldwide hunt to track down the Munich terrorists. according to the show’s producer. Gilly Walker. Sheldon Leonard directed and co-produced the 1974 CBS buddy pilot Aces Up. World Wide Wrestling was a long-running syndicated series that began in 1975. an animated children’s show. written and created by the estimable Stirling Silliphant. . A dramatization of the events surrounding the 1972 Olympics massacre when eight Arab terrorists killed 11 Israeli athletes. athletic brother.
hosted by Sonny Fox. . Way Out Games (CBS weekends 1976–1977).54 Sports on Television after its initial splash in commercial TV’s infancy. was a game show in which young teams from all over the country competed in athletic feats. The program ended in 2001 when it was well on its way to becoming huge all over again.
Miracle. a group of amateurs from around the country who were whipped into a cohesive unit by controversial coach Herb Brooks (played by Karl Malden) to win a gold medal at Lake Placid during the winter games. Before it could be shown. The second. making the film rather redundant. four-hour Top of the Hill centered on a rising company executive (Wayne Rogers) who chucks his career and his marriage to fulfill a fantasy—to be a member of the Olympic bobsled team (to tie in with the 1980 Winter Olympics at Lake Placid). The film starred among others Sonny Bono. who later was involved in a fatal skiing accident. Miracle on Ice (1981) was a TV movie about the 1980 United States Olympic hockey players. The 2004 theatrical film. The Golden Moment—An Olympic Love Story. starred Kurt Russell as Brooks. a number of made-for-TV movies were produced dealing with the Olympics. had a rather interesting back story. four-hour tale about an American athlete (played by David Keith) whose dreams of winning the decathlon are threatened by his romance with a pretty Russian gymnast (Stephanie Zimbalist). President Jimmy Carter withdrew the United States from the summer games in Moscow for political reasons. The first was novelist Irwin Shaw’s only original written exclusively for television. covering the same subject. .CHAPTER 5 The 1980s D uring the 1980s. The producers decided to make this film as a tie-in with the actual 1980 Summer Olympics: a fictional two-part. The two-part. There the squad defeated the seemingly invincible Soviet team. however.
adapted from James A. . the remarkable.” the New York Times reported. documented the individual feats of runner Roger Bannister. Nadia was a British-Yugoslavian coproduction. featuring legendary hero athletes from the 1920s including Babe Ruth. It aired in syndication to coincide with the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. and others).” And Greenspan’s 13-part Numero Uno. auto racer Janet Guthrie). Another Greenspan production included the 1988 HBO documentary The Golden Age of Sport.56 Sports on Television The First Olympics—Athens 1896 (1984) dramatized the first modern Olympic Games. Nadia (1984) dramatized the story of Rumanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci. and Red Grange. focused on 10 American athletes who competed in various Olympics and told of their personal accounts when returning to the scenes of their victories. New Zealand gold-medalist Peter Snell. the public life and private love affairs of the authoritarian. 1984.” An earlier in-the-decade Greenspan documentary was the 1980 PBS valentine Sports in America. petite teenager who amazed the sports world with her athletic abilities in the 1976 Olympics. you have no business watching America at the Olympics. golfer Nancy Lopez. Simpson. Jack Dempsey. chronicled. (Nine were still alive at the time the two-hour documentary was made. J. The film followed the fortunes of a ragtag team of amateur American athletes whose Olympic triumphs stunned the sports world. Bill Tilden. The film dealt with 40 years of his life from his Alabama roots to his tax battles with the government and his final vindication. it focused individually on “The Black Athlete” (interviews with Muhammad Ali. Arthur Ashe. skier Jean-Claude Killy. Michener’s book. with a certain amount of artistic license. iron-fisted Olympics leader who for 50 years championed the cause of amateur athletics as president of both the U. a two-part. sprinter Irena Szewinska. and others between April and July 1982. O. on PBS. four-hour docudrama.) “If you don’t get a little teary at this. “Women in Sports” (tennis pro Chris Evert Lloyd. The Jesse Owens Story (1984) starred Dorian Harewood. four-hour syndicated biographical (although superficial) drama.S. King of the Olympics: The Lives and Loves of Avery Brundage (1988). and “Children and Sports. Bud Greenspan’s uplifting America at the Olympics. It is a winning film. The legendary black track gold medalist of the 1936 Berlin Olympics was the subject of this twopart. Bobby Jones. The program won a Cable ACE award as the Outstanding Sports Documentary of the Year. airing on CBS on July 4. Told in three parts over as many months. and International Olympic Committees. which were revived at the end of the nineteenth century by a French aristocrat (Louis Jourdan) with the help of a Princeton professor (David Ogden Stiers).
Don’t Look Back (1981) dramatized the story of Leroy “Satchel” Paige. in the days when Peter Graves was hosting it on A&E. who died in 1982. The Comeback Kid—far from the story of Bill Clinton—was a 1980 made-for-TV movie. and Robert Costanzo) revolved around their softball team at the expense of their crumbling marriages. white-suited angel named Al (Dean Stockwell) who became visible only to him. long-running Biography series in the mid-1980s. Sam’s first leap (in the premiere episode. It was written by Sidney and David Carroll. In his role he leapt into the bodies of others. appeared briefly as himself in the film’s epilogue. Lou Gossett had the lead role. from his barnstorming days in the 1920s. Dribble was an unsold NBC comedy pilot airing in the summer of 1980. an affluent Long Island suburbanite whose life and those of three buddies (played by Christopher Guest. to his emergence at age 43 in the major leagues with the Cleveland Indians the year after Jackie Robinson and then Larry Doby broke baseball’s color barrier. Mel Allen put in an appearance as himself. A few years later.” one of the subjects of the popular. was restaged as a 90-minute dramatization on ESPN. Sam. male or female. Casey Stengel. the legendary pitcher. With the help of a bemused. The film was based on the 1967 autobiography Paige wrote with David Lipman. in which a down-on-his-luck baseball pitcher ( John Ritter) finds a new set of rewards coaching a gang of underprivileged youngsters and romancing a career-oriented playground supervisor (Susan Dey). Paige. Another look at the Bambino was in “The Babe: The Babe Ruth Story. The Babe. Charles Durning starred in a one-man show. “Genesis”) was into the . Beckett (Scott Bakula) was a physicist who was sent bouncing around in time and space as the result of a flawed experiment. when he hoped to break into organized Negro baseball. Rob Reiner co-produced and co-wrote Million Dollar Infield (CBS 1982). black or white. Baseball and other sports made up the plotlines of a number of episodes of the quirky cult series Quantum Leap that ran on NBC from 1989 through 1993. Nick Havinga directed. and starred as third baseman Monte Miller. Bruno Kirby. Latino or Native American. Elvis Presley or Lee Harvey Oswald. an affectionate. in which the lead character. which aired on PBS in 1981 as a Hallmark Hall of Fame production. Sam was the ultimate dogooder. Dee Wallace played a local sportswriter and Dan Frazier played the team’s coach. actor Max Gail’s 1984 one-man play about Babe Ruth that had a brief run on Broadway.The 1980s 57 Numerous baseball (and softball)-themed dramas aired on television during the decade. semiautobiographical comedy. It dealt with a fictitious pro baseball team in New York City.
a famed black pool hustler. and Fernando Valenzuela. television.58 Sports on Television body of an X-2 test pilot and baseball minor leaguer. use two hands to catch a fly ball). In the second half was a skit called “The Dugout Wizard” (played by Tommy Lasorda) who taught a second baseball fundamental (for example. Like the earlier version. Pete Rose (who was a guest twice). Each show was divided into two halves. as well as their humorous attempts to imitate Bench. in the episode “Heart of a Champion. while in “Running for Honor.” he was in the boxing ring. while in the majors. Texas. Bucky Dent. The guy who pitched to him. it was a kids-oriented show with stars from not only Major League Baseball but also film. Playing in a park in Waco. he was a sprinter at a military academy whose track meet buddy is the victim of gay-bashing cadets. Saturday morning show that ran weekly from March 21. produced by Major League baseball and hosted by . allowing him to reach first base. until January 1. Arizona. once accidentally killed a player with a fastball. pitcher in “Play Ball” for the minor-league Galveston Mustangs who. Sam manages to strike out the first time at bat. Little League. he learned.” Sam finds himself in the world of professional wrestling. and music such as Bob Goldthwait. Another star of the show was the San Diego Chicken.” Sam was Doc Fuller. 1985. a syndicated. as part of a pseudoRussian tag team. and among those making appearances were Ted Williams. Returning to America’s passtime sport.” he was Charlie “Black Magic” Waters. fighting in what he finds to be a fixed bout on behalf of a group of nuns trying to get a chapel built (shades of Sidney Poitier in Lilies of the Field). A number of “leaps” later. was The Baseball Bunch. was a young Tom Seaver. In 2006. Jimmy Kimmel. In “The Right Hand of God. Tug McGraw. It was hosted by Hall of Famer Johnny Bench and (initially) featured children chosen from the Tucson. the basic premise for the show (which didn’t run very long this time around) was revived with pitcher Roger Clemens and the Phillie Phanatic (played by Tom Burgoyne) as new hosts.” in 1992. and Graig Nettles. A music video (then a genre in its embryonic stage) was used as accompaniment to the players. 30-minute. either performing the on-field task or failing at it. 1982. but the catcher misses the last ball. The first spotlighted a current or former major league player demonstrating a fundamental of the sport to the kids.” In “Pool Hall Blues. Another syndicated show dealing with baseball was Greats of the Game (1985–1986). In another baseball-themed “leap. Frank Robinson. Sam would be the Hispanic high school quarterback for the Jaguars at El Camino High in southern California in the early 1990s football-themed episode “All Americans.
son of the noted sci-fi writer.The 1980s 59 sportscaster Tim Carver. and a veteran ballplayer. Co-starring was Virginia Madsen as a sassy blonde beauty queen. It starred William L. along with Ernie Harwell. this one from Canada and shown as part of HBO’s “Family Playhouse” series. It followed the exploits of a 12-year-old diehard Detroit Tigers fan ( Justin Henry). Tigers skipper Sparky Anderson does an onscreen bit as himself. Al Ackerman. was the film’s executive producer. The greats included through the weeks many of the superstar players of the time from Hank Aaron to Maury Wills. Tiger Town. the boy invokes a magic spell and he and grandpa switch bodies. Louis Browns briefly) but also inspired a handicapped youngster. Tigers enthusiast Alan Shapiro wrote and directed the film. enacted by Huckleberry Fox. a 70-year-old former major league baseball coach now confined to a nursing home and constantly clashing with a sharp-tongued Nurse Ratched-type played by Elizabeth Montgomery. Kirk Douglas was Amos Lasher. The comedic Long Gone was a 1987 HBO baseball film publicized as the story of a lowly minor league team. adapted from Todd Strasser’s book for young people.” A Winner Never Quits was a sentimental dramatization in 1986 of Pete Gray’s story. In the 1985 Amos. from the 1983 novel by Stanley Gordon West. “Magic Saturday. the Tigers’s Big Number 6—patterned after Al Kaline or perhaps Ernie Banks—who led his team to a pennant after a midseason slump. told of a youngster named Marky (played by Taliesen Jaffe) and his best friend. with major league dreams. once known as “Stormin’ Norman” (M. The Disney Channel presented its first original film. Stud Cantrell. long-ago baseball star grandpa. . who share everything. The spell allows Stormin’ Norman to play one last magical ball game. and Ray Lane. Emmett Walsh).” a 1986 episode of Steven Spielberg’s Amazing Stories. the Tampico Stogies. Keith Carradine (with one arm tied behind his back) portrayed the one-armed baseball player of the 1940s who not only realized his dream of playing in the major leagues (he was with the St. When the old man becomes ill. intent on turning a one-night stand with Cantrell (and possibly every other one of his players) into a lifelong commitment. his adoring. The publicity from HBO described it this way: “A teenage peanut vendor at a baseball stadium goes nuts over a pretty girl he spots there—until he learns that she’s the daughter of the stadium’s stingy owner. Another baseballthemed 1985 drama. Dixie Lee Boxx. Peter. in 1983. who was reduced to coaching a third-rate mid-1950s team. Actor Kirk’s son. This one was written by Richard Christian Mathieson. Billy Young (Roy Scheider). Petersen as a brash player-manager. was the hour-long Workin’ for Peanuts.
an early 1980s ABC comedy/action series.” and Bill Macy (of Maude.” in which reluctantly superhuman but rather klutzy Ralph Hanley (William Katt) joins the underdogs on a diamond team and lends his fantastic arm as a pitcher to thwart a bunch of crooked gamblers. Casey at the Bat (1986). Another animated show dealing with baseball was a 30-minute Canadian cartoon called Take Me Up to the Ball Game (1980). Howard Cosell narrated this tale of the hapless Mudville Hogs player who saved baseball in 1888. And on the New Twilight Zone series on CBS in 1988. It is mentioned here solely because comedian Phil Silvers was the star (or at least his voice was). and Pat Corley the slippery owner. Macy) was Casey’s mentor. it’s included here simply because a sports star was the lead guest star playing himself. Michael Nouri was the manager. baseball was the theme on “The Two-HundredMile-an-Hour Fast Ball. the Bay City (California) Bluebirds of the AA Western League. adapted from Ernest Thayer’s classic baseball poem. In a November 1981 episode of The Greatest American Hero. During the 1980s. Yankees star Reggie Jackson turned up.” Archie made a racial remark. who looks just like him. . Several months later. a washed-up. Linus and Lucy) or indulging in more mundane things like everyday living—and puppy-loving. Although Reggie turned up at Archie Bunker’s tavern to say “no problem. It was written by Tom Palmer and directed by Doug Jackson. He played Irwin.60 Sports on Television Bay City Blues (NBC 1983) was an hour-long dramatic series following the fortunes of a minor-league baseball team. whether it be playing sports. Bob Uecker was Cosell’s “color man. particularly baseball (Snoopy: Team Manager. In fact. The Lost Ballpark. starred Elliott Gould as the famous player of lore and Carol Kane as his sweetie in this episode of Shelley Duvall’s cable series Tall Stories and Legends. on CBS’s sitcom Archie Bunker’s Place. It’s the Team Spirit. the coach of a team of farm animals from Earth who compete in a baseball game in outer space with a bunch of alien all-stars. Charlie Brown and the Peanuts Gang were doing their well-loved thing on The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show on CBS. Dennis Franz the coach. injured pro baseball player who finds a 1909 baseball card of one Monte Hanks. not William H. Archie-0” was not really about baseball. Like just about every other baseball-oriented series on TV through the years. this one fouled out after just four episodes. that card transports him back into the game. and the whole thing ended up in court. Marc Singer starred in an episode called “Extra Innings” as Ed Hamler. Charlie Brown) and sometimes football (Snoopy’s Football Career. Although the episode “Reggie-3. In this story Archie’s truck accidentally backed into Reggie’s spiffy sports car.
produced for PBS by Kelly Candaele in tribute to her mother and the other women baseball players and their fabled team of World War II. Peewee.) In 1988. Hammering Hank. These roles were played on the big screen by Burt Reynolds and Kris Kristofferson. and Dr. Publicity for the show described it. baseball has traditionally represented a way into the American mainstream. who comes back from the Vietnam War in a wheelchair and tries to put his life back together by coaching youngsters in a correctional facility. Baseball was a melting pot producing heroes nicknamed The Babe. As with most of the latter day Conrad vehicles. produced and written by filmmaker Irv Drasnin. Joltin’ Joe. close pal Roger Bacon was co-producer.” All the while on the TV gridiron. especially for immigrants. The title of the show was appropriated by director Penny Marshall for her later feature movie on the same subject. Though black professional players were forced to play in their own leagues up until 1946.The 1980s 61 In the mid-1980s. with Bruce McGill and David Hasselhoff as the fictional New York Bulls pro football team stars Billy Clyde Puckett and Shake Tiller. another daughter Nancy had a small role as a coed. played his screen son. real-life daughter Joan was executive producer. Conrad returned as both director and star of CBS’s football drama Glory Days. K. about a middle-age man who fulfills his desire to be a football star. Marshall 1986 Mets: A Year to Remember (1986). Fighting Back (1980) was a dramatization of the story of Pittsburgh Steelers football star. narrated by E. was based on the Dan Jenkins’s novel and the 1977 film. He returns to college after retiring and becomes a grid hero. Coach of the Year (1980) had Robert Conrad as Jim Brandon. aired as part of PBS’s American Experience series. in part. also written and produced by Stern A League of Their Own (1987). Dizzy. “Forever Baseball” (1989). there were these programs in the 1980s. a former football pro with the Chicago Bears. including these: Pinstripe Power: The Story of the 1961 New York Yankees (1986). this way: “It reflects both the ideals and contradictions in American life. produced and written by Steven Stern for Major League Baseball A Silver Odyssey: 25 Years of Astros Baseball (1987). for whom his production company was named. Rocky Bleier (played by Robert Urich) and his comeback . ABC’s Semi-Tough (1980) which lasted only four episodes. G. (This was not the same Jim Brandon of the Bears who in 1988–1989 was named Coach of he Year. The Duke. this was a family affair. PBS Sports broadcast a number of documentaries dealing with baseball. Real-life son Shane.
Sports star-turned-actor Bruce Jenner. and has hardly been seen since its NBC premiere.62 Sports on Television from serious injuries during the Vietnam War. a 1983 TV movie. The 1981 TV movie that was part Norma Rae and part The Longest Yard was ABC’s light-hearted The Oklahoma City Dolls. Sonny Jim Gaines played the coach and Paul Winfield was the nominal lead. Tom Harmon. Susan Blakley starred as a factory worker who leads a rebellion for equal rights by forming a company football team for women and hiring down-onhis luck coach Eddie Albert to turn them into winners. made in 1979. who had written the teleplay as well as one of the songs). adapted from John Alfred Williams’s 1976 book. Football giant Harmon had . thanks to Art Rooney. coached by Tony Randall as Rambaba Organimus. written by Ann Beckett. An offbeat. and Eugene Roche as the head cop. sat on the network shelf for nearly two years. and it gave young TV veteran Helen Hunt her first starring role. Football. Grambling’s White Tiger. Olympic decathlon gold medalist in 1978. the team’s benevolent owner (portrayed by Art Carney). and Harry Belafonte made his television movie debut as the famed Grambling coach Eddie Robinson (who died in 2007 at age 88). became a quarterback for the boys’ junior varsity football team while living briefly in Oregon. a 1981 NBC television biopic. Elisha Cook. Brian Dennehy. a teenage girl from Canada who. ran through the topnotch 1981 two-part movie called The Sophisticated Gents. followed the antics of an antiestablishment group of hippies. Freaks (aka Off-Sides). This basically all-black film. football-themed TV movie. hoping to get into pro football. Pigs vs. In the cast were Grant Goodeve. This was an adaptation of Bruce Bahrenburg’s early 1970s book My Little Brother Is Coming Tomorrow. starred. Quarterback Princess. which brings together nine members of a black athletic/social club for the first time in 25 years to honor their old college coach. in 1981. Adam Baldwin. told the story of the real-life Tami Maida. as the game announcer. this sat on the shelf for nearly four years before its NBC premiere. although not the primary part of the plot. a onetime star player named Richard “Bubbles” Wiggins. Filmed in 1980. This was based on Bleier’s 1975 autobiography written with Terry O’Neill. Patrick Swayze. romanticized the story of James Gregory. The reunion is marred by a murder investigation involving one of the gents (Melvin Van Peebles. an outstanding high school quarterback from California who. She not only led the squad to a winning season but also was crowned homecoming princess. becomes the lone white student at Grambling College in Louisiana. plus sports legend and Heisman Trophy winner of decades earlier. The Junior Bachelor Club. who take on their mainstream small-town sheriff and son’s gridiron team of Vietnam war vets (it was set in the late 1960s). Gloria De Haven.
but continued to coach from a wheelchair and almost wordlessly for another 15 years. D. and of course becomes a phenomenon. based (at least on the screen credits) on Seymour Epstein’s “Eye of the Beholder. Because he didn’t finish his own education. Parker. following his graduation from Michigan State in 1969. Simpson played T. Michael Nouri starred as Wedemeyer. and inadvertently becoming enamored with his son’s girlfriend. Equally macho Robert Urich also did a CBS movie around the same time. whose own dad was the legendary Brooklyn Dodgers catcher who was left paralyzed after an auto accident. Directing this sports drama was Roy Campanella II. Quiet Victory: The Charlie Wedemeyer Story (1988) was a CBS docudrama about an outstanding high school athlete who became quarterback of the Punahou School football team in his home state of Hawaii and was named Hawaii Prep Athlete of the ’60s. Macho Robert Conrad did his thing once again in a 1988 football movie. making a comeback in life. The Comeback. he enrolls with them.The 1980s 63 been Emmy-nominated back in 1949 in a category called “Most Outstanding Live Personality” along with early talk. while he was the head football coach at Los Gatos High School. each of which (beginning with the second) had a new subtitle: Training Camp: The Bulls Are Back The Championship Going for Broke . tries out for and makes the football team. 1st and 10 was a six-season HBO sports sitcom (the cable network’s first regular series) beginning in 1984. After his graduation from Punahou in 1965. The Diane Barrow character reportedly was based on real-life Georgia Frontiere. beginning with the second season. but he stays with it. he obtained a master’s degree from Central Michigan University. team owner who inherited it (the fictional California Bulls) as part of a divorce settlement after her hubby ran off with a lineman. J.” Urich portrayed an ex-NFL football jock whose career was cut short by injuries and has been traveling the world carefree for the past two decades. as director and star. His wife wants him to quit. made appearances throughout the TV seasons. Delta Burke starred as Diane Barrow. Assorted pro football players. he attended Michigan State University where he played for famed coach Duffy Daugherty. playing a middle-age man with two kids in college (one real-life son Shane). In 1978. O. general manager. Later. he was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease at age 31. He decides to return to Minneapolis to settle down and pay a visit to his ex-wife and now grown son. Louis Rams. owner of the NFL’s St.and game-show host Mike Stokey and comedian Ed Wynn (who won). past and present.
As the official Jack Dempsey Web site puts it: “Dempsey proved his phenomenal ability in a battle of ‘David and Goliath’ match of fists. a lightweight contender whose chance at the title was dashed by wounds he suffered during World War II. his trial for draft evasion in World War I. his lifelong friendship with Damon Runyon and other celebrities. Tunney and Dempsey went fist to fist again in 1927 in hopes that Dempsey would reclaim his title. a 21-year-old Mancini met 23-year-old South Korean challenger Duk Koo Kim. this match yielded the largest paid attendance in boxing history. his first wife. with Robert Blake as his father. In CBS’s three-hour docudrama Dempsey in 1983. Fifty of these wins were knockouts. 1926. he was defeated by Gene Tunney and lost his heavyweight title. Victoria Tennant was silent screen actress Estelle Taylor. Barbara Piatelli Dempsey. CBS next took on the career of Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini in 1985 in Heart of a Champion: The Ray Mancini Story. who became a darling of TV boxing matches during the 1980s. His iron strength and killer left hooks allowed Dempsey to beat Jess Willard in 1919. Lennie. and his achievements in the ring. Sally Kellerman played Maxine Cates. leaving the giant bewildered and shattered. who became the second Mrs. and Sam Waterston portrayed Doc Kearns.” He went on to become one of the boxing greats of the 1920s. 1982. who discovered the young Dempsey and managed his career to the heavyweight championship. Doug McKeon played the boxer. Dempsey. On November 13.64 The Bulls Mean Business Doing It Again In Your Face! Sports on Television Television aired many boxing-related stories during the 1980s. In the 14-rounder at Caesars Palace in Las . On September 23. The film was based on Dempsey’s 1977 autobiography. Tunney won the match three rounds later. He lost this rematch. He left the ring with a record of 60–7–8. Ironically. Treat Williams made his dramatic television debut as boxing great Jack Dempsey in the film covering the career of the fighter known as The Manassa (Colorado) Mauler. a jaded saloon singer 10 years his senior. This was the story of the onetime World Boxing Association (WBA) Lightweight Champion who claimed he fought to keep alive the dream of his dad. written with his third wife. The drama described his first two marriages. Dempsey continued boxing in exhibitions after his defeat but retired from professional boxing in 1940 and went on to be a successful restaurateur in New York. which was coined “The Battle of the Long Count” because the referee claimed that Dempsey did not return to a neutral corner after Tunney fell.
. Sylvester Stallone. And the same season (same network). Danny Lopez. put in a cameo as a seedy fight promoter. In an episode of the Lee Majors series.O. at first searching for money to help her ne’er-do-well boyfriend get off the hook with the syndicate and later redeveloping a warm. Mancini retired officially in 1993.” For the TV-movie Terrible Joe Moran. Art Carney won an Emmy as Outstanding Supporting Actor for his performance as Cagney’s longtime pal. playing a wheelchair-bound former boxing champion whose long estranged granddaughter. pops back into his life. Sammy Davis Jr. up until Ray’s January 1984 fight with Mexican Bobby Chacon. Colt (Majors) tries to protect a fight manager from the mob. made one of his last acting appearances in Ring of Honor. “Dreams Don’t Die—The Ray Mancini Story. a die-hard Cubbie. and Monte Masters all had cameos. Turning up as themselves were Sugar Ray Robinson. who once wrote a song that tracked Mancini’s career. Rocky Marciano. This changed the face of lightweight boxing. Kid” when she finds herself bullied by a schoolmate in a 1985 episode. leaving a record of 29–5. Memorable middleweight boxing champ Marvelous Marvin Hagler (like fellow boxer from an earlier era. whose flamboyant mayor. Mancini battered away at Kim who sustained brain injuries and died in the ring (actually five days later). Massachusetts) was sought out by popular NBC TV star Punky Brewster (perky Soleil Moon Frye) for fighting tips in “The K. on CBS in 1984. He gained new fans later as a fight analyst for the Fox reality series. scored for her by her curmudgeonly costar Henry Warnimont (George Gaynes).” “A Champion’s Edge. Archie Moore. In the realm of popular culture. Edward Koch. finds herself the proud possessor of a pair of Chicago Cubs baseball tickets. Larry Holmes. on NBC in 1986. He did his first television acting in 25 years. the young lady. Ray is remembered by music fans through writer/performer Warren Zevon. variously. Celebrity Boxing. James Cagney was enticed out of retirement for one final role.” and “I Walk in Your Shadow. On an earlier sports-themed episode in 1984. Before acquiring its final title. one of the screen’s most famous fictional boxers. Carlos Palomino. from Brockton. an aspiring writer. with 23 knockouts. which was televised on HBO. The drama was filmed entirely on location in Manhattan. the Knight Rider episode “Redemption of a Champion” featured Ken Norton as a former boxing champ determined to step back into the ring even if it kills him. Jerry Quarry. and Bobby Chacon. Don King. familial bond with the old man. not only was executive producer of the Mancini film but also choreographed the fight sequences as he had done for his Rocky movies. this superficial TV movie biography was called. The Fall Guy.The 1980s 65 Vegas.
” going to bat for his friend Jackhammer Jackson (heavyweight champ Ken Norton). head coach of the New York Knicks) and the loving upbringing in the Chicago projects by his mother Mary. . Boxing was part of the plot of an episode in February 1989 of the NBC sitcom Amen. In another episode. titled “The Trouble With Harry. Harry finds that both a loan shark and a mob hit man are closing in on him and his son.” had Mr. Windmill was played by onetime boxer-turned-actor Vinnie Curto (he’d fought as a super middleweight in the 1970s and 1980s) in the episode titled “The Boxer. the title of which tells the plot of this third pilot to a prospective new Gilligan’s Island series. and the Globetrotters and Gilligan’s gang play basketball against a specially programmed squad of robots controlled by mad scientist Martin Landau. The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan’s Island aired in 1981. an episode of NBC’s popular series The A-Team. During the 1980s. a few basketball dramas and comedies were aired. titled “Pros and Cons. on a two-part Miami Vice in early 1987.66 Sports on Television an episode of NBC’s series Hunter in the spring of 1989. set themselves up as cable TV promoters in an episode called “Down for the Count” to get the goods on a mobster trying to fix a fight. when Deacon Frye (star Sherman Hemsley) recruited one of his parishioners. a punch-drunk fighter named Windmill Pearson to get into the ring on behalf of the church.” Curto’s story was scheduled to be dramatized in the 2009 Robert De Niro movie Out on My Feet with Curto playing his own dad. T as “B. played by Alfre Woodard. cop Rick Hunter (played by former Los Angeles Rams football star Fred Dryer) pursues the murder of a promising fighter’s manager and his doctor.A. He played an aging boxing trainer named Benny Shaffer. who’s now in prison and participating in fight-to-the-death boxing matches set up for the warden’s amusement. Joining the team in the search are guest stars Hulk Hogan and fellow wrestling star William “Refrigerator” Perry (who had earlier been an NFL lineman for the Chicago Bears and Philadelphia Eagles). now former. Now a drunk. who gets involved when no-nonsense L. A Mother’s Courage: The Mary Thomas Story (1989) was an inspirational Emmywinning (Outstanding Children’s Drama) Disney production recounting the early life of Detroit Pistons basketball great Isaiah Thomas (who’d go on to be the controversial. A few seasons earlier.” George Peppard leads The A-Team in 1986 in a search for fighter Harry ‘The Hammer’ Sullivan (Paul Gleason) who accidentally killed a man in the boxing ring in 1959 and has been on the run ever since. The legendary team’s chartered plane crash lands on the atoll inhabited by the happily marooned Gilligan and fellow castaways. Hip cops Sonny Crockett and Ricardo Tubbs (Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas). Two-time welterweight champ and 1984 Olympics gold medalist Mark Breland guest starred as the boxer. A.
PBS’s WonderWorks series of programs aimed at younger viewers aired the Canadian-made Hockey Night in 1984. It followed the fortunes of a teenage figure skater who. Gretzky and Messier were the superstar heart and soul of the Oilers during the 1980s.The 1980s 67 Hockey was also the subject of several TV shows of the 1980s. Don Murray. At least one golf-related story bears mentioning. until his teammate and best friend. In 1984. on a CBS Schoolbreak Special (a series of periodic late afternoon dramas that competed with ABC’s Afterschool Specials but aimed at a slightly older audience). after losing two of his all-star players. played by Rick Moranis. in this original by Susan Rohrer.” Anastas. The title. was an HBO comedy/drama in 1988 that starred Randy Quaid as a pro golfer on the PGA tour. while aspiring to “go for the gold” and achieve her Olympic dreams. and teammates of the Edmonton Oilers through the 1986–1987 season as they battle for the team’s third Stanley Cup. Figure skating made it into the TV drama spotlight in a 1980 ABC Afterschool Special titled “The Heartbreak Winner. gets his students to prevent more tragedies by forming Students Against Drunk Driving in 1981. who also directed. Charlie Huddy. based on the 1974 book by Dan Jenkins. Other sports-themed dramas in the 1980s and 1990s CBS Schoolbreak Special series that were aimed at young adults included “What If I’m Gay?” (the macho captain of the high-school soccer team is forced to confront his homosexuality after his buddies discover a gay magazine in his locker) and “If I Die Before I Wake” (high schoolers are left to pick up the pieces. It starred Megan Follows (in her Anne of Green Gables days) as a teenager in a small Canadian town looking to become a goalie on the boys’ high school hockey team and bowling over the team’s coach. In The Boy Who Drank Too Much (1980). Lance Kerwin.D. Story.D. Mark Messier. who thinks that heaven has fallen into his lap (or on his patch of ice). the story of the real-life high school hockey coach Bob Anastas (played by Stephen Macht) was dramatized in “Contract for Life: The S. . when the entire track team is killed in an airplane crash). Scott Baio is a high school athlete.A. Dead Solid Perfect. Director Bob McKeown’s Canadian-made 1987 documentary The Boys on the Bus followed hockey stars Wayne Gretzky. The CBS film was based on the 1979 novel by Shep Greene.” adapted from Michael Bonadies’s novel for young people. comes down with rheumatoid arthritis and subsequently learns the true value of winning when she meets a young African American paraplegic. The Gold Test. commits himself to saving Buff from his self-destructive habit. Buff Saunders. who is well on the road to becoming an alcoholic like his ex-hockey pro father.
Tennis played a secondary role in two Alfred Hitchcock classics of the past. is the term given when the golfer’s ball is hit at a perfect angle. Several programs in the 1980s portrayed stories about runners. Three tennis-related dramas of the 1980s should be mentioned. TNT’s cable movie Finish Line (1988) was a sports-related drama about a father-son relationship with a real-life father-son team playing the fictional roles. The Miracle of Kathy Miller was a dramatized account on CBS in 1981 of runner Kathy Miller (Helen Hunt). dedicated-to-winning older man ( James Brolin). it had two actors from the United States. and a transvestite. The Terry Fox Story (1983) dramatized young Canadian athlete Terry Fox’s cross-country Marathon of Hope after he lost a leg to cancer. a former track star. a loving father. the tennis star who had undergone a sex change operation after having lived the first part of her life as a man. to date he’s never made another film). a sports-minded Arizona teenage girl who was struck down by a speeding auto in 1977. Vanessa Redgrave received an Outstanding Actress Emmy nomination playing both Renée and Richard. and Jack Warden his colorful sponsor. The passionate involvement of the ambitious. Bobby Roth. Bob Newhart played a jogger who had everything he could want in the comedy/ romance Marathon. In this sometime salty adaptation by Jenkins and the film’s director. a bigoted Texas loudmouth. in the athletic career of the younger one ( Josh Brolin. The script was by Mel and Ethel Bretz.68 Sports on Television as golf enthusiasts know. First came the 1981 TV version of Hitch’s 1954 Dial M for Murder (this time starring Christopher Plummer—as . This movie was heralded as the first made exclusively for HBO. Second Serve (1986) was a compelling telling of the story of Dr. Filmed in Canada with a basically local cast and crew (and Eric Fryer making his acting debut in the lead. a happy teenage daughter. then just 20) drives the latter to steroid abuse and tragedy. Kathryn Harrold played Quaid’s independent-minded “golf widow” wife. It was an original story by Norman McLeod Morrill. a 1980 TV movie on CBS—a loving wife. both of which were remade for television. a couple of best buddies. one of whom was Robert Duvall as the opportunistic PR man who helps turn Fox into a national hero. Renée Richards. Veteran actor Jackie Cooper directed this lively script by Ron Friedman. Richard Raskind (here called Richard Radley). and eventually recovered miraculously to be named the world’s most courageous athlete. Then he meets a beautiful female runner in a local marathon and found that he had to be kept on his toes to keep himself and his life running smoothly before his mid-life crisis overtook him. spent 10 weeks in a coma with massive brain damage.
taped in Las Vegas at the Riviera Hotel ) was an hour-long weekly offering that was . G. with Hulk Hogan. and by 1993 taped on the road). and Viggo Mortensen). and then Charlotte. The movie was based on the true story of rodeo champion Sue Pirtle. who adapted (among others) Raymond Chandler’s original 1951 screenplay. and CBS airing a part animated/ part live action series. Another tennis-tinged Hitchcock movie. This new version. who was inducted into the Cowgirl Hall of Fame in 1981. in which wrestlers. 1951’s Strangers on a Train. WWF Prime-Time Wrestling aired from 1986 through 1993 on the USA Network. Hulk Hogan’s Rock ‘n’ Wrestling on Saturday mornings in 1985. plus Anthony Quayle as the police inspector. Roddy Piper. Gwyneth Paltrow. beginning in 1989 and continuing annually through 2000. Even the rodeo was the subject of a 1980s TV drama. was a syndicated series WWW Superstars of Wrestling (1984–96). including. and American Hugh O’Brian. was remade for TV in Great Britain in 1967 with Laurence Harvey. as it was called). was a pay-perview series called Halloween Havoc. were interviewed by Vince McMahon and cohost Lord Alfred Hayes. launched by producer Lawrence Crockett Jr. an NBC wrestling series Saturday Night’s Main Event. rather than actors and book authors. This program was the predecessor of Monday Night RAW and RAW Is War. becomes an aspiring rodeo rider herself.O. It was written and directed by Tommy Lee Wallace. telecast live initially from the Philadelphia Civic Center. based on the Frederick Knott mystery.W (Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling ) (1986–1990 in syndication. in 1975 and which continued through the 1980s and 1990. Hogan played himself in live-action segments and Brad Garrett did Hulk’s voice in the animated parts. based on Patricia Highsmith’s novel. There also were good-humored. North Carolina. and again in 1996 in the United States. with Michael Douglas.The 1980s 69 a noted British tennis pro. and Eddie Guerrero. Curt Hennig. it mixed wrestling with steel-cage matches. airing in 1984 on the USA Network. Diane Cilento. Produced by World Championship Wrestling (WCW). In Rodeo Girl the wife (Katharine Ross) of a champion rodeo performer who is tired of her subsidiary role at home. and Michael Parks). almost spooflike hourlong wrestling /talk shows. Also. encouraged by her onetime performer mother and despite her husband’s disapproval. was adapted to television by prolific John Gay. Aside from an increasing plethora of wrestling matches on TV—the nationally syndicated pro series World Wide Wrestling (first out of Raleigh. airing occasionally between 1985 and 1992.L. Angie Dickinson. Tuesday Night Titans (or TNT. (It later was made again theatrically as A Perfect Murder. as Once You Meet a Stranger with a change of gender—Jacqueline Bissett and Theresa Russell.
many of the “ladies” in the ring were current or former LA strippers and mud wrestlers. Outlandish women wrestlers would go at it in the same fashion as those trashy mud wrestlers from the Hollywood strip clubs. and a ski bunny helps him regain his self-respect. painter. Several TV shows dealt with auto racing in 1980s. including John Schneider and Tom Wopat. and. The Dukes. street-smart skier from Oregon who put his scrapes with the law behind him and emerged a gold medalist at the 1984 Winter Olympics at Sarajevo. follows the fortunes of a tough. Jesse Swan (played by David Soul). The Masked Maniac. shortly after the Burt Reynolds theatrical film Cannonball Run became a huge success. And in 1981. Skiing was the subject of ABC’s Swan Song in which Sun Valley provided the backdrop to this fictional 1980 story (by Jeffrey Bloom. and Ron Koslow) of a downhill ski racer. sculptor. at night. a 1983 cartoon series from Hanna-Barbera. In fact. Elke Sommer’s World of Speed and Beauty (1984) was a syndicated series hosted by 1960s’ beauty. Learning the Ropes (1988–1989 syndicated ) with real-life football star Lyle Alzado (defensive lineman for the Denver Broncos. Alzado was one of the first professional athletes to be accused of using steroids. Cleveland Browns. a devoted wrestling buff who was the self-proclaimed king of the offbeat genre. Yugoslavia. country singer Mel Tillis and ex-Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Terry Bradshaw (later to become a Hall of Famer and still later as sportscaster on CBS) reprised their big screen roles in an NBC pilot called The Stockers. Swan seeks to make a comeback after being branded a loser. Motorcycling was the topic of Stormin’ Home (1985) in which an aging motocross racer (Gil Gerard) vows to make one last go of it on his bike in the race of his career. was a Saturday morning CBS spin-off from The Dukes of Hazzard. He later died of brain cancer in 1992 (at age 42). with many of the actors. and Los Angeles Raiders during the 1970s and early 1980s) starred as a history teacher and prep school principal by day and a pro wrestler. Michael Mann. providing the voices. Going for the Gold: The Bill Johnson Story (1985). . The series later was revived on TNN in 1989. playing a pair of struggling stock car racers named Mel and Terry. Women’s wrestling has never gone mainstream on television except for the infamously bizarre intergender match in the 1980s that was staged by way-out comic Andy Kaufman. one of the top-ranked celebrity tennis players and golfers. with Anthony Edwards in the lead. He has already lost his wife and daughter to his footloose lifestyle and is about to have his semi-tractor cab repossessed.70 Sports on Television extremely popular in urban areas. according to Sports Illustrated.
