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Dramatic Radio – For Arnold “Red” Auerbach October 31, 2006

Posted by William Spear in >> Dramatic Radio.
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On Saturday October 28, Arnold “Red” Auerbach died of a heart attack near his home in Washington DC. He was 89. Auerbach served as coach, general manager and president of the Boston Celtics basketball team. Lit Between the Ears offers condolences to the surviving Auerbach family.

Mr. Auerbach’s list of sports and social accomplishments is immense and well-documented elsewhere. Sixteen championships – including nine as a coach -, third winningest coach with 938 wins and elected to the Hall of Fame in 1968 do not begin to fully convey his career. Find a biography or read one of his books to get a better view of the person.

Where’s the radio, you ask?

Auerbach was coaching in Game Seven of the 1965 Eastern Conference Finals between the six-time defending champion Celtics and the Philadelphia 76ers. The Celtics’ lead had narrowed to 110-109. Philadelphia regained possession with five seconds left after an inbounds pass attempt by Boston’s Bill Russell hit a support wire for a basket that ran down from the ceiling of Boston Garden.

Philadelphia’s Hall of Fame guard Hal Greer prepared to inbound the ball for a chance to win the series. Boston’s Hall of Famer John Havlicek was stealthily playing defense and Boston’s fans were listing to Johnny Most on the radio:

“Greer is putting the ball into play. He gets it out deep and Havlicek steals it. Over to Sam Jones. Havlicek stole the ball! It’s all over! Johnny Havlicek stole the ball!”

Most’s screaming call has been compared to Russ Hodges’ delirious chant of “The Giants win the pennant … The Giants win the pennant” in 1951.

Long live the spirits of Red Auerbach and the Boston Celtics.

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Mobile clips spotlighted in Hollywood – video’s nice, but … October 30, 2006

Posted by William Spear in >> News.
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Noted with interest is the Third Screen Film Festival held last week at the Museum of Television and Radio in Beverly Hills, California. Covered by Colin Gibbs of RCR Wireless News (“Made-for-mobile clips get respect”; October 30, 2006), he references winners Todd Spence (“The Lost,” Top Prize), Matt Paige (“Pumpkin,” Jury Prize) and Tim Saccardo (“Slideshow,” Mobile Award). The potential financial rewards to mobile operators with vision to deliver entertainment to their customers generated much of the Festival’s buzz.

 

Lit Between the Ears offers its applause to all the participants. Their works merit congratulations and attention. We wish them nothing but success as they venture into the mobile space.

 

However, we note a disturbing lack of original dramatic audio presented for mobile audiences. Where are radio’s storytellers as this new market emerges? Where are this era’s Norman Corwins, William Spiers or Arch Obolers? When do we get to experience the next “On a Note of Triumph,” Suspense or Lights Out series?

Financial barriers to entry are low. Production tools are accessible. Talent, migrated from visual media, can captivate and entertain audiences.

Radio is alive; it’s vibrancy can drive mobile programming platforms and profits. Video and film are nice; but audio tells a different story altogether.

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Great Beginnings: Duffy’s Tavern October 24, 2006

Posted by William Spear in >> Great Beginnings, >> Radio Drama.
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Duffy’s Tavern was a sitcom which first aired in 1940. Created by Ed Gardner, who also played Archie, the Manager, the show was ultimately broadcast on CBS from 1941-1942, NBC-Blue Network from 1942-1944 and on NBC from 1944-1952. Set in New York, the series featured madcap adventures and Hollywood’s brightest stars.

However, what set the audience’s mind for that evening’s broadcast was the show’s opening. It went as follows:

MUSIC: WHEN IRISH EYES ARE SMILING.

SFX: TELEPHONE RINGS.

ARCHIE: Hello Duffy’s Tavern … where the elite meet to eat. Archie the manager speaking, Duffy ain’t here. (BEAT) Oh, hello Duffy.

Funny business; the intro set the style and tone for the entire program and created another Great Beginning.

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Dramatic Radio – “the Pirates win!” October 22, 2006

Posted by William Spear in >> Dramatic Radio.
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In 1960, baseball’s World Series pitted the National League champions Pittsburgh Pirates against the American League winners New York Yankees. The Yankees, playing in their eighth World Series in the last ten, would out hit, out-score and out everything the Pirates but still manage to lose.

After six games, the series was tied at three. In the seventh game, Pittsburgh held an early 4-1 lead which was erased when the Yankees scored four runs in the sixth inning to take a 5-4 lead.

The lead went back and forth with New York tying the score at nine-to-nine in the top of the ninth inning. In the bottom of the ninth, New York’s Ralph Terry was pitching to Pittsburgh’s Bill Mazeroski. Chuck Thompson was on the microphone. On Terry’s second pitch, Thompson described the action:

“There’s a swing and a high fly ball going deep to left, this may do it! … Back to the wall goes Berra, it is … over the fence, home run, the Pirates win! … (long pause for crowd noise) … Ladies and gentleman, Bill Mazeroski has just hit a one-nothing pitch over the left field wall to win the 1960 World Series for the Pittsburgh Pirates!”

Kudos to the Pirates and may radio continue to capture everyday drama in all of our lives.

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Ink for “Lit Between the Ears, Volume One” – thanks to Union County College October 12, 2006

Posted by William Spear in >> Lit Between the Ears - Volume One, >> News, >> Out Basket, >> Radio Drama.
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New Jersey has an outstanding network of community colleges delivering quality, higher level education to citizens that might not normally access it. Union County College (UCC), Raritan Valley Community College (RVCC) and County College of Morris (CCM) are part of my education.

The Union County College Foundation publishes its ABOUT UNION newsletter three times a year. In