The 1980s 71 Billiards had a rare bank shot in the late 1980s in Kiss Shot. a 112-mile bike ride.4-mile swim. the alter ego for TV writer/producer Sally Robinson. The script was by Peachy Markowitz. Whoopi Goldberg made her TV-movie debut in this 1989 romantic comedy as a pool hustler. Her teenage son (played by Jonathan Silverman) encourages her to “go for it!” Gymnast turned actress Cathy Rigby starred as one of her friends. . It starred Penny Marshall as a lovable eccentric who becomes obsessed with competing in Hawaii’s Ironman Triathlon. Dennis Franz played her promoter and Dorian Harewood was a part-time player and full-time playboy. a self-made single mother who turns her skills into fast money to meet her mortgage payments.2-mile running race. The triathlon is the subject of Challenge of a Lifetime (1985). a grueling daylong sports contest that consists of a 2. and a 26.
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reality programming (sports and sports themed) became increasingly popular. The Court-Martial of Jackie Robinson was a dramatization of events in the life of Jackie Robinson while he was an officer in the U. with the launching of more and more pay and basic cable stations. many specializing in sports programming. was Gladiators 2000. and documentaries in the 1990s. among others from the sports arena. On American Gladiators. A children’s version of the series. Executive produced by Ron Ziskin. Joe Thiesmann and Larry Csonka. Baseball was often featured in dramas. the landscape of television began expanding quite rapidly. In what today would be categorized as a reality series. The new millennium version featured 24 fearless contenders—12 men and 12 women—facing off against the show’s Gladiators (see later). with flamboyant wrestling star Hulk Hogan and Laila Ali. as cohosts. American Gladiators was revived on NBC at the start of 2008. not against one another but against various members of the in-house staff of challengers. which aired for a single season in 1994. the hour-long show was hosted by Mike Adamie along with. Army during .CHAPTER 6 The 1990s B y the last decade of the twentieth century. By the end of the 1990s. a weekly syndicated sports/audience participation series (it actually began in October 1989 and ran until mid-1997). comedies. It might be thought of as a precursor to the current Dancing With the Stars or Deal or No Deal. at various times. exotic names) competed in assorted physical endeavors. there were 208 episodes.S. Muhammad Ali’s champion boxer daughter. given colorful. contestants (male and female. also syndicated.
an original TNT drama by Lee Blessing. a Native American (Graham Greene). was similar to the one on the big screen the same year. Baseball with Tom Selleck. of legendary players Satchel Paige (Delroy Lindo) and Josh Gibson (Mykalti Williamson). (Selleck ended up managing a Japanese team outside of Tokyo. whom he hasn’t talked to in many years because of a grudge. dealt with a Little League baseball coach (Richard Dean Anderson).) The Man From Left Field—not to be confused with The Kid From Left Field—was a 1993 CBS movie starring Burt Reynolds (who also produced and directed) and Reba McEntire. They meet on a playing field in Kansas City in 1945 on the eve of the breaking of racial . a 1992 cable baseball comedy by Robert Rodat. somewhat embittered pitching great waiting to be selected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Jackie Robinson crossed paths with Joe Louis and Satchel Paige. with the locale and circumstances changed. The film was based on two 1974 books: Babe Ruth: His Life and Legend by Kal Wagenheim and Babe: The Legend Comes to Life by Robert W. with no parents and no history. grieving for the loss of his young son. Mr. speculative story. written by David Himmelstein and airing on HBO in 1996. portraying the slugger on and off the field. was his mother here. who is helped to cope by a mysterious mute boy seemingly to have come from nowhere. however. Along the way in this film. Soul of the Game was an engaging. Comrades of Summer. respectively.74 Sports on Television World War II. In it Reynolds plays a homeless man who. A sentimental tale derived from Christopher Bohjalian’s 1992 novel. Alan Arkin starred as a retired. His ghost. Past the Bleachers (1995). and they inspire him to reclaim his life. 1994). who portrayed Robinson’s wife in the early 1950s film biography of the Dodgers great. inspires the kids to reach for it all. after being “adopted” by a Little League team as its coach. The 1991 NBC biopic Babe Ruth offered a heavily made-up Stephen Lang as the Bambino. Texas. as Rob Edelman observed in Great Baseball Films (Citadel Press. In 1993’s Cooperstown. by Stan Shaw and Steven Williams. Contemporary superstar of the game Pete Rose played a small role as Ty Cobb. André Braugher played the future big leaguer in this 1990 film and Ruby Dee. starred Joe Mantegna as Sparky Smith. helps rectify the Hall of Fame selection committee’s oversight. Seattle Mariners (fictional) manager who was given the boot by the owner but takes on the task of training a Russian baseball team for the summer Olympics. Creamer. He was court-martialed for his refusal to sit in the back of an army bus while at Fort Hood. is selected to the Hall the night before he (the rival) dies. His friend and baseball rival. played. The premise.
and Rose-Marie starred. a thriller called Mean Street. as wisecracking team leader and veteran pitcher. Sam McMurray had the Hanks role as the washed-up big leaguer who was recruited as the team’s manager. Mitzi Balzer. . A racist white NYC cop (Scott Bakula) finds himself teamed with a straight-arrow black FBI agent (Leon) to track down a vicious serial killer who has been sending gruesome threats to a star baseball player who is about to break Joe DiMaggio’s hitting streak. The ringer in this one was having prolific Canadian actor Kenneth Welsh.The 1990s 75 barriers in the majors to figure out which one will be chosen the first black to play in the big leagues. respectively. he manages to find a potential sponsor who agrees to provide uniforms if the team wins the first game of the season. A 1999 cable film on Showtime. play blustering George Steinbrenner. Madonna. In It’s Spring Training. and the tough-talking. Charlie Brown (1992). Marge Shott-type team owner. the outspoken. Bruce Greenwood. including new members like Leland who is too young to even tie his shoes. young Jackie Robinson (Blair Underwood) gets the nod from Dodgers G. To improve the team’s morale. It was pulled after three episodes (although two more were aired months later). Jerry Hardin played baseball commissioner Happy Chandler. who earlier had portrayed Harry Truman and Thomas Dewey. not the veteran players. Joe Torre: Curveballs Along the Way was a 1997 film. Considering its usual incompetence. Dann Florek. that focused on Torre’s 1996 ordeal of living through his brother Frank’s (Robert Loggia) heart transplant while leading the Yankees through the World Series. Pioneers’ manager Ernest “Happy” Talbot. short-lived baseball sitcom that aired on FOX. as springtime rolls around. Charlie Brown’s team performs the usual hopeless task of getting in shape for the new season. adapted by Philip Rosenberg from the New York Yankees manager’s autobiography (Paul Sorvino played Joe). Dave Logan. It dealt with the Pioneers. the challenge seems impossible. Hardball (1994) was a limp. directed by Bill Melendez and written by Charles Schultz. The show fouled out after just six (of eight) episodes. an inept American League baseball team that was more interested in finding the right mascot (the titular name) and the locker room antics than actually playing. A League of Their Own (a short-lived CBS series of 1993) was a World War II comedy about the real-life Rockford Peaches. Branch Rickey (Edward Herrmann). brought aboard to shape up the clubhouse. one of the teams in the women’s professional league formed while the male players were serving overseas. and others. M. Instead. Based on the hit movie with Tom Hanks. tangentially dealt with baseball.
Corbin Bernsen starred as Brett Sooner. a decent amount of them had. which premiered in early 1995. and had been bought by their families. Generally each of the shows premiered on the eve of the All-Star Game. the concept was changed to include views from assorted sports celebrities. Somehow our paths crossed. and asked a simple question: did you ever have a movie camera. Kevin Costner. When it came time for When It Was a Game III in 2000. and probably in its way I guess vanguard. Winner of a George Foster Peabody Award. and he showed us these movies that he’d shot in Ebbets Field. was When It Was a Game. and we’d come across a gentleman by the name of Meyer Robinson. and we spent a year contacting—and this was before Switchboard and Google.76 Sports on Television Another equally short-lived sports-oriented sitcom of the time—coinciding more or less with the infamous 232-day major league baseball strike—was ABC’s A Whole New Ballgame. did you ever take home movies when you were playing? “As it turned out. There were two in a row. The show consisted of 8mm and 16mm film taken by players and fans from 1934 to 1957. and fellow narrators André Braugher. I thought that baseball in the fifties was black and white. It really was the first of its kind in many respects. At least 11 episodes of the series were filmed but only seven aired before the network called the game. and Rita Moreno. Black Canyon Productions in association with HBO Sports offered the lyrical documentary When It Was a Game in 1991. My partner and I at the time had just come from Major League Baseball productions. When It Was a Game II the next year. all but a few minutes in color. On the documentary side of baseball. before the Internet—as many former baseball players as we could. The short story basically is that we ended up accumulating home movies from about 150 players from the thirties all the way through the early sixties. with old Bell & Howells given to them as premium gifts. a full-of-himself major leaguer who took a job at a Milwaukee TV station as a sports announcer during a baseball strike. Ruminating to this author in 2008 about the many sports documentaries that he produced through the years. and amassed an incredible collection of America’s pastime—probably the most unique collection that exists in the world today. and had taken home movies of the Dodgers in color. a narration by Liev Schreiber. So I immediately saw that there was something unique and special there. He was a home movie buff. produced by George Roy and written by Steven Hilliard Stern. it spawned a sequel. surpassing anything that . who owned the Manischewitz wine company [philanthropist and cofounder]. It was the first time I had ever seen Jackie Robinson and Pee Wee Reese and Cookie Lavagetto in color. George Roy said: The first one. and then there was a big gap.
. Gene Siskel. sitting in little yellow boxes. what it was like for the players to wear the baggy uniforms. Diamonds on the Silver Screen (1992).The 1990s Major League Baseball would have or Cooperstown would have. Mickey Mantle. Frank Deford. And we went back and revisited some of the players. I’ve been involved in the sports documentary field since the early nineties particularly with HBO Sports We did at least half a dozen baseball-themed topics. followed the Visalia Oaks. For them to travel. who played in the sixties. Minor Leagues/Major Games (1992). Among the featured interviews were those with Glenn Close. Joel Siegel. through. Lou Gehrig 50 years earlier in Pride of the Yankees). a documentary about baseball and its representation in theatrical films. Barry Levinson. the California . “Black Canyon Productions does not exist anymore. And then HBO wanted us to do a follow-up. it becomes unique. combined with visuals of what people today were seeing for the first time. We were bought out by Clear Channel Entertainment about six years ago. and we ended it there. the elements of what baseball meant in that time period. and brought it from the mid-sixties and introduced free agency and we saw players of my generation that people had grown up to know—the Kofax’s and the Drysdales. “It was a stunning documentary. . the Alivas and the Yasztremskis. and so we edited it down and did that first show and it won a Peabody Award and other critical acclaim. Phil Dusenberry. so far. sort of a movie scrapbook showing what baseball was like in a more innocent time. We now have our own company called Camero Films. a few female voices. The earliest was When It Was a Game. Bob Costas. to measure the value of winning the World Series.” 77 Earlier. We had the actors doing voiceovers. And we just chose to do sort of a meat and potatoes. and they were thrilled just to have them transferred to VHS from 8 and 16mm. Charlie Sheen. It was very poetic. We did the third one in 1996 because people just kept asking for the next one. Roy and partner Steven Stern had been producers of the 1985–1986 sports series Greats of the Game for Major League Baseball Productions. Glenn Close. And you end up with 80 hours of the stuff. Even the Bob Fellers of the world and Enos Slaughters of the world and Gil Hodges of the world. There was no America’s Funniest Home Videos. For better or worse. Writer/director Nathan Kaufman’s syndicated documentary. no My Space. no social aspect of sharing images that were for the most part in people’s basements and attics that remained under wraps for years and years. It was produced by American Movie Classics and shown as a special on The Movie Channel (TMC). Kevin Costner and Jason Robards and James Earl Jones. and that was received basically the same way. was narrated by James Earl Jones. no YouTube. Mantle in 2005. and Teresa Wright (who played Mrs. . they hadn’t seen them in 25 years. in terms of what that paycheck meant. pragmatic presentation.
and an impressive array of admirers. and clothing supplies to earthquake-stricken Nicaragua. Actor Liev Schreiber narrated all three homages: Where Have You Gone Joe DiMaggio?. it was “a docudrama in the truest sense of the word. HBO Sports also produced three hour-long documentaries on Yankees’ baseball legends DiMaggio. a Pittsburgh Pirates powerhouse from 1955 through 1972 (he spent his entire career with that team). Schreiber. Ted Williams: A Baseball Life (after Michael Seidel’s 1991 book on him) profiled the Splendid Splinter in an hour-long ABC documentary that aired . 1960s.” And Entertainment Weekly named it “One of the best 100 documentaries ever produced. The San Francisco Examiner found it to be “an intimate. while involved in a mission for mercy taking medical. Old-time photos and illustrations depict the game’s early years. Babe Ruth: The Life Behind the Legend. and documentary producer George Roy. Roberto: The Roberto Clemente Story (1993) documented the story of one of the first Latino baseball stars. As Variety wrote at the time. while newsreels. TBS’s Hank Aaron biodocumentary of 1995. who has developed a long history of narrating TV sports documentaries for Ross Greenburg.” Director/ writer Mike Tollin skillfully intercut Aaron’s amazing on-field heroics with the nation’s social upheaval during the 1950s. During the offseason on New Year’s Eve 1972. Players and participants speak in their own words. The documentary about him was narrated by Hector Elizondo and Raul Julia. was executive produced by. he died in a tragic plane crash. All three are available on a single DVD titled Legends in Pinstripes. and video clips highlight more recent times. food. PBS’s American Experience provided another profile of Clemente. and Mantle.78 Sports on Television League Class A farm team of the 1991 World Champion Minnesota Twins. Dorian Harewood narrated. Ken Burns’ Baseball (1994) was a “nine-inning” 18½ hour PBS documentary on the history of baseball. and sports writers and broadcasters offer commentary on the games and events they witnessed. offered testimonials to Aaron. and 1970s. Hank Aaron: Chasing the Dream. Fifteen years later. who is currently the president of HBO Sports. from Sandy Koufax to Yogi Berra to Jimmy Carter. and The Definitive Story of Mickey Mantle. The film also received a brief theatrical run and was nominated for an Oscar as Best Documentary. through a season. Clemente later became the first Latino to be elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. which aired in 1997 and 1998. among others. Denzel Washington.” Thanks to producer Joe Lavine and Major League Baseball Productions. also was the voice behind the 1998 City Dump: The Story of the 1951 CCNY Basketball Scandal. compelling look at baseball illustrating the difficult road from the farm to the big leagues. Ruth. game films.
“I never had any trouble with radio or television people. and Jerry Reinsdorf. Johnny Pesky.” this 1996 show on the FX network followed a number of major leaguers on their way down and a handful on their way back up (among them. hosted by Bob Costas. Darryl Strawberry).” A loving paean to the legendary Yankees catcher. onetime Red Sox and then White Sox catcher. of which actor Bill Murray was co-owner. that someone misquoted me or didn’t know a thing about baseball. who also wrote this of the show. depressing look at a badly damaged industry. hosted by Al Michaels. but very few good TV shows. Gerry Coleman. It was always what was written. . near his home. and others.The 1990s 79 on a Saturday afternoon in spring 1997. The one show that captures the rhythm of the game is the only one that’s not scripted: FX’s weekly Baseball. Minnesota. manager. For one thing. Described by some as a weekly “baseball-umentary. . Ted himself participated. the long reticent Williams (he’d hosted an occasional fishing show on TV) was asked by the New York Times why he consented to an ABC interview. The New York Times called the show “a languidly paced. comprehensible documentary that examines the game’s myriad problems without resorting to the type of numbing micro-analysis that has drowned out many phases of baseball . the White Sox owner since 1981.” said TV historian and pop culture critic Ed Robertson. Minnesota was a cinema-vérité-style documentary following the activities of members of the minor league St. and linguist (whose sayings are included in Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations) turned up in an hour-long PBS profile called Yogi Berra: Déjà Vu All Over Again in the summer of 1999. It followed a screening at the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center at Montclair State University in New Jersey. [it] is not a rousing baseball-lover’s pitch for the start of the season [but] a somber. And players in sitcoms like Hardball and Ball Four usually come across as caricatures.” Baseball. “The Trouble With Baseball. along with Bobby Doerr. “The essence of baseball—where anything can happen—is the stuff of many great stories. Curt Gowdy. Dom DiMaggio. . How many other sports figures can boast such an edifice? The darker side of baseball—as a business—was spotlighted in a 1993 report on PBS’s Frontline investigative series. It was far from the picture etched through the decades right up there with mom and apple pie.” Producer Michael Kirk focused primarily on Carlton Fisk. Paul Saints baseball team. You can’t create a moment like Kevin Mitchell’s barehanded catch without making it look contrived. the unpredictability of the game is incompatible with the nature of television (where spontaneity is always carefully planned). Promoting the show.
The American Athlete is a syndicated half-hour sports documentary/talk show. It came out later that Larry David. boxing champ Sugar Ray Leonard. a seven-foot-tall bon vivant who wants to party and becomes both a football hero and BMOC (Big Monster on Campus).80 Sports on Television A camera crew followed an actual minor league team everywhere during the 1996 season. Elaine ( Julia Louis-Dreyfus) dated New York Mets star first baseman Keith Hernandez. the PBS series American Experience recounted. The concept of ‘following the team’ has a whole new meaning. and more. In another Seinfeld episode. when Costanza fouls up and is out. of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1977–1981). George Steinbrenner. Game day highlights are woven into the individual stories of the Saints players . As in previous decades. Often he’d be seen parrying with and toadying to his boss. it airs in the wee hours of Sunday morning. it’s virtually a throwaway. getting his walking papers. Minnesota are engrossing because the players are real—they’ve been personalized. In New York. in Knute Rockne and His Fighting Irish. played “The Boss. George Costanza ( Jason Alexander) got his dream job—working for the New York Yankees as assistant travel manager. In some TV markets. Eddie George. the exploits of legendary Notre Dame head coach. tennis star Serena Williams. The backstories in Baseball. Several real-life football stars put in appearances as themselves. Ronnie Lott. . From 1996 well into the next decade. Allen has sitdowns each week with the likes of not only baseball stars Reggie Jackson and Sandy Koufax. football pros John Elway. for one. A Triumph of the Heart: The Ricky Bell Story (1991) was a fact-based TV movie drama dealing with pro football star Ricky Bell. only to learn of his own terminal illness. And in the mid-1990s on Seinfeld. the show’s producer and writer. Frankenstein: The College Years was a 1991 Fox comedy about a pair of medical students who breathe life into a 100-year-old corpse. his . and Drew Bledsoe. who also is the executive producer. . hosted by onetime standup comic Byron Allen. football was a popular TV topic in the 1990s. Steinbrenner invariably would be seen from the rear in his executive seat. but also basketball greats Dennis Rodman and Shaquille O’Neal. In 1993. and his inspiration on a youngster with severe physical and verbal disabilities (played by physically challenged young actor Lane Davis). Vincent Hammond made his TV debut as Frank N. Mario van Peebles played Bell who died at age 29. Stein.” The George/George episodes aired periodically through the 1995–1997 seasons.
blind-ambition 1997 HBO comedy Weapons of Mass Distraction by writer and executive producer Larry Gelbart depicted rival media moguls competing for the purchase of the same pro football team. when his estranged wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman were murdered in Los Angeles. In a scandal-ridden game of one-upmanship. Angels in the Endzone (1997) was a made-for-cable sequel to Disney’s 1994 baseball-themed comedy feature Angels in the Outfield. Then it gets personal. his days as a commercial spokesman and TV and movie actor—up to the events of June 12. despite opposition from his father. “Weapons picks up where the 1976 multi-Oscar-winning film Network left off. the aptly named Titans. falls for a beautiful French exchange student named Esmeralda. J. Written by Ken Chowder. Rise and Walk: The Dennis Byrd Story (1994). they savage each other’s professional fortunes like competitive schoolboys. The fact-based drama (with the expected embellishments) followed The Juice out of the ghetto of Portero Hill in San Francisco to an inspiring meeting with baseball hero Willie Mays and an idol’s life on the football field and—in broad strokes. Christopher Lloyd is once again Al the Angel. chronicled Byrd’s story from his small-town beginnings on the Oklahoma prairie as the son of an ordained minister through his years of gridiron glory to his paralyzing injury on the field in 1992 and his miraculous victory over it through months of rehabilitation. Gabriel Byrne played a Rupert Murdock type opposite Ben Kingsley’s megalomaniacal Ted Turner under another guise and a “mittel”-European accent. Family-friendly. the Rockne portrait was narrated by Joe Mantegna. written with Michael D’Orso. set on a college campus. and his death in a plane crash at age 43 in March 1931. The O. But viewers are not ‘mad as hell’ anymore. 1994. The satirical.The 1990s 81 storied career. Instead they’ve been sucked . and help turn the losing team around. Gabriel Hogan plays an awkward teenage football star who. Canadian-made The Halfback of Notre Dame (Showtime 1996) was a written-by-committee contemporary takeoff on Victor Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame. adapted from New York Jets football star Dennis Byrd’s 1993 autobiography. they’re vying for ownership of a Tucson football team. this time to help a high school football star (Matthew Lawrence) regain his faith after his father’s tragic death. Simpson Story (1995) was a quickie TV movie chronicling the events leading up to the most celebrated crime of its day. The Atlanta Constitution’s TV critic wrote: “Bitter rivals. the coach. with former UCLA Bruin football star Bobby Hosea in the titular role. Actor/director Peter Berg had the lead role.
Where this could have gone had the show been picked up for a series is anybody’s guess. given one last chance on the gridiron but finding himself at odds with the team’s new owner (played by G. Her real-life husband at the time. she was a hardworking sports journalist who’s given a cable-TV magazine show. who puts his standing in town on the line when he falls in love with the brazen mom. Football was part of the plot of a CBS sitcom. Actressproducer Shelley Duvall (of Faerie Tale Theatre. who won an Emmy as Wanda in the black comedy The Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Texas Cheerleader-Murdering Mom. Kareem Abdul- . managed to do comic interviews with George Steinbrenner. Another football-themed comedy of the decade. in which she coerces her ex-brother-in-law (played by Beau Bridges) to arrange for the hit. Spradlin). A former Green Bay Packers star. infotainment news programs. an unsold CBS pilot in 1990. He realizes his dream by becoming a Philadelphia Eagles kicker. brief as it was. done as a straight network docudrama in late 1992.” High school football got its licks via two fact-based movies about a woman who solicits the murder of her cheerleader daughter hopeful’s rival for a spot on the squad. Good Sports. The first. and supermarket tabloids owned by Powers and Messenger. several months later on cable. real-life Wanda Holloway. Tom Arnold. In this spoof of sports programming on television. where he finds a spot on the school’s varsity team. was 1998’s The Garbage Picking Field Goal Kicking Philadelphia Phenomenon. among other series) was one of the executive producers for her Think Entertainment. Backfield in Motion (ABC 1991) was Roseanne Arnold’s TV acting debut role in this sports-themed comedy in which she played a widowed realestate agent who moves with her teenage son (Johnny Galecki) to an upstate football-crazed California town. and he’s an egotistical jerk of a jock. which starred Tony Danza as a garbage man who develops his leg muscles kicking the hydraulic lever on his truck and decides that he’s good enough to be a pro football player. from Disney. was called Willing to Kill: The Texas Cheerleader Story starring Lesley Ann Warren as obsessed. costarred as the school’s vice-principal. O’Neal’s character once had a weekend fling in college with Fawcett’s character and now finds himself co-anchoring the program with her. The second. starred Holly Hunter. she manages to rile the locals by organizing a “mothers versus sons” football game. in 1991. Bruce Boxleitner was washed-up football star Eddie Dillon in Sporting Chance. To get closer to him.82 Sports on Television into a collective coma by trashy talk shows. The series. putting together Farrah Fawcett and her real-life significant other Ryan O’Neal. D.
With narration by Curt Gowdy and Liev Schreiber. aired in 1995. The life and career of the legendary football star Johnny Unitas were— three years before his death—hailed in the 1999 HBO Sports documentary. and was pulled by the network after a handful of episodes. The show never attracted an audience. and George Foreman. 1993) was a well-received Friday night series about the trials and tribulations of an insurance salesman-turned-football coach ( John Terry) who vows to revive his floundering high-school team in a gridiron-obsessed Texas town. Among the “witnesses” were Joe Namath. Shooting and often scoring from TV’s basketball court in the 1990s were the following. compared to teachers. Jack Kemp. a 1999 episode called “Superstar” took a knowing but lighthearted look at the elite status and salary. talk of the team possibly breaking the . the husband of Cosby costar Phylicia Rashad. Michael Jordan: Air Time (1993) documented Jordan and the Chicago Bulls’ 1991–1992 season. Against the Grain (NBC. also an NFL star who turned sportscaster. This show predated by a decade NBC’s not too dissimilar Friday Night Lights. John Madden. Charlie Brown and the Peanuts Gang tackled football in the 1994 entry of Charles Schultz’s beloved animated series. however. Joe Willie Clemons. Bruce Jenner.The 1990s 83 Jabbar. and kick contest for a proposed trip to the Super Bowl—this one for the AFL (Animal Football League) with Snoopy and friends. pass. gambling allegations. it chronicled the story of the AFL from its founding in 1960 through its merger with the NFL six years later—along with archival footage from the first four Super Bowls. the gang competes in a punt. The Hall of Famer sparked the Baltimore Colts for so many seasons and was voted by the NFL as “the greatest quarterback of all time. In You’re in the Super Bowl. Michael Jordan: An American Hero (1990) was a surface biography based on onetime New York Times sports columnist Jim Naughton’s 1990 book. A young Ben Affleck starred as the coach’s player son. and Paul Maguire. at that time. Pete Rose. It included Jordan dealing with his friend and rival Magic Johnson’s retirement announcement. Bill Cosby (early on a college football and track and field star himself at Temple in the 1950s) coaxed onto the show such players as NBA Hall of Famer Patrick Ewing as well as NFL stars Doug Flutie and Jerry Rice and Ahmad Rashad.” Another great HBO Sports documentary. And on the hugely popular Cosby Show on NBC. Lyle Alzado. Hank Stram. and. of the basketball superstar from his youth in North Carolina to greatness with the Chicago Bulls. Rebels With a Cause: The Story of the American Football League. Unitas. of pro athletes and movie stars. along with his dabbling in baseball and the murder of his beloved father and biggest fan. Charlie Brown.
in the 1960s and 1970s. was about the popular Loyola Marymount basketball star. and his sudden death from heart failure on the courts after collapsing during an NCAA semifinal game in 1990. Victor Love had the lead role. the Canadian-made Annie O. his younger brother Colin played “The Goat” as a youngster.84 Sports on Television long-in-place season win record with 70 victories. The movie was “suggested” by the 1991 book B-Ball: The Team That Never Lost a Game by Ron Jones and made in conjunction with the Special Olympics Organization. She wants to be on the boys’ high school basketball team. filming a music video with Michael Jackson. playing a cocky. and other obstacles throughout the course of the year. was about a teenage girl (played by Coco Yates) who happens to possess a gift for shooting hoops. to the big time with the Detroit Pistons in the late 1980s and then the San Antonio Spurs and Chicago Bulls. based on the 1996 book Dennis Rodman wrote with Tim Keown. and concludes with the Bulls’ championship ring ceremony in the fall of 1992. Earl “The Goat” Manigault. A syndicated 1992 made-for-TV movie. One Special Victory. Rebound—The Legend of Earl “The Goat” Manigault (1996) dramatized the true story of the rise. John Larroquette was the star of the fact-based 1991 TV-movie. Texas. with a mean outside shot. and Lew Alcindor (who became Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and turned up briefly as himself ). Never Give Up: The Jimmy V Story was a 1996 CBS biopic of famed college basketball coach Jim Valvano (portrayed by Anthony La Paglia) who led North Carolina State to an NCAA championship in 1983 over Houston. Don Cheadle had the lead role. fall. Nell Carter played his mother. his rise from the projects of North Philadelphia. Earl “The Pearl” Monroe. Final Shot: The Hank Gathers Story. The video follows this with the “Dream Team” ( Jordan and his fellow NBA stars) gaining worldwide attention as they participate in and dominate the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona. Bad as I Wanna Be: The Dennis Rodman Story was the loose-limbed 1998 chronicle of the flamboyant NBA superstar on ABC. It traced Rodman’s rise from a troubled young man from the projects in Dallas. A Showtime Original Movie for Kids in 1995. Among the greats of the game portrayed in this HBO cable movie are Wilt “The Stilt” Chamberlain. and redemption of the Harlem street basketball legend. This was a thinly disguised 1990s . Rodman himself turned up occasionally—and none too shyly—as a Greek chorus of sorts. He was forced to resign his job in 1990 when his school came under league investigation for alleged rules violation and later found himself battling cancer. glad-handing real estate salesman who ends up in legal trouble and is sentenced to community service coaching a mentally—challenged basketball team.
but he was playing a 16-year-old basketball prodigy who ran rings around his young brother who was his inner city family’s shining light for court stardom. the pressure. Dan Lauria rounded out the main cast as the Knights head coach. and how they reacted to the money. Sylvester’s son. a narrowminded bigot—all of whom shared a moment of glory when they won the state championship. At the time he was 24 years old and billed as Terrence Dashon Howard. during its first couple of seasons. goes against the wishes of his parish leader (Rip Torn) and pushes for a game between his talented all-black team at St. Mike Katowinski. Marvin Buxton. played basketball for the UCLA Bruins in the mid-1990s. and high school phenom Curtis Thorpe—how they played the game. and before that was the first black student to win an athletic scholarship from Tulane (he is in the Tulane Athletics Hall of Fame). who starred in the stage and screen versions (in another role) here plays the coach and also directs. centering around the fictional UBA (United Basketball Association). Ex-footballer Dick Butkus was the team’s coach. which featured. set at fictional Dearing High School in Indiana. The Hoop Life was a Showtime series (1999–2000) based on the lives of professional basketball players off the court. A night of reminiscing turns into soul-searching and the airing of dirty laundry. In the 1999 TV movie. Leonard Fero. with basketballs instead of sharp-shooting rifles. dealing with the 20-year reunion of four members of a Pennsylvania high school basketball team and their coach. basically known as an actor with an extensive career dating back to the mid-1970s. Terrence Howard. Jesuit High. among others. and the subsequent fame. It followed the lives of three players from one of the teams. André Braugher is an angry black priest who. That Championship Season (1999) was a contemporized version of Jason Miller’s Pulitzer Prize and Tony winning play of 1972 that was turned into a feature film a decade later. The drama had as its executive producers basketball superstar Magic Johnson and music mogul Quincy Jones It was written by New Orleans native Harold Sylvester. Not as popular (it lasted just three weeks) was CBS’s 1993 sitcom Tall Hopes. Augustine High School and an undefeated all-white prep school team. based on the true story of the first integrated basketball game in New Orleans’ history. Paul Sorvino. the Tornados (she plays point guard). also named Harold. Julie Connor (Danielle Deutscher) is the only female member on the all-male basketball team. in 1960. Passing Glory. The New England Knights—Greg Marr. . In the popular weekly half-hour NBC comedy Hang Time (1995–2001).The 1990s 85 update of the legend of Annie Oakley (hence the title).
explored the rise of blacks to positions of greatness in American sports. The 1990s produced several programs where the focus was on golf. There has never been a documentary devoted to Gibson and her extraordinary contribution to tennis. Magic did turn up occasionally guest starring on sitcoms. He was legendary on the courts. Patty Berg. Sam Snead. Byron Nelson. Ben Hogan. Babe Didrickson Zaharias. titled “Other Mothers. Producer David L. The Magic Hour.86 Sports on Television Two of the best of the periodic CBS Schoolbreak Specials of the 1990s dealt with kids on the basketball court. plus Heroes of the Open and Great Women Golfers. but. “Malcolm Takes a Shot?” (1990). tracing the origins of the game as . Arnold Palmer. Among those mentioned relatively briefly was Althea Gibson. and others. Wolper also produced Golf: The Greatest Game in 1994 to commemorate the sport’s centennial year. tennis players. in 1998. as many noted. Lee Trevino. and Mickey Wright. boxers. Hardly a sport over the last 100 years went uncovered. The story of the championship women’s basketball team of the University of Tennessee of 1996 and 1997 under head coach Pat Summitt was documented in HBO’s A Cinderella Season: The Lady Vols Fight Back. like the 2002 episode on Malcolm in the Middle called “Company Picnic” as a star hockey player! The 1996 HBO Sports documentary. and superstar Kareem Abdul-Jabbar turned up as himself. Wolper was the man behind a TV series of golf documentaries in 1994 under the umbrella title Heroes of the Game. The magic simply wasn’t there and Fox Television. Jackson was the narrator of stories of basketball players. paving the way for Serena and Venus Williams decades later. the 1950s star of the grass courts who was as much a part of a landmark figure in her game as the first black woman professional tennis champion. The Journey of the African American Athlete.” several years later. Young Jon Clair had the lead role. runners. a high school basketball player ( Justin Whalen) finds he has to come to grips with his classmates’ taunts about having two lesbian moms (played by Joanna Cassidy and Meredith Baxter). In one. he was no Johnny Carson. Tony Lo Bianco played his coach. There were 13 individual hour-long films on Bobby Jones. a teen athlete. still hoping after the earlier Joan Rivers fiasco to crack the late night competition tossed in the towel after a handful of episodes. Samuel L. In another. Jack Nicklaus. as Jackie Robinson was in his not long before. in denial about his epilepsy. athletes who in many cases suffered indignities of racism and helped break down its walls. LA Lakers’ great turned entertainment biz entrepreneur Earvin “Magic” Johnson tried his hand at hosting a late night TV talk show. tries to compensate by making it big playing hoops on the court.
it is today, and showing some of the greatest players in action. These golf films were commissioned by the United States Golf Association and aired on NBC. The Golf Channel launched on cable television on January 17, 1995, providing wall-to-wall golf programming, including PGA and LPGA tours. The idea of a 24-hour-a-day golf network came from media entrepreneur Joseph E. Gibbs of Birmingham, Alabama, who first got the idea for the channel in 1991. Gibbs felt there was enough interest in golf among the public to support such a network and commissioned a Gallup Poll to see if his instincts were right. They were, and Gibbs and legendary golfer Arnold Palmer then secured $80 million, which helped them found The Golf Channel. The channel devotes considerable time to news coverage of golf, including a nightly program, Golf Central, a post-tournament program, the Sprint Post Game, and College Central, devoted to college golf. The Tiger Woods Story (1998) was a quickly-made dramatization (for MTV!) of the then-young golfer’s private struggles with racism and cultural identity and his sudden fame as the winner in 1997, at age 21, of the Masters Golf Tournament, an event that took place one year to the day of the premiere of this film. Based on the 1997 biography Tiger by John Strege, who followed Tiger’s career since the golfer was a child prodigy, the film—with a relatively unfamiliar cast, and actor Albert Hall turning up as baseball star Hank Aaron to offer some sage advice to the young golfer—was directed by LeVar Burton. The 1990s ended with a Christmas movie that had a golf theme, CBS’s Miracle on the 17th Green. Robert Urich was cast as a man who loses his job during the holidays and decides to pursue his childhood dream of becoming a professional golfer. Based on the 1998 novel by James Patterson and Peter De Jonge, it also featured golf pros Lee Trevino and Tom Watson turning up in cameos. Boxing-oriented programming was also all over the tube during the 1990s. Filmmaker Barbara Kopple’s engrossing two-hour NBC documentary, Fallen Champ: The Untold Story of Mike Tyson (1993), was, in the words of Variety’s reviewer at the time, “a compilation of archival footage and film interviews that presents an interesting and disturbing picture of a huge conglomerate circus starring the highest high-wire act in the world, working without one thing the planners forgot for him: a net. It’s an enormous piece that doesn’t necessarily support the title but the show is worth a look.” Hustling Don King, Tyson’s actress wife Robin Givens, trainer Teddy Arliss, manager Cus D’Amato, bodyguard Ken Simmons, and two early Tyson handlers, Bill Clayton and Jim Jacobs, were among the witnesses and talking heads.
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Tyson was a 1995 biopic tracing the rise and fall of the boxer with relative unknown Michael Jai White in the lead and veteran George C. Scott as Cus D’Amato, the trainer who took young Mike under his wing and steered him to the championship. Paul Winfield portrayed boxing promoter Don King. The film, tracing Tyson’s career from his youth to his bout in Japan with Buster Douglas, in February 1990, when he lost the championship, was based on the 1989 biography Fire and Fear: The Inside Story of Mike Tyson by José Torres. Tyson also was the subject of an A&E Biography in 1995, titled “Mike Tyson: Fallen Champ.” Don King: Only in America (1997) was an Emmy-winning (Outstanding Made-for-Television Movie) biographical drama that chronicled the life and times of flamboyant, larger-than-life boxing promoter Don King through his own eyes. It featured a blustering, frequently maniac performance by Ving Rhames in an outrageous King hairstyle as the subject’s own Greek chorus. This film was adapted by actor-writer Kario Salem from sportswriter Jack Newfield’s 1995 book, The Life and Crimes of Don King: The Shame of Boxing in America. An original drama by writer Art Washington set in the world of boxing, Percy and Thunder (TNT 1993) featured James Earl Jones as a veteran trainer who takes promising fighter Courtney B. Vance under his wing and lives his dreams through his protégé. Billy Dee Williams played a slick promoter who covets the young boxer for his own stable. ( Jones and Vance earlier were father and son on Broadway in August Wilson’s Fences.) Directed by Ivan Dixon, this was the first of the TNT Screenworks series, initially dedicated to bringing the works of talented playwrights to television. The 1995 HBO boxing documentary Sonny Liston: The Mysterious Life and Death of a Champion explored the somewhat sordid life of the fighter who held the heavyweight title from 1962 through 1964. Executive producer Ross Greenburg has endeavored to reassemble Liston’s life, including his two fights with Muhammad Ali in the 1960s and has told the story with those close to Liston: sportswriters, boxing historians, sparring partners, FBI agents (they tracked him for alleged connections to organized crime), police officers (who pursued him for assorted run-ins with the law and for his mysterious death), his widow Geraldine, and fighters George Foreman, Chuck Wepner, and Floyd Patterson, whom Sonny defeated for the championship—KOing him in the first round, and again in their rematch. Regrettably there was nothing from Ali. Scowling Sonny Liston was pictured to be more feared in the ring and tougher than Mike Tyson and the first incarnation of Big George Foreman. One critic wrote: “It was said that his opponents would start to bleed just from receiving his stare. Most of the
story of Sonny Liston is sad—no one knows for sure when he was born, and no one knows for sure when he died.” There was just that presence in the ring. Liston supposedly was born in 1929, the 11th of 12 children, and he died on December 30, 1970 in Las Vegas. The death remains a mystery, but many have become convinced of a police cover-up. Of all the modern fighters, Liston has been ranked as Number 2 among the heavyweights, and he has been in the Boxing Hall of Fame since 1990. Liston’s death was documented on the long-running Robert Stack series Unsolved Mysteries. The HBO documentary tellingly points out that when Liston returned to Philadelphia after winning the title from Patterson, there was no celebration. Muhammad Ali: The Whole Story aired in 1996 on TNT as an eloquent twohour documentary. Subsequently it was released on DVD as a six-volume set, running 350 minutes. The program, lovingly written and directed by documentarians Joseph and Sandra Consentino, covered the iconic fighter’s life to that time, from his early days as Cassius Clay in Kentucky. The New York Times called it “an extraordinary film. The tale is well told, with much rare archival footage and terrific interviews, from the trainer Angelo Dundee to three of Ali’s wives and two of his mistresses.” Two years later, in tribute to one of boxing’s great middleweights who recently had died, HBO Sports aired the documentary Sugar Ray Robinson: The Bright Lights and Dark Shadows of a Champion. Among those participating were sports writer Dave Anderson, who wrote Ray’s memoirs; Ray’s sister Evelyn Nelson; his son Ray Robinson Jr.; Ring Magazine editor Nigel Collins; and others. The Hollywood Reporter wrote in its review of the show:
Although Sugar Ray Robinson was one of the most prominent sports icons of the postwar era, his fame and career were eclipsed by those who followed in his graceful footsteps and approximated his powerful punches. . . . Backed by a cool musical score written and played by Wynton Marsalis, [executive producer] Ross Greenburg’s hour-long documentary traces the life and times of the great fighter. Robinson’s epic battles and comebacks after he had passed his peak came to symbolize those qualities of nobility and style that to many justified the brutality of the sport. He was a personality whose aura fueled the growth of television in the early 1950s when Friday night at the fights was a family viewing event.
Television’s favorite medical examiner, Jack Klugman, in the guise of Quincy, M. E., found himself in the world of boxing in a 1977 episode titled “A Blow to the Head . . . A Blow to the Heart,” after being called to a sports arena after a championship boxer named Luke Stokes (Rodney Houston) suddenly collapses and dies following a big profile match against Ray Ringo
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(Randy Shield). He comes to conclude that the death was not accidental. Joe Louis turned up as himself, playing a pal of Quincy’s. Ex-boxer turned TV pitchman and home grill king George Foreman starred in his own 1990s’ TV sitcom George on ABC, playing an ex-boxer turned substitute school teacher. Many of the episodes dealt in some way with his former avocation. In one of these, “Requiem for a Lightweight,” he discouraged one of his students from dropping out to become a professional boxer. And boxing was one of the sports spoofed somewhere along the way of the nearly two decades of the most successful of television’s primetime animated series, The Simpsons, on FOX. “The Homer They Fall,” in which Homer Simpson is goaded by Moe to enter the ring, was an obvious takeoff on Humphrey Bogart’s final film The Harder They Fall 40 years before. Another sports topic for much programming in the 1990s was hockey. Gross Misconduct (1993) recounted the rise and fall of Canadian hockey star Brian “Spinner” Spencer, who grew up in Fort St. James, British Columbia. His father did everything he could to give his son a chance to play the sport, including scraping together enough money to send Brian to a hockey school. It was there that Spencer learned how to skate and how to believe that he could play in the NHL. After two seasons in Canada’s WCJHL, Spencer was selected by the Maple Leafs in the 1969 Amateur Draft, and he later played with the Buffalo Sabres, New York Islanders, and Pittsburgh Penguins. After ending his career in 1979, Spencer, portrayed in the TV movie about him by Daniel Kash, drifted into drugs and other problems and was shot to death in Florida in June 1988. Net Worth, another Canadian-made hockey movie—apparently never shown on United States TV—was aired in 1995. It was the tale of the NHL’s early years and follows Ted Lindsay, an all-star for the Detroit Red Wings, in his quest to create a Players’ Association to protect the rights of players. Spurred on by the memory of a former teammate who died broke because he couldn’t access his pension, Lindsay (played by Aidan Devine), who was with the Red Wings from 1944 through 1965—with a couple of seasons out for the Chicago Blackhawks in the late 1950s—mobilizes players from around the league to his cause, among them Gordie Howe (Kevin Conway), Marty Pavelich (Carl Marotte), and Larry Sukarchuk (Roman Podhora). The film was based on the 1991 book by David Cruise and Alison Griffiths. Disney’s animated Saturday morning cartoon series Mighty Ducks (1996), about an intergalactic ice hockey team from another dimension, had its genesis in the studio’s 1992 theatrical hit of the same title (and its sequels in 1994 and 1996) that in turn gave its name to the Anaheim Mighty Ducks hockey team owned by the Disney Organization.
Brigitte Gall: Joan of Montréal. part Tom Cruise’s theatrical Jerry McGuire). a comedic take on the Faust tale. hour-long special. has returned to his hometown of Hamilton. Beezlebub. was a documentary about Gretzky. played by Michael Riley. to Houston.” The popular Canadian comedy/drama hockey series Power Play (1998– 2000) revolved around a ruthless New York sports agent Brett Parker (part Robert Wuhl’s Arli$$ from HBO. and others. Fedorov. Rhea Perlman is Ms. At least four TV movies about real-life skaters aired on network television during the 1990s. And the 1997 Gretzky: The Great One and the Next Ones was a Fox Sports hour-long documentary in which superstar Wayne Gretzky examined the styles of the new generation of NHL’s young players. however. the same year. H-E-Double Hockey Sticks. and Parker finds himself with the job and spends the rest of the series parrying with the team’s somewhat crazed owner. when the current general manager drops dead in front of him. running a vocational school in Hades for demons in training. Joan . co-host of The Dish Show on the Comedy Network. Ontario. One Toronto critic described it when it was staged in one of the fringe theatres there where it was performed in 1998: “Joan of Montréal soft-sells an affable but worthwhile feminist take on Canada’s game. Lemieux.The 1990s 91 The Making of the NHL’s Mighty Ducks was a 1993 PBS documentary about the creation of Anaheim’s professional ice hockey team. NHL Power Plays: All-Stars of the Game. and Blair Packhand. David MacKenzie. is a whimsical satire about a young Quebecois woman thwarted in her attempts to rise in minor hockey until she receives motivation from what she interprets as the disembodied voice of the Almighty. about a girl who aspires to be the best goalie in the National Hockey League. Things go awry. Bure. . Duff McCardle (played by veteran Canadian actor Gordon Pinsent). It was written by Saskatchewan-born Gall. She sends one of her underlings to the surface to get a promising young pro hockey player with the hopes of winning the Stanley Cup to sign over his soul to make grabbing the cup a sure thing. Tonya & Nancy: The Inside Story (NBC 1994) was a tabloidstyle dramatization of the story of Olympic ice-skating rivals Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan and the plot by the Harding camp to eliminate Kerrigan from the Nationals competition and the 1984 Olympics with a baseball bat . Parker. Arlene Bishop. intending to move the Steelheads. among others. . In the 1999 Disney Channel TV-movie. Power Play aired briefly in the United States on UPN (United Paramount Network) in the late 1990s. Messier. in 1999 starred in a one-woman. their fictional NHL franchise. Canadian actor/writer Brigitte Gall.
A Brother’s Promise: The Dan Jansen Story (1996) was a Canadian-made drama based on the life of the Olympic skater (played by Matt Keeslar) who overcame personal tragedy after the death from leukemia of his beloved sister who skated in the 1988 games in Calgary. . a modernized adaptation of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. B. who was injured in a hockey game at the 1988 Olympics. she’s a dazzling figure skater. followed a couple of years after that by a second sequel. and married. they start seeing too much of each other. with Baiul herself getting on the ice to perform a special number. and costarred Canadian teens Joshua Jackson and Alexandra Purvis (Teri Garr and Margot Kidder played their respective moms). won gold medals in the 1988 and 1994 games. it was a docudrama of sorts telling how they met as kids. a fictional sports tale. Ronnie & Julie. Canadian actress Monica Keena made her television debut in the title role. became skating partners and soon a championship Olympics act. He’s a high school hockey star. My Sergei (1998). fell in love. The subsequent media frenzy only made Kerrigan America’s skating sweetheart.” Variety wrote in its review of the show. Norway. Sweeney).92 Sports on Television to the knees. the Monroes and the Capells. however. There’d be a sequel about a decade later. As part of Showtime’s Original Pictures for Kids series of cable movies. A Promise Kept: The Oksana Baiul Story (1994) was a CBS drama about teenage Ukranian figure skater Oksana Baiul and her struggle to overcome personal tragedy to become a gold medal winner at the 1994 winter Olympics. in 1995. He went on to win the gold medal in speed skating at the 1994 winter games in Lillehammer. Sergei collapsed on the ice from a heart attack and died at age 28. the young lovers here are ice skaters. and permanently banning Harding from international figure skating. is that even a network with a vested interest like CBS would agree to turn over two hours of primetime to an original project centering on Russian athletes. Much to the consternation of their families. told the story of NHL prospect Doug Dorsey (D. dramatized the ill-fated fairy tale of Russian pairs skaters Ekaterina Gordeeva and her late husband Sergei Grinkov. The Cutting Edge (1992). leaving him unable to play professionally. Washington (although it was filmed as a Canadian production). airing on CBS to tie in with the Winter Olympics in Nagano. Japan. this lighthearted tale was set in Spokane. It also told of pairs skater Kate Moseley (Moira Kelly). Adapted from her book. “What’s perhaps most notable about My Sergei. a driven figure skater with an attitude and with whom no one will pair up after a fall during the same Olympic games. put Harding’s husband Jeff Gillooly and bodyguard Shawn Eckhardt behind bars. Then. In the 1997 made-for-cable movie.
It lasted until 2001. colorful governor of Minnesota in the 1998 elections. Petr Barna. hosted by Cyrus the Virus and was “hailed” as the first national broadcast of this aspect of wrestling. It offered a no-rules sport. team and the controversy that denied Janet Lynn a world championship medal in 1971. longtime buddies who are bounced from the wrestling ring through complicated shenanigans and end up as private dicks who use their ring moves to nab bad guys. executive produced by Ross Greenburg. only to be reborn later in the new millennium. from Canada. Veteran Canadian actor Kenneth Welsh narrated. “a classy HBO gem. Nils Allen Stewart. and bizarrely. offered not only glimpses of the world of school “figures” but also the 1961 airplane crash that killed the U. which fought back from a steroids scandal. Elvis Stojko. there was.” Narrated by Susan Saint James. in his pursuit of excellence. respectively. from Madge Syers to Sonja Henie to Tenley Albright (1956 Gold Medalist) to Dorothy Hamill and Peggy Fleming. Minnesota (1990–1994). Extreme Championship Wrestling—known familiarly as ECW—came to weekly television on TNN (then The Nashville Network. Jesse Ventura himself went to the mat along with fellow wrestler Rowdy Roddy Piper in an unsold 1991 ABC pilot called Tag Team. In addition there were interviews with old-timers like Fritzi Burger. Kurt Browning: Life on the Edge illustrated what makes a world-class athlete and Olympics star. and a trademark dispute with the World Wildlife Fund (which also claimed the WWF acronym). was.S. Another pro wrestler. Reflections on Ice: A Diary of Ladies’ Figure Skating. Ultimately the wrestling group changed its name to WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment). They played Bobby “The Body” Youngblood and Tricky Ricky McDonald. thanks to promoter Vince McMahon and the World Wrestling Federation (WWF). the loss of many of its name performers. Browning himself appeared. a 1998 documentary. in 1992. and others. then mayor of Brooklyn Park. The Jesse Ventura Story (NBC 1999) was a slapdash biopic of the flamboyant professional wrestler (and former Navy SEAL and nightclub bouncer) and his rise to national political prominence as activist. Robert A. Duncan wrote and co-directed (with Tom Radford). it spanned the years from 1902 to 1976. together with fellow skaters Victor Petrenko.The 1990s 93 On the documentary front. . the silver medalist in the 1928 and 1932 Winter Olympics. in the view of The New York Times’s Richard Sandomir. Todd Eldredge. Wrestling was featured in the 1990s both in drama and in live action. The program. portrays Ventura. today it’s Spike TV). In August 1999. Wrestling itself continued its new-found growth in popularity on cable television in the 1990s. the story of figure skater Kurt Browning.
Track was highlighted in several factual dramas of the 1990s. among others. which aired in the United States on A&E as part of host Bill Kurtis’s “Investigative Reports. swimming. It was based on the life of world-class runner and Olympics hopeful Ellen Hart (played by Crystal Bernard). At least one show in the 1990s dealt with auto racing. her struggle with bulimia. (Not long after this Showtime film initially aired. going back to the 1972 Olympics. Thunder Alley. the effects of banned substances such as EPO. Another running documentary was the 1998 CBC 44-minute film. Dying to Win. and human growth hormones on various athletes. The world of swimming was the topic of Breaking the Surface (1997). in the sports of track and field.” a top tennis star. a Sports Illustrated columnist. In Thunder Alley (1994–1995). she became a medalist again in the 1996 games in Atlanta. often gruff widower hangs out with the boys and charms the ladies. a prodigy with the potential to become a “phenom. Judith Light played her mom and William Devane her abrasive. Lauren Hutton narrated. where the stubborn. with assorted sprinters and marathoners sharing their impressions on doping.94 Sports on Television Tennis had a match or two on TV during the 1990s. egotistical coach. Hart’s running career had its highlight with her 11th place finish in the 1984 Olympic marathon trials. anabolic steroids. The factbased drama Run for the Dream: The Gail Devers Story (1996) chronicled five years in the life of the Olympic track champion (played by Charlayne Woodard) who won a gold medal at the 1992 games in Barcelona. retired stock car driver Ed Asner relished his own successful Detroit specialty car garage. This was the first of a number of sports documentaries written by Frank Deford. less than a year and a half after complications from Graves’ disease caused doctors to consider amputation of her feet. Four years later. Bob Kersee. In that same year came the ABC TV movie Dying to Be Perfect: The Ellen Hart Peña Story. HBO Sports presented the 1994 documentary of the tennis great who died of AIDS. the Denver mayor who became secretary of transportation in the first Clinton administration. an ABC sitcom. Five years later he followed with Dare to Compete: The Struggle of Women in Sports. Phenom (1993–1994) was a one-season sitcom on ABC about a teenage girl (played by Angela Goethels). and her romance with and marriage to Federico Peña (Esai Morales). older. with tennis superstars Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova. and cycling.) Louis Gossett played her friend and demanding coach.” It examined. Clinton named her as a member of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. testosterone. The title song was written by Carly Simon. which proved a pedestrian telling of the story of four-time Olympic Medalist Greg . Arthur Ashe: Citizen of the World.
which became headline news. Fists of Freedom: The Story of the ’68 Summer Games. And horse racing was spotlighted in The Canadian-made Derby (1995). now called Roller Jam. Sports such as wrestling. A number of Derby stars of yesteryear were recruited. aired on The Discovery Channel. Smith taught physical education at Santa Monica College and coached its track team. In its series In Search of History. a film about the history of timing at the Olympic Games. Much TV sports programming in the 1990s involved the Olympics. as well as a gold in the 1936 Berlin Games. The HBO 1999 Olympics documentary. raised a gloved fist to the sky on the 200-meter stand in Mexico City. when runner Tommie Smith and teammate Carlos Bernard. who bashed his head on a diving . “The First Olympics. swimmer Jeff Farrell. now. the abusive relationships with those close to him. a family drama on ABC about a female jockey who rides in the Kentucky Derby in order to keep the horse farm on which she grew up. the first woman to win a gold medal in track ands field in 1928. This TV film was shot primarily at Churchill Downs in Louisville. known as Spike. Bud Greenspan’s The Measure of Greatness (1992).The 1990s 95 Louganis. and somewhat before the big screen documentary Jam in 2006. his homosexuality. The sport returned many years after Raquel Welch’s notable theatrical Kansas City Bomber in 1972. on TNT in 1996 on the eve of the Atlanta Summer Games. Narrating was David Ackroyd. It was adapted from his 1995 autobiography (written with Eric Marcus). as mentioned earlier. Between 1999 and 2001. who was struck down with appendicitis a month before the 1960 Rome Games but got into the water and won two golds. the History Channel aired a documentary. at least on the sports pages. The show consisted of seven men and seven women divided into teams. boxing. in a gesture of racial defiance. which covers his difficult childhood.” in 1997. (Both were banished from the Games. which followed a group of fading Roller Derby stars of the 1950s and 1960s determined to make the sport a national sensation again. explored one of sports’ indelible images. and his HIV-positive status. roller derby. creating a frame of reference for the modern games. led Variety to report: “Even cynical sports fans will be cheering ‘USA! USA! USA!’ ” Among those whose accomplishments and compelling stories Greenspan focused on were Betty Robinson. Greg Louganis. his rise to glory as a champion diver. Mario Lopez portrays Louganis. and even chariot racing were discussed in detail. the regular voice behind the In Search of History series.) In his later years. was revived on The Nashville Network. during the 1996 Olympics. but the concept didn’t go over too well with diehard Derby fans and it was canceled. Greenspan’s patriotic America’s Greatest Olympians.
Jon Bon Jovi. dealing with the Special Olympics and handicapped young players. Bob Seger. Featured were reminiscences from Robert Redford. only one of them black. and others in the two-hour documentary. Farrell and produced in association with the American Film Institute. The New York Times TV critic dismissed it as “pure teenage gush in leotards. The Olympics-themed ABC drama Push lasted just two episodes in April 1998 (plus one more of the eight produced months later) was about a bunch of young athletes training for the 2000 Olympics at fictional Cal Southern University in California. both of which Greenspan’s Cappy Productions aired on the Disney Channel. “Most of all.” Atlanta’s Olympic Glory (1997) was produced for PBS by Greenspan and narrated by Will Lyman. and others. written by Frank Deford and Leslie D.96 Sports on Television board but came back the next day to win gold in 1988 in the springboard. with Owens himself narrating in Greenspan’s multipart Olympiad series. and others. Prince. “Greatest Olympians portrays the spirit of the Olympic Games. from the world of music. Billy Crystal. and Nagano’98 Olympics: Bud Greenspan’s Stories of Honor and Glory that aired on Showtime. His first film was Jesse Owens Returns to Berlin (1964). aired on ABC in September 1991. Jesse Owens. was not about a lot of nude athletes running around the field. Vicki LaMotta ( Jake’s wife). Jackie Cooper.” Variety said. it featured such celebrities as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Warren Beatty and. Also in the 1990s were Barcelona ’92: 16 Days of Glory and Lillehammer ’94: 16 Days of Glory. It was a series about the American sports .” Another Olympics-themed documentary. Gene Hackman. Naked Sport. Talia Shire (“Rocky’s” wife). from the silents—including glimpses of historical figures on the field or in the ring—through the early 1990s. It looked at sports-oriented films through the narration of Liev Schreiber. The 1997 HBO Sports documentary Sports on the Silver Screen summed up in its title the whole thrust of what was really an anthology. a six-part British-made documentary produced by Andy Paterson that aired in the United Kingdom in 1993 and in the United States beginning in February of the next year. Mary Lou Retton. Directed by Steve Binder and titled Victory & Valor: Special Olympics World Games. a Melrose Place for Olympic hopefuls set at a generic Sun Belt university (and actually filmed in San Diego) that boasts nine major characters. Jerry Lewis. Emmy-winning filmmaker and writer Greenspan had established himself since the 1960s as the foremost producer of Olympic films through his Cappy Productions.
(3) Roone Arledge. featuring world champ Evander Holyfeld’s promoter. Miami University football player Daryl Williams. and the most influential individuals. (4) Marvin Miller. and the latter two’s downfall in a scandal over recruitment of top-flight college players. began a series in January 1999 of sports biographies and significant sporting events (the show continued often nightly five times a week through mid-2006). Dana Duva. ESPN SportsCentury. followed by Babe Ruth). Episode 3 (“Fields of Blood”) dealt with Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. HBO premiered its signature Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel in April 1995. A monthly hour-long sports magazine show. Secretariat. And in the final episode (“That’s Entertainment”) there was a look at NBA commissioner David Stern. all encompassing sports-oriented program since the glory days of ABC Wide World of Sports. began a countdown of the Top 50 athletes in reverse order. Episode 1 (“Welcome to the Sewer”) offered a report on boxing. Norby Walters. The final original show was on racecar driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. There also was a countdown of the 100 most important sports figures of all time (basketball’s Michael Jordan ranked first.) . (2) Pete Rozelle. the greatest coaches. ex-journalist Mike Marley. It also spun off into specials that included the greatest games. the greatest dynasties. In Episode 5 (“The Big Pitch”). ESPN SportsCentury remains an Emmy-winning biography program that encapsulated the lives of people (several hundred of them through the years) and the athletic events that defined sports in North America throughout the twentieth century and into the first decade of the twenty-first.The 1990s 97 business. One focused on the 10 most influential figures in sports during the twentieth century: (1) Branch Rickey. The first program. one per show. and the Cincinnati Reds. and (10) Mark McCormick. (7) Avery Brundage. there was a look at basketball superstar turned entrepreneur Michael Jordan. (9) George Halas. respectively. (5) Kenesaw Mountain Landis. the Chicago White Sox (and the Chicago Bulls). sports agents David Levine. (ESPN SportsCentury continues on in reruns with an occasional new one tossed in. It was. having won all sorts of awards through the years. profiling each. and newcomer Shannon Briggs’s enthusiastic supporter. narrated primarily by Dick Schaap (later Chris Fowler was the host). Three of them were thoroughbreds: Man o’ War. and Lloyd Bloom discuss. the most influential. and Citation. like CBS’s longtime 60 Minutes but dealing with stories devoted to sports issues. (8) Walter O’Malley. In Episode 2 (“Be Like Mike”). (6) David Stern. arguably. in 1999. it continues to the present. Episode 4 (“Home of the Brave”) reported on the management of three baseball teams: the minor league Salt Lake City Trappers. Note than none were players.
NFL star of the Arizona Cardinals who made headlines by foregoing his career and millions of dollars to enlist in the U. among other things. as well as the United States Football League’s first commissioner. at a fictional New York-based cable network. The character was a creation of Robert Wuhl. but in cartoon form. corralled many real-life sports notables for the weekly series that ran until 2002. on two rival television sportscasters (played by Peter Krause and Josh Charles). Sports Night. Army in May 2002. focused. no matter how outrageous. 1996). The Pentagon disclosed to his family over a month after his death that he died as a result of friendly fire and not from an enemy attack. Darryl Strawberry. wheeler-dealer. they were voiced by others. Fox Television’s Between Brothers in 1997–1998 (and later moving to UPN for a season) was a sitcom dealing with four black men sharing an apartment in Chicago—one a sports writer for the fictional Chicago Examiner. as initially reported. catered to his clients’ every wishes. from DIC Enterprises. in the title role. and Robert Guillaume was the station manager. under the direction of Chet Simmons. father and son. Wuhl. 1979. Felicity Huffman was the overworked producer of their show. the show managed realistically to bring on sports figures such as Pete Rose. And lest it be forgotten. was on Pat Tillman. a high-powered. another a local TV weatherman. Dealing in one way or another with both television and sports. among others and work them (as themselves) into the plot.98 Sports on Television One particularly interesting profile. an ABC sitcom that premiered in September 1998 and lasted for two seasons. both with huge egos. The three appeared in the live-action openings and closings. Bo Jackson. It was founded by Bill and Scott Rasmussen. actor/writer/comedian. as the Entertainment and Sports Programming Network. the network’s first president and CEO. and Michael Jordan used their athletic prowess as animated figures to right wrongs. in 2005. Actress Sandra Oh (later of the movie Sideways and the TV hit Grey’s Anatomy) played his savvy assistant. He was killed while serving in Afghanistan in 2004. And then there was Arli$$ (HBO. often obnoxious sports agent who. when it simply went away along with its acquired-taste audience. Today the premiere broadcaster of sports airing 24 hours a day is ESPN. for the big bucks.S. there was an animated “superhero” series on NBC on Saturday mornings briefly in 1991: ProStars. Super athletes Wayne Gretzky. and Indians outfielder Kenny Lofton. and launched on September 7. . a comedy about Arliss Michaels.
where it was recipient of a George Foster Peabody Award. baseball’s most famous Jewish player.” The Times critic observed: “[The film] examines Greenberg’s remarkable career from the standpoint of his Jewishness. Mickey Rutner. hit the first pitch thrown to him out of the park. The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg.CHAPTER 7 The 2000s memorable sports documentary. A . it was named Best Non-Fiction Film by the New York Film Critics and Best Documentary by the National Board of Review and the Chicago Film Critics. It received a few big screen bookings before Cinemax gave it its television premiere. Shawn Green. Al Rosen. One of the greats of his time. Ryan Braun. Ken Holtzman. Greenberg was the first star player to enlist in the armed services after Pearl Harbor. was first baseman and outfielder for the Detroit Tigers from 1933 through 1946. emerged on television in 2001. he fell two homers short of matching Babe Ruth’s 60 in a single season. Hammerin’ Hank.” Curiously. and in 1947. Film critic Lawrence Van Gelder wrote in his January 2000 review in the New York Times: “The unabashed valentine by Aviva Kempner to baseball’s Hall of Fame slugger demonstrates [referring to derogatory remarks at the time of Atlantic Braves pitcher John Rocker] how little mankind and some of its sports figures have advanced since the 1930s and ’40s and reminds us how the persistence of bigotry stains a nation founded on ideals like religious tolerance. and when he returned to the Tigers in 1945. neither baseball’s Sandy Koufax. Jason Marquis. for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Produced for theatrical release in the late 1990s.
Mickey Mantle. Yogi Berra.” Bob Dylan and Jacques Levy’s “Catfish.” Bruce Springsteen’s “Glory Days. first baseman Gil Hodges. per usual by Liev Schreiber. sharp-edged portrait of a man who lived a life of public triumph and private pain. and directed by Marino Amoruso and narrated by Bill Patrick. was Brooklyn Dodgers: The Ghosts of Flatbush. And of course there were the Andrews Sisters singing the 1940s hit record. more or less tearfully. it was designed to capture the unique relationship between the team and the borough of Brooklyn. from 1947 when Jackie Robinson first came to the majors to 1957 when Dem Bums and the fabled franchise left Ebbets Field for the West Coast. Another Dodgers documentary. beginning with the July 2001 Shot Heard ‘Round the World. PBS offered Joe DiMaggio: The Hero’s Life. from HBO Sports. produced. at least to some of them.” and Terry Cashman’s series of “Talkin’ Baseball” songs. a 2000 documentary running 90 minutes. and actor Robert Loggia. and won an Emmy as Outstanding Sports Documentary. The 10 crucial years in the team’s history were examined. The DiMaggio program was described by PBS as “an unconventional. “Joltin’ Joe DiMaggio. Willie Mays.” (Few sports figures ever had an iconic song written about them. on and off the field. The documentary. featured lots of DiMag footage. center fielder Duke Snider. 50 years since the team’s departure.) Dem Bums: The Brooklyn Dodgers. there are. In its American Experience series. from . written and narrated by Richard Ben Cramer. and second baseman Jackie Robinson. The hour-long 2001 documentary featured profiles of five “boys of summer” who were the core of the 1955 championship team: shortstop Pee Wee Reese. written. HBO Sports offered this documentary commemorating. 5 died. narrated by David Hartman. and fond observations and remembrances about Joltin’ Joe by Whitey Ford. The Treniers’ “Say Hey [The Willie Mays Song].” Buddy Johnson and Count Basie’s 1949 “Did You See Jackie Robinson Hit That Ball?. In association with Major League Baseball Productions. catcher Roy Campanella. was as much a part of their fame as their undeniable talents on the diamond or the gridiron) had feature-length documentaries either theatrical or for television. among others. several of the more prominent Jewish sports stars (whose religion. not long after the Yankees’ No. comedian Pat Cooper. each devoted to a different team with the names of all the current players in the lyrics and updated over the years. was produced by PBS’s New York outlet WNET/13. FOX Sports Network presented Joe DiMaggio: The Final Chapter. writer Gay Talese.” The same year. Other than DiMag’s song. airing in two parts in July 2007.100 Sports on Television nor 1940s football great Sid Luckman. Tommy Lasorda. Narrated. HBO Sports produced a number of baseball documentaries during the early 2000s.
Liev Schreiber narrated. The Curse of the Bambino.” Thomson and Branca appeared on the documentary as did fellow player Duke Snider and Jerry Lewis and Larry King. written by Frank Deford and narrated. conducting in the 1950s and 1960s their own nonviolent revolution. after the Sox finally won the World Series. programmed as part of Black History Month. The image illuminates a moment. “is not to tell the stories behind noted photographs. honoring what has come to be known as sports’ “foot soldiers”—the next generation of barrier breakers. his helmet off. as usual. It was written by David Pruner and directed by Jeff Winn. after the 2001 World Series between the Yankees and the Arizona Diamondbacks. from behind.The 2000s 101 producers George Roy and Steven Stern. this one from 2002. Another ESPN documentary in 2003 (running just 47 minutes). 1950s. and Nine Innings From Ground Zero in 2004. Bobby Thomson’s historic hitting of Ralph Branca’s pitch over the left field wall of the Polo Grounds to put the New York Giants into the1951 World Series. was the outstanding Picture Perfect: The Stories Behind the Greatest Photos in Sports. as he also did with 2002’s A City on Fire: The Story of the ’68 Detroit Tigers. The next year ESPN aired a sequel with the same title but different personnel. and 1960s. anguished runner Mary Decker after tripping over Zola Budd in the 3. just weeks after 9/11. “A great photograph usually speaks for itself. or deserves an aspect of a person that words do not. New York Giants quarterback Y. the Raiders.000 meter race at the Olympics in Los Angeles. and then. Still another HBO documentary. narrated by Ben Affleck. of a gravely ill Babe Ruth leaning on his bat in the Yankees dugout two months before his death. A. the ’70s. Muhammad Ali decking Sonny Liston in the first round of their celebrated rematch in 1965. Schreiber also narrated HBO’s Rebels of Oakland: The A’s. the impact has been diminished by the image blizzard exploding minute by minute out of the multimedia world. Variety called the show “a delightful hour. traced the history of the bitter. The Teammates: A Portrait . There’s a poignant snapshot.” Sandomir observed.” ESPN’s 2002 documentary. decades-long Boston Red Sox/New York Yankees rivalry. Rather it makes a compelling case that even as the technology of photography has improved. In 2003. by Liev Schreiber. was Seasons of Change: The African-American Athlete. celebrating the 50th anniversary of what might be called baseball’s greatest homer. a top-notch 2003 documentary. freezes action. his bald head bloodied and bowed after being sacked by the Pittsburgh Steelers’ John Baker in 1964.” Richard Sandomir wrote in his New York Times review of the documentary with memorable shots—moments in time—from the 1940s. “The point of Picture Perfect. Schreiber narrated The Reverse of the Curse of the Bambino. Tittle on his knees.
“This is an unknown black hero. The life and career of the Pittsburgh Pirates’ star player and humanitarian Roberto Clemente. In addition to interviews with dozens of baseball greats. “cleverly juxtaposes the team’s most bitter past century. Mantle. through the years. along side interviewees like Bryant Gumbel and comic actor Jeff Garlin (of Curb Your Enthusiasm).102 Sports on Television of a Friendship. (Many teams and sports. a documentary following the team’s historic 2004 championship season. “with the eternal hope of another opening day. the fate of the Cubbies who have been denied a championship since the Teddy Roosevelt administration. there were those with show biz luminaries headed by Billy Crystal (who had directed the TV movie dramatizing the race between Mantle and Roger Maris to beat Babe Ruth’s home run record). who made it into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1998. “He dealt with the same adversity and prejudices in his life and career as Jackie Robinson. likely have had films made and shown regionally rather than nationally.” The Hollywood Reporter wrote on its premiere. Producer Bud Greenspan’s 90-minute Showtime baseball biography. was produced by HBO Sports. The Red Sox also were spotlighted in the regionally produced and shown Wait ’Til This Year. the Red Sox documentary was shot not at Fenway Park but in New Haven! It initially aired in Boston in October 2005 by the New England Sports Network.) Curiously. In 2005. The Greenspan documentary was inspired by the 1988 Larry Doby biography by Joseph Thomas Moore. a documentary on Mickey Mantle. and comic Richard Lewis.” Doby. But being second [by just 11 weeks].” the Yankees slugger who had died nearly a decade earlier at the age of 63. The 2006 HBO Sports documentary Wait ’Til Next Year: The Saga of the Chicago Cubs. who challenged racial discrimination to become . The Sox doc is just one example. narrated. nearly two decades after leaving the game.” Onetime Chicago cop turned actor and unabashed fan Dennis Farina offered an enthusiastic narration. followed the career of the second black player in the majors with the Cleveland Indians. actor Ed Harris.” Greenspan said at the time. Described by Bob Costas as a “God-made ballplayer. Louis Gossett Jr. along with narrator Liev Schreiber) more than a detailed account of what set him apart on the field. Bobby Doerr. received a kind of cinematic hero worship (by producer George Roy and writer Steven Stern. died in 2003. was inspired by writer David Halberstram’s book about the 60-year friendship of four Boston Rex Sox legends who played together in the 1940s and 1950s: Ted Williams. Johnny Pesky. and Dominic DiMaggio. Pride Against Prejudice: The Larry Doby Story (2007). tracing. he has been overlooked by many of us for a long time.
and Major League Baseball (with only a third of the audience popularity as the Super Bowl). He observed: “Clemente played hard all the time [and] he played all the time. about how hard it was to do what he did. found a gaggle of prospective angelic hopefuls waiting to earn their wings by coming to the aid of a down-on-his-luck big-league pitcher. 21. for instance. the 2000 Disney comedy follow-up to the company’s earlier Angels in the Outfield (1994).” Another half-hour documentary on what once was the great American pastime. Super Bowl XLII drew an estimated 97. Eddie’s having trouble not only on the mound but at home with his teenage daughter and the wife who moved out on him. “Even before Roberto Clemente boarded a DC-7 aircraft that would plunge into the Atlantic Ocean.” Actor Jimmy Smits narrated the documentary.The 2000s 103 baseball’s first Latino superstar. who’d written a couple of notable books about baseball. Ken Parish Perkins wrote in the Washington Post on the documentary’s premiere of “the silkysmooth outfielder with the rocket arm and textbook hitting skills. according to the New York Times. Eddie “Steady” Everett (played by Patrick Warburton). explored baseball behind bars in San Quentin prison.5 million viewers. persuading a school custodian Buck (Ossie Davis) to . All Games Are Home Games. in fourth and fifth place. leading the team to two World Series championships. were the thrust of a PBS American Experience program that aired in spring 2008. on PBS in 2002. Angels in the Infield. all the time. followed by NASCAR racing and the NBA Finals. among other “witnesses. Puerto Rico’s favorite baseball son died on New Years Eve 1972 while on a humanitarian mission to ferry supplies to survivors of a catastrophic earthquake in Nicaragua. Dick Conte was the narrator. but [filmmaker Bernardo] Ruiz said he had seen nothing that dug into Clemente’s interior life or showed how race and identity played a vital role during his time in Pittsburgh. In 2008. followed by college football. Clemente played for 18 seasons with the Pirates. which had. Baseball was now well on its way to ceding its premiere designation. That’s approximately three times as many viewers as American Idol. one of the largest sports audiences ever. winning four National League titles. his status as a legendary enigma was already sealed. Finding Buck McHenry (Showtime 2000) told the tale of an 11-year-old (Michael Schiffman) who gets cut from his Little League baseball team and forms his own team. But he talked. according to polls of TV audiences and viewing habits. No. and receiving the MVP award. With regard to TV movies.” journalist George Will. the Super Bowl was number one.” Perkins commented: “Major League Baseball had commissioned profiles of Clemente. earning 12 consecutive Golden Gloves. By 2007.
Canadian-made Frankie & Hazel. like a great many of the TV adventures of the gang. Babe Ruth’s single-season 60 home runs. was a sports tale based on the baseball play originally produced by the Organic Theatre Company of Chicago in the 1970s. Maury Chaykin. but the producers could not use the name]. and/or producer Charles M. who conceived the project. and then OffBroadway. Showtime’s once-in-awhile cable series of Movies for Young People. Schulz. including Joe Mantegna. the old man’s baseball knowledge leads the kid to suspect that Buck is really an ex-Negro League legend who disappeared from sight years ago. and Commissioner Ford Frick’s controversial decision to add an asterisk to any record set beyond the 154 game schedule Ruth had played under. Billy Crystal. 1 fan. Matt Craven. since he and philosophical. the Yankees’ self-acknowledged No.104 Sports on Television be the coach. Her performance in right field. As Buck starts working with the team. 61* (2001) dramatized Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle’s competition to break the most hallowed record in U. Ernie Banks. is the cause of most of their 900 straight losses. A remake of the 1978 PBS television adaptation by the same name.S. The film highlights the pressures they faced. sports. But Eddie is willing to trade his baseball glove for an oven mitt when he finds he has a gift for cooking. and the boy sets out to find out the truth about the man’s background. which aired in the late 1990s and early 2000s. blanket-carrying Linus believe that she is the worst player in the history of the game. One. offered a number of sportsthemed entries. it had a sports theme. the 2001 Bleacher Bums. and Charles Durning. the Bruins [actually the Cubs. Disney’s Eddie’s Million Dollar Cook-Off in 2003 was an amiable comedy about a devoted teenage baseball fan whose dad is his coach and his best buddies his teammates. their friendship. Written by nine of Organic’s actor members. it follows nine die-hard Chicagoans—a rather unique social organization—as they root for a team that never seems to win. the 2003 animated special Lucy Must Be Traded finds good old Charlie Brown. the manager of a losing team. hoping that persnickety Lucy will not sign up to play the new (little league) baseball season. they feel. family-oriented drama about a 12-year-old girl (played by Mischa Barton) . supervisor. This was the first new Peanuts special since the death in February 2000 of creator. co-wrote and directed this home run of a cable movie. also appears as a Negro League player. Former Chicago Cubs star. was a feel-good. directed for Showtime by versatile Canadian actor Saul Rubinek and starring Sarain Boylan. in this adaptation by Alfred Slote of his 1991 novel. In the “Peanuts” world. and.
the legendary pitcher who helped the Pittsburgh Pirates win the 1909 World Series. Another actress.” The Winning Season of 2004 about Wagner (played by Matthew Modine) should not be confused with The Winning Team of a half century earlier about another baseball star. Hamill’s story focused on a local Irish-Catholic preteen tough who strikes up a friendship with a local rabbi in a shabby neighborhood synagogue. Hustle was a paper-thin 2004 docudrama. tries out for the boys’ baseball team. with the encouragement of her Latina girlfriend (Ingrid Uribe). set in Brooklyn in the late 1940s was not really about sports. pitcher Grover Cleveland Alexander (played by Ronald Reagan). This film was based on the 1997 novel Honus & Me. Johnnie Cochran was the defense attorney for . the network presented a speculative docudrama called Pete Rose on Trial. it was found that Rose deserves to be in the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. as his mentor. and he time travels back to meet the star player himself. the kid is drawn into the world of Jewish arcane and is taught to speak Yiddish while the rabbi. learns the nuances of English and baseball—Jackie Robinson in particular. So although Snow in August is a bit far afield to be included among sports-themed dramas.” In exchange for the pittance. one of a series of Dan Gutman books called “Baseball Card Adventures. written by Christian Darren and directed by Peter Bogdanovich. although it evoked the man and the myth Jackie Robinson as part of its storyline. After hearing three hours of testimony and deliberating for 90 minutes at Harvard Law School. becomes a paid “Shabbos goy. directed this story by Elisa Guest and Jenny Bogart. A year before this ESPN movie. an actor with his own legal run-ins and doing jail time. who’s raising her. Tom Sizemore. Snow in August. with a Jackie Robinson memento. JoBeth Williams. conjured up by the youngster at the behest of the rabbi who has been mugged and whose synagogue has been trashed. In the 2004 baseball fantasy. Veteran actress Joan Plowright played her loving grandmother. and even had a commemorative Robinson pin being worn by a newly created Golem (a Frankenstein monster-like character of Jewish lore). about onetime Cincinnati Reds baseball legend Pete Rose (aka “Charlie Hustle”) and his downfall during the mid-tolate 1980s in the wake of accusations about his gambling addiction and his admitted (in 2007) betting on his own team. a contemporary youngster finds a rare mint-condition trading card featuring Honus Wagner. leading to lifetime banishment from the game. a mock proceeding.The 2000s 105 who is torn between taking ballet lessons and. An adaptation on Showtime of writer Pete Hamill’s coming-of-age novel. starred as Rose. where the kid. The Winning Season. it is a hoot to see the monster. to the displeasure of his peers.
Catherine Crier presided over events as trial judge. The Zen of Bobby V. a multipart drama dealing primarily with the New York Yankees during the summer of 1977 and the team’s race for the pennant. the Bronx Is Burning: 1977. The Bronx Is Burning. and Alan Dershowitz the prosecuting attorney. Erik Jensen as Thurman Munson. Alex Cranmer as Graig Nettles. one of Japan’s premiere baseball teams. was produced by ESPN. Daniel Sunjata as Reggie Jackson. was the producer. he lost it all to body-enhancing drugs. it featured John Turturro as manager Billy Martin. Canseco was a Cuban who realized the American dream by coming up from the minors to the Oakland A’s in 1985. Baseball. Another baseball-themed drama. ESPN’s two-hour 2008 documentary. In 2008 A&E told the story of José Canseco. Elon Dershowitz. Lou Provenzano as Ron Guidry. published by Scribner’s just after the close of the championship season. He is given another chance at life when he returns to his hometown and finds . who collaborated on the book of the same title. The two fans were novelist Stewart O’Nan and cult mystery writer Stephen King. The show ran in hour-long segments over eight weeks. Matthew Zinkel as Lou Piniella.106 Sports on Television Rose. by Jonathan Mahler.) The unwieldy-titled Oprah Winfrey Presents: Mitch Albom’s For One More Day. as portrayed in José Canseco: My Life on Steriods. but many TV critics found it somewhat less than engaging. and the Battle for the Soul of a City. a broken-down former baseball player with the New York Mets who was plagued by thoughts of suicide. his son. was Faithful: Two Diehard Boston Red Sox Fans Chronicle the Historic 2004 Season. Jeremiah Chechik directed. Among those talking for one side or the other were baseball stars Hank Aaron and Steve Garvey. which he continues to use. and broadcaster Jim Palmer. (As of the close of the 2008 baseball season. Dock Pollard as Willie Randolph. Evan Hart as Bucky Dent. Bobby Valentine. writers James Solomon and Gordon Greisman produced. was adapted by Albom from his 2006 best seller and aired on ABC as “a two-hour television event motion picture” just before Christmas 2007. Christopher MacDonald as slugger Joe DiMaggio. the documentary was still only on the drawing board. Oliver Platt as owner George Steinbrenner. But over the years. and his current job managing the Chiba Lotte Marines. Joe Grifasi as Yogi Berra. Based on the book. Bill Forchion as Elston Howard. Politics. Ladies and Gentlemen. Michael Imperioli starred as Chick Benetto. Rob Lavin as Kenny Holtzman. Tom Wiggin as Whitey Ford. focused on former Major League player and Texas Rangers and New York Mets manager. and others. a baseball star of the 1980s and 1990s who seemed to have it all. a two-part HBO film announced in late 2007 for a 2008 summer airdate. however.
this TNT cable film. with a plethora of sports figure. but the entire 11 filmed episodes later were shown on HDNet. and Dandy Don Meredith and the impact of ABC’s fabled Monday Night Football in 1970. (This appears to be a one-time-only program. the program was the culmination of a “contest” during the summer in which fans could name the most outstanding player in the history of each of the 30 Major League Baseball franchises (five were to be nominated for each team based on specific criteria that make the winner deserving of being called a hero. Based on the candid 1988 book by Marc Gunther and Bill Carter. . which premiered not long before. The conjunction with Major League Baseball. Tom Berenger had the starring role. And then there was a 2004 ESPN documentary. Ali. The film was based on Jim Dent’s 1999 book. not a continuing series like the American Film Institute top 100 lists that are turned into periodic CBS specials. In 2002. ESPN offered in The Junction Boys a dramatization of legendary football coach Paul “Bear” Bryant’s unforgiving efforts to whip his hopefuls on the 1954 Texas A&M team into a cohesive gridiron force in training camp in desolate. were compiled and their greatest moments were showcased. around World Series time. the New York Empires. directed by Ernest Dickerson. The Junction Boys: How Ten Days in Hell With Bear Bryant Forged a Championship Team. participating. Dean Cain was the team’s egotistical captain and star third baseman. Only 35 players survived the grueling regimen. Texas (although it was filmed outside Sydney. Frank Gifford. living and in archival footage. John Turturro’s Cosell should be compared to Jon Voight’s interpretation in the feature film. (This of course was before the Red Sox went on to win the World Series. The names of 30 of them. called DHL [after the sponsor] Presents Major League Baseball Hometown Heroes. Roone Arledge. Clubhouse (CBS 2004–2005) followed the relatively brief fortunes of a teenager (Jeremy Sumpter) living out his biggest dream as the batboy for a major league baseball team.) The first decade of the new millennium has been full of football TV fare. Australia). Whose Curse Is Worse? Red Sox and Cubs on Trial. under the tutelage of the network’s sports president.) In 2006 ESPN also offered a three-part program.The 2000s 107 himself granted one more day with his mother who had died eight years before. Clubhouse was dumped after first five outings on CBS. She was played by Ellen Burstyn. drought-ridden Junction. devolved into less the story of how the show became a cultural institution and more about the colorfully bombastic Cosell. Monday Night Mayhem (2002) was a lighthearted chronicle about the launch with broadcast boothmates Howard Cosell. chosen by the number of votes. Christopher Lloyd was the gruff equipment manager.
is more grounded in contemporary American reality than this clear eyed serial about the hopes. Sportswriter Bert Sugar named Brown number one in his book The Greatest Athletes of All Time. Jim Brown: All American was a two-hour plus film.” In 2002.” critic Stephen Holden wrote in the New York Times. never received a large audience. “it is impossible not to be awed by the power and grace of one of the greatest natural sportsmen of modern times. was ambivalent about . A Return to Glory: The Untold Story of Honor. livelihoods and egos intertwined with the fate of high-school football in a Texas town. but the network rather half-heartedly chose to pick it up for a second season after it received a Peabody Award with the notation: “No dramatic series. Brown’s athletic exploits. co-produced by HBO Sports.108 Sports on Television Code Breakers was a 2005 docudrama on ESPN about the 1951 West Point cheating scandal surrounding the Army football team coached by Earl “Red” Blaik (Scott Glenn). He is still considered as a candidate for the best running back of all time. His own son was on the team that violated the storied “Cadet Honor Code”—hence the film’s title. the producers use it as a metaphor of life in rural America where high school football is weekly entertainment now that local movie houses have made their way to cineplexes in the not necessarily nearby malls and drive-ins have long since been plowed over by land developers. I love Friday Night Lights. who was one of Blaik’s assistant coaches. it induces both grief and euphoria and casts a kind of high-lonesome bluegrass spell. before later becoming legendary in his own right. Like a late-life romance. broadcast or cable. Jim Brown was named by The Sporting News as the greatest professional football player ever. NBC. Dishonor & Triumph at the United States Military Academy. Tex. which was embraced by the critics and had a coterie of fans.” She continued: “[It] is a luminous slow dance set in the smoldering landlock of fictional Dillon. in the spring of 2008. Richard Zeppieri played a young Vince Lombardi. during the show’s second season that was abbreviated by a lengthy writers’ strike. Filmmaker Spike Lee’s worshipful. 1950–53 by Bill McWilliams. had a brief theatrical run (at the Film Forum in New York) before going. dreams. in an abridged 90 minute version. arresting 2000 documentary. And it’s not just me.” In a lengthy piece in the New York Times Magazine in early 2008.” The series is only secondarily about football. media critic Virginia Heffernan offered: “Why is Friday Night Lights such a bust? It hurts to pose the question. Friday Night Lights (2006–present) is an NBC series based on the feature film. More than 90 cadets were disciplined or expelled as a result of the Korean War era affair. Code Breakers was based on the 2000 book. “As the movie traces Mr. to cable TV. The show.
and the Board of Education ruthless. Like The Game.’s role from his prison cell. as the network’s press release noted. Simpson’s famed “dream team” of defense lawyers (led by Johnnie Corcoran. late of J. Kelsey Grammer. earlier played Alan Dershowitz (another member of the team featured here) in the theatrical film Reversal of Fortune. The Man Who Lost Himself (aka The Stranger I Married) was a Canadianmade 2005 TV docudrama about Terry Evanshen. J. and O. J. focused on how three women deal with their men who play for the fictional NFL team.” The Game (The CW series 2006–2007). the 2007 one-hour ABC pilot Football Wives revolves around women whose lives are transformed when they marry NFL superstars. practice space scarce. who here portrayed egotistical Robert Shapiro.A. The 2008 ESPN high school football documentary. in 2003 (it lasted just 11 episodes). one touchdown at a time.The 2000s 109 continuing the series and talked about selling it off to an interested cable party. the power struggles. Playmakers. well written and well acted but it is professional football as observed by Joan Didion rather than John Madden. executive produced by. but ultimately returned it to the next season’s program lineup. David James Elliott. It was set in Harlem. Hellfighters. The New York Times. proved the polar opposite of Friday Night Lights. J. 2000’s American Tragedy was about onetime football star O. The Game was a spin-off from the popular series Girlfriends. The two-part. had a premiere screening at the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival. J. San Diego Sabers. a Canadian Football League star who fell into a coma after a near-fatal car crash. Co-author Schiller also produced and directed. “the bleachers are empty. a sitcom. ESPN offered its first original drama series. in its review. O. While not actually dealing with football. Ron Silver.. starred. four-hour CBS adaptation by Norman Mailer of the 1996 best-seller by Lawrence Schiller and James Willwerth detailed the drama behind the closed doors of O.G. Simpson and his sensational trial for the murder of his wife and her friend. but it focused on the off-field lives of its players and how they deal with the pressures of professional football. played by Ving Rhames): the warring personalities. called it “a show about football that shows almost no football . where. . but under the perseverance of coach Duke Ferguson. The project is based on the popular British primetime soap Footballers’ Wives . directed by Jon Frankel. It was sort of a sports soap opera that followed the fortunes of the Cougars. When he awakened. among others.” This documentary. he had no recollection of his family or anything else in his life. dealing with a bunch of twenty-something African American women. was portrayed in shadows and from behind by Raymond Forchion. the Hellfighters are fighting to overcome it all. a fictional NFL team. .
a twenty-something female Chicago sports columnist (Jordana Spiro) deals in this lighthearted series with the men in her life including her brother (Jim Gaffigan). (The team’s real head coach. and Lost co-star Kiele Sanchez. but come up losers for the past couple of decades.com writers Adam Schefter and Pat Kirwan. the MTV reality series Two-ADays. In My Boys (TBS 2006–).110 Sports on Television that began in 2002 and is airing in the United States on BBC America. Ving Rhames (who earlier had portrayed flamboyant Don King in a TV movie and O. ESPN offered a high school football reality show in 2005 that unexpectedly got mired in controversy. demanding coaches. the pilot of which had not aired as of the start of the 2008–2009 television season. In the American version. The Spartans had been a high school football powerhouse in an earlier time. became frustrated. Bound for Glory was destined to follow the Spartans of Montour High in McKees Rocks. and commentator Brian Baldinger (from NFL on Fox) discuss and debate news of the day in the league. play three of the wives. J. college football analyst Charles Davis. were chasing their fourth state championship title in five years. NFL. her ex-boyfriend who had a front office job with the Cubs (Jamie Kahler). Simpson’s lawyer in another) plays the general manager of a pro football team. community. about a small town football team. He and contributors including (among others) former two-sport athlete Deion Sanders. a coal-mining town 12 miles from Pittsburgh. followed (at least for eight episodes before it was sacked) the 2005 gridiron season of the Hoover (Alabama) High School Buccaneers. and Anelle Kebbel. but they were also balancing the normal pressures of being high school seniors—personal relationships. the NFL Network offered Put Up Your Dukes. academics. and a sportswriter for a rival publication (Kyle Howard). her best friend (Reid Scott). football greats Dick Butkus as the head coach and Ray Crockett as his assistant. Among the television documentaries produced for HBO Sports dealing with football during the decade was The Bear: The Legend of Coach Paul Bryant . took over. through the eight weeks of their 2005 season. a fictional NFL franchise in Orlando. and left with two games to go to finish the season. Lou Cerro. and two practices every day—in their pursuit of a championship ring. Butkus reportedly chided the players for their poor attitude. the younger sibling of one of them who adapts quickly to her sister’s new lifestyle. Lucy Lawless. Gabrielle Union. parents. a sports television talk show hosted by former NFL center Jamie Dukes. the next year. Beginning in September 2007.) Similar to ESPN’s 2005 Bound for Glory. with their “faux” coach. who entered their season ranked second in the nation. The Bucs.
border skirmishes (many Ohioans have played for Michigan). using rare footage and interviews with well-known grads. J. HBO Sports’ behind-the-scenes football cinema verité series aired in summer 2007. the Ohio State coaching icon whose career ended after he slugged a Clemson player at the 1978 Gator Bowl . looked at the career of the legendary Grambling State University football coach who. a fixed time of year to play. Another 2007 HBO Sports documentary dealing with college football and one if its greatest rivalries. The 10-year battle between [Bo] Schembechler and Hayes is the emotional core of the documentary. O. premiered a little over a month before 9/11 and followed the then-defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens. which can be ascribed to Hayes’s snarling. NBC Sports half-hour 2007 documentary. his cold war-level paranoia and his loathing for Michigan. Hard Knocks: Training Camp With the Kansas City Chiefs. the subject was the Dallas Cowboys. Ohio State: The Rivalry. Hard Knocks. examined Michigan vs. Every Man a Tiger: The Eddie Robinson Story. focusing for five weeks on the players and coaches’ daily lives and the routines as the Chiefs. players. and coaches. whose members dress as Woody Hayes. juvenile insults. meshuga intensity. The New York Times wrote: “The hour-long program produced by George Roy proves that the Wolverines and the Buckeyes have everything needed for a rivalry: 110 years of history. sent more than 200 players to the NFL. Five seasons later. . going back 110 years. Again Liev Schreiber narrated. narrated by Tom Wopat. indelible personalities and the pro-Buckeyes punk rock band.” An HBO Sports’ documentary that examines integration during the 1960s civil rights movement of college football in the South at historically black . the Dallas Cowboys were back in the Hard Knocks spotlight once again for another five weeks. The next year. in the third installment. Also aired was The Game of Their Lives: Pro Football’s Wonder Years (2001). The feud between the two schools injects itself into everything from business and politics to an actual blood drive where volunteers from the two campuses vie to see which side can siphon the most plasma.The 2000s 111 (2001). In summer 2008. . The documentary was narrated by André Braugher. and The Wild Ride to Super Bowl I (2004). the Dead Schembechlers. a once-in-awhile HBO docureality series that gives football fans behind-the-scenes access to the training camp of an NFL team. regional snobbery. Harry Belafonte played Robinson in the 1980s TV movie Grambling’s White Tiger. but it is played largely for its amusing elements. in his 57 seasons.” In the Wall Street Journal there were these remarks: “The game continues to carry the most genuine mark of a great rivalry. retiring as the all-time winningest coach in NCAA Division I history.: A Study in Black and White (2002).
112 Sports on Television colleges and universities aired in December 2008 as Breaking the Huddle: The Integration of College Football. curmudgeonly Bob Newhart insists on standing trial for the golf links murder of his smug. Maravich was named one of the 50 greatest players in NBA history by a panel made up of NBA historians. and narrated by Harry Connick Jr. In 10 NBA seasons. Pistol Pete: The Life and Times of Pete Maravich is an Emmy Awardwinning 90-minute documentary of “Pistol” Pete Maravich that initially aired on CBS during the Final Four Tournament on April 1. he was traded to the New Orleans Jazz for eight players. where he peaked as an NBA superstar. rules-quoting. After graduating from Louisiana State University (LSU) in 1970. On January 5. The second.” by George Zaloom. a drug user who squandered his skills and never made it to the NBA. The 2000 TNT documentary On Hallowed Ground: Streetball Champions of Rucker Park. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. written by Steven Stern. he was a seven-time All-Star and one of basketball’s top showmen of the day. The Sports Pages offered two satirical. It was produced by George Roy. “How Doc Waddems Finally Broke 100. former players. is a fictitious retelling of the events of the infamous (to football fans) 1968 Jets/Raiders game that was cut short by the airing of the TV movie Heidi. Kelsey Grammer. narrated by André Braugher. Wilt Chamberlain. causing hysteria among angry sports fans. 2001. the youngest player ever to be inducted. He was waived by the Jazz in January 1980 and was quickly picked up by the Boston Celtics where he played the rest of the season alongside Larry Bird. he signed with the Atlanta Hawks for one of the highest salaries at the time. And after four seasons. Maravich was put into the Basketball Hall of Fame in May 1987. Among the “witnesses” giving their sardonic spin on the events of the time is Jennifer Edwards (daughter of Julie Andrews) who in actuality as a child played the young Heidi in the unwittingly controversial 1960s film. by actor/director Richard Benjamin. diverse “sports” stories on Showtime in 2001 tied together as a single movie. dealt with street basketball as practiced at Rucker Park in New York’s Harlem (former site of the legendary Polo Grounds) by such athletes as Earl “the Goat” Manigault. “The Heidi Bowl. After a game injury in 1980. In the first. by-the-book golf partner. In 1996. Maravich retired in the fall of 1980. 1988. and coaches. and Julius Erving. Maravich disappeared for several years.” by Donald Todd from a short story by Don Marquis. The sport of basketball has continued to be a source of TV drama since 2000. he collapsed and died of a heart attack at the age of 40. while warming up to play a pickup basketball game. The documentary focused on the Entertainers Basketball Classic that has become an annual tournament that .
Another TNT sports documentary. a neighborhood hot spot that serves as New York’s basketball mecca. Jimerson pointed out.” Variety’s critic wrote. The result: He spent a decade in prison for a drug offense. iconoclastic intellectual. “They don’t have celebrated nicknames like Magic or Dr.” The film tells the story of Pee Wee Kirkland. but an increasing drug habit made the Knicks question whether its investment in him was worth it. He was hailed as the next Walt “Clyde” Frazier. also in 2000.S. He was a relatively unknown collegiate player from the University of Montana when chosen by the New York Knicks in the 1978 NBA draft.” the Variety critic wrote in his review. activist. Bill Russell: My Life. according to Variety. a confused soul. the story of arguably the most successful team player of modern times. produced by NBA Entertainment and narrated by Chris Rock. he was no longer an active player but coaching in the Continental Basketball Association (CBA). “The cable web hits Harlem and shoots a swish in this brisk docu about Rucker Park. and narrator Liev Schreiber. and he was traded to the Golden State Warriors. pro team (in 1967). as one critic called it. With the usual production triumvirate of executive producer Ross Greenburg. He and the Knicks sort of regressed together in 1981–1982. Micheal Ray Richardson. It tells the story of pickup basketball through the thoughts and plays of the participants “Pickup b-ball is no spectator sport. By 2007. and then to the New York Nets where he was named comeback player of the year in 1985. told the story of this complex. But his fortunes there were short-lived.” On Hallowed Ground won an Emmy for Outstanding Sports Documentary.” Dr. an introspective documentary that scrutinizes the rise and fall of All-Star point guard. “Docu places Russell on the Jackie Robinson timeline of black advancement in sports. Richardson was playing in Italy. the first true idol of Rucker Park. It was. but the hoopsters featured on TNT’s On Hallowed Ground are still recognized legends—just ask them. J. Bill Russell. And there was the HBO Sports documentary in 2000 of Boston Celtics great. and now communicates his accrued wisdom at a yearly camp for young showboat wannabes. when he succeeded Red Auerbach as coach of the Celtics. He later became the first black coach of a U. and produced with director Ron Osgood this half-hour TV study that aired locally in Indiana and has been syndicated. was Whatever Happened to Micheal Ray?. . At the time of the documentary’s premiere. who. “admits to have bypassed on the pros in order to heighten his legendary status close to home. My Way. In early 2002. and a pioneer. from Indiana University in Bloomington. wrote the script for a documentary Shirts & Skins: The Sociology of Basketball (aka Pickup). sociologist Jason Jimerson. writer Frank Deford.The 2000s 113 draws thousands.
students. lawyers. . a 45-minute syndicated 2004 TV documentary written by Rob Goldman and Rick Clemens and directed by Clemens.” one sports reporter was said to have observed. Among the former players who shared memories were Bill Walton. economy that turned around by the mid-1980s. players often outnumber spectators and spectators are usually waiting to become players. actor Beau Bridges. Henry Bobby. . actor and former UCLA football star Mark Harmon. and other alumni including Ray Manzarek (keyboardist of The Doors). As one critic noted: “Not everything is about basketball as this excellent HBO documentary examines a struggling U. academics.S. has been credited with inspiring a generation of high flyers. another slam dunk. Georgetown’s pop icon status of the time . and TV personality Judge Joe Brown. “When Thompson was on. professionals. was the 2005 Perfect Upset: The 1985 Villanova vs. Reagan’s first term as president. Everyone must wait to become ‘next’.114 Sports on Television “In fact. and others who don’t fit in a category show up to take their turns in a game.” Variety wrote. J was a more explosive player. followed the life and career of the player from North Carolina State who often was compared in his court days to Julius Erving. Actor André Braugher narrated. director Penelope Spheeris. . bluecollar workers. Producer George Roy’s 2007 HBO basketball documentary The UCLA Dynasty recalled the 10 NCAA championships of the “Wizards of Westwood” under legendary coach John Wooden between 1964 and 1975. He had a storied college career and became a pro superstar in the ABA with the Virginia Squires and the NBA with the Atlanta Hawks (1975–1981) and then the Seattle Supersonics and finally the Denver Nuggets. “it’s another sophisticated HBO Sports production that shoots and scores. plus sportscaster Dick Enberg. “perhaps only Dr. But it was off the court that drugs and one injury after another did him in. including Michael Jordan and Bill Walton. Still participants.” He also observed: “Doctors. A smattering of women come to play.” Thompson. Pickup is ‘democracy in action. Georgetown NCAA Championship. The fall and rise of the Maryland Men’s Basketball program with stars like Len Bias on the court and how the team fought its way to the 2002 National Championship was chronicled by Black Canyon Productions in Tragedy to Triumph: The Maryland Terrapin Odyssey during CBS’s March Madness in 2003. “For anybody who enjoys basketball or admires Wooden. which chronicled two decades on one of the great upsets in college basketball history with hoops great Patrick Ewing at the heart.’” SkyWalker: The David Thompson Story. and Elvin Hayes. Lucius Allen. who is in the Basketball Hall of Fame. age 18 to 56 wouldn’t be anywhere else at lunchtime.” Another HBO basketball documentary.
The movie premiered with raw language and all on ESPN. it pits a high school star of the Ravens. a 2002 Disney Channel drama. Jones). Set in the North Carolina town of Tree Hill. it followed the Watersmeet Nimrods through their 2006 season. who really isn’t gifted athletically. several years after The WB merged into the CW). Michigan. while also being shown virtually simultaneously on sister network ESPN2 in a sanitized version.” In the 2002 A Season on the Brink. became sidelined by a knee injury and inadvertently became recruited to coach a struggling Hebrew Academy team to a championship.The 2000s 115 period [under coach John Thompson] . Full-Court Miracle (2003) was a dramatization of how Lamont Carr (played by Richard T. Nimrod Nation. His turbulent 1985–1986 Indiana Hoosiers season was the maiden made-for-TV film for the cable sports network. Double Teamed. High School basketball was one of the continuing themes in the contemporary youth-oriented series One Tree Hill (which began a popular run in 2003 on The WB and continued into 2008. Set in tiny Watersmeet. just as his businessman dad was. Briskly paced sociology lesson that doubles as an intriguing U. The lighthearted tale mixes in the biblical story of Judah Maccabee and the holiday of Hanukah with a contemporary twist on the basketball court. but who aspires to play hoops on his school’s team. and sports history documentary. . Then a pair of red sneakers that once belonged to a Negro League basketball player finds its way to his feet and things take off from there. Paul Johanson as their demanding dad.S. a former University of Virginia college basketball star in 1976 hoping for a second shot at the NBA with the Philadelphia 76ers. ESPN. Another show with high school basketball at its core was the 2007 eight-part Sundance Channel documentary of small town life. Filmmaker Brett Morgen directed. Another fact-based Disney Channel hoops tale. The Red Sneakers (Showtime 2002) told of a top high school math student. . was based on the true story of California twins Heidi and Heather Burge and the high school years of the sibling rivals who went on to become WNBA basketball stars. looking to be undefeated. . Actor/dancer Gregory Hines made his directing debut here and acted in a brief cameo. The basic stars on the sports side of the ledger were Chad Michael Murray and James Lafferty as Lucas Scott and brother Nathan. on the state’s Upper Peninsula. Brian Dennehy (miscast primarily because of the disparity of his age and that of the guy he’s playing) starred as volatile basketball coach Bob Knight. and who pushes him harder than even the coach against his own half-brother. and Barry Corbin as gruff Coach Whitey Durham (who happened to coach all of them).
Rudi Johnson. about the controversial match-up between the United States and Soviet basketball teams in the ill-fated 1972 Munich Summer Olympics (during which the Israeli athletes were murdered). Aside from McDaniel and actor Tim Daly (the film’s executive producer). who would win three high school championships and would ultimately become the youngest person to drafted into the NBA. in 2007 spotlighted coach John Wooden’s accomplishments in The UCLA Dynasty. narrated by Liev Schreiber. they discover the values of passion. who grew up on the streets and went from Auburn University to the NFL. :03 From Gold. The Harlem Globetrotters: The Team That Changed the World. And writer/director Dan Klores’s two-part. politicians. and how the players continue to serve as ambassadors of goodwill. . who grew up loving basketball but didn’t make the cut with the NBA and moved into football as one of the NFL’s top players with the San Diego Chargers.” ESPN’s short-lived documentary/ biography series in 2006. also on basketball. and the U. “crams in an enormous amount of material . is an upbeat feature that premiered on Showtime. celebrities. etc.116 Sports on Television Edge of America (2005). touching audiences around the world. from Bill Cosby and Bob Cousy to Henry Kissinger and Barack Obama. The 50minute show featured interviews with basketball players. and discipline as they climb from the bottom of their division to compete for the state title. the cast was composed almost exclusively by Native American actors.” Another of Roy’s HBO documentaries. was an HBO Sports presentation.” Variety observed. It was directed by Chris Eyre. Back in the Day (there were just four episodes) explored in half-hour shows the careers of such sports figures—basically basketball—as Al Harrington.. . their lasting effect on the NBA.S. was defeated at the last minute. who is of Cherokee/ Arapaho descent. It was the opening night film at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival. inspired by a cross-cultural true story. dedication. a beautifully done tribute to Wooden’s sterling example. The 2005 PBS documentary. four-hour ESPN 2008 documentary Black Magic examined Civil Rights-era America through the prism . As Roy pointed out: “It lays out the confusing details of the last moments of that historic game and puts in perspective the events as seen from a distance three decades removed. and Antonio Gates. “This brisk hour. Led by their black coach (James McDaniel). who played in the NBA for the Indiana Pacers. Jermaine O’Neal. “exposed” the famed team’s impact socially and culturally. an hour-long 2002 documentary by producer George Roy and writer Steven Stern. following a girls’ high school basketball team on an Indian reservation in New Mexico as they learn how to win.
Jack Dempsey. Richard “Pee Wee” Kirkland. . Harold Hunter. Joe Louis.The 2000s 117 of basketball and particularly its players and coaches at historically black colleges and universities (HBCU) from the mid-1940s onward. Bob “Butterbean” Love. Ben Jobe. and John Chaney. was Ali-Frazier 1: One Nation . who put in an appearance at the beginning and featured “testimony” by Willis Reed. The Hollywood Reporter’s Ray Richmond. to the fabled Rumble in the Jungle in Zaire in 1974 against George Foreman. The year 2000 began sportswise with an ABC TV movie called Muhammad Ali: King of the World. and narrated by Liev Schreiber. Another 2000 fight documentary. about the so-called Fight of the Century when Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier slugged it out on March 8. there were the meeting with Malcolm X (played by Joe Morton). Divisible. Jackson narrated. a biopic chronicling the life of Clay from boyhood in Louisville. Kentucky. 1971 at Madison Square Garden. the Vietnam War (in which Ali refused induction). played by Terrence Howard—with Steve Harris as Liston—would not emerge as Muhammad Ali until after the time period covered by this film). most enlightening original program in the sports net’s history. where he regained his heavyweight title. Samuel L. Bud Greenspan’s Kings of the Ring: Four Legends of Heavyweight Boxing was one of the first sports documentaries airing in 2000. . . this riveting and important piece of work shines an overdue light on [the above mentioned players’] legacy. . Thankfully. It was co-produced by basketball legend Earl “The Pearl” Monroe. Oscar Robertson. and Howard Cosell (portrayed by Earl Boen). along with jazz great Wynton Marsalis and New Orleans Hornets star guard Chris Klein. the conversion to the Muslim religion. it focused on the fabled careers of Jack Johnson. Earl Lloyd (the first black player to sign an NBA contract). Along the way. . The movie was adapted from David Remnick’s 1998 nonfiction book on Clay. . for one. and Muhammad Ali. The film was widely praised at its premiere. It was a misnomer—which didn’t seem to bother the network—since it covered Cassius Clay’s early years through his fateful meeting with Malcolm X and the eve of his 1964 championship bout with Sonny Liston in Miami Beach that would give him the world heavyweight championship. As Greenburg pointed out in the publicity for the fight. Black Magic instantly stands as the finest. Dick Barnett. Narrated by Will Lyman. it clearly positioned Ali as the symbol of the civil rights struggle and the anti-Vietnam . Shortly thereafter came Ali: An American Hero (2000). (Young Cassius Clay. called simply King of the World. from HBO Sports and executive producer Ross Greenburg.” The 2000s continued the airing of boxing-related programs. . noted: “ESPN will never be associated with a piece of work better than this .
118 Sports on Television movement. Muhammad Ali: Made in Miami. PBS picked up the British-made documentary Muhammad Ali: Through the Eyes of the World and aired it in May 2003. In February 1964. while Frazier was viewed as the prowar. and Angelo Dundee. often referred to as the “Golden Boy. Gil Clancy. In the Showtime series. Jimmy Braddock. James Earl Jones. A mechanic. Joe and Max (2002) was a cable sports drama dealing with heavyweight boxers Joe Louis and Max Schmeling in and out of the ring. Interweaving the stories of Joe and Max. (Schmeling was 96 years old when the film premiered. and their strange lifelong friendship. called “The Fight. aired on PBS five years later and explored—as the publicity pointed out—“the critical role that Miami played in the evolution of one of the most significant cultural figures of our time. have forged their legacy in boxing. and in essence became Muhammad Ali. fresh from earning an Olympic gold medal as a light-heavyweight boxer in the Rome Olympics. (2000–2002). Goebbels. three generations of the Mexican-American Santiago family. had the title roles in this American-German co-production. among others. Courtney B. adopted the black separatist teachings of the Nation of Islam. and Marlene Dietrich. journalists Bryant Gumbel and Stanley Crouch. Featured in it were interviews with Maya Angelou. conservative symbol of American society. living in East Los Angeles. Hannah Ali. Vance was the narrator and a roster of people (in archival footage) included Muhammad Ali. completing the metamorphosis. Resurrection Blvd. Included in the program were interviews with boxing legends and Ali opponents George Foreman and Joe Frazier. he is training his son Carlos (Michael DeLorenzo) as a boxing contender.” documented the landmark June 22. In Miami he fell in with Malcolm X. Ailing widower Roberto Santiago (Tony Plana) is worried about the children in his dysfunctional family who all take different paths in their lives. he defeated Sonny Liston in Miami Beach for the world heavyweight championship. The uplifting story of popular Mexican-American boxer Oscar de la Hoya. and Jack Dempsey to Hitler.) Two lesser-known actors. 1938 Louis-Schmeling heavyweight match at Yankee Stadium—their second. George Foreman. and trainers Eddie Futch. Another Ali documentary about his formative years. An October 2004 episode of PBS’s American Experience.” was recounted in a Biography Channel profile in 2001. until Louis’s death in 1981. The 1992 Olympic Gold Medalist for years has been one of the more popular fighters in HBO and Showtime’s fight cards. Leonard Roberts and Til Schweiger. “The Fight” was written and . and Billy Crystal. written by Jason Horwitch. in one of boxing’s great upsets.” Cassius Clay arrived in Miami in the fall of 1960.
Vanessa Ferlito. Jackson was the voice of Johnson. After Mancini knocked him out in the 14th round (the bout was on CBS). vintage film clips and period music (composed by Wynton Marsalis)—and topped off with solemn scholarly commentary. Burns’s films is a solid edifice built stone by stone on a foundation of primary sources—newspaper articles. with Clifton Collins. commemorated Black History Month with a profile of five influential African Americans. Vargas endures a devastating personal loss before turning professional. Jr. Lex Vargas. Omar Benson Miller. and his humble yet proud roots growing up on the mean streets of Jackson Heights.” the New York Times’s Stephen Holden wrote as it was about to premiere at the New York Film Festival for two showings before going to public television. eventually signing with a high-profile promoter. it was narrated by actor Keith David. but collapsed on his stool. Surrounded by his childhood friends and an old-school trainer. Ultimately his fame and fortune threaten to undermine the longtime bonds he shares with his buddies from the old neighborhood. Lenny Sr. “pursues a methodical approach to reconstructing the past that’s not unlike Johnson’s dogged. Toronto. PBS aired Ken Burns’s two-part Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson. into fighting. archival photographs. Kim rose from the canvas. the 2003 HBO movie Undefeated follows the fortunes of a Latino boxer. 1. Samuel L. and New York Film Festivals. The 2007 ESPN boxing documentary Triumph and Tragedy: The Ray Mancini Story recalled the story that two decades earlier was dramatized as a CBS biopic. Max Schmeling. Queens. He fell into a coma and died four days later after surgery on a blood clot in his brain. in Mr.. decade-long quest to be No.. “The monumental four-hour film. The special. with all its seductive trappings. Nestor Serrano. and his decision to follow his father. The documentary about the first black heavyweight champion initially was shown at the Telluride. titled Crucibles of Courage.The 2000s 119 directed by Barak Goodman. and a World on the Brink. New York Times sports writer Richard Sandomir noted: While it tells the story of Mancini. in February 2007. Early in 2005. Written by Geoffrey C. and Robert Forster.” The Biography Channel. based on David Margolick’s book Beyond Glory: Joe Louis vs. Ohio. History. who must navigate the path between his newfound fame. Ward. Directed by and starring John Leguizamo. the lightweight boxer. the program focuses on his title match 25 years ago today against Duk Koo Kim in Las Vegas. was hosted by Senator Barack Obama. Less than three . beginning with his youth in Youngstown. including sports icons Muhammad Ali and Jesse Owens.
his ex-boxer dad’s pride and joy. it isn’t. brings this chronicle of sports on television full circle. The effects of Kim’s death on Mancini. was a rush job to contend with NBC’s announced The Contender produced by reality king Mark Burnett during the 2005–2006 season. The first championship boxing event on commercial television (although seen in just three cities on perhaps 5. helped produce all the thrills. who taunted him as a murderer. television remains a ring in which he’s just another palooka. Suddenly. Variety. but it took show business’s newest medium.120 Sports on Television months later. . all the excitement that one could have had at the stadium’s ringside. with former champ Oscar de la Hoya mentoring young pugilists. is in line to be the third generation of boxers in this family to be a Golden Gloves winner. a teenage Brooklyn Golden Gloves hopeful. . through NBC. losing his last four bouts. . he joins an all-girl jump-roping team in this popular Disney Channel movie and becomes a double-Dutch star.” In the February 2008 documentary. the big screen’s Rocky Balboa. Family Foreman was a 2008 reality series that premiered on TV Land and followed the life of Big George.000 sets) was the Joe Louis-Billy Conn match-up at Yankee Stadium on June 19. . but Big George’s rematch with TV again leaves him wheezing. but it was KO’d pretty quickly from the schedule. In Jump In! (2007). . . . . It was significant because television. television. noted that “it took eight rounds for Joe Louis to knock out Billy Conn tonight. Joe Louis: American Hero . the bruising heavyweight champ-cumamiable nice guy and entrepreneur. In the television era of reality shows. A knockout. . and his family of Georges (a couple of whom co-executive produced the series with dad). the twotime heavyweight champ gets the whole family into the act in this TV Land series.” The 2008 HBO Sports documentary. among the interviewees discussing Louis’s impact on sports and on America were his son. First came The Next Great Champ (Fox 2004). considerably less than that to emphasize its own lethal wallop. . in fact. about the legendary boxer and his impact on segregated America. 1946. the reforms that resulted and the shunning of boxing by network TV are also examined. Betrayed. Variety had this to report: “As likable as George Foreman is. though. . It initially was hosted from Caesars Palace in Las Vegas by Sylvester Stallone. The show. at the time. then ESPN in 2007. and Sugar Ray Leonard. Izzy Daniels. . Mancini fought eight more times. Kim’s mother committed suicide. Having tried a short-lived ABC sitcom in 1993. it was inevitable that there would be a boxing competition dealing with amateur hopefuls battling for a big payoff. two against Livingston Bramble.
Lance Armstrong. recounting the finish nearly 50 years ago of the Championship. called Snoopy One) changed television coverage of golf with a unique above-ground view of the game. Congressman Charles Rangel. Tom Lehman. Unfortunately Tiger lost the Masters that year to Zack Johnson. Arnold Palmer. In 2000. narrated by Liev Schreiber). plus author Dan Jenkins. Wayne Gretzky. all of whose lives were shaped by their relationships with their father.The 2000s 121 Joe Barrows Jr. Playing the Field: Sports and Sex in America (among many figures from various sports. Bush and Bill Clinton. as the cable network’s press release pointed out. Pete and Louis Marciano. in the spring of 2008 as part of the annual PGA Tour. golf has been covered as a topic in the following. activist Dick Gregory. brothers of boxer Rocky Marciano. and Annika Sorenstam. media-crazed male-versus-female tennis face-off in 1973 between champion Billie Jean King and tennis hustler Bobby Riggs.” said critic Ray Richmond in The Hollywood Reporter of “this exceptional. Jim Nantz narrated and many of Tiger’s colleagues and sports friends. as well as golfers Ken Venturi and Dow Finsterwald. plus fellow golfers George H. Billie Jean King was a part of this program. Goldie Hawn was one of the executive producers. comic Bill Cosby.. HBO Sports telecast a documentary. “While it grows a bit maudlin and rah-rah as it winds down. It explored how the aerial shot (from the MetLife blimp. W. and other biographers and historians.” So far in the twenty-first century. Tennis has been covered in various ways in TV dramas and documentaries since 2000. HBO Sports premiered its first golf documentary in June 2008. wearing an outlandish rug). was to have his documentary span the early years of the three. along with Ed Bradley and George Bush—plus Tiger himself—participated in the tribute. When Billie Beat Bobby was a lighthearted 2001 drama inspired by the infamous. It featured interviews with Palmer and Nicklaus. Arnold Palmer. this 75-minute profile of the great American heavyweight champ and icon. Joe Louis. when Ben Hogan. and Jack Nicklaus competed in suburban Denver. The Best Shot in Golf. and in 2006. poet Maya Angelou. Back Nine at Cherry Hills: The Legends of the 1960 U. Tiger was celebrated by the Biography Channel’s Biography of the Year in 2006 The television program brought together some of the world’s top athletes to salute the international icon: Jack Nicklaus. Billie Jean . writer Gay Talese. connects like an uppercut to the jaw. A golf documentary on Tiger Woods. Executive producer Ross Greenburg’s aim. who stars as Billie Jean (along with Ron Silver as Riggs.S. aired during CBS’s televised Masters tournament in April 2006. Michael Jordan. Open. CBS Sports offered an hour-long documentary. Gary Player. as was Holly Hunter. definitive and greatly detailed biopic. called Tiger at 30.
NASCAR and auto racing have been popular topics in the 2000s. to dramas. . to reality shows. Dale. exploring the tennis great’s impact on politics and culture. The film’s title stands for the number of Earnhardt’s car. The sports documentary. John McEnroe. who at the time of his death in 2001 defined auto racing the way Michael Jordan once defined basketball. and fellow racketeers has been the enormously popular Japanese anime of the early 2000s called. according to the network publicity on the bio-documentary’s premiere. unreturnable “twist serve” quickly defeats numerous upperclassmen shortly after entrance to secure himself a spot as one of the team’s regulars. On the TV premiere of Dale. About as far away in the sport from Billy Jean King and Martina Navratilova and Venus and Serena Williams. Narrating was racecar enthusiast and professional racer Paul Newman. received a Peabody Award. is Chad McCumbee. chronicling Dale Jr. Bjorn Borg.122 Sports on Television King: Portrait of a Pioneer. critic David Hinckley of the New York Daily News wrote: “Those who don’t understand how auto racing got to be called a ‘sport’ in the first place might understand better after watching this new docu-film on Dale Earnhardt. a decade after her official retirement from the sport. in this country. in 2008.’s move from Dale Earnhardt Inc.—Shifting Gears. 61*. who died in 2001 during the last lap of the Daytona 500. From documentary. and. The Prince of Tennis. The series is primarily set in a private Tokyo school famous for its strong tennis club. 12-year-old tennis phenom who exudes cool confidence and has a deadly. the racing team founded by his dad. The post-Billie Jean generation of tennis greats had Czech-born Martina Navratilova in the spotlight on an A&E Biography. shown for the first time in November 2004. to his pursuit of NASCAR’s Sprint Cup. Barry Pepper. had earlier portrayed baseball great Roger Maris in another “numbered” title. like the earlier one on Hank Greenberg. also a racecar-driving star. She was named Female Athlete of the 1980s by National Sports Review.. after having a spotty theatrical run. “3” (2004) was a biographical drama about legendary NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt. It has developed a huge (junior) following on the Cartoon Network as a regular series beginning in 2006. starred in a five-part ESPN reality series. not an actor but an actual racecar-driving star.” Earnhardt’s auto-racing son. Dale Jr. A couple of TV seasons later. who stars. premiered on the Country Music Television (CMT) network. There a talented. Playing Earnhardt’s son. a documentary about Earnhardt. she remains one of the wealthiest women in sports. as well as on women’s athletics.
and competition of. including Tony Stewart. According to the network’s publicity for the series.” which also happened to be the title of an hourlong biography on the channel the next month of Muldowney’s story. tackling. called “The First Lady of Racing. (It also had been the basis of the 1983 theatrical movie.com reporter. Jimmie Johnson. actors William Shatner and Krista Allen. Brittany.) NASCAR Driven to Win was a 2006 series (13 half hours) on the Biography Channel. tennis star Serena Williams. hit the road each week to help families and communities with their transportation needs. had a seven-episode summer 2007 run. logistics. Heart Like a Wheel.” The premiere episode profiled Kasey Kahne. Another auto-racing reality show. “Like golf’s Tiger Woods and basketball’s Michael Jordan. what the show’s publicists called. and Shirley Muldowney. drama. offered dramatizations of the real-life drag racing legend John Force and his three dragracing daughters. as the press people announced: “up close and personal profiles of some of the racing circuit’s most popular young drivers and delivers an ‘under-the-hood’ glimpse of life both on-and-off the track. and Mark Martin. Mika Duno. Danica Patrick (who later became the first female driver to win the Daytona 500). It followed leading female race drivers Ashley Taws. with 119 career victories. skateboarding star Tony Hawk. Ashley. in which Bonnie Bedelia portrayed Shirley. Super Bowl champion John Elway. former NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Champion and current ESPN broadcaster. a syndicated reality show that premiered in 2007. Juan Pablo Montoya. Driving Force (A&E 2006–). arguably. and Sharon Wiseman. it featured such celebrities behind the wheel as singer Jewel. Auto-racing’s NASCAR in Primetime was a five-part ABC News series that aired in the summer of 2007. It offered a behind-the-scenes look at the preparation. known as the Goodyear Gemini. NASCAR. another pseudo reality show. ABC’s Fast Cars & Superstars—Gillette Young Guns Celebrity Race. rodeo champ Ty Murray. and several others. Following the Dancing With the Stars mold. NBA great John Sally. an unprecedented 14 team . offering. surfer Laird Hamilton. A different NASCAR driver and the Angel Automotive Technicians. John Force is by far the most accomplished and dominant figure in his sport—Drag Racing. and Courtney. was hosted by Rusty Wallace. America’s fastest growing sport. The network boasted that the program provided uncensored access to the lives of some of the top NASCAR drivers. a challenging care overhaul in three days (a family-friendly cross of Extreme Makeover and Trick It Out).The 2000s 123 Girl Racers was a four-part documentary narrated by Jason Priestly on the Biography Channel in September 2005. NASCAR Angels.
an ambitious guy with NASCAR dreams—he’s trying to move out of metal-crunching. many of them with other Jewish athletes with whom Lambert trained. Since 2000. “Like other HBO Sports documentaries. membership on ten straight Auto Racing AllAmerican teams. “including film of Lambert winning the high jump at the 1934 British Track and Field Championships. narrated by Kiefer Sutherland. the New York Times wrote. Finish Line (aka Redline). and was physically disabled (mildly retarded and partially blind). followed on the heels of this one shortly afterward on the ABC Family channel. It had an estranged father and daughter (he’s a legendary ex-champ on his way down. was written by Grace McKeaney and directed by actress Lee Grant. Encouraged to become involved in the Special Olympics. This was the Berlin Olympics of 1936 when Jesse Owens ran. The Loretta Claiborne Story. aired on CTV north of the border and on the Discovery Channel in the United States. Lambert was kicked out of her sports organization and was not allowed to compete at all.” The 2004 Canadian documentary. It dramatized the true story of the world-class athlete (played by Kimberly Elise) who was born to a large. tire-smoking minor league stock car racing to the pro circuit—is drawn into the shady maneuverings of a very rich underworld arms dealer played by Scott Baio (a long way from his days as lovable Chachi on Happy Days). poor. It was the story of a Jewish athlete who excelled in track and field. several documentaries and dramas have tackled the topic of the sport of running. a pet project at the time of Eunice Shriver.124 Sports on Television championships in 15 years. who was a German Olympic hopeful in 1931. and the World Record for consecutive Funny Car championships. Race of the Century. Natalie Portman narrated Hitler’s Pawn: The Margaret Lambert Story. singleparent family. Hitler’s Pawn is enriched with excellent archival footage. The Circuit. that aired on Spike TV but was from the Hallmark people. photographs and riveting interviews. she turned her life around and in 1996 received the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage. And in the 2008 TV movie. especially the high jump. a 2004 HBO Sports documentary (by Steven Stern and producer George Roy). In 1933. It told of runner Ben Johnson and the climate in the sporting world that led him to be disqualified for a positive drug test for . when Adolf Hitler came to power and the persecution of the Jews began.” In the show’s second season he was in pursuit of a 15th National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) championship. Another stock car racing TV movie. she’s an up and comer with a chip on her shoulder who knows she’s the next big thing on the track) competing on the racecar circuit. an inspirational Disney movie airing initially on ABC in 2000.
and then hanged himself.” With Friday Night Smackdown being smacked down.The 2000s 125 steroids after winning the gold in the 1988 Seoul Olympics 100-meter event. Bud Greenspan and producing partner Nancy Beffa were among the producers of this biopic. Worldwide Wrestling Enterprises (WWE) presented a documentary on one of its superstars. It was titled Cheating Death. too. Smackdown was given the brush-off. as he did for most Greenspan documentaries. but in the ring rather than on the dance floor. has been treated on TV in various ways in the new millennium. The Los Angeles Times reported: “Wrestling didn’t fit in with the [network’s] other shows. and Edmund Hillary and his conquering of Mount Everest in 1952. played fictionally here by Christopher Plummer. Four Minutes celebrated the accomplishments of runner Roger Bannister. was announced to premiere—Hulk Hogan’s Celebrity Championship Wrestling on CMT—in the fall of 2008. Also from WWE were X-Treme Pro Wrestling (2001–2003). Extreme Championship Wrestling. and Friday Night Smackdown. Another of WWE’s many biographical documentaries was 2004’s exploration of the highs and lows in the life of WWE champion Eddie Guerrero. under the guidance of his crusty coach. . Monday Night Raw on USA Network (2005–2008). Bannister also was one of the subjects of Greenspan’s documentary. the WWE pulled the DVDs off of their Web site and withdrew their sales to fans. Wrestling. Barrier Breakers. Ten celebrities compete weekly for the title. reborn in 2005–2007. . Nonetheless hanging onto the pseudo sports show helped attract the elusive young male audience desired by some advertisers [but] wrestling fans rarely watch other female oriented CW programs. in 2004 and then released Hard Knocks: The Chris Benoit Story on DVD. . making the night an island on the network schedule. with British actor Jamie Maclachlan as the then-young Olympic hopeful and medical student who. A 2005 ESPN biopic. a la Dancing With the Stars. airing on ESPN in 2004. Chris Benoit (aka The Canadian Crippler). . who also is executive producer. Stealing Life: The Eddie Guerrero Story. At the close of the 2007–2008 season. which began airing in summer 1999 on UPN and continued into 2008 on the network’s successor The CW. After Benoit murdered his wife Nancy and his seven-year-old son Daniel (both of whom are featured in the documentary). Will Lyman narrated. Johnson later claimed that “everyone” was on drugs and that his country did not protect him. became the first man to break the four-minute mile. a new reality show created by Hulk Hogan. that profiled such other significant figures as Gertrude Ederle and her 1926 swim across the English Channel. in May 1954.
which chronicled the 451 consecutive wins (the longest in any sport. This was what Ultimate Muscle: The Kinnikuman Legacy was all about. as captain of the Nigerian wrestling team. and was seriously injured during a violent robbery while visiting his former hometown in Nigeria in 2006. B. . with the begrudging help of his new music teacher (played by D. the gold at the 2002 Commonwealth Games. Disney Channel. As an émigré from political unrest back home. struggling professional wrestler who goes into the ring under the name of Crybaby. became involved in politics in British Columbia. decides to prove his mettle by winning a spot on the varsity wrestling team.126 Sports on Television A 2006 documentary. There were 35 episodes. with its lead (Nikki Cox) a second-rate dancer at the Golden Calf Casino and her husband. Going to the Mat. also blind. not usually known for its understated handling of tricky subjects. starred Andrew Lawrence as a blind. Wrestling With Destiny: The Life and Times of Daniel Igali. was aimed at the Saturday morning audience on FOX beginning in 2002. and finished in the semifinals in the 2004 Summer Olympics. a teen-oriented Disney drama (2004). He won the bronze at the 1999 Pan American Games. he became a Canadian. It was produced by the company headed by Kelly Ripa and actor husband Mark Consuelos. in 2005. and it was quite a success (strangely. and cull a talented cast for a surprisingly entertaining if fairly predictable story. Another wrestling documentary airing on ESPN in April 2008 was The Streak. a group of wrestlers from outer space training to defend the earth in this anime series. Igali. aired in Canada on the CBC. He was acknowledged at the time as one of the world’s leading free-style wrestlers. where he currently lives. an American version of a Japanese anime about a kid who is the spoiled son of a superhero wrestler.” Wrestling with different moves. Variety wrote: “(Writers) Chris and Laurie Nolan. even more so in the United States than in Japan. winning 116 consecutive matches from 1997 to 1999. Sweeney). for 77 episodes). Steve Bloom and Stu Krieger pepper the script with enough pop culture relevance to keep it fresh for teenagers. musically talented high schooler from New York who moves to Utah with his family and. unites with the Muscle League. came to Canada to compete in the 1994 Commonwealth Games. Dwight White (Nick von Esmarch). Nikki was depicted as a chubby. Igali. as the youngster was known. Florida. spanning 34 years) by the Brandon High School wrestling team of Tampa. The show aired in the United Kingdom in 2001–2002 and in the United States on The WB the next year. deftly tackles this story—of a teen with disabilities—with more edge than usually afforded in its overly sunny movie franchise. Kid Muscle. The so-so British-made sitcom Nikki was set in Las Vegas.
During these years. and the Toronto Toros before ending his career with the Maple Leafs in 1980). leading to the latter’s jailing in 1998 after Brewer turned the spotlight . finds the perfect girlfriend. Hockey Team was a 2001 hour-long HBO documentary about the improbable win by the nearly ragtag American team over the Soviet Army hockey team at the Winter Olympics in Lake Placid. Milt Schmidt. an 18-year-old with a picture-perfect family and a passion for ice hockey goes off to college. Being what amounts to the national sport of Canada. falling off the deep end under pressure. A TV movie dramatized the events in the 1981 Miracle on Ice. which was an officially licensed film of the United States Olympic Committee. team officials. which first aired on ESPN in February 2006. hockey and skating both have been popular topics on TV. among others. television there offers more hockey documentaries and sports dramas than just about anywhere else. and others who pioneered the game. has been released on DVD. the previously mentioned Hockey’s Greatest Era and acclaimed Beyond the Games. and witnesses. journalists. Al Michaels and Jim Lampley provided the commentary. the St. It aired on NBC affiliates in February 2004 and. and becomes an addict. Louis Blues. with Karl Malden as coach Herb Brooks. Soap actor Jonathan Jackson had his first starring role in primetime. the NHL fielded just six teams. it chronicled the story of the gold-medal-winning stars from the winter games at Squaw Valley. is introduced by her to her drug of choice. and later in the theatrical Miracle in 2004 for the Disney people.The 2000s 127 In the 2000s. Hockey’s Greatest Era 1942–1967 is a documentary by writer/director Matthew Fults that aired in early 2005 on Fox Sports Net. The Life and Times of Carl Brewer explored the career of agile Toronto Maple Leaf defenseman of the 1950s and 1960s (later he skated briefly with the Detroit Red Wings. all-star’s battle with player agent and union bigwig Alan Eagelson. known in hockey lore as “The Original Six. Also examined was the four-time. A one-hour film. a 2000 made-for-TV movie.S. In 2003. Ted Lindsay. with Kurt Russell. Darren McCarty (once of the Detroit Red Wings and currently of the Calgary Flames) narrated. Sports-oriented Rival Films produced.S. Another Olympic-themed “Miracle” program dealing with hockey was Bud Greenspan’s documentary The First Miracle: 1960 U. In Trapped in a Purple Haze. including Jean Beliveau.” The story of the fondly remembered period features 30 interviews with players. Do You Believe in Miracles? The Story of the 1980 U. heroin. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team. like many of the other sports documentaries chronicled here.
co-produced by Mel Gibson. The History Channel offered up Absolute Evel: The Evel Knievel Story. A sequel to this one. whose performance at the 1928 games propelled figure skating to prominence. which highbrow fans consider a low-rent game. Evel Knievel (2004) turned out to be an uninspired. It followed the on-and-off-the-ice drama surrounding the Canadian Mustangs hockey team and the women in their lives.128 Sports on Television on some of his business dealings that turned out to be fraudulent. The Cutting Edge 3: Chasing the Dream. sexy drama with a gorgeous cast and provocative stories. and even the tawdry Nancy Kerrigan/ Tonya Harding fiasco. Tara Lipinski. Also woven in was footage of the immortal Sonja Henie. ABC’s MVP: The Secret Lives of Hockey Wives began airing on SOAPnet in mid-June 2008. and others. the film was directed by John Badham and starred CSI’s George Eeds. a TV biography hosted by longtime fan . That dream seems to come to an end when she has a career-threatening injury. plus the tragedy that dashed America’s skating hopes in 1961. Dick Button. a high school coed gets a scholarship to play on the girls hockey team on her way to becoming an Olympic figure skater. Several months after the premiere of this sort of romanticized biopic. “to get more women (or anyone) interested in hockey. as the teen’s role model. “MVP clearly hasn’t stemmed from a public relations effort on the part of the National Hockey League. Rosalynn Sumners. Brewer died in 2001.” A two-hour A&E documentary Fire on Ice: Champions of American Figure Skating (2001) focused on the talents of Brian Boitano. somewhat sloppily made TV biopic about the 1960s and 1970s motorcycle daredevil and showman. The Cutting Edge 2: Going for the Gold was the 2006 sequel in which the teenage daughter of the 1992 Winter Olympics gold medalists from the earlier movie grows up with ambitions of winning her own medal. Based on writer Steve Mandich’s book Evel Incarnate: The Life and Legend of Evel Knievel. In the Disney Channel’s Go Figure (2006). Olympic star Kristi Yamaguchi had a cameo playing herself. Scott Hamilton. The documentary was produced and directed by Robert Dustin. the New York Times’s television critic wrote. Enter a handsome hunk as her new pairs skate partner and a new chance at Olympic Gold. Motorcycling has not been overlooked as TV fare during the 2000s.) It starred a basically all-Canadian cast in a somewhat raunchy soap opera style in the mold of Great Britain’s The Footballers Wives. Katarina Witt.” according to ABC’s publicity team. aired in the spring of 2008 on ABC Family. known affectionately as “Puck Bunnies.” (“MVP is a fun. fabulous. clichéd.
Evel’s son Robbie hosted a so-so (popularity wise) reality series entitled Knievel’s Wild Ride that had only a 13-week run on A&E in 2005 but also became a popular video game.The 2000s 129 Matthew McConaughey and told by Knievel himself. The teen lives with his mother and two younger brothers. a rising star on the skateboard scene. His death in late 2007 brought him nearly a full-page obit in the New York Times. Cycling has been covered by The Discovery Channel. relationships. The twenty-something racer (from the age of three) from Owensboro. along with his counterparts and competitors Colin Edwards and Valentino Rossi. was looking to defend his championship and add to his trophies as two-time Red Bull U. and the drama of his parents’ recent divorce. He endeavors not to have his personal problems get in the way of his dream: to win the American Soapbox Derby Championship with the help of a homeless Vietnam vet. Grand Prix winner in a league where the majority of his audience is European. But the odds were against him. starting with his final two races of the 2006 season on his quest to become the new MotoGP World Champion. Miracle in Lane Two (2000) proved to be an expectedly heartwarming Disney tale. Kentucky. he now devotes himself to raising research dollars through his Lance Armstrong Foundation to help conquer the disease. The 2007 MTV Reality Series. Even the Soap Box Derby and skateboarding have received attention on TV in the new millennium. As a cancer survivor. juggles high school. a documentary about the pro cyclist who won every Tour de France between 1999 and 2005 after having earlier been issued a virtual death sentence. The Kentucky Kid was a two-hour documentary on MTV in late 2007 following the life of pro motorcycle racer Nicky Hayden. Thirty years earlier during the 1977–1978 season. and a great athlete. Hallmark Channel’s inspiring 2007 You’ve Got a Friend (aka Derby) was about a 12-year-old who begins a new life with his aunt and uncle after his parents’ death. He becomes enamored with soap box derby racing and discovers he’s a natural at the sport. skateboarding provided the ongoing theme of CBS’s animated Saturday morning series. which aired The Science of Lance Armstrong in 2005. follows teenage Ryan Sheckler. including the damage to his body over the years from his spectacular motorcycle jumps to his liver transplant in the late 1990s. Life of Ryan. The . Similarly.S. including his school foe and main competition in the race. inspired by the true story of a 12-year-old kid confined to a wheelchair. and the Kentucky Kid. contrasting with his rural life in Kentucky. It spanned his days as a daredevil and the high price he paid for it. the Tornado. Hayden also was among the racers in Mark Neale’s 2006 direct-tovideo racing documentary The Doctor.
inspired by Fred Broadhead’s 1995 book Here Comes Whirlaway! Under the title Bud Greenspan Presents: Whirlaway!. produced.130 Sports on Television Skatebirds. Bud Greenspan of Cappy Productions completed a one-hour documentary film about racing’s legendary 1941 Triple Crown winner. to cover still one more Olympics. Thrown into a completely new environment. and Russian wrestler Alexander Karelin. introducing several cartoons and a live-action segment.A. Olympics. In the summer of 2008. aired just ahead of the theatrical movie about the famed knobby-kneed racehorse that died in 1947. The PBS American Experience feature in 2003 of Seabiscuit. Two 2003 TV documentaries. and directed. which he wrote. named in his time by Walter Winchell as one of 1938’s top 10 newsmakers along with FDR and Hitler. she must learn to deal with the challenges of fitting in. Salt Lake 2002: Stories of Olympic Glory. The program featured interviews and rare archival footage. Greenspan’s own story was told in the two-hour ESPN documentary in 2008. Ethiopian marathon runner Abebe Bikila. Bud Greenspan’s Favorite Stories of Summer Olympic Glory. Among Greenspan’s other documentaries in the new millennium on Showtime most dealing with the Olympics were these: Sydney 2000: Stories of Gold from Down Under. Scott Glenn narrated the hourlong documentary that was based on Laura Hillenbrand’s best-selling book Seabiscuit: An American Legend. Bud Greenspan Presents Torino 2006 Olympics. Bud Greenspan headed to Beijing. at least initially. along with producing partner Nancy Beffa. the 13-minute Seabiscuit: The Making of a Legend and The True Story of Seabiscuit (running 45 minutes on A&E) were tie-ins with that year’s hit theatrical film about the famed chestnut colt of the Depression Era. Bud Greenspan’s Stories of Olympic Glory. focused on the experiences of five Summer Olympic athletes in a 90-minute Showtime special in August 2000: Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci. Bud Greenspan’s Athens 2004: Stories of Olympic Glory. Bud Greenspan Remembers: 1984 L. Three skateboarding birds (played by actors) hosted the hour. it aired on ESPN Classic in May 2005. and the 1972 Munich Olympics Revisited. Bud Greenspan: At the Heart . after serving time at a juvenile detention center. named after the book. American decathlete Dan O’Brien. while trying not to disappoint the one family willing to give her a chance. Wildfire (ABC Family 2005–present) is a popular series drama set in the world of horse racing that centers. Australian swimmer Duncan Armstrong. Bud Greenspan’s Favorite Stories of Winter Olympic Glory. is given the opportunity to start a new life at a family run ranch on the brink of financial ruin. on the struggles of a teenage girl who.
Kristine Lilly. Along with archival footage. and seeing in his talented daughter a way to keep the normally man’s game championship ribbons in the family. and Michelle Akers. and former tennis champion Billie Jean King. Brian Boitano. and had to be destroyed. Brandi Chastain. was about the 2006 Kentucky Derby winner who broke his leg in a mishap at the Preakness Stakes. April Heinrichs. Will Lyman narrated. Carla Overbeck. Soccer continues to attract little attention to TV producers. there were interviews with soccer stars Mia Hamm. Never really a mainstream “sport. NBC Sports also aired a one-hour documentary on the famed thoroughbred: Barbaro: The Nation’s Horse. 1975. and Sally Jenkins.The 2000s 131 of the Games. The story of Ruffian. an hour-long HBO Sports documentary narrated by ubiquitous Liev Schreiber. Olympic gold medal swimmer Donna de Varona. journalists Robin Roberts. like stock car racing. was dramatized in. wheels burning popularity on cable and even its own niche network. rodeo. But back on track to the track and horse racing! Two nearly back-to-back 2007 docudramas dealt with a pair of famous racehorses. has been one of the few American features about the sport. which fell back on the not entirely original premise of having a onetime champion now past his prime looking somewhat reluctantly to the next generation. which in recent years has exploded into nonstop. Despite heroic efforts by medical teams over the next few months. Dare to Dream: The Story of the U. broke her leg. hailed as the greatest thoroughbred filly of all time. a 2005 HBO documentary. which was produced as an ESPN television movie but shown initially on ABC in early summer 2007.S. rodeo penning was the theme of a Hallmark Channel movie called Every Second Counts. Ruffian. found its way back to the tube nationally several decades after the 1960s series on the subject. and actor Frank Whaley played persistent racing journalist Bill Nack.” but rather a regional one in the South and Southwest. what else?. Mary Lou Retton. Julie Foudy. Barbaro had to be put down early in 2007. Among those Olympians making current day observations were Mark Spitz. Narrated by Bob Costas. . Barbaro. Ruffian. and Bonnie Blair. profiling the legend who’s best known for his Olympic profiles. it included interviews with Barbaro’s owners. Oksana Baiul. Women’s Soccer Team. trainer Michael Matz. who won all of her races. Kelly Whiteside. Joy Fawcett. and jockey Edgar Prado. was put into a match race with male Kentucky Derby winner Foolish Pleasure on July 6. vet Dean Richardson. national team coaches Anson Dorrance and Tony DiCicco. In 2008. Sam Shepard portrayed trainer Frank Whitely. Briana Scurry.
and. to say nothing of beach volleyball at Beijing and synchronized swimming. according to a 60 Minutes profile in March 2008. Beckham. (Pro soccer had its brief bit of American popularity in the glow of Brazilian star Pelé in the 1970s when he starred with the aforementioned New York Cosmos. before British superstar David Beckham’s emergence onto the American scene with the Los Angeles Galaxy (and then injuring himself in his fifth game and taking him out of his first U. although it is a worldwide phenomenon. has yet to catch on big time in the United States. With both Pelé and the Cosmos long gone from the soccer scene. however. There’s even a little soccer. it plays like the Dynasty of sports documentaries. thanks to a PBS fun documentary in July 2007. But until American audiences develop a real passion for professional soccer. ranks second only to Tiger Woods as the highest paid sports figure in the world. is to make another start at kicking soccer into the sports stratosphere in the United States. gossipy and endearingly unslick. shot in high definition. “Once in a Lifetime: The Extraordinary Story of the New York Cosmos chronicles the rise and fall of the most famous soccer team in the United States with slapdash glee. popularity in this country as a major sport has been underwhelming. to date soccer. it was hosted by Ron Kruck and Kandace Krueger.132 Sports on Television “Giddy. Testing the TV waters (or banked rink) once again in the new millennium— because of the huge Roller Derby popularity as one of sports’ premiere attractions of the time during TV’s early years just after World War II—was “an all-access look at the Texas Rollergirls from Austin” in 2003’s Across America: Queens of the Roller Derby. it followed the exploits of the Aquamaids of Santa Clara.) Despite Fox launching a soccer channel in 2005.” Despite having its own niche channel since 2006. A reality show of sorts. anyone?). season).” the New York Times wrote in 2006 when this soccer documentary made by ESPN and narrated by Matt Dillon had a brief theatrical run before going to television. Part of filmmaker Mark Lewis’ The Pursuit of Excellence series of hour-long documentaries. TV producers and documentarians prefer to bide their time.S. booze and women. and Giorgio Chinaglia was obnoxious in it so he kind of looks like the bad guy. gentlemen and rogues. There also was at least one mainstream drama series that incorporated Roller Derby into its . which seems to have found an unconventional if short-lived sport (rigorous if relatively dispassionate) on TV. California. the game has been put on a sports par with arm wrestling (Sylvester Stallone’s big screen Over the Top in 1987. Fielding heroes and villains.” Sports producer George Roy observed: “It tied in what New York was like in the seventies and the whole thing with Steve Ross of Time Warner and his involvement. with the Galaxy’s new season.
but with known host quantities. Michael Jordan. the contestants receive points. 1960’s surfing legend Bill Hamilton. which in recent years has developed a rabid television following on cable and lately on its own niche network? In the “where do you put ‘sports’ shows like these” category in the present TV world of reality. Whoever finishes ‘The Eliminator’ first wins. there was.” Labeling surfing a (mainstream) sport might cause otherwise dedicated traditional sports fans to look askance.’ a gigantic obstacle course that ties all the types of events together. CBS promoted him with these words: “Meet a man who is to his sport what Tiger Woods. is chess a sport or a game? Similarly. As posed earlier. a former corporate exec who was down-sized and took a job as a teaching substitute. which determine their start time in ‘The Eliminator. The feelgood film was inspired by the story of real-life David MacNulty. there is The Ultimate Fighter. when Leslie Stahl did a 2004 60 Minutes profile on Laird. the team headed by Gary Sinise and Melina Kanakaredes investigated the baffling death of a female Derby babe on the fictitious Manhattan Minx in “Jamalot. As the network’s press material noted. and Lance Armstrong are to theirs. One critic (sports? television?) has described it as “a skills competition that pits regular contestants against a set of buff bodybuilders in various events. his struggles with his father. growing up a victim of racism. In a somewhat different vein. In a second season episode of CBS’s popular forensic series CSI: NY. there is the popular new millennium incarnation. of American Gladiators (mentioned earlier but even bigger audience-wise the second time around).The 2000s 133 plot.” If chess can be categorized as a sport. airing on Spike TV. and the challenges of being true to the sport of surfing. It . and hosted by Marv Albert. the Spike TV “sports” show with mixed martial arts artists squaring off mixing it up. based on real events. 2005’s Knights of the Bronx about a group of elementary school students from the South Bronx who discover some important life lessons when learning chess from a dedicated teacher (played by Ted Danson).” Earlier. American Gladiators premiered (for the second time) in January 2008 for eight segments. but the life of big wave surfer Laird Hamilton made for a compelling hour-long documentary in 2006 as part of MTV’s Untold series on sports.” The show has generally same appeal as “American Idol” auditions. who took his students to a national chess championship and then saw them go on to Ivy League schools. A second set of eight began airing in May 2008. Throughout the show. this time with hosts Hulk Hogan and Laila Ali. Hamilton discussed “his personal challenges. what about poker.
tied in with the summer Olympics. another mixed martial arts reality series. head-butting. Our Worst Fears: The Tragedy of the Munich Games. Another sports Emmy that year went to NBC’s documentary America’s Heroes: The Bravest and the Finest. aired just after Christmas 2007 on the Discovery Channel and moved well into the next year. The Hollywood Reporter said of the show initially: “A documentary [as opposed to a reality program] might have even explored the whiff of dilettantism hanging over amateurs. produced by Howard Katz. To Thai women with limited career opportunities. . it’s a means to opening a gym. Sort of a “junior” version of American Gladiators. mixed martial arts. Iron Ring. It followed a series of seven amateur female fighters attempting. boxing. Still.134 Sports on Television has been described as “anarchy-with-rules” competitions that permitted an assortment of down-and-dirty techniques. Headlining the show was boxing champ Floyd Mayweather along with hip-hop star Rick Ross. going toe-to-toe—as it were—with $100. and strikes to the groin. first in Las Vegas and then in Thailand (training with a Muay Thai instructor). and wrestling moves—with no protective gear—are still very much part of the sport. has evolved into a more mainstream sport that bars biting. But fierce punching. overseeing skilled competitors using the techniques of jiu-jitsu. karate. .” In summer 2008 a similar mixed martial arts series. Muay Thai is a way of life. A 2002 ABC documentary. a reality show titled Fight Girls. since 2007. . and wrestling. The Adrenaline Project is a weekly Saturday morning show out of Canada. This taped reality show is described by its producers as taking five thrill-seeking teens and daring them to compete head-to-head through intense physical and mental challenges. The show followed kick boxing fighter Jimmy Smith and rookie Doug Anderson into rings around the world. It was titled Our Greatest Hopes.” Fight Quest. karate. And there was in 2006 (as a one-shot special initially) and 2007 as a weekly series. judo. For Americans. Fight Girls is a lively look into a rarely seen world that makes significant note of female outer and inner strength. commemorated the 30th anniversary of the Munich massacre and won the Emmy as Outstanding Sports Documentary that year.” This was what one critic labeled “the bone-crunching combat sport popularly known as ‘cage fighting’. Only three will survive elimination and earn a chance to put it all on the line in the final mystery competition to walk away with the prizes and the glory as “The Ultimate Andrenalite. kicking. judo. eye-gouging.000 in prize money up for grabs. to win a championship of sorts. kickboxing. on the Oxygen Channel. Branded as barbaric by critics in the 1990s for the lack of rules. or MMA. debuted on BET (Black Entertainment Television) some weeks after those. a post 9/11 show about the .
It was produced by Marc Levy.S. NBC Sports.S. with a tennis match back in the antediluvian TV days of the 1920s and the Berlin Olympics of the mid-1930s. arguably. During the 2007–2008 season. and late night offerings on its schedule: College Football NCAA Basketball (including the traditional March Madness and Final Four) NFL Today NFL on CBS PGA Tour and Championship (including the Masters for 52nd consecutive year) Superbowl XLI U. Open Tennis Championships Wimbledon During the same time frame. and by the new millennium. checkered flag-to-checkered flag sports competitions.The 2000s 135 30th anniversary game between the New York City firefighters (the Bravest) and its police officers (The Finest).S. sometimes primetime. also the producer for NBC of the 2002 Winter Olympics. Open and USGA Championships U. Open Tennis . Figure Skating Championship U. round-by-round. CBS Sports had these weekend. inningby-inning. Sports on TV began. had expanded beyond the periodic to regular offerings on a handful of established television networks to a widening variety of niche programming outlets with wall-to-wall.S. for one. was offering on a weekend basis: Arnold Palmer Invitational 2007 AVP Crocs Tour (Volleyball) on NBC AST Dew Tour (Action Sports) Football Night in America French Open Kentucky Derby National Heads-Up Poker Championship National Hockey League Sunday Game of the Week NBC Sunday Night Football Notre Dame Football PGA Tour Preakness Stakes President’s Cup Ryder Cup Senior PGA Championship U.
live from Prudential Center in Newark. The Ultimate Fighter (with mixed martial arts). . was Strikeforce on NBC. an “adrenaline-filled mixed martial arts cage fight series. of course. had an historic chat on Costas Now with two baseball hall of fame legends. along with the newly minted ESPN Action Sports Network (launched in fall 2008). Big Ten Network. which regularly features series such as UFC Friday Night Live. Hot on the heels of CBS’s martial arts show. Boxing After Dark. in late 2008. and according to the network’s press release. NBA TV. Everything else is now on cable. And one other basic television network that didn’t exist way back when we had FOX Sports. ESPN. New Jersey. All of these prove that there’s something out there for every sports enthusiast. CBS introduced live mixed martial arts to primetime television with its once-a-month CBS EliteXC Saturday Night Fights—the first show having champion “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler putting his title on the line against Scott “Hands of Steel” Smith in a middleweight championship bout. Bob Costas. and the basically male-oriented Spike Television. although not in primetime but airing in the wee hours of the morning.136 Sports on Television And in spring 2008. Men’s Outdoor and Recreation. and World Heavyweight Boxing). Speed Channel. Showtime. Costas Now with Bob Costas.” ABC Sports by this time had merged into ESPN Sports. FOX Soccer Channel. NFL Network. more than 30 years after the end of their careers. Hank Aaron and Willie Mays. primarily HBO Sports (with recurring series like Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel. The Tennis Channel. Horse Racing TV. and TNA Wrestling. And new TV outlets keep on coming: “niche” sports networks like The Golf Channel. since 2005. and an assortment of regional sports channels.
there was Mark Spitz.) Spitz really never got into acting but later would guest star as himself in an assortment of TV programs. In another generation. the one that lives in sports infamy because of the terrorist massacre of more than a dozen Israeli athletes. the swimmer who made his big splash at the 1972 Olympics in Munich. although not Israeli. he was an Olympic swimmer—a five-time gold medalist between 1924 and 1928. Bearing the Torch: Politics & the Olympics. Bruce Jenner. Take Johnny Weissmuller. He reportedly even turned down the title role in the 1978 Superman—it went. (Luckily. One was Bud Greenspan’s 1992 film Mark Spitz Returns to Munich that aired on NBC. for instance. Dorothy Hamill. written and directed by Jeff Scheftel. Another was in the 1996 ESPN documentary.CHAPTER 8 Scorecard Endnotes T hrough the years. to Christopher Reeve. Olympics decathlon winner in 1976 (he’d placed tenth in 1972). had an on-again off-again TV acting career between 1978 and 2002. of course. the darling of the ice for so many years who won a gold medal in women’s figure skating in the 1976 Winter Olympic Games . Before becoming a movie star in the early 1930s as Tarzan. After his film career ended in the early 1950s with a series of Jungle Jim flicks. a handful or so of sports figures—most of whom had made their names in the Olympics—continued their individual careers in one way or another on television. being Jewish himself. Spitz got out with his life and his Gold Medal. he reprised his role in the syndicated 1955–1956 Jungle Jim series on television (his only “acting” on the tube).
she starred in the Disney TV spectacular Michelle Kwan: Princess on Ice in 2001 (along with Dorothy Hamill and Katarina Witt. The first American woman to win a World gymnastics medal. Annie Get Your Gun. had a TV career of sorts commenting on and calling top tennis matches for many years after leaving the clay court. She revealed in her autobiography in 2007 that she lived with personal demons for much of her life and suffered from depression. He also has been a sports analyst. the prizewinning gymnast from the 1968 Mexico City Olympics (and also the 1972 Olympics in Munich along with Spitz and Jenner). Kristi Yamaguchi. and later. Probably most successful has been Cathy Rigby. dabbled in television in several acting roles and sports show host among them: American Sportswomen. but mostly as herself. who won 18 singles title between 1972 and 1989 and whom People dubbed the “Sexiest Female Athlete” in 1980. Another early Olympic stars who eventually had a post-professional career was five-time world champion Dick Button. five-time world champion figure skater was Michelle Kwan. At the other end of the spectrum (rink?) are the two ice princess of the so-called modern era. went on to become an international skating star and dabbled in television in assorted specials through the years. he appeared occasionally as himself. She received a Tony nomination as Best Actress in a Musical for her popular Peter Pan on Broadway. Diminutive Mary Lou Retton. she later acted on a variety of television programs between 1974 and 1997 while also becoming a theatrical entrepreneur with her husband Tom McCoy. Dean Paul. In addition. a 1995 TV documentary. gymnastics gold medal winner in the 1984 Olympics. And her friendly competitor and rival. a gold medalist at the 1992 Winter Olympics at Albertville. a children’s series. She was the featured attraction for many years with the Ice Capades. and a musical comedy star in touring companies of The Wizard of Oz. Flip Flop Shop. and Meet Me in St. who won silver in the 1998 Olympics and bronze in 2002. who won the gold in figure skating in 1948 and 1952. but they later divorced (before his death in an airplane crash). but withdrew from the 2006 Winter Olympics because of injury. And tennis great Chris Evert. which she and her second husband bought. Austria. France. and even was one of the star contestants on Dancing With the Stars in spring 2008.138 Sports on Television in Innsbruck. She married Dean Martin’s son. Louis. ABC Wide World of Sports once named her one of America’s most influential women in sports. has skated her way through a couple of dozen television ice specials. and acted in a 1958 Hallmark Hall of Fame production of Hans Brinker and the Silver Skates (Tab Hunter played Hans). Kwan has skated on television and appeared as herself in . On post-Olympic television through the years.
Ladies. given “extra credit” because the league and the media wanted a black quarterback to be successful. who had . . said the black athlete was “bred to be the better athlete because. Snyder. In 2003.” Snyder later apologized for the comments but his career as a broadcaster was over.” To compound “bad taste” matters. about the physical abilities of black and white athletes. “Lynch him in a back alley. 70. And in December 2007 came the bombshell report—occupying hours of television time—by former United States Senator George Mitchell. produced by Peter Schnal. influential radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh. Vivian Stringer. when longtime radio shock jock Don Imus. the world’s No. golf’s first female anchor. . Imus himself negotiated a return to the American airwaves in December 2007. a day later. who also had been simulcast daily on MSNBC. Jimmy “The Greek” Snyder was fired after 12 years as a CBS football analyst for remarks he made to a Washington. this goes all the way to the Civil War when . incidentally. television reporter (on Martin Luther King’s birthday. sports was involved in a major TV incident in April 2007. the slave owner would breed his big woman so that he would have a big black kid. was suspended from the air (in early January 2008) for an unfortunate comment said laughingly in an exchange with analyst Nick Faldo at the Mercedes Benz Championship. Kelly Tighman. The story of the Rutgers University Women’s Basketball Team and its legendary coach. maybe they should gang up for a while. no less). was forced off the show amid allegations of racism. was explored in a 2004 PBS documentary titled This Is a Game.C. C. there was the CBS ice skating special Bud Greenspan Presents Michelle Kwan. Tangentially. Faldo suggested that “to take Tiger on. got into hot water (and first was suspended and then lost his TV show and.” To which Tighman replied. hired as a celebrity football commentator at ESPN. And in 2002. which launched in early 1995. On the 24-hour Golf Channel. his radio program) for racially insensitive remarks he made about the newly championed women’s basketball team at Rutgers University. the editor of the magazine Golfweek was replaced soon thereafter for putting a noose on the cover to illustrate the embarrassing gaffe faced by the Golf Channel. D. Among other things. It became headline news throughout the country—nearly wall-to-wall for more than a week. after saying in a telecast that Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donavan McNabb was overrated. 1 golf star. but just weeks into his new extracurricular TV sports gig.Scorecard Endnotes 139 assorted sports documentaries through the years). Discussing young players who could challenge Tiger Woods.
” Because at the time the New England Patriots’ pursuit of the NFL’s first ever 16–0 season catapulted the team’s meeting with the New York Giants into a U. and Secrets of the Dead charts in frightening detail the length East Germany went to keep the secret. yielded gold in the ’70s. on the ongoing Secrets of Death series on PBS (that premiered in May 2000). in what was reported (by TV Guide) to be the second most-watched program in TV history.) This was the first sports simulcast since CBS and NBC aired the inaugural Super Bowl in 1967. as major events (such as the NFL and past Olympic Games) have proved through the years. to look into a growing scandal around the use of anabolic steroids and performance-enhancing drugs by dozens of big name “marquee” players dating back to the late 1980s. by fans worldwide watching the 2008 Beijing Olympics. . (Actually there were four. with 97. the commissioner of baseball. . As the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s TV critic observed on the show’s premiere. with the Giants’ games also being televised locally in New York on Channel 9. there was a disturbing examination in “Doping for Drugs” of East Germany’s systematic use in the 1970s of steroids and testosterone to bolster its athletes (particularly the women) in their medal counts in the Olympics and other international competitions.” . Congress quickly urged the FCC to allow the game to air on three television networks at the same time. All of this spilled over to black-eye-making congressional investigations of such stars as hitter Barry Bonds and pitcher Roger Clemens.com: “Patriots-Giants Game Is Getting ‘State of the Union’ Exposure. there was the unique sports television event that got the following headline via Bloomberg. It was called ‘state plan theme 14–25’ . Variety reported that the games (with swimmer Michael Phelps eclipsing all records in that sport. however.140 Sports on Television been hired by Bud Selig. .4 million viewers. “the [doping] program was institutionalized in the ’60s. media event. These viewership records were to be dwarfed. a look at an earlier sports black eye internationally dealing with body-enhancing drugs came in 2008 when. and continued into the ’80s.” Also in December 2007. In the wake of the baseball steroids scandal. After all the stats were in. The Patriots went on to win their next two games but lost out on a perfect season by losing to the New York Giants in the Super Bowl XLII.S. making it the most watched event [sports or otherwise] in TV history . But the cheating scandal and the long-time cover-up dwindle in importance as the documentary depicts the terrible price paid by the athletes. although sports audiences rarely translate to primetime gold. . out-Spitzing Mark Spitz from earlier games) and the spectacular opening and closing night entertainment “attracted more than 211 million viewers during its two-week run.
made-for-TV movies and miniseries. William Paley. And in its history it has produced many memorable moments for sports fans. and their visionary colleagues of the 1920s. By the first decade of the new millennium.Scorecard Endnotes 141 The Super Bowl. What better way to bow out of a book about Sports on TV than to give a tip of the baseball cap to the inimitable team of Bob Elliott and Ray Goulding. The genre of the jocks. sports on television (and not just individual games in individual sports) had become ubiquitous. with FCC “indecency” hearings. and the basically cultural and educational aspects of the medium that David Sarnoff. with weekend programming on the major networks and everywhere on the various niche sports cable channels. encouraging a modern generation of entertainers and comedians to push the decency envelope. this incident would cause a rippling effect through the broadcast industry. including language. 1930s. exactly. as it might be labeled. but endures in pop culture—was the so-called wardrobe malfunction of entertainer Janet Jackson at Super Bowl XXXVIII in 2004. it is now a cultural phenomenon.” . when the top of her costume was “accidentally” ripped off during her number. produced independently from the game that surrounds it. it has been observed through the years. One of the memorable moments of course—not one that lives in infamy. who invariably ended his mangled faux sportscasts with “This is Biff Burns. and borrow Bob’s parting line as brash Biff Burns. and 1940s had imagined and championed. which had ceded airtime to a multitude of reality shows. exposing her breast for about five seconds. scripted series. and smirks over the contretemps. fines levied on television networks for perceived infractions. rounding third and being thrown out at home. has become more than a sporting event. which has become a show in itself. far surpassed news programming. There have been equally memorable moments as well in its hugely popular and increasingly spectacular halftime entertainment. In the next few years. the broadcasting legends.
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recast and restaged musically in 1957) “0 for 37” (NBC drama [Philco Television Playhouse] 1953) “Old MacDonald Had a Curve” (NBC drama [Kraft Television Theatre] 1953) “Baseball Blues” (ABC drama [United States Steel Hour] 1954) “How Charlie Faust Won a Pennant for the Giants” (ABC drama [TV Reader’s Digest] 1955) “The Mighty Casey” (CBS opera [Omnibus] 1955) “Rookie of the Year” (CBS drama [Screen Directors Playhouse] 1955) You Are There: “Lou Gehrig’s Greatest Day: July 4. Baseball World Series (first broadcast by NBC in 1946) The Joe DiMaggio Show (NBC 1950) Jackie Robinson’s Sports Classroom (syndicated 1950) Happy Felton’s Knothole Gang (syndicated 1950–1957) Joe DiMaggio’s Dugout (NBC 1951) “The Screwball” (CBS drama 1950.Appendix: Sports-Themed Programs Chronologically by sport. 1939” (CBS series episode 1955) “The Man Who Caught the Ball at Coogan’s Bluff” (CBS drama [Studio One] 1955) . recast and restaged 1951 and 1954) “Who’s on First” (Abbott and Costello routine first performed on TV in 1951) National Women’s Professional Baseball League Games (ABC 1951) “A Man’s Game” (NBC drama [Philco Television Playhouse] 1952.
144 Appendix “O’Toole From Moscow” (NBC drama [Matinee Theatre] 1955) “Man on Spikes” (NBC drama [Goodyear Television Playhouse] 1955) “Million-Dollar Rookie” (NBC drama [Kraft Television Theatre] 1955) “Rookie of the Year” (NBC drama [Screen Directors Playhouse 1955) “Fear Strikes Out” (CBS drama [Climax!] 1955) “The Last Out” (CBS drama [Schlitz Playhouse of Stars] 1955) “The Pee Wees Take Over” (CBS drama [Damon Runyon Theatre] 1956) “The Comeback” (ABC drama [Crossroads] 1956) “Little League” (NBC drama [The Loretta Young Show] 1956) “The Jackie Jensen Story” (ABC drama [DuPont Cavalcade of America] 1956) “The Life of Mickey Mantle” (NBC drama [Kraft Television Theatre] 1956) “The Lou Gehrig Story” (CBS drama [Climax!] 1956) “Bang the Drum Slowly” (CBS drama [United States Steel Hour] 1956) Starr. Ed” (CBS series episode 1963) A Man Named Mays (NBC documentary 1963) Biography of a Rookie: The Willie Davis Story (CBS documentary 1963) “Play Ball” (ABC series episode [The Donna Reed Show] 1964) “My Son. unaired until 1965) “The Hillbilly Whiz” (CBS series episode [The Phil Silvers Show] 1957) “The Littlest Little Leaguer” (NBC drama [Philco Television Playhouse] 1957) “Comeback” (CBS drama [Desilu Playhouse] 1959) “Moochie of the Little League” (ABC drama [Walt Disney Presents] 1959) “The Mighty Casey” (CBS drama [The Twilight Zone] 1961) “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” (ABC series episode [The Flintstones] 1962) “Long Distance Call” (ABC series episode [Leave It to Beaver] 1962) “Flashing Spikes” (NBC drama [Alcoa Premiere] 1962) “Leo Durocher Meets Mr. First Baseman (syndicated 1957. the Catcher” (ABC series episode [The Donna Reed Show] 1964) “Herman the Rookie” (CBS series episode [The Munsters] 1965) October Madness: The World Series (ABC sports documentary 1965) Mickey Mantle: A Self Portrait (local in New York 1965) Agganis the Man (local in Boston 1965) Charlie Brown’s All-Stars (CBS animated special 1966) “Calling Willie Mays” (ABC series episode [The Donna Reed Show] 1966) Damn Yankees (staging of the Broadway musical) (NBC 1967) “The Big Game” (ABC series episode [The Flying Nun] 1969) “The Dropout” (ABC series episode [The Brady Bunch] 1970) The Baseball World of Joe Garagiola (NBC sports series 1972–1975) Willie Mays and the Say-Hey Kid (ABC animated special 1972) My Sister Hank (CBS pilot 1972) ABC Afterschool Special: Rookie of the Year (ABC drama 1973) It’s Good to Be Alive (CBS TV movie 1974) Monday Night Baseball (ABC 1976–1988) “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” (ABC series episode [Good Heavens] 1976) .
Archie-0” (CBS series episode [Archie Bunker’s Place] 1982) Million-Dollar Infield (CBS TV movie 1982) The Baseball Bunch (syndicated series 1982–1985) Bay City Blues (NBC series 1983) Tiger Town (Disney Channel TV movie 1983) “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” (NBC series episode [Punky Brewster] 1984) Greats of the Game (syndicated series 1985–1986) The Babe (ESPN drama 1985) Amos (CBS TV movie 1985) Workin’ for Peanuts (HBO cable movie 1985) Casey at the Bat (Showtime drama 1986) A Winner Never Quits (ABC TV movie 1986) “Magic Saturday” (NBC [Steven Spielberg’s Amazing Stories] 1986) Pinstripe Power: The Story of the 1961 New York Yankees (PBS documentary 1986) 1986 Mets: A Year to Remember (PBS documentary 1986) A Silver Odyssey: 25 Years of Astros Baseball (PBS documentary 1987) A League of Their Own (PBS documentary 1987) Long Gone (HBO cable movie 1987) “Extra Innings” (CBS series episode [The New Twilight Zone] 1988) “Genesis” (NBC series episode [Quantum Leap] 1989) “Forever Baseball” (PBS [American Experience] 1989) The Court-Martial of Jackie Robinson (TNT cable movie 1990) .Appendix 145 Ball Four (CBS series 1976) Biography: The Babe (The Story of Babe Ruth) (A&E documentary 1977) The Glory of Their Times (PBS documentary 1977) Murder at the World Series (ABC TV movie 1977) A Winning Tradition (The 1977 Yankees) (syndicated 1977) The Flintstones Little Big League (NBC animated special 1978) A Love Affair: Eleanor and Lou Gehrig (NBC TV movie 1978) One in a Million: The Ron LeFlore Story (CBS TV movie 1978) ABC Afterschool Special: Thank You. restaged and recast later) The Bad News Bears (CBS series 1979–80) Dribble (NBC pilot 1980) Take Me Up to the Ball Game [Canadian animated TV film 1980] The Comeback Kid (CBS TV movie 1980) Don’t Look Back (ABC TV movie 1981) “The Two-Hundred-Mile-an-Hour Fast Ball” (ABC series episode [The Greatest American Hero] 1981) Casey Stengel (PBS drama 1981) “Reggie-3. Jackie Robinson (ABC drama 1978) Flatbush (CBS pilot 1979) The Kid From Left Field (NBC TV movie 1979) Aunt Mary (CBS TV movie 1979) Bleacher Bums (PBS drama 1979.
146 Appendix Babe Ruth (NBC TV movie 1991) “Play Ball” (NBC series episode [Quantum Leap] 1991) When It Was a Game (HBO Sports documentary 1991) When It Was a Game II (HBO Sports documentary 1992) Diamonds on the Silver Screen (AMC documentary 1992) Comrades of Summer (HBO cable movie 1992) Minor Leagues/Major Dreams (syndicated documentary 1992) It’s Spring Training. Charlie Brown (CBS animated feature 1992) Frontline: The Trouble With Baseball (PBS 1993) The Man From Left Field (CBS TV movie 1993) Roberto: The Roberto Clemente Story (Major League Baseball documentary 1993) Cooperstown (TNT cable movie 1993) A League of Their Own (CBS series 1993) Hardball (FOX series 1994) Ken Burns’ “Baseball” (PBS documentary 1994) A Whole New Ballgame (ABC series 1995) Hank Aaron: Chasing the Dream (TNT documentary 1995) Past the Bleachers (ABC TV movie 1995) Soul of the Game (HBO TV movie 1996) Baseball. Minnesota (FX unscripted series 1996) Ted Williams: A Baseball Life (ABC documentary 1997) Joe Torre: Curveballs Along the Way (Showtime cable movie 1997) Where Have You Gone Joe DiMaggio? (HBO Sports documentary 1997) Babe Ruth: The Life Behind the Legend (HBO Sports documentary 1997) The Definitive Story of Mickey Mantle (HBO Sports documentary 1998) Yogi Berra: Déjà vu All Over Again (PBS documentary 1999) When It Was a Game III (HBO Sports documentary 2000) Joe DiMaggio: The Hero’s Life (PBS American Experience. 2000) Joe DiMaggio: The Final Chapter (FOX Sports documentary 2000) Frankie and Hazel (Showtime cable movie 2000) Angels in the Infield (ABC TV movie 2000) Finding Buck McHenry (Showtime cable movie 2000) The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg (Cinemax documentary 2001) Dem Bums: The Brooklyn Dodgers (PBS documentary 2001) Shot Heard ’Round the World (HBO Sports documentary 2001) Bleacher Bums (Showtime cable movie 2001) 61* (HBO cable movie 2001) All Games Are Home Games (PBS documentary 2002) A City on Fire: The Story of the ’68 Detroit Tigers (HBO Sports documentary 2002) The Curse of the Bambino (HBO Sports documentary 2003) The Reverse of the Curse of the Bambino (HBO Sports documentary 2003) The Teammates: A Portrait of a Friendship (ESPN documentary 2003) Eddie’s Million Dollar Cook-Off (Disney Channel TV movie 2003) Lucy Must Be Traded (ABC animated special 2003) .
a Pass. initially on CBS and NBC. to present) Pro Football: Mayhem on a Sunday Afternoon (ABC documentary 1965) Coach Bryant: Alabama’s Bear (ABC documentary 1967) “A Punt.Appendix 147 Pete Rose on Trial (ESPN docudrama 2003) Nine Innings From Ground Zero (HBO Sports documentary 2004) Whose Curse Is Worse? Red Sox and Cubs on Trial (ESPN documentary 2004) Hustle (ESPN cable movie 2004) The Winning Season (TNT cable movie 2004) Clubhouse (CBS series 2004–2005) Wait ’Til This Year (New England Sports Network 2005) Mantle (HBO Sports documentary 2005) Baseball Bunch (syndicated series 2006) DHL Presents Major League Baseball Hometown Heroes (ESPN documentary 2006) Wait ’Til Next Year: The Saga of the Chicago Cubs (HBO Sports documentary 2006) The Republic of Baseball: The Dominican Giants of the American Game (PBS documentary 2006) Brooklyn Dodgers: The Ghosts of Flatbush (HBO Sports documentary. 1969) . 2007) Pride Against Prejudice: The Larry Doby Story (Showtime documentary 2007) The Bronx Is Burning (ESPN series 2007) Oprah Winfrey Presents: Mitch Albom’s For One More Day (ABC TV movie 2007) Roberto Clemente (PBS American Experience 2008) The Zen of Bobby V (ESPN Sports documentary 2008) José Canseco: My Life on Steriods (A&E documentary 2008) Costas Now With Aaron and Mays (HBO Sports 2008) Football “Education of a Fullback” (NBC drama [Philco Television Playhouse] 1951) “Homecoming” (CBS drama episode [Schlitz Playhouse of Stars] 1952) “Saturday Story” (ABC drama episode [Cavalcade of America] 1954) “The Red Sanders Story” (NBC drama episode [Matinee Theatre] 1955) “The Boy and the Coach” (ABC drama episode [Pepsi Cola Playhouse] 1955) “Like Father. Like Son” (CBS drama episode [Studio One] 1955) “The Army Game” (NBC drama [Kaiser Aluminum Hour] 1956) “80-Yard Run” (CBS drama [Playhouse 90] 1957) “The Army-Navy Game” (CBS drama episode [West Point] 1957) “His Highness and the Halfback” (CBS drama episode [West Point] 1958) Moochie of Pop Warner Football (ABC drama 1959) The NFL on NBC (NBC series 1960–1998) “Idylls of a Running Back” (ABC drama episode [The Naked City] 1962) “The Long Walk Home” (ABC drama episode [Alcoa Premiere] 1962) First Super Bowl Game (annually 1967. and a Prayer” (NBC drama episode [Hallmark Hall of Fame] 1968) “The Heidi Game” (NBC drama 1968) The Joe Namath Show (syndicated audience participation.
Freaks (NBC TV movie 1984) 1st and 10 (HBO series 1984–1990) Glory Days (CBS TV movie 1988) Quiet Victory: The Charlie Wedemeyer Story (CBS TV movie 1988) The Comeback (CBS TV movie 1989) “All Americans” (NBC series episode [Quantum Leap] 1990) Sporting Chance (CBS pilot 1990) Frankenstein: The College Years (FOX TV movie 1991) A Triumph of the Heart: The Ricky Bell Story (CBS TV movie 1991) Backfield in Motion (ABC TV movie 1991) Good Sports (CBS sitcom 1991) Willing to Kill: The Texas Cheerleader Story (ABC TV movie 1992) The Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Texas Cheerleader-Murdering Mom (HBO cable movie 1993) Knute Rockne and His Fighting Irish (PBS American Experience 1993) Against the Grain (NBC series 1993) You’re in the Super Bowl. J. Simpson Story (FOX TV movie 1995) Rebels With a Cause: The Story of the American Football League (HBO Sports documentary 1995) . Charlie Brown (CBS animated program.148 Appendix ABC Monday Night Football (1970–2006) Where’s Huddles? (CBS animated series 1970–71) Plimpton: The Great Quarterback Sneak (ABC documentary 1971) Brian’s Song (ABC TV movie 1971) Footsteps (CBS TV movie 1972) The Living End (CBS pilot 1972) Two’s Company (CBS pilot 1973) Portrait: Legend in Granite (ABC drama 1973) “Mail Order Hero” (ABC series episode [The Brady Bunch] 1973) O. Simpson: Juice on the Loose (ABC documentary 1974) Mighty Moose and the Quarterback Kid (ABC drama 1976) Something for Joey (CBS TV movie 1977) Superdome (ABC TV movie 1978) The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders (ABC TV movie 1979) The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders II (ABC TV movie 1980) Semi-Tough (ABC series 1980) Coach of the Year (NBC TV movie 1980) Fighting Back (ABC TV movie 1980) The Sophisticated Gents (NBC-TV movie 1981) The Oklahoma City Dolls (ABC TV movie 1981) Grambling’s White Tiger (NBC TV movie 1981) Quarterback Princess (CBS TV movie 1983) Pigs vs. 1994) Rise and Walk: The Dennis Byrd Story (FOX TV movie 1994) The O. J.
: A Study in Black and White (HBO Sports documentary 2002) Rebels of Oakland: The A’s. All American (HBO Sports documentary 2000) The Bear: The Legend of Coach Paul Bryant (HBO Sports documentary 2001) The Game of Their Lives: Pro Football’s Wonder Years (HBO documentary 2001) Hard Knocks: The Baltimore Ravens (HBO reality show 2001) Brian’s Song (ABC TV movie 2001) The Sports Pages: “The Heidi Bowl” (Showtime cable movie 2001) Monday Night Mayhem (TNT cable 2002) The Junction Boys (ESPN cable movie 2002) Hard Knocks: Training Camp With the Dallas Cowboys (HBO reality show 2002) O.Appendix 149 In the House (NBC sitcom 1995–1996. 2007–2008) Every Man a Tiger: The Eddie Robinson Story (NBC Sports documentary 2007) Hellfighters (ESPN Sports documentary 2008) Hard Knocks: Training Camp With the Dallas Cowboys (HBO reality show 2008) Breaking the Huddle: The Integration of College Football (HBO Sports documentary 2008) Boxing Knockout (NBC drama 1946) Cavalcade of Sports (NBC 1946–1960) . the Raiders. then UPN 1996–1998) The Halfback of Notre Dame (Showtime cable movie 1996) Angels in the Endzone (ABC TV movie 1997) Weapons of Mass Distraction (HBO cable movie 1997) The Garbage Picking Field Goal Kicking Philadelphia Phenomenon (ABC TV Movie 1998) “Superstar” (NBC series episode [The Cosby Show] 1999) Unitas (HBO Sports documentary 1999) Jim Brown. Ohio State: The Rivalry (HBO Sports documentary 2007) The Complete History of the New York Jets (NFL network 2007) Football Wives (unaired ABC pilot 2007) Put Up Your Dukes (NFL Network talk show series. the ’70s (HBO Sports documentary 2003) Playmakers (ESPN drama series 2003) The Wild Ride to Super Bowl I (HBO Sports documentary 2004) Code Breakers (ESPN cable movie 2005) Bound for Glory (ESPN reality series 2005) The Man Who Lost Himself (aka The Stranger I Married) (Lifetime TV movie 2005) The Game (CW series 2006–2007) Friday Night Lights (NBC series 2006–) NBC Sunday Night Football (NBC 2006–) Back in the Day (ESPN series 2006) Two-A-Day (MTV reality series 2006) Hard Knocks: Training Camp With the Kansas City Chiefs (HBO reality show 2007) Michigan vs. J.
E. . Theatre] 1955) “The Face of Johnny Dolliver” (CBS drama [Damon Runyon Theatre ) “The Big Umbrella” (CBS drama [Damon Runyon Theatre ) “The Battler” (NBC drama [Playwrights ’56] 1955) “The Big Payday” (CBS drama [Schlitz Playouse of Stars] 1956 “The Bensonhurst Bomber” (CBS series episode [The Honeymooners] 1956) “Requiem for a Heavyweight” (CBS drama [Playhouse 90] 1956) “His Brother’s Fist” (CBS drama [West Point Story] 1956) “Ringside Padre” (ABC drama [Crossroads] 1956) “Father and Son Night” (CBS drama [G. Kitty” (CBS drama [Desilu Playhouse] 1958) “The Fight” (NBC series episode [M Squad] 1958) “The Killer Instinct” (CBS drama [Desilu Playhouse] 1959) “The Canvas Bullet” (ABC series episode [Naked City] 1959.150 Appendix Greatest Fights of the Century (NBC 1948–1954) International Boxing Club Bouts (later Pabst Blue Ribbon Bouts) (CBS 1949–1955) The Final Bell (NBC drama 1950) Never Hit a Pigeon (CBS drama 1950) Come Out Fighting (NBC drama 1950) Kid Gloves (CBS audience participation 1951) TKO (syndicated drama 1951) “The Knockout” (NBC drama episode [The Roy Rogers Show] 1952) “The Sunday Punch” (NBC drama [Robert Montgomery Presents] 1953) “The Battler” (CBS drama [Omnibus] 1953. later restaged and recast 1955) “Homecoming” (NBC drama [Robert Montgomery Presents] 1954 Greatest Sport Thrills (ABC series 1954–56) “The Next Champ” (CBS series episode [The Honeymooners] 1954) The Joe Palooka Story (syndicated series 1954) The Duke (NBC series 1954) “The Contender” (NBC drama [Armstrong Circle Theatre] 1954 “The Boxing Show” (CBS series episode [December Bride] 1955) You Are There: The Birth of Modern Boxing (CBS series 1955) “The Lady and the Prizefighter” (NBC series episode [I Married Joan] 1955) “Shadow of the Champ” (NBC drama [Philco Television Playhouse] 1955) “Champion” (CBS drama [Climax!] 1955) “The Return of Gentleman Jim” (CBS drama [G. Theatre] 1955) “Winner by Decision” (CBS drama [G. E. Tall Wish” (CBS series episode [The Twilight Zone] 1960) “The Opponent” (CBS series episode [Route 66] 1961) “Five Cranks for Winter . Ten Cranks for Spring” (ABC series episode [Naked City] 1962) “Memory in White” (CBS drama [G. Theatre] 1957) “K. later restaged and recast) “The Big. . Theatre] 1961) “The Last Round” (ABC drama [One Step Beyond ] 1961) .O. E. E.
Appendix 151 “Ten O’clock Tiger” (NBC drama [Alfred Hitchcock Presents] 1962) “Steel” (CBS series episode [The Twilight Zone] 1963) “Decision in the Ring” (ABC series episode [The Fugitive] 1963) “Puncher and Judy” (NBC series episode [Car 54.O. Kid” (NBC series episode [Punky Brewster] 1985) “The Trouble With Harry” (NBC series episode [The A-Team] 1986) “Redemption of a Champion” (NBC series episode [Knight Rider] 1986) “Down for the Count” (NBC series episode [Miami Vice] 1987) “Ring of Honor” (NBC series episode [Hunter] 1989) “The Right Hand of God” (NBC series episode [Quantum Leap] 1989) “The Boxer” (NBC series episode [Amen] 1989) Percy and Thunder (TNT cable movie 1993) George (ABC sitcom 1993–1994) Fallen Champ: The Untold Story of Mike Tyson (NBC documentary 1993) “Mike Tyson: Fallen Champ” (A& E series [Biography] 1995) Tyson (HBO cable movie 1995) . Where Are You?] 1963) “The Meal Ticket” (NBC drama [Bob Hope Chrysler Theater] 1964) Three on an Island (CBS pilot 1965) “Body and Sol” (CBS series episode [The Dick Van Dyke Show] 1965 “Monkees in the Ring” (NBC series episode [The Monkees] 1967) “Love and the Champ” (ABC series episode [Love American Style] 1970) “The Meal Ticket” (ABC series episode [Dan August] 1971) “The Ring With the Red Velvet Ropes” (NBC drama [Night Gallery] 1972) HBO World Championship Boxing (HBO 1973-present) “The Adventures of the Sunday Punch” (NBC series episode [Ellery Queen] 1976) “The Final Round” (CBS series episode [The Incredible Hulk] 1978) I Am the Greatest: The Adventures of Muhammad Ali (NBC animated series 1977–78) “The Lady on Thursday at Ten” (ABC series episode [The Nancy Drew Mysteries] 1978) Ring of Passion (NBC TV movie 1978) Marciano (ABC TV movie 1979) Flesh and Blood (CBS TV movie 1979) The Duke (NBC series 1979) “The Eleventh Event” (ABC series episode [Vega$] 1979) “Arnold’s Hero” (NBC series episode [Diff’rent Strokes] 1979) Goldie and the Boxer (NBC TV movie 1979) Goldie and the Boxer Go to Hollywood (NBC TV movie 1981) “Pros and Cons” (NBC drama [The A-Team] 1983) “TKO” (ABC series episode [The Fall Guy] 1983) Dempsey (CBS TV movie 1983) Terrible Joe Moran (CBS TV movie 1984) Heart of a Champion: The Ray Mancini Story (CBS TV movie 1985) “The K.
(Showtime series 2000–02) Bud Greenspan’s Kings of the Ring: Four Legends of Heavyweight Boxing (Showtime documentary 2000) Ali-Frazier 1: One Nation . . 1976 on NBC) Shirts/Skins (ABC TV movie 1973) The Harlem Globetrotters Popcorn Machine (CBS series 1974–76) The Rag Tag Champs (ABC drama 1976) The Waverly Wonders (ABC series 1978) The White Shadow (CBS series 1978–1981) Magic vs. Divisible (HBO Sports documentary 2000) Ali: An American Hero (FOX TV movie 2000) “George Foreman: Blow by Blow” (Biography Channel series [Biography] 2000) “Oscar de la Hoya: Body and Soul” (Biography Channel series [Biography] 2001) Joe and Max (Starz! cable movie 2002) Muhammad Ali: Through the Eyes of the World (PBS documentary 2003) Undefeated (HBO cable movie 2003) The Fight (PBS American Experience 2004) The Next Great Champ (FOX unscripted series 2004) Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson (PBS documentary 2005) The Contender (NBC unscripted series 2005–06. Bird: The 1979 NCAA Championship Game (NBC Sports 1979) The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan’s Island (NBC TV movie 1981) The Hero Who Couldn’t Read (ABC drama 1984) A Mother’s Courage: The Mary Thomas Story (ABC TV movie 1989) .152 Appendix Sonny Liston: Mysterious Life and Death of a Champion (HBO Sports documentary 1995) Muhammad Ali: The Whole Story (TNT documentary 1996) “The Homer They Fall” (FOX series episode [The Simpsons] 1996) Don King: Only in America (HBO cable movie 1997) Sugar Ray Robinson: The Bright Lights and Dark Shadows of a Champion (HBO Sport documentary 1998) “Fighting the Good Fight” (CBS series episode [Touched by an Angel] 1999) Muhammad Ali: King of the World (ABC TV movie 2000) Resurrection Blvd. Betrayed (HBO Sports documentary 2008) Family Foreman (TV Land reality series 2008) Basketball “Fast Break” (CBS drama [Schlitz Playhouse of Stars] 1955) “Shadow of a Hero” (CBS series episode [General Electric Theater] 1962) The Harlem Globetrotters (CBS animated series 1970–1972. then ESPN) Jump In! (Disney Channel TV movie 2007) Triumph and Tragedy: The Ray Mancini Story (ESPN documentary 2007) Muhammad Ali: Made in Miami (PBS documentary 2008) Joe Louis: America’s Hero . . . .
Appendix 153 Michael Jordan: An American Hero (FOX Family TV movie 1990) CBS Schoolbreak Specials: “Malcolm Takes Shot” (CBS drama 1990) One Special Victory (NBC TV movie 1991) Final Shot: The Hank Gathers Story (syndicated TV movie 1992) Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper (ABC series 1992) Michael Jordan: Air Time (syndicated video 1993) Tall Hopes (CBS series 1993) CBS Schoolbreak Specials: “Other Mothers” (CBS drama 1993) Annie O (Showtime cable movie 1995) Hang Time (NBC drama series 1995–2001) Never Give Up: The Jimmy V Story (CBS TV movie 1996) Rebound—The Legend of Earl “The Goat” Manigault (HBO cable movie 1996) Bad as I Wanna Be: The Dennis Rodman Story (ABC TV movie 1998) A Cinderella Season: The Lady Vols Fight Back (HBO sports documentary 1998) City Dump: The Story of the 1951 CCNY Basketball Scandal (HBO documentary 1998) Passing Glory (TNT cable movie 1999) That Championship Season (Showtime cable movie 1999) The Hoop Life (Showtime series 1999–2000) Bill Russell: My Life. My Way (HBO Sports documentary 2000) On Hallowed Ground: Streetball Champions of Rucker Park (TNT documentary 2000) Whatever Happened to Micheal Ray? (TNT documentary 2000) Pistol Pete: The Life and Times of Pete Maravich (CBS Sports documentary 2001) :03 From Gold (HBO Sports documentary 2002) A Season on the Brink (ESPN cable movie 2002) The Red Sneakers (Showtime cable movie 2002) Shirts & Skins: The Sociology of Basketball (syndicated documentary 2002) Double Teamed (Disney Channel cable movie 2002) Full-Court Miracle (Disney Channel cable movie 2003) One Tree Hill (The WB/CW series 2003–2008) Tragedy to Triumph: The Maryland Terrapin Odyssey (CBS Sports documentary 2003) SkyWalker: The David Thompson Story (syndicated 2004) This Is a Game. Ladies (PBS documentary 2004) Edge of America (Showtime cable movie 2005) Perfect Upset: The 1985 Villanova vs. Georgetown NCAA Championship (HBO Sports documentary 2005) The Harlem Globetrotters: The Team That Changed the World (PBS documentary 2005) Back in the Day (ESPN series 2006) The UCLA Dynasty (HBO Sports documentary 2007) Nimrod Nation (Sundance Channel documentary 2007) Black Magic (ESPN documentary 2008) .
D.D.A.S.154 Golf Appendix “The Golfer” (CBS series episode [The Honeymooners] 1955) The Masters Tournament (CBS 1956–present) All-Star Golf (ABC 1957–1960. then NBC) World Championship Golf (NBC 1959–1960) Celebrity Golf with Sam Snead (NBC 1960) “The Golf Champion” (ABC series episode [The Flintstones] 1960) Shell’s Wonderful World of Golf (NBC 1962–1970) “Country Club Munsters” (CBS series episode [The Munsters] 1967) A Couple of Days in the Life of Charlie Boswell (Syndicated 1970) Babe (CBS TV movie 1975) Dead Solid Perfect (HBO cable movie 1988) Heroes of the Game (ESPN documentary series 1994) Golf: The Greatest Game (NBC documentary 1994) The Tiger Woods Story (Showtime cable movie 1998) Miracle on the 17th Green (CBS TV movie 1999) The Sports Pages: “How Doc Waddems Finally Broke 100” (Showtime cable movie 2001) Tiger at 30 (CBS documentary 2006) Biography of the Year: Tiger Woods (Biography Channel 2006) Jim Nantz Remembers Augusta: The 1960 Masters (CBS sports documentary 2007) The Best Shot in Golf (CBS Sports documentary 2008) Back Nine at Cherry Hills: The Legends of the 1960 U. Open (HBO Sports documentary 2008) Hockey First Stanley Cup Playoffs on television (NBC 1966) The Deadliest Season (CBS TV movie 1977) The Boy Who Drank Too Much (CBS TV movie 1980) Miracle on Ice (ABC TV movie 1981) Hockey Night (Canadian/PBS WonderWorks 1984) CBS Schoolbreak Special: “Contract for Life: The S. Story” (CBS drama 1985) The Making of the NHL’s Mighty Ducks (PBS documentary 1993) The Boys on the Bus (Canadian reality show 1987) Gross Misconduct ([Canadian TV movie] 1993) Net Worth ([Canadian TV movie] 1995) Mighty Ducks (ABC animated series 1996–97) Gretzky: The Great One and the Next Ones (FOX Sports documentary 1997) NHL Power Plays: All-Stars of the Game (FOX Sports documentary 1997) Power Play ([Canadian ensemble comedy drama] 1998–2000) Brigitte Gall: Joan of Montreal (Comedy Network/CTV 1999) .
S. 2005) Go Figure (Disney cable movie. Hockey Team (HBO Sports documentary 2001) The Life and Times of Carl Brewer ([Canadian documentary] 2003) Hockey’s Greatest Era 1942–1967 (FOX Sports Net documentary.Appendix 155 H-E-Double Hockey Sticks (ABC TV movie 1999) Trapped in a Purple Haze (ABC TV movie 2000) Do You Believe in Miracles? The Story of the 1980 U. 1994) Dare to Compete: The Struggle of Women in Sports (HBO Sports documentary 1999) When Billie Beat Bobby (ABC TV movie 2001) Martina Navratilova (A&E Biography 2004) Billie Jean King: Portrait of a Pioneer (HBO Sports documentary 2006) The Prince of Tennis (Japanese anime on Cartoon Network 2006–) Horse Racing “The Lady Was a Flop” (CBS drama [Schiltz Playhouse of Stars] 1957) National Velvet (NBC series 1960–1962) “The Last Night of a Jockey” (CBS series episode [The Twilight Zone] 1963) Little Vic (syndicated series 1978) Derby (ABC TV movie 1995) Seabiscuit: An American Legend (PBS American Experience 2003) The True Story of Seabiscuit (A&E documentary 2003) Bud Greenspan Presents: Whirlaway! (ESPN documentary 2005) Wildfire (ABC Family series 2005–2006) Barbaro (HBO Sports documentary 2007) Barbaro: The Nation’s Horse (NBC Sports documentary 2007) Ruffian (ABC TV movie 2007) Running/Track The Loneliest Runner (NBC TV movie 1976) Wilma (NBC TV movie 1977) See How She Runs (CBS TV movie 1978) . 2005) The First Miracle: The 1960 US Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team (ESPN documentary 2006) MVP: The Secret Lives of Hockey Wives (SOAPnet series 2008) Tennis “Disappearing Trick” (CBS series episode [Alfred Hitchcock Presents] 1958) Little Mo (NBC TV movie 1978) Second Serve (CBS TV movie 1986) Phenom (ABC series 1993–1994) Arthur Ashe: Citizen of the World (HBO Sports documentary.
then 1975–2000) Straightaway (ABC series 1961–1962) Tack Reynolds (ABC pilot 1962) The Challengers (ABC TV movie. Daytona 500) Men Against Speed (ABC 1955) First network Daytona 500 (CBS 1960.—Shifting Gears (ESPN reality series 2008) Finish Line (Spike TV movie 2008) The Circuit (ABC Family cable movie 2008) . unaired until 1970) Wacky Races (CBS animated series 1968–1970) Movin’ On (NBC pilot 1972) Aces Up (CBS pilot 1974) Silent Victory: The Kitty O’Neil Story (CBS TV movie 1979) The Stockers (NBC pilot 1981) The Dukes (CBS animated series 1983) Elke Sommer’s Speed and Beauty (syndicated series 1984) Thunder Alley (ABC series 1994–1995) “3” (ESPN TV-movie 2003) Girl Racers (Biography Channel documentary 2005) “Shirley Muldowney: First Lady of Racing” (Biography Channel series [Biography] 2005) NASCAR Driven to Win (Biography Channel series 2006) Dale (CMT sports documentary 2007) Fast Cars & Superstars—Gillette Young Guns Celebrity Race (ABC reality series 2007) NASCAR Angels (syndicated reality show 2007) Dale Jr. 1968.156 Appendix A Shining Season (CBS TV movie 1979) The Jericho Mile (CBS TV movie 1979) Marathon (CBS TV movie 1980) The Miracle of Kathy Miller (CBS TV movie 1981) ABC Afterschool Special: “It’s a Mile From Here to Glory” (ABC drama 1972) The Terry Fox Story (HBO cable movie 1983) The Jesse Owens Story (syndicated TV movie 1984) If I Die Before I Wake (ABC drama 1985) Finish Line (TNT cable movie 1988) “Running for Honor” (NBC series episode [Quantum Leap] 1992) Run for the Dream: The Gail Devers Story (Showtime cable movie 1996) Dying to Be Perfect: The Ellen Hart Peña Story (ABC TV movie 1996) Dying to Win (Canadian documentary shown on A&E 1998) The Loretta Claiborne Story (ABC TV movie 2000) Race of the Century (Discovery Channel documentary 2004) Four Minutes (ESPN TV movie 2005) Auto Racing (NASCAR.
O. then 2005–2007) The Jesse Ventura Story (NBC TV movie 1999) Biography: André the Giant (A&E series 1999) Friday Night Smackdown (UPN then The CW 1999–2008) Xtreme Pro Wrestling (syndicated series 2001–2003) Nikki (The WB 2002) Ultimate Muscle: The Kinnikuman Legacy (FOX animated series 2002–2004) Going to the Mat (Disney Channel cable movie 2004) Hard Knocks: The Chris Benoit Story (WWE documentary 2004) Cheating Death. (Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling) (syndicated series 1986–1990) Learning the Ropes (syndicated series 1988–1989) Halloween Havoc (pay-per-view 1989–2000) “Heart of a Champion” (NBC series episode [Quantum Leap] 1991) Tag Team (ABC pilot 1991) Extreme Championship Wrestling (TNN 1999–2001.Appendix Wrestling 157 AWA All-Star Wrestling (syndicated series 1960–1990) “A Feat of Strength” (ABC series episode [Route 66] 1962) Mad Bull (CBS TV movie 1977) World Wide Wrestling (syndicated series 1975–2001) G.L. Stealing life: The Eddie Guerrero Story (WWE documentary 2004) WWE Monday Night Raw (USA 2005–2008) Wrestling with Destiny: The Life and Times of Daniel Igali (Canadian documentary 2006) The Streak (ESPN Sports documentary 2008) Hulk Hogan’s Celebrity Championship Wrestling (CMT reality series 2008) Ice Skating Champions: A Love Story (CBS TV movie 1979) ABC Afterschool Special: “The Heartbreak Winner” (ABC drama 1980) Kurt Browning: Life on the Edge ([Canadian documentary] 1992) The Cutting Edge (ABC TV movie 1992) Tonya & Nancy: The Inside Story (NBC TV movie 1994) A Promise Kept: The Oksana Baiul Story (CBS TV movie 1994) A Brother’s Promise: The Dan Jansen Story (CBS TV movie 1996) Ronnie & Julie (Showtime cable movie 1997) Reflections on Ice: A Diary of Ladies’ Figure Skating (HBO Sports documentary 1998) My Sergei (CBS TV movie 1998) Fire on Ice: Champions of American Figure Skating (A&E documentary 2001) Michelle Kwan: Princess on Ice (ABC special 2001) Bud Greenspan Presents Michelle Kwan (CBS special 2002) .W.
later restaged and recast) “Love and the Hustler” (ABC series episode [Love American Style] 1969) “A Game of Pool” (syndicated drama episode [The New Twilight Zone] 1989) Kiss Shot (CBS TV movie 1989) “Pool Hall Blues” (NBC series episode [Quantum Leap] 1990) Bowling Bowling Headliners (ABC 1949 then to DuMont) Jackpot Bowling (NBC 1956–1961) “Bowling Ballet” (ABC series episode [The Flintstones] 1962) Roller Skating and Skateboarding Bailey’s Comets (CBS animated series 1973–1975) The Skatebirds (CBS animated series 1977–1978) Life of Ryan (MTV reality series 2007) . Women’s Soccer Team (HBO documentary 2005) Once in a Lifetime: The Extraordinary Story of the New York Cosmos (ESPN documentary 2006) Rodeo The Wide Country (NBC series 1962–1963) Stoney Burke (ABC series 1962–1963) Goldenrod (CBS TV movie 1977) Rodeo Girl (CBS TV movie 1980) Every Second Counts (Hallmark cable movie 2008) Roller Derby Roller Derby (ABC 1949–1951) The Roller Girls (NBC series 1978) Roller Jam (TNN series 1999–2001) Across America: Queens of the Roller Derby (HDNet 2003) “Jamalot” (CBS drama episode [CSI: NY] 2004) Pool/billiards “A Game of Pool” (CBS drama episode [Twilight Zone] 1962.158 The Cutting Edge 2: Going for the Gold (ABC TV movie 2006) The Cutting Edge 3: Chasing the Dream (ABC Family TV movie 2008) Soccer Appendix CBS Schoolbreak Special: “What If I’m Gay?” (CBS drama 1987) Dare to Dream: The Story of the U.S.
TV movie 1988) Going for the Gold: Preview of the 1988 Summer Olympics (NBC documentary 1988) Bud Greenspan’s An American Dream (Disney Channel documentary 1988) Calgary ’88: 16 Days of Glory (Disney Channel documentary 1989) Seoul ’88: 16 Days of Glory (Disney Channel documentary 1989) Victory & Valor: Special Olympics World Games (ABC documentary 1991) Bud Greenspan’s The Measure of Greatness (Discovery Channel documentary 1992) Mark Spitz Returns to Munich (NBC documentary 1992) Barcelona ’92: 16 Days of Glory (Disney Channel documentary 1993) Lillehammer ’94: 16 Days of Glory (Disney Channel documentary 1994) 100 Years of Olympic Glory (TBS documentary 1996) America’s Greatest Olympians (TBS documentary 1996) Spirit of the Games (HBO Sports documentary 1996) Bearing the Torch: Politics & the Olympics (ESPN documentary 1996) The Road to Olympic Gold (CBS Sports series 1996) Breaking the Surface (USA Networks TV movie 1997) Atlanta’s Olympic Glory (PBS documentary 1997) Perfect Body (NBC TV movie 1997) In Search of History: The First Olympics (History Channel documentary 1997) .Appendix Olympics 159 Berlin 1936: Games of the XI Olympiad (German television 1936) The Strongest Man in the World (Bud Greenspan documentary 1952) “Leap of Faith (The Bob Richards Story)” (ABC drama episode [DuPont Cavalcade of America] 1957) First Olympics on network television (CBS 1960) The Rafer Johnson Story (David L. Wolper documentary 1961) Jesse Owens Returns to Berlin (Bud Greenspan documentary 1964) The Ethiopians (Bud Greenspan documentary 1971) The 500-Pound Jerk (CBS TV movie 1973) 21 Hours in Munich (ABC TV movie 1976) The Olympiad (PBS 1976) (22 hour-long documentaries) Special Olympics (CBS TV movie 1978) Top of the Hill (syndicated TV movie 1980) The Golden Moment—An Olympic Love Story (CBS TV movie 1980) America at the Olympics (CBS documentary 1984) The First Olympics—Athens 1896 (NBC TV movie 1984) The Jesse Owens Story (syndicated TV movie 1984) Nadia (syndicated TV movie 1984) 16 Days of Glory (1984 Summer Olympics) (HBO Sports documentary1986) Time Capsule: The Olympic Games of 1932 (NBC documentary 1986) King of the Olympics: The Lives and Loves of Avery Brundage (syndicated.
Our Greatest Fears: The Tragedy of the Munich Games (ABC documentary 2002) Bud Greenspan Presents: 1972 Olympic Games (Showtime documentary 2002) Bud Greenspan’s Stories of Winter Olympic Glory (Showtime documentary 2002) Bud Greenspan’s Stories of Summer Olympic Glory (Showtime documentary 2002) :03 From Gold (HBO Sports documentary 2002) Salt Lake 2002: Stories of Olympic Glory (Showtime documentary 2003) Hitler’s Pawn: The Margaret Lambert Story (HBO Sports documentary 2004) Beyond the Games (NBC documentary 2004) Race of the Century (Discovery Channel documentary 2004) Bud Greenspan Presents Athens 2004: Stories of Olympic Glory (Showtime documentary 2005) The First Miracle: The 1960 US Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team (ESPN documentary 2006) Bud Greenspan Presents: Torino 2006: Stories of Olympic Glory (Showtime documentary 2007) Bud Greenspan: At the Heart of the Games (ESPN documentary 2008) Secrets of the Dead: Doping for Gold (PBS documentary 2008) Miscellaneous Sports Programs Sports in Focus (ABC Sports 1957–1958) ABC Wide World of Sports (ABC Sports 1961–1997) American Sportsman (ABC Sports 1965–1985) Evel Knievel (CBS pilot 1974) The Way It Was (PBS series 1974–1978) James Michener’s World: Sports in America (PBS special 1980) Numero Uno (PBS Sports series in 13 parts 1982) ABC Afterschool Special: The Gymnast (ABC drama 1980) The Golden Age of Sport (HBO Sports documentary 1988) Naked Sport (six-part British documentary 1993.160 Appendix Push (ABC drama series 1998) Nagano ’98 Olympics: Bud Greenspan’s Stories of Honor and Glory (Showtime documentary 1998) Fists of Freedom: The Story of the ’68 Summer Games (HBO Sports documentary 1999) Bud Greenspan’s Favorite Stories of Olympic Glory (Showtime documentary 2000) Sydney 2000 Olympics: Bud Greenspan’s Gold From Down Under (Showtime documentary 2001) Do You Believe in Miracles? The Story of the 1980 U. Hockey Team (HBO Sports documentary 2001) Our Greatest Hopes. in U.S..S. early 1994) Idols of the Game (TBS documentary 1995) Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel (HBO Sports series. 1995–present) American Sportswomen (syndicated documentary 1995) .
then UPN 1999) The Magic Hour (FOX late night talk show 1998) Sports Night (ABC series 1998–2000) ESPN SportsCentury (ESPN biography series 1999–2007) Playing the Field: Sports and Sex in America (HBO Sports documentary 2000) Miracle in Lane Two (Disney Channel cable movie 2000) The Best Damn Sports Show Period (FOX sports 2001–2007) Picture Perfect: The Stories Behind the Greatest Photos in Sports (HBO Sports documentary 2002) America’s Heroes: The Bravest and the Finest (NBC documentary 2002) Seasons of Change: The African-American Athlete (ESPN 2002) Seasons of Change: The African-American Athlete 2 (ESPN 2003) The Barrier Breakers (ESPN documentary 2004) Pound for Pound (ESPN documentary 2004) Gymnasts: Little Girls. Big Dreams (E! True Hollywood Story series 2004) Evel Knievel (TNT cable movie 2004) Knievel’s Wild Ride (A&E reality series 2005) Costas Now (HBO Sports series 2005–present) Absolute Evel: The Evel Knievel Story (History Channel biography 2005) The Science of Lance Armstrong (Discovery Channel documentary 2005) Fight Girls (Oxygen Network reality show 2006 and 2007) You’ve Got a Friend (Hallmark Channel cable movie 2007) The Kentucky Kid (MTV documentary 2007) Fight Quest (Discovery Channel reality series 2007–2008) Iron Ring (BET series 2008) CBS EliteXC Saturday Night Fights (CBS/Showtime series 2008) Strikeforce on NBC (NBC series 2008) .Appendix 161 The American Athlete (syndicated sports interview show 1996) The Journey of the African American Athlete (HBO Sports documentary 1996) Ultimate Athlete: Pushing the Limit (Discovery Channel documentary 1996) Arli$$ (HBO series 1996–2002) Sports on the Silver Screen (HBO Sports documentary 1997) Between Brothers (FOX sitcom 1997–98.
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David. Eugene. NJ: Carol Publishing. 2007. 1991. Rowe. CT: Praeger. 1966. Joseph Nathan. William S. 2000. . Movies Made for Television 1964–2004. 5th ed. David Sarnoff: A Biography. 2004. New York: Ballantine Books. Edelman. O’Neil. Big Pictures on the Small Screen. Inman. Sport. Secaucus. MD: Scarecrow Press. 3rd updated ed. Monti. Paper. 1979. New York: Simon and Schuster. London: Cornwall Books. Empire: William S. Culture and the Media: The Unruly Trinity. Marill. Philadelphia: Open University Press. 2008. Garden City. Paley. New York: Penguin Books. 1996. ———. Paley and the Birth of Modern Broadcasting. 1991. Terrace. In All His Glory: the Life and Times of William S. 1990. 1987. W. McNeil. Secaucus. I Remember Brooklyn. 3rd ed. Martin’s Press. David. The Emmys. Lyons. Alvin H. Lewis J. NY: H. Westport. New York: Perigree Books. New York: Harper & Row. 2003. Sally. and Earle Marsh. and Janet Podell. Thomas. NY: Doubleday. 1994. As It Happened: A Memoir. Brooks. Lanham. Rob. The TV Encyclopedia. New York: Perigree Books. Vincent. New York: St. Tim. Total Television. Fifty Years of Television. Ralph. Wilson. Steven Anzovin. Bronx. Great Baseball Films. Famous First Facts. Paley and the Making of CBS.Selected Bibliography Books Bedell Smith. 2005. NJ: Carol Publishing. Alex. Kane. 1991. The Complete Directory of Prime Time Network and Cable Shows.
com HBO Corporate Web Site. http://www.com/broadcasting. http://www.sandlotshrink.reelbaseball.com History of American Broadcasting.homeboxoffice. http://www. http://jeff560.mlb.164 Selected Bibliography Newspapers The Hollywood Reporter Los Angeles Times The New York Times TV Guide Variety Washington Post Web Sites Cyber Boxing Zone.html Major League Baseball Official Web Site.com Reel Baseball. http://www.cyberboxingzone. http://www.net The Sandlot Shrink.tripod.com .
101 Against the Grain. 103 Allen. 22. 97. 128 Aces Up. 81 Ali. Ben. 78. . 26 Alzado. 80–81. 32. 93 Alcoa Hour. Kareem. 133–34 American Sportsman. 29. 3. 56 American Athlete. 138 American Tragedy. 56. The. 57. 40 Alcoa Presents One Step Beyond. 96. 128. 130 Aaron. 39. 119 Ali: An American Hero. 38 American Sportswoman. Bud. Divisible. 38. The. 42.123. 39. 53 Adrenaline Project. 67 ABC Wide World of Sports. 60. 124. 37. 98. 15. Mel. 80 American Experience. 61. 11. 62. 21 ABC. Tenley. 130. 26. 95–96 .16. 48. 20. 21. 76. 67. 105 Alfred Hitchcock Presents. 134 ABC Afterschool Special.” 48 Affleck. 134 “Adventures of the Sunday Punch. 117. 45. 117–18. 57 All-Star Golf. 25. 6. Lyle. 6. Muhammad.Index A&E. 101. 78. 84. 61. 73. 107. 52. The. 59. 117 Ali-Frazier 1: One Nation . 13. 37. 82. 109. 2. 46–47. 31 Alexander. 17. 95. 62 Albright. 94. 35 America’s Greatest Olympians. 78. 47. 89. 70. Grover Cleveland. 100. . 133 Ali. Hank. 83. 87. 40. 51. 117–18 All Games Are Home Games. 112 Absolute Evel: The Evel Knievel Story. 17 Alcoa Premiere. 128. 34. 32. 42. 38. 83 America at the Olympics. 70. Eddie. 103 American Gladiators. 106. 46–47. 46. 9. 97 Abdul-Jabbar. 94. 26. 88. 6. 86. 88. Laila. 82. 90. 73. 5. 15. 34 Albert. 22. 83 Agganis the Man. 28. 21. 105. 123 Abbott. 109 American Wrestling Association.
15 “Assignment Champ. Jean. 129. The. 31. Max. 125 “Bensonhurst Bomber. 84 Bad News Bears. 107 Berg. Eddie. The. 79 Baltimore Colts. 62. 98 Armstrong. Open. 131 Barbaro: The Nation’s Horse. Arthur. Red.” 15 Baseball Bunch. Ernie. 51–52 Bakula. 75 Ball. Johnny. 82 Baltimore Ravens. 125. 22. Ricky.” 25 “Army-Navy Game. 81 Back in the Day.” 25 Arthur Ashe: Citizen of the World. 94 Asinov. 43 “Battler. 81 Angels in the Infield. 10. Tom. 113 Babe Ruth. 71 Anastas. 94 Ashe. 100 Angelou. 124 Baiul. 20 Berenger. Milton. 91.166 Amos. 11 Barcelona ’92: 16 Days of Glory.” 19 Bay City Blues. 56. Fred. 7. 74 Arledge. The. 92. Maya. 81. 48. Alan. 38. The.S. The. 114 Atlanta’s Olympic Glory. 57. Corbin. The. 9–10 Ball Four. 76 . 17 Archie Bunker’s Place. 79–80 “Baseball Blues. 131 Barber. 32 A-Team. 97. 59. 121 Angels in the Endzone. 37. 107 Arli$$. 58 Baseball World of Joe Garagiola. John. Oksana. 21. 103 Bannister. 96 Barnum. Roger. 44 Babe. 26 Bernsen. Art. 59 Amos. 131 Baker. 130 Belafonte. 125 Baseball. 59 André the Giant. 84–85 Aragon. 38. Scott. John. 25 Bench. 19. The. 127 Bell. 44 Index Baer. 103 Angels in the Outfield. 58 Benny.” 10 Beradino. 111 “Bang the Drum Slowly. Chris. Lucille. 121 Bad As I Wanna Be: The Dennis Rodman Story. Roone. 45 Anaheim Mighty Ducks. 52 Babe. 125 Barbaro. The. 56. 67. Patty. 111 Beliveau. 78 Babe: The Story of Babe Ruth. 60 Arkin. 133 “Army Game. Minnesota. 80 Bellamy. Jack.” 22 Astaire. 110 Bearing the Torch: Politics & the Olympics. Joey. 74 Babe Ruth: The Life Behind the Legend. 57 Backfield in Motion. 9–10. 35 Andrews Sisters. 50. 9–10 Benoit. 137 Beffa. Harry. The. The. Ralph.” 20–21 Banks. 48 Arcaro. 46. 86 Berle. 112. Eliot. 53 Baio. Sparky. Scott. 96 Aunt Mary. The. 118. Nancy. 1. 103 Annie O. 60 Bear: The Legend of Coach Paul Bryant. John. 116 Back Nine at Cherry Hills: The Legends of the 1960 U. 67 Anderson. Bob. 23 Barrier Breakers. Lance. 66 Atlanta Hawks. 21 Bailey’s Comets. 121. 44.
34. Barry. 100. The. 3 Brigitte Gall: Joan of Montréal. 17. The. Marlon. 17. 61–62 “Blow to the Head . 24 Brother’s Promise: The Dan Jansen Story. 140 Bono. 101 Brando. 112 Breaking the Surface.. 102. 121–22 Bill Russell: My Life. 33. 70 Brady Bunch. 42. 35. 12–13 Braugher. 116–17 Blaik. 55 Borg. A Blow to the Heart. 43. The. 49.” 108 Blake. 76–77. 18. . 127–128 Brian’s Song.” 34 Bowling Headliners. 136 167 Boxing From Eastern Parkway. 92 Brown. 114 Breaking the Huddle: The Integration of College Football. . Joyce. 15. 106 Best Shot in Golf. Avery. 68 Bronson. 106 Brooklyn Dodgers. The. Bruce. 34 Bird. Jim. Timothy. 68 Brolin. 114 Black Magic.” 20 “Boxing Show. Ralph. 113 Biography. 30 “Boxing Match.” 19–20 “Big. Earl “Red.” 25 Boys on the Bus.” 89 “Body and Sol. 44 “Bowling Ballet. Kurt.Index Berra. 55. 98 Beyond the Games. 85.” 35 “Big Payday. 139 . 67 “Boy Who Drank Too Much. 130–31 Bud Greenspan Presents Michelle Kwan. 20. 94–95 Breland. The.” 32. 78. Brian. James J. Rocky. Dr. 6. 20. 101. Larry. The. 52 Bound for Glory. 44.” 30 Billie Jean King: Portrait of a Pioneer. 123 Biography of a Rookie: The Willie Davis Story. Carl. 128. 76. 107 Bottoms. My Way. James. 11. 49. The. 118 Bradshaw.” 67 Braddock. 15 Britt. Josh. Ward. Terry. The. 112. A. 107.” 39.” 22 Boxleitner. 82 “Boy and the Coach. 45 Boston Braves. 31 Bronx Is Burning. Paul “Bear. Jim. 100 Brooklyn Dodgers: The Ghosts of Flatbush. Bjorn. 45 Branca. 16 Bonds. 104 Bleier. 131 Bond. Lou. The. Black Canyon Productions. 79. 108 Browning. 91 Brissie. 41 Brickhouse. The. 118. 165 Boitano. 49. 122 Borgnine. Yogi. Mark. 93 Brundage. The. Jim. Jack. Herb. 127 Brothers. Sonny. Ernest. Charles. 26 Brolin. 5 Boxing After Dark. 38–39. 121. 110 Bouton. 52 “Big Game. 34. 110 Bud Greenspan: At the Heart of the Games. 11 Boston Celtics.” 25 Bleacher Bums. The. 64 Blanchard. Felix “Doc. Robert. 100 Brooks. 88. 121 Between Brothers. 2. 112 Birth of Legends. 97 Bryant. 27. 122. André. 66 Brewer. 112. 79. A. 127 Big Daddy. 57. 113 Boston Red Sox. Tall Wish.
Ken. Jimmy. Stockard. 44. Wilt. 32 Cappelletti. 136 CBS Golf Classic. 63 Burns. 130 Car 54. 15. 37. 22. José. 44. 115 Carradine. 4. 40 Chamberlain. 130 Bud Greenspan Presents: Whirlaway!. 102. Mushy. 65 Challenge of a Lifetime. 41. 43. 96. 10. 56. 67. 65 Chacon. 16. 96. 97. 60. 47 Cassavetes. 11. 14. Roy. 20. 65. 40. 59 Carter. 84. 57. Stealing Life: The Eddie Guerrero Story. 49. 46 Canseco. 66 Chicago Blackhawks. 75. 25. 12. 118 Burton. 84 Cheating Death. 85. 81 Caan.168 Bud Greenspan Presents Torino 2006 Olympics. 61. 15. 24. 59 Casey at the Bat. 32 Carney. 5. 136 CBS EliteXC Saturday Night Fights. Al. 30. Gabriel. 3. LeVar. 86. 104 Cheadle. 36. Art. 11. 63 Canadeo. 79. 34. 81 Byrne. 43. 138 Byington. 130 Bud Greenspan’s Athens 2004: Stories of Olympic Glory. 92. 130 Bud Greenspan Remembers: 1984 L. 121. 105 Cinderella Season: The Lady Vols Fight Back. Bernie. James. 65 Carr. 26. James. 10. 41 Cagney. The. Bobby. 60 Casey Stengel. 35 “Calling Willie Mays. 7. 65 Calhoun. 82. 62. 84. 112 Champion. 54. 2. 64. 38. Keith. Lionel. 51. Spring. 90 Chicago Bulls. 52 Channing. 47. 32. Tim. Dick. 18. Rory. 53.” 22–23. Olympics. 86 Circuit. 125 Chetwynd. 69. 12 Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show. 132 Celebrity Boxing. John. 32. 22 Byrd. A. 19. 71 Challengers. 21. Ezzard. 21. 52 Chicago Bears. 2. 19. 87 Butkus. 52. Delta. Maury. Tony. 18. 57 Casey. 128. 15. 135. 83. 23 Callahan. John. 16. 41. 19 Champions: A Love Story. 130 Burke. 43. 63. 197 Chicago White Sox. 33 Chaykin. 85. The. 27. Where Are You?. Don. 96 Cincinnati Reds. 64. 5 City Dump: The Story of the 1951 CCNY Basketball Scandal. 87. 36 CBS Schoolbreak Special. 10. 55. 96 Chicago Cubs. 6. 48 CBS. 39. 2. 100 Campanella II. 13. 117 Bud Greenspan’s The Measure of Greatness. Dick. Roy. 68. 45. 37. 95 Bud Greenspan’s Stories of Olympic Glory. 36. 110 Button. Lamont. 20. 124 Cirillo. 130 Bud Greenspan’s Favorite Stories of Winter Olympic Glory. The. 106 “Canvas Bullet. 130 Bud Greenspan’s Kings of the Ring: Four Legends of Heavyweight Boxing. 31. 70. 52 Charles. 60 Charlie Brown’s All-Stars. 78 Index Carver.” 35 Campanella. Dennis.A. 27 Cappy Productions. 107. 78 . 51. The. 78. 84. 130 Bud Greenspan’s Favorite Stories of Summer Olympic Glory.
128 Cutting Edge 3: Chasing the Dream. 74 Corbett. 39 Coach of the Year. 49 Crucibles of Courage. Alabama’s Bear. 21 Costner. 43 Danza. 111 Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders. 136 Costello. The. 20 Crothers. 27 . 116 Cowlings. 47 Coleman. Roger. 50 Clay. Robert. Maureen. The. 46 D’Amato. 70 Cleveland Indians. 34. 121 Close. 192. 60 Cosby. Tony. 19. 63 Comeback Kid. 131. 48. Broderick. 31–32 Crenna. 122 Dale Jr.” 18 Comeback. 38 Crossroads. Billy. The. 136 Costas Now. 119 Davis. 15 Crawford. 63 Contender. 78. Billy.—Shifting Gears. Bob. 38. 17. 12 “Company Picnic. 74 Conn. 36 Crosby.S. 48 Danner.Index City on Fire: The Story of the ’68 Detroit Tigers. 121 Cosell.D. 60. 119 Crystal.” 36 Couple of Days in the Life of Charlie Boswell. 102–3 Cleveland Browns. Nadia. Gerry. 77 Clubhouse. A. The. 25–26. 107. 15. 96 Cooperstown. James J. 46. Al. 120 “Contract for Life: The S. Buster. 33 Dan August. The. 101 Curtis. 128 169 Dale. 15. 88 Damn Yankees. 102. Howard. 36 David. The. 19. 94 Dare to Dream: The Story of the U. 131 Dark Shadows. Cus. 46. 83. 28. Susan. Chuck. 58. 73 Curse of the Bambino. 61 Cobb. 41 Cronkite. Kevin. 56. 79. 73–74 Cousy. 117 Costas.” 67 Cooper. 107 Coach Bryant. Scatman. Vinnie. Larry. John. 46 Crabbe. Women’s Soccer Team. 194. 140 Clemente. 120 Connelly. Walter. 66 Cutting Edge. 20 Clinton. 57 Come Out Fighting. Gary. 96. 76.” 22 “Country Club Munsters. 25 Conrad. Bill. Richard. Pat. 108 Coleman. Jackie. 2. The. 77 “Count of Ten. Cassius. 61. 77. Dan. 118 Csonka. 101 Clark. 68. 96. 79 Comaneci. 92 Cutting Edge 2: Going for the Gold. 50 Court-Martial of Jackie Robinson.A. 13. 22. See Ali. 22 Corley. 22.. Bill. Muhammad Clemens. 16.” 86 Comrades of Summer. Ty. 87. Story. Blythe. Bing. Roberto. 74 Code Breakers. 57. 44. 50 Connors.D. 122 Dallas Cowboys. A. Lou. Keith. Glenn. 102 Climax!. 36 Curto. 25. 82 Dare to Compete: The Struggle of Women in Sports. 9. 17. 130 “Comeback. The. 116. Bob.
34. 32. 64 Dempsey. 73 Deford. 129 Dixon. 21. 65–66 Davis. 88 Dobkin. 2. 11. Ruby. 33 Duke. 67–68 Dean. 59. 104. Brian. 123 Deadliest Season. 96. 50. 17. 5. 66 Drysdale. 94. 94 Dying to Win. 32. 78. Dave. Robert. 123 “Dropout. Dale.” 66 Do You Believe in Miracles? The Story of the 1980 U. James. 36–37. 120. 97. 26 Dempsey. 101 Dewhurst. 11.S. 57 Driving Force. Don. 102 Don King: Only in America. 125 Edge of America. 15. 62. Ivan. 64. 11 Detroit Lions. 118. Leo. 1. 23 Dribble. 40 Dent. 102 Doerr.” 32 Dee. 89. 7. 122 Ebbets Field. 86 “Did You See Jackie Robinson Hit That Ball?” (song). 25. The (1954). Mary.” 35 Dryer. 57. 52. 70 DuMont. 53. 100 Demaret. 70 Denver Nuggets. Charles S. Hockey Team. 43. Colleen. 94 Earnhardt. 96. 59 “Down for the Count. 103–4 Davis. 88 Donna Reed Show. 30 Desmond. 43 Dutton. Don.. 95 124. 84 Detroit Red Wings. 3. 115 Dennis. Dale Jr. 43. 17.” 27 Index Discovery Channel. The (1979). 35 Daytona 500. Bobby. 47 DiMaggio. 35 Don’t Look Back. 68–69 Diamonds on the Silver Screen. 101. 127 Detroit Tigers. 31. Dominic. 38. 68 Dying to Be Perfect: The Ellen Hart Peña Story. Oscar. 52 Detroit Pistons. 26. 51 Dead Solid Perfect. 125. 116 . 76. Charles. 20. 26. The. 66 Dennehy. 43 Didrickson. 13 DeBusschere. Angelo. The. Joseph. 106 “Disappearing Trick. 122 Earnhardt. 129. 75. 77 Dickey. 47. 77. Robert. 118 Dunphy Don. Bruce. Joe. 13 DuPont Cavalcade of America. 23. 79. 16. 10. 46. 21 Duke. 104 Ederle. 46 Dial M for Murder. 127 Drees.. 32. The. Ossie. 120 Dem Bums. 19. 106 Denver Broncos. Sandy. Fred. 114 Derby. 90. Kirk.170 Davis. 113 DeFore. 128. 79. 100 Eddie’s Million Dollar Cook-Off. 134 Disney Channel. Frank. 52 Duvall. 91. 22 “Decision in the Ring. Bucky. Connie. 8. 58. The Brooklyn Dodgers. 56. 57 Double Teamed. 59. Sammy Jr. 115 Douglas. 36. 6. 2. 14 Dundee. 32. 4. 66. 192 DiMaggio. 42. 45 Durso. Jack. Bill. 118 De Niro. 117. 34 Durning.. 15 de la Hoya. 44 Doby. 95 Dern. Gertrude. Jimmy. The. Jack. 52. 115. 122. Willie. 99. 100. 57. 39 December Bride. 100 Diff’rent Strokes. 104 Durocher. 48 Dukes. Larry. Babe.
107. The. The. 42 Flutie. The. 52 Flashing Spikes. 109. 115. 103 Finish Line (1988). 109 Evel Knievel (1974). 39 Evanshen. 128 Every Man a Tiger: The Eddie Robinson Story. 35 “Fight. 88. 95 First Olympics—Athens 1896.” 20 Fight Quest. 16. 87 Fall Guy. James. 123. The. 125 “Face of Johnny Dolliver. Bob. 131 Ewing. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team. 33 Enberg. Doug. 117. . Julius. 114 Erving.” 49 Final Shot: The Hank Gathers Story. 90.” 24 “Eleventh Event. 106 Fallen Champ: The Untold Story of Mike Tyson. 100. A. 100. 41 Foran. The.” 118–19 “Fight for the Title. 32–33 Ford. 84 Finding Buck McHenry. 106. 82 “Fear Strikes Out. . 16. 109–10 Footsteps. Shirley Jo. 123–24 Ford. 120 “Fast Break. 68 Finish Line (2008). 98. 37. 63 First Miracle: 1960 U. Whitey. 114 “Extra Innings. Ham. The. 93 Flesh and Blood.” 20 “Feat of Strength.” 19 Fawcett. 97. 77 Field. 53 Evel Knievel (2004).S. Terry. 120 . Sam. 83 Flying Nun. 123 “Father and Son Night. 132. 50 Fisher. 45 Fleming. 9 “80-Yard Run.151 Flintstones. 93. 108. Dick. Peggy. 121 Fire on Ice: Champions of American Figure Skating. Ten Cranks for Spring. 114 ESPN. 105. 128 1st and 10. Sally. 83. 112. Patrick.” 35 Feller. George. Blake. 110. 48.” 47 Elke Sommer’s World of Speed and Beauty. 34. 70 Elliott. 106 Foreman. 32 Ed Wynn Show.” 35 Fast Cars & Superstars—Gillette Young Guns Celebrity Race. 35 Football Wives. 103 Finsterwald. The. 111 Every Second Counts. Weeb.” 22 171 Fight Girls. 36.” 60 Extreme Championship Wrestling. The. Carlton. The. 134 Final Bell. 95 “Five Cranks for Winter . Dick. John. 32 500-Pound Jerk. 42. The. 21 Fisk.” 24 Edwards. 18. 67 “Education of a Fullback. The. The. The.” 18 Faithful: Two Diehard Boston Red Sox Fans Chronicle the Historic 2004 Season. 83. 124 Finney. 61–62 “Fighting the Good Fight.” 23. The.Index Edmonton Oilers. 13 Force. 119. 134 Fighting Back. 65 Family Foreman. 22 Edwards. 32–33 Flatbush. 118. 125. 79 Fists of Freedom: The Story of the ’68 Summer Games. 56 Fischer. 12 “Final Round. 47. 127 First Olympics. Bobby. John. Dow.” 47 “Fight Manager. Farrah. 42. 17. 116. 137 Eubanks.
9. The. 17 Goldberg. 15 Gibson. 91. 16. 36 Gleason. Jack. 86–87 Gomez. Althea. Otto. 58–59. 126 Frankenstein: The College Years. 79. 109 “Game of Pool. 24 Greats of the Game. 2. 84 Graham. Red. The. 109.” 36 “For the Record. 2. 108–9 Friday Night Smackdown. Elliott. 50 Graziano. The. 111 Garagiola. 51. Steven. 43 Garbage Picking Field Goal Kicking Philadelphia Phenomenon. 36. 86 Gibson. 32. 57 Game. 120. 60. 45 G. 90 Gethers. 22 Fox. Rocky. 42. 139 “Golfer. Louis. The. 23. The. 15 Gorgeous George. 18. 25 Grambling’s White Tiger. 37. Joe. James. 13. 52 Goldie and the Boxer. 124 Gray. Mel. The. 72 Full-Court Miracle. 70 Going to the Mat. Hank. Lou. Max. 13. 98.172 “Forever Baseball. 48 Goldie and the Boxer Go to Hollywood. 39. 61 Glory of Their Times. 108. 43 Great Baseball Films ( book).” 36 Golf Channel. 113 Friday Night Lights. Lefty. 111 Grammer. Dennis. 35 George. 125 Fugitive. 52 Four Minutes. 94. 62. 125 Four Star Playhouse. The. Joe. 48 “Golf Champion. 115 Gail. 74 Greatest American Hero. Curt. 26 Girl Racers. 73 Gleason. 23. 199. 77 . 82 Garvey. 102 Gould. Marty. 127 Fox Television. 83. 112 Grange. 43 General Electric Theater. Jodie. 105 Gathers. Jackie. 31. 123 Gladiators 2000. 68 Fox Sports. 117–18 Frazier. 56 Golden Moment—An Olympic Love Story. 21 Index Glenn. 13. The. 23. 39 Gilford. The.W (Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling ). 75. 74 Gifford. 5–6 Gossett. 17. 90. 38–39.O. 51 Glory Days. Steve.” 17 Foster. 44 Good Heavens.L. A. 71 Frazier. Frank. 86–87. 47. 4 Greatest Sports Thrills. 60 Greatest Fights of the Century. Ben. Josh. 13 Gillette Cavalcade of Sports. 126 Goldberg. 15. Scott. 19. 4. 136.” 30 Game of Their Lives: Pro Football’s Wonder Years. Terry. 14. 45. 45 Good Sports. 55 Goldenrod.” 36 Golf: The Greatest Game. 60 Gowdy. 80 Frankie & Hazel. Kelsey. Walt. 130 Glickman. 42. 32 Goodyear Television Theatre. 22. Whoopi. 71 Golden Age of Sport. 57. 24. 69 Go Figure. 128 Going for the Gold: The Bill Johnson Story. Lee. Pete. 56 Grant. 41 Gehrig. 84 Gazzara. 27. 104–5 Franz.
40. 41–42. 40. 103. 75 Hanna-Barbera. Tonya. 90 Guerrero. 97 Halberstram. Goldie. 50. 93. 137–38 Hamill. 112 Hellfighters. 91 Grier. 34. 84. 102. 115 . 123. 125 173 Hard Knocks: Training Camp With the Dallas Cowboys. Keith. Marvelous Marvin. 111 Hard Knocks: The Chris Benoit Story.” 21 H-E-Double Hockey Sticks. 45 Hang Time. Scott. Hank.” 32 Hernandez. 49. 131 HBO World Championship Boxing. 81 Hallmark Hall of Fame. 128 Hanalis. 65 Halas. 79 Harding. 113.Index Green Bay Packers.” 67 “Heart of a Champion. 91–92. 62 Gretzky. 114. 83. 48. 114 Harmon. 110. 49. 75. 70 Happy Felton’s Knothole Gang.” 18 Hines. James. 129 Hayes. Dick. 122 Greenburg. 139. Laird. Christopher. 127. 78. Al. The. 67. The. 109 Hemingway. The. 27–28. The. 82 Greenberg. 89. Tom. 68. 206 Gumbel. Bryant.” 58 Heart of a Champion: The Ray Mancini Story. Mark. 120. Blanche. Pete. 97. 94. 96 Hagler. 42 Hackman. 57 Guidry. 61 Hawn. 65. 113. 45. 105 Hamilton. George. 121 Gretzky: The Great One and the Next Ones. 80 Heroes of the Game. 138 Gregory. 102. The. 51. The. 95. 125 “Hillbilly Whiz. 59. 108. 93. 96. 76. 37. 88. 43. 131. Gene. 78 Harlem Globetrotters. 17 Hangin’ In. 95. 55. 100. Edmund. The. 111 Harewood. Bud. 85. 111 Hard Knocks: Training Camp With the Kansas City Chiefs.” 112 Heidi Game. 121 Hayden. 121. 19 Henie. Rosey. Elvin. 86 Hero Who Couldn’t Read. 47 “Heartbreak Winner. 136 Guthrie. 128 “Herman the Rookie. 66 Harlem Globetrotters Popcorn Machine. 125 Guest. 102 Halfback of Notre Dame. 85 Hank Aaron: Chasing the Dream. Gregory. 121 Gregory. 51. 49. Graham. 67. 93. 11 Hardball. 99. The. Nicky. 98. 9 Harlem Globetrotters: The Team That Changed the World. 111. 64 “He Done Her Wrong. 56. 114 HBO. 125. 121 Greene. 44. 36. 42 Herrmann. 39. Edward. 116 Harmon. Janet. Dorothy. 116 Hasselhoff. 74 Greenspan. 93. 62–63 Harrington. 75 Hillary. 63. 98. 117. 71. 74. Sonja. 41. 52 Gross Misconduct. 91 “Heidi Bowl. Ross. 56 Gymnast. David. 116 Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan’s Island. The. 138 Hamill. Ernest. The. 127. 133 Hamilton. Eddie. Wayne. 128 Hard Knocks. 137. Dorian. 97. Ron. 91. 101. 46. 118. 117. 81. 97. 39. David. 47. 69.
Gordie. Felicity. 44 Houston Oilers. 24 “Homecoming” (1954). Elroy “Crazylegs.” 25 “His Brother’s Fist. 121 Hogan. Gil. 61. Charlie Brown. 73. 46 Howard. Terrence. 42 It’s Good to Be Alive. 117–18 James. 52 Jesse Owens Returns to Berlin. 13 Jackpot Bowling. 68 Hunter. 95. Bruce. 47 I Married Joan. 27.. 134 It’s a Mile From Here to Glory. 6 In Search of History. Bobby. 37. The. 98 Hulk Hogan’s Celebrity Championship Wrestling. 43 It’s Spring Training. Jackie. The. Earl. Alfred. 85. 81 Houston Astros. The. 60. 6. 118 Joe DiMaggio: The Final Chapter. The.” 16 Howe.” 90 Honeymooners. 125 Hulk Hogan’s Rock ‘n’ Wrestling. 55 Jesse Ventura Story. 117 “How Charlie Faust Won a Pennant for the Giants. 15 Hornung. 127 Hodges. Samuel L. 77. 5 Jane Wyman Presents the Fireside Theatre. 49 Indiana Hoosiers. 3. Evander. 26. 49 Howard. 85 Hope. 62. 121 Jenner. 3. 100 Joe DiMaggio: The Hero’s Life.174 Hirsch. 121 Husing. 14. Ted. 82.” 25 History Channel. 65 Holyfeld. 35. 86. 75. 17. David. 100 Joe DiMaggio’s Dugout. 67. Ken. Paul. 96 Jesse Owens Story. 125. 11 . 116 Indiana State University. 80.” 20 “His Highness and the Halfback. Dan. 105 Index I Am the Greatest: The Adventures of Muhammad Ali. 93 Jim Brown: All American. 126 Imperioli. Rogers. Hulk. 10 “Idylls of a Running Back. 25 “Homer They Fall. 27 Hosea. 68–69 Hitler’s Pawn: The Margaret Lambert Story. 128 Hitchcock. Larry. 66 Hunter. 29 Holmes. 133 Holliman. 42. 23 Hogan. Holly. 66. 62. 26 Joe and Max. 86. Daniel. 137 Jensen.” 40 “If I Die Before I Wake. Russ. 100 Hodges. 146 Jackie Robinson’s Sports Classroom. Helen. 46 Horton. 23 Hustle. 124 Hockey Night. 12. 107 Imus. Robert. The. 196 Jackson. 22 Janssen. 97 “Homecoming” (1952). Ben. 36 Hoop Life. The. Jonathan. 26 Jackson. 69. 35. 95 Iron Ring. 46 Jenkins. Dennis. 69 Hunt. 98 Indianapolis 500. Reggie. The. 34 Jericho Mile.” 67 Igali. Michael. Bob. 83. 115 Indiana Pacers. 67 Hockey’s Greatest Era 1942–1967. 32. 10. 90 Huffman. 139 Incredible Hulk. Don. 92. 36 Hornsby. 127 Jackson. 108 Jim Nantz Remembers Augusta: The 1960 Masters. 31.
13 “Killer Instinct. 84 Lasorda. The. Shirley. The. The. 65 Kopple. 16 Kristofferson. The. 83. 120 Joe Namath Show.” 48 “Lady Was a Flop. 129 Knight. Billie Jean. 40. Al. Rudi. 43. Anthony. Kris. 131 King. 86 Jump In!. 128–29 Knievel. Ben. 107 Kaiser Aluminum Hour. 14. 11 Joe Louis: American Hero . 138 “Lady and the Prize Fighter. 42. 22 “Knockout. 32 Knight Rider. John. Roland. Jean-Claude. 30 Johnson. Pee Wee. 86 Johnson. 24 “Last Night of a Jockey. 116–17 Klugman. 11 King. The. 89 Knievel.” 26 Landon. 14. 121–22. The. Henry. Don. Ben. Nancy. Stephen. The. 59 Kansas City Chiefs. Jack. Kid. 56. 20 Kellerman. 117 Johnson.” 30 . 34 Kemp. .O. 81 Kinoy.” 49. 94. Kitty. 115 Knight. 78 Kentucky Derby. Gene. Betrayed. 80–81 “K. 15. 23. 84. Bobby. 100 LaStarza.” 10 “Lady on Thursday at Ten. Michael. 75 Johnny Staccato. 106 King of the Olympics: The Lives and Loves of Avery Brundage. The. 97. 116 Kiss Shot. Evel..” 65 “K. 51 Lang. The. Stephen. 113. 39 Joe Palooka Story. 25 Kaline. Edward. Robbie. 30. 61 Kurt Browning: Life on the Edge. 124–25 Johnson.Index Joe DiMaggio Show. 129 Knockout (1946). 117 Klores. 83 Ken Burns’ Baseball. 80. 116 “Joltin’ Joe DiMaggio” (song ). 86 Jones. Earvin “Magic. 74 Kid Gloves. Chris. 106 Journey of the African American Athlete. Joe Jr. 129 Knievel’s Wild Ride. The. 77. 88. 39 Karras. 122. James Earl. 51 Kirkland. 71 Klein. 95. Sandy. Michael. 128 Kid From Left Field. 78. 114. The.” 21 Killy. Buster. 94 LaPaglia. 110 175 King. Bob. 22. Ralph. 129 Kerrigan. 35. Alex. 98. 39. 99 Kraft Television Theatre. 84 Larroquette. 93 Kwan. 100 Jones. Ernest. 21 Kissinger. 87 Koufax. . 21 Joe Torre: Curveballs Along the Way. 44. Barbara. 121. Michelle. 91–92. Jack. 120 Junction Boys.” 10 Koch. Dan. 56 Kingsley. The. 20 Johnson. 52 Keaton. George Clayton. 3 Knockout (1953). 133 José Canseco: My Life on Steroids. 118 Jordan. 9–10 Keith. 5. The.” 42 Knute Rockne and His Fighting Irish. 117 Kirkwood. 87. Sally.” 48 “Killer’s Wife. 20. 123. 56 Kiner.O. 64 Kelly. 83. Jack. Tommy. Brian. 58. 65. 131 Kentucky Kid. The.
Tami. Frank. 49 Maglie.” 16 “Littlest Little Leaguer. 19. Norman. 39. 86 “Magic Saturday. John. 127 Lipinski. 34.” 30 Lovejoy. 129 “Like Father.” 47 “Love and the Hustler. Joe. 4. The. Delroy.” 52 Magic vs. Like Son. Jack. 22 Leonard. Vince. 52. 35 Lee. Kenny. 73. 96. 117 Lo Bianco. 21. 89. 45 Lloyd.” 25 Lillehammer ’94: 16 Days of Glory. Jerry. 2. The. Sugar Ray. 48. 120 Let’s Look at Sports. 112 Love Affair: Eleanor and Lou Gehrig. 100 Lombardi. Canada.176 “Last Out. Virginia.” 40 Lopez. 4 Levinson. 65 Lopez. 70 Leave It to Beaver. 139 Lindo. John. 117. 15 Lucy Must Be Traded. 75 “Leap of Faith. 52. The. 94–95 Lou Gehrig Story. The. Spike. 30. 47. 56 Lloyd. 36. 6. Cloris.” 35 Long Gone. 104 Lucy Show. 86 Index Lofton. Gene. 86 Los Angeles Raiders. 127–28 Life and Times of Hank Greenberg. 128 Liston. Sonny. Chris Evert. 26 Little Vic.” 20. 24. 74 Lindsay. The. 124 Los Angeles Dodgers. 17 Louis. The. 62 “Mail Order Hero. Tony. Danny. The. Benny. 101. A. 51 “Long Distance Call. 59 “Long Walk Home.The. 109 Madison Square Garden.” 16 “Last Round. 80. The. 88–89. Greg. 101 Life and Times of Carl Brewer. 53 Living End. 83. 24. Robert. 1. 50 Littler. Barry. 96. Sheldon. 99 “Life of Mickey Mantle. 19. 109 . 56 Lord. 96 “Little League. Tara.” 28 Learning the Ropes. Cookie. 77 Lewis. Ron. 47. 45–46. 13 League of Their Own. 67 Mad Bull. 59 Magic Hour. A (series).The. Will. 51. 117. 70 Los Angeles Rams. 43 Love American Style. 12 LeFlore. 30 Loretta Claiborne Story. 53 Leonard. 76 Lazzeri. 66 Louganis. Rush. The. 108 Lee. The. 52 Madden. 43 Leachman. A (documentary) 61 League of Their Own. Earl. Stephen. 108 Loneliest Runner. 35 Los Angeles Lakers. The. 118–19. 25. 90. 10 Lyman. 131 Macht. Ted. Sal. 17 Maida. 120–21 Louisiana State University. 117 Madsen. 95 “Love and the Champ. 2. 43 Leguizamo. 119 Leonard. Tony. 117 Little Mo.” 16 Life of Ryan. 47.” 45 Mailer. 31 Lavagetto. Nancy.” 17 Limbaugh. 75. 98 Loggia. Bird: The 1979 NCAA Championship Game.
Tami. 74 McGavin. 129 Miracle of Kathy Miller.” 15 Man Who Lost Himself. 118 Malden. 75 “Memory in White. 26 Mendelson. 57 “Million-Dollar Rookie. 117. 122 Marsalis. 104. Lee. 30–31 Matinee Theatre. 44 Mauriello. 78. 16 McGraw. Martin.” 15 “Man’s Game. 61. 75 Meet McGraw.” 15 Milner. A. 46–47. Roger.Index Major League Baseball. 134 McCarthy. 52 “Mike Tyson: Fallen Champ. 71 Martin. 34 Mighty Casey. 138 Michener. Wynton. 45. 30. 6. 77.” 31. 67. The. 74. 30 Mighty Ducks. 16. John. 58. 35 Milton Berle Show. Bill. 61 Marshall. 119–20 Mandel. 65 Maris. 77–78 Miracle in Lane Two. 16. Tug. 116 177 McDougald. A. 77. Karl. Jerry.. 42. 106 Marvin. 25 Matthau. Michael. 15.” 88 Miles. The. 16 Mighty Casey. Rocky. Floyds. 81. 40 McGill. 33. 26. 107 Major League Baseball Hometown Heroes. John. James A. 49.” 14 Mantegna. 23–24. 10 Minor Leage/Major Games. 33 “Man on Spikes. Lee. Jim. 83–84 Michael Jordan: An American Hero. 87. 91 Miami Vice. 121 Matheson. 45. 31–32 “Meal Ticket.” 84. 18 McEnroe.. 13. 83 Michelle Kwan: Princess on Ice. 66 Michael Jordan: Air Time. G. 46 “Meal Ticket The” (1964). 30–31 Masters. 102 Mantle. 151 Men Against Speed. 112 March Madness. Penny. Pete. Mark. Joe. 68 . Earl “The Goat. 25 Manigault. 2. 140 Mickey Mantle: A Self-Portrait. 102. 31. 114 Marciano. 38 McNeely. 56 Michigan State University. 58 McKay. 68 Maravich. 34. Loring.” 64–65. Kathy. The. 100. 55. 33 Mann. 107 Making of the NHL’s Mighty Ducks. 89. Gil.” 86 Malcolm X. 117. 107 Messier. Ohio State: The Rivalry. 68 Million Dollar Infield. 100 Mayweather. 76–77. 33 Meredith. James. 112 Man From Left Field. Don. 111. 16 Miller. Richard. 48 Mean Street. The. 109 Marathon. 100. 119 Marshall. Willie. E. 43. 78. Darren. 104 “Man Who Caught the Ball at Coogan’s Bluff. Reba. 16. 80. Joe. Vera. 15 Melendez. 102. 127 Mancini. 103. Mickey. 35. The” (1971). 91 “Malcolm Takes a Shot?. 63 Michigan vs. 122 McEntire. The. Bruce. Billy. 36. 43. 33. 90 Mighty Moose and the Quarterback Kid. Walter. 39. The (opera). Ray “Boom Boom. The. 104 Mantle. 43 McDaniel. The. The (1960). 39. 33. 61 McGraw. 52 Man Named Mays. 2 Mays. 13.
59 Moochie of the Little League. 90 New York Jets. 67 MVP: The Secret Lives of Hockey Wives. 140 New York Islanders. 122 NBC. Graig. 123. 21 Moochie of Pop Warner Football. Thurman. 20. The. 121 NASCAR. 6. 44 Murphy. 103. 14. 60. 137. 18. 96 Index Naked City. 58.” 12 New Twilight Zone. 69 Monkees. Jack. 40 Naked Sport. 101. 16. Earl “The Pearl. The. 68. 13. Jimmy. 39. 16. 66 Movin’ On. 86 Nettles. 48 Nantz. 12. 30. 26. 123 Mulligan. 51 Mother’s Courage: The Mary Thomas Story. 91 Nicklaus. 88 Newhart. 83. Archie. 65 Morales. 140 Nelson. 48. 32 “Monkees in the Ring. 49. 94. Elizabeth. 6. 13 Navratilova.” 35 Nadia. 66. 29. 39–40 New York Knicks. 47. 7. 2. The. 29 National Women’s Professional Baseball League Games. 24. 101. 83 Nancy Drew Mysteries. Jim. 124 NASCAR Angels. 107 New York Rangers. A. 75. 20 Murray. Don. 131. 106 Munsters. 96–97 Namath. 118 Muhammad Ali: The Whole Story. The. 65. 94 Moreno. 21 Moore. Michael. 106 Newfield. 3. 122.” 32 Monroe. Byron. 31. 53 M Squad. 19.178 Miracle on Ice. 51. 21. 45. 85. 14. 66. 36 Murder at the World Series. 91. 112 Newman.” 84. 78. 57. Rita. 55. Martina. 90 Never Give Up: The Jimmy V Story. 117 Muhammad Ali: Made in Miami. Matthew. 105 Monday Night Football. 118 Muhammad Ali: Through the Eyes of the World. 87 Mitchell. Joe. 49. 26. 48 Nikki. 135. 32. 15. 80. 42. 93. 86. 52 “My Son the Catcher. 38. 117 Montgomery. 6. 25. 11. 87. 33. Bob. 98. 20 Muhammad Ali: King of the World. 123 NASCAR Driven to Win. 16 Modine. 21. 39. Shirley. 4. 80.22. 138.60 New York Giants ( baseball). 127 Miracle on the 17th Green. 122 “Next Champ. 128 My Boys. 126 . 111. 74. 30. 69. 5. Esai. Robert. 120 NHL Power Plays: All-Stars of the Game. 19. Jack. 91 My Sister Hank. 110 My Sergei. Paul. 106 Net Worth. 123 National Velvet. 36. 106. 33. 62. 113 New York Mets. 45 New York Giants (football). 43. 32. 36. 61. 30. 26. 44. 89 Muldowney. 28. 108. 31 New York Yankees. 107 Monday Night RAW. 76 Moriarty. 22–23. 121 Night Gallery. Thomas. 107 Monday Night Mayhem. 84 “Never Hit a Pigeon.” 10 Next Great Champ. 22 Munson. 3. 123 NASCAR in Primetime. 52 Nagano’98 Olympics: Bud Greenspan’s Stories of Honor and Glory. 25.
The. The. Warren. 123 Patterson. 62 “Old MacDonald Had a Curve. 116. 102 Pete Rose on Trial.Index Nimoy. Michael. 37. 119 O’Brian. 67. 79. 79. 24 Piccolo. 81 Oklahoma City Dolls. 90 PBS.” 57. 88 Perfect Upset: The 1985 Villanova vs. 66 Pepper. 59 Phenom. 85 Past the Bleachers.” 66 Pesky. 96 Olympics. 96. 114–15 Perkins. Arnold. 20 . 39–40 Oates. 101 Piersall. 50. 118. J. 118. The. 34 Oh. 20 Nimrod Nation. 61 1972 Munich Olympics Revisited. 50 October Madness: The World Series. 111 O. 36. 91. 63 Nugent.: A Study in Black and White. Hugh. 96. 43 One Special Victory. 86. Ryan. 82. 128. 66. 139 Philadelphia 76ers. 116. Marty. 102. 45. 21. Jack. Bud. 61. William S. 94. 124 Pabst Blue Ribbon. 91 Perry. 95. 19. 87. 16 Numero Uno.” 18 Peppard. Our Worst Fears: The Tragedy of the Munich Games. 135 Palmer. Frank S.. 19 Once in a Lifetime: The Extraordinary Story of the New York Cosmos. Barack. Brian. 14. 141 Palmer. 42. 115 Nine Innings From Ground Zero. 98 Ohio State University. 105 Petersen. 134 Owens. 44. 135. Sandra. Simpson Story. 28. 80 One in a Million: The Ron LeFlore Story. 51.” 86 179 “O’Toole From Moscow. Anthony. William “Refrigerator. Jesse.” 31 Oprah Winfrey Presents: Mitch Albom’s ‘For One More Day’. 101 1986 Mets: A Year to Remember. J. 106 Oakland Raiders. 43. 40. 66. Simpson: Juice on the Loose. 83. 94 Phil Silvers Show. 115 Philco Television Playhouse. 82 O’Neal. 65 Nouri. Ken. 78. The.. 91. Leonard. 41 Picture Perfect: The Stories Behind the Greatest Photos in Sports. 70. 40. J. 26. 20 Paley. Floyd. 111 O. 106–7 “Other Mothers. 132 O’Neal. Barry. 53. 140 “Pee Wees Take Over.” 15 Our Greatest Hopes. George. 100. 130. 74. 17 Philadelphia Eagles. William L. 80. Michael. Jimmy. 88 Pavelich. 137 Omnibus. 16. 23 Paige. 84 One Tree Hill. 56.” 14 Olympiad. Shaquille. 57. 93. 49 Parks. 74 Palance. 130 Norton. 56 Oakland A’s. 20 Perlman. 28. 73. Johnny. 121. 26 Paltrow.. 104. 52. 115 On Hallowed Ground: Streetball Champions of Rucker Park. 74 Patrick. Glynnis. 37. Georgetown NCAA Championship. 134. 116. 69 Passing Glory. 56. Bruce. 119. Rhea. The. 10. Leroy “Satchel. 27. 112–13 “Opponent. 127. 46 O. 30 Obama. 69 O’Connor. 60. 38. 122 Percy and Thunder. Danica. The.
92 “Pros and Cons. 24 Playing the Field: Sports and Sex in America. 10. 124 Racing for Time. A.” 65 Redford. 70. 65 Index “Punt. 46 Plimpton: The Great Quarterback Sneak. Sidney. 93 Pirtle. 79 Remick. 77 Prince of Tennis. Willis. 65 Quantum Leap. Gary. Rowdy Roddy. 19. 40 Reagan. Andrew. 98 “Puncher and Judy. Ahmad. 102 Pride of the Yankees.” 58 Portman. Willie. 35. Robert. 61. 39. 96 Put Up Your Dukes. 46 Plummer. 69. 96 Redgrave. 112 Pittsburgh Penguins. Rob.180 Pigs vs. 100 Reflections on Ice: A Diary of Ladies’ Figure Skating. 13 Pleshette. 57–58 Quarterback Princess. 62 Quiet Victory: The Charlie Wedemeyer Story. The. a Pass. 48. Ronald. Suzanne. 48 Plimpton. 90 Pittsburgh Pirates.” 32 Punky Brewster.” 35 Player. Lou. 84 Rebound—The Legend of Earl “The Goat” Manigault. 101 Rebels With a Cause: The Story of the American Football League. 84 Red Barber’s Corner. 117 Reese. 67–68 Quarry. 78. Freaks. 110 Quaid. 45 Reiner. 101 “Play Ball. The. 57 Reinsdorf. George. Vanessa. 105 Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel. and a Prayer. the ’70s. 61 Piper. Natalie. Aldo. 19. 52 Rafer Johnson Story. 105 Pittsburgh Steelers. Harry. Christopher. the Raiders. A. The. 29. 45–46 Pro Football: Mayhem on a Sunday Afternoon. Jerry. 33 “Requiem for a Heavyweight. Jimmy.. 69 Pistol Pete: The Life and Times of Pete Maravich. 5 Pride Against Prejudice: The Larry Doby Story. 125 Poitier. 124 Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Texas Cheerleader-Murdering Mom. Randy. 37 Rebels of Oakland: The A’s. 136 Reasoner.” 25 Red Sneakers. 62 Randolph. 206 Pinstripe Power: The Story of the 1961 New York Yankees. Tony. 122 Prine. 58 “Pool Hall Blues. 15. 68. Sue. The. 6. 99. 37 Rag Tag Champs. M. 91 Powers. 82 Power Play. 121–22 Playmakers. 62 Piniella. The. 93 Reiner. 106 Rashad. The.” 40 Push. 115 Reed. 68 “Red Sanders Story. 109 Play’s the Thing. 102. 83 Ray. 97. 63 Quincy. 76. 34 Promise Kept: The Oksana Baiul Story. Jerry. The. 42 Randall. Lee. 45. 121 Playhouse 90.” 20 . Carl. Pee Wee. E. 7 “Redemption of a Champion.” 66 ProStars. 89 Race of the Century. 29 Profile: Legend in Granite. 2. The.
69 Rodman. 117 Robinson. 83 Richards. 57. Mary Lou. Phil. 47. 28. 74. Sugar Ray. 78. 113 Robinson. 62 Rooney. 19. Cliff. 14 Salem. 78 Robertson. 105–6 Roseborough. Jerry. Dr. 16 Rookie of the Year (1970). 124. 97 Rudolph. 28 Richards. 75..153 Ruth. 56. 57 Rizzuto. 71. 121 “Right Hand of God. Jackie. Kario. 43 Robards. 64 Russell. 131 Rumble in the Jungle. Diana. 31 Ross. 47 “Ringside Padre. Burt. 77 Robert Montgomery Presents. George. The. 26. 20 Salt Lake 2002: Stories of Olympic Glory. 98. 101. 30 Rose. “Slapsie” Maxie. 138 “Return of Gentleman Jim. 113. 35 Roy. 20 Rozelle. 112. 39 Rickey. 100. 88. Albert. 96. Don. 102. 130 San Diego Chargers. 95. 99. George A.” 90 Resurrection Blvd. 88 Salmi. 31 Robertson.” 65–66 Ring of Passion. 4.Index “Requiem for a Lightweight. 41 “Say Hey [The Willie Mays Song]. 104 Saint. Jason. 25 Roberto: The Roberto Clemente Story. 83. 23. Pete. 10 Rigby. The. 89 Rock. Oscar. 113 Rodeo Girl. 110 Rice. 70. 35. 95 Romero. 46 181 Ronnie & Julie. Wayne. 117 Run for the Dream: The Gail Devers Story. 92 Rookie of the Year (1955). 116 San Diego Padres. 76–77. 29. 43. 69 Route 66. 101. 45 Sarazan. 102. 138 Riggs. 51 Ruffian. Cathy. Pete. Bobby. 55 Roller Derby.” 100 . 116. 94 “Running for Honor. 25. Katharine. 89 “Saturday Story. 97. 17. 76. 111 Robinson. 53 Roller Jam. 132–33 Roller Girls.. 131.” 58 Runyon. Frank. Gene. Babe. Damon. 65. 80. 13. Richard. 113 Richardson. 52 Rosenbloom. 48. 42 Rooney. 109. 93. 61. 105. 62. 31. Bill. 132 Roy Rogers Show. The. 74 Rhames. 101 Reynolds. 35 Rose Bowl. 111. 45 San Francisco Giants. 115 Robinson.” 58 “Ring of Honor.” 58 Rise and Walk: The Dennis Byrd Story. John.” 19 Reverse of the Curse of the Bambino. 32. 11. Eva Marie. Renée. Dennis. Art. Eddie. 42. Bob. 84 Rodman. 141 Saturday Night’s Main Event. Branch.” 25 Sayers. 39. Willie. 114. 18–19. 5. Wilma.” 20 “Ring With the Velvet Ropes. Mickey. 43. 74. 27 Sarnoff. Micheal Ray. 75. Chris. 18. 18–19. 81 Ritter. 68 Richardson. 97 Rickles. The. 86. 33. 78. 101. 58. Howard. 53. 57. 118 Retton. Ving. 73–74. Gale. 35 Rogers. David. Johnny. 119 Sands. The. 13. 44 Sandomir.
19. 14. 117. 100. Stirling. 113–14 Shirts/Skins. 48. J. 114 Snead.182 Schaap.” 13 Scully. 106 Silver Odyssey: 25 Years of Astros Baseball. 113. 101 Snow in August. 104.” 22 Shaw. 86 Snider. 116. Budd. Alexander. 14. 36. 112. 26. 42 Special Olympics. 130. 101–2 Seattle Supersonics. 122 Sizemore. 61 Silver. 20 Schwarzenegger. 97. Jimmy “The Greek. 140 SportsCentury. A. Dick. 19. 35 Seabiscuit: An American Legend. 42 Skelton. 101. Paul. 46. Marc. 82 Sports in America. 70 Soul of the Game. Chris. Ron. Arnold. 17. 96 Sports Pages. 81. A. 136 Silent Victory: The Kitty O’Neil Story. 31 Schulman. The. Bruce. Edgar J. Max. 33. 75. 62 Sorvino... 98 Sports on the Silver Screen. Vin. 102. 24 Shaw. 51–52 Shirts & Skins: The Sociology of Basketball. 21. The. 114 Seaver. 93. Boris. Liev. 85. 81. 105. 115 Seasons of Change: The African-American Athlete. 48. 47. Mark. 111. 85 Soul. 109. 129 Scott. 118–19 Schreiber. 104.” 35 “Shadow of the Champ. 46 Sonny Liston: The Mysterious Life and Death of a Champion. 116. 38 Singer. 102. 121 Silvers. Frank. Tom. 14. Arnold. 74 Spassky. 93. 124. David. 46. 84. 100 . 100 Showtime. 48 “Shadow of a Hero. 111 Simpsons. 16. 61 Serling. The. Duke. George C. Moose. 105 Snyder. 103. 16 “Screwball. Sam. 50 Special Gift. 96 Science of Lance Armstrong. 60 60 Minutes. 78. 88 Scourby. 27 Shining Season. A. 133–34 Spitz. 28. 112 Springsteen. 24.” 139 Something for Joey. 130 Season on the Brink. 20. David. 80 Semi-Tough. The. The. 199. 15. 84. Red. The. Brian “Spinner. 58 Second Serve. 90 Sinatra. 137. 45 Screen Director’s Playhouse. 131. 39. 49 Shot Heard ‘Round the World. 39 Scherick. 19–20. 52 Index Silliphant. 118. 26. 55 Shell’s Wonderful World of Golf. 97 Schenkel. 129–30 Skating Rink. 105 Skatebirds. 130 Seabiscuit: The Making of a Legend. 60 Simpson. 53 Spencer. 109. 30–31. A. 63. 96. Phil. 97 Sporting Chance. 56. 132 61*. O. 9–10 Skowran. 38 Schlitz Playhouse of Stars. 51 Seinfeld. 76. 95. Rod. 88–89 Sophisticated Gents. 26 Schmeling. 68 See How She Runs.. 75. The. 62. 110. 95. 56 Sports Night. Irwin.” 90 Spike TV. Tom. 92. 121 Schulberg. 35 SkyWalker: The David Thompson Story.
Jackie Robinson. Dean. First Baseman. 52 Strawberry. 70 Tillman. Elizabeth. 85 Taylor. 59 Stockers. 139 Thomas. 16. Isaiah. Larry.. 88. 128 “Sunday Punch. 39 Sumners. Bill.” 30 Stern. The. Joe. Ladies. 34 “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” (1984). Pat. The. 14 Sutherland. David. 43 Starr.O. 65 TNT. Harold. 22 Summerall. 130 Three on an Island. 94 Tiger at 30. 116. 45 “Take Me Up to the Ball Game. 85 Tack Reynolds. 66 Thompson.K. 25 Taylor. 68 Texaco Star Theatre. 70 Straightaway. Kiefer.” 116. 13 “T. James. 107. 98 Streak. George. 46 103. 59 Tiger Woods Story. 82. 116 Three Stooges. Meryl. 79. Bobby. 73 This Is a Game. 131 Tiger Town. 102. Darryl. 40 Tag Team. Peter.” 19 Super Bowl. 65. 39. 25 Sugar Ray Robinson: The Bright Lights and Dark Shadows of a Champion. 13. Steven.” (episode). 101–2 Ted Williams: A Baseball Life. 120 Stanley Cup. 70 Stockwell. 101. 59 Stewart. Don. 15. 106 “Steel.” (drama). Louis Browns. The. 89. The. 43 Tonya & Nancy: The Inside Story. 111. 69 Strauss. 57 Stoney Burke. 98 “T. 93 183 “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” (1976). 27 Studio One. 65 Terry Fox Story. 114 Thomson. 29–30 Stormin’ Home. 68. 130 Sylvester. The. 62 Sydney 2000: Stories of Gold from Down Under. 33 St. Patrick. 91 Stapleton.K. 80. Rosalynn. The. 90 Sullivan. 3.O. 126 Streep. 42 That Championship Season. 70 Swayze. The. John L. Mel. 85 Thiesmann. 112. 61. 13. 43.” 60 “Talkin’ Baseball” (song). 124 Swan Song. David. 76. 9 Thrilla in Manila.Index Stallone. 29 Teammates: A Portrait of a Friendship. 91–92 . 67. 130. 51 Thunder Alley. 95. 101 “3. 32 :03 From Gold. 100 Tall Hopes. 29 Strangers on a Train. 89 Sukarchuk. 140 Superdome. 10 Texas Rangers. 112. 47.113 Today Show. 136 “Ten O’Clock Tiger. 33 Steinbrenner. 46 Susskind. Jean. 75. 78–79 Tennis Channel. 56 Tillis. 2. 136 Strongest Man in the World. 106 Thank You. Pat. 39. Sylvester. 127 Strikeforce on NBC.” 31 Terrible Joe Moran. 87 Tilden. 124 Steven Spielberg’s Amazing Stories. 74. The. The.
21 University of Michigan. John.. 83 United States Steel Hour. The. The. 75 Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson. John. 84 Weapons of Mass Distraction. Mike. The. 64 Turturro. 18.” 60 Tyson. 87 Index Valentine. 61. Jesse. 58 Valvano. 88 Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse. Jack. Patrick. 26 21 Hours in Munich. 119 Underwood. 105 Wait ’Til Next Year: The Saga of the Chicago Cubs. The. 114 Trapped in a Purple Haze. Melvin. 81–82 Webb. 4 Torn. Mike. 126 Undefeated. 19 Watson. Eli. A. 127 Touched by an Angel. Jersey Joe. The. 17. 42–43 Wayne. 22. Courtney B. 118 Vancouver Canucks. 64 Waverly Wonders. The. 137 Wepner. 35. Norm. Ethel. Johnny. 96 Waters. 35. 33. 119 Unitas. 88 UCLA Dynasty. 90. 32 Van Peebles. 52 Vance. 16. 44 Wayne. 88. 12. Mario. 16. 51 Van Dyke. Gene. 85 Toronto Maple Leafs. 44.184 Top of the Hill. Paco!. 60 Ultimate Fighter. Rip. Fernando. 121 Victory & Valor: Special Olympics World Games. 114 Warden. 12. 96 “Viva. Honus. 22 Walton. 86. 51 Tyson. 34. Bill. 10. Bobby. Denzel. 37 Wallach. 48. Dick. 84 Van Brocklin. Sam. 16 Twentieth Century-Fox Hour. 106. 49 Way It Was. 127 Trevino. 30 Two-A-Days. Lee. 102 Wait ’Til This Year. Bob. 53 Twilight Zone. Chuck. The. 68 Washington. 133 Ultimate Muscle: The Kinnikuman Legacy. 33. 93 Venturi.” 20 Wacky Races. 40 Wagner. 51. 47 Ventura. Johnny. 53 Way Out Games. Ken. 63. 15. Robert. 87 Waterston. 88 Tyson. Cicely. 62 Vega$. 86 Urich. 18. 80 Van Peebles. 130 Tunney. 101 University of Tennessee. Tom. Charlie. 83 Unitas. The. 24 Wallace. Jim. Jack. 87 Triumph and Tragedy: The Ray Mancini Story. 107 TV’s Reader’s Digest. 102 Walcott. 63 Weissmuller. 110 “Two-Hundred-Mile-an-Hour Fast Ball. 30. 23 . 119 Triumph of the Heart: The Ricky Bell Story. 78 Washington Redskins. 47 Tragedy to Triumph: The Maryland Terrapin Odyssey. 116 Ueker. 41. Blair. 79 True Story of Seabiscuit. 50 Wedemeyer. 113. 106 Valenzuela. 55 Top Views in Sports. 80 Trouble With Baseball.
The. 59 Winning Season. David L. 19 Young. 46. 107 “Who’s on First?”(skit). 41 Whitaker. 43. 83 You’ve Got a Friend. Stephanie. 52 Zale.” 67 When Billie Beat Bobby. 26 World Series. 11. 53–54 “Wrestling Match. 34. Venus. 128. 105 Winning Tradition. 9 Wildfire. 138 Wolper. 69 WWW Superstars of Wrestling. Katarina. Ed.” 19 Winner Never Quits. Loretta. 43 Zen of Bobby V. 86.” 14 Zimbalist. 91. 88 Williams. The. The. 121. 102 Williams. A. 113 “What If I’m Gay?. George. 86. 120 Yogi Berra: Deja Vu All Over Again. 121 When It Was a Game. 77.The. Tony. Robert. 69 Wynn. Clarence. 129 Zaharias. 25. 39 White. 35. 2. 107 World Wide Wrestling. 63 Yamaguchi. 15 Young. Ted. Alan. 58. 41. 20. 76–77 Where’s Huddles?. 25 Whatever Happened to Micheal Ray?. 2.40. 42 Williams. 75. 6. 126 Wright. 105.. Serena. 74 Willie Mays and the Say-Hey Kid. 123. 64 Williams. 76–77 Whose Curse Is Worse? Red Sox and Cubs on Trial. 16. 38–39. 24. 47 Winfield. 78–79. 51 Workin’ for Peanuts. 43 Winters. Flip. Billy Dee. 132. 93. 50. A. 133. 59 Wilma. James. Tiger. 130 Wild Ride to Super Bowl I. 86 Wuhl. 122 Williamson. 28. Maury. Charlie Brown. 138 Yankee Stadium. 59 World Championship Golf. 98 WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment).Index West Point Story. 45 Willing to Kill: The Texas Cheerleader Story. 22 You’re in the Super Bowl.” 9 Wrestling With Destiny: The Life and Times of Daniel Igali. 66 Woods. 111 Willard. Jonathan. 82 Wills. 17. 29 Wide World of Sports. 87. 79 You Are There. Paul. 2 White Shadow. 19 Whole New Ballgame. Jess. Chalky. 30. 9. 64 Williams III. 44. 139 Woodward. 106 “0 for 37. 22 Young. 93 WWF Prime-Time Wrestling. Joanne. Treat. Alfre. 49 Whitmore. 43. Mickey. 37. Jack. Mykalti. 67 Woodard. A. 62. 30 Wismer. 23 185 Witt. 123 Williams. 13 Wide Country. 80. 122. 128. 14. Gig. Kristi. 27. 88 “Winner by Decision. Harry. 118. 51 Wilson. The. 55 . The. 86–87 WonderWorks. 125 WWF (World Wrestling Federation). 14. 17.
screen. His recent Praeger volume Big Pictures on the Small Screen was released in 2007. and television. long considered the definitive compilation of the genre. Samuel Goldwyn Presents. Among his other works are More Theatre: Stage to Screen to Television. He is a charter member of the Television Movie Hall of Fame. The Three Stooges. and publishing. MARILL has spent his career in broadcasting. general editor of The 500 Best American Films to Buy. Rent or Videotape. and career studies of Sidney Poitier. . The Complete Films of Edward G. the recording industry. Robert Mitchum on the Screen.About the Author ALVIN H. He is the author of more than two-dozen books dealing with stage. Robinson. television editor for Films in Review. and contributing editor of Leonard Maltin’s annual Movie and Video Guide. including the encyclopedic Movies Made for Television. and Tommy Lee Jones. direct marketing. Marill has been executive editor for CBS Entertainment.
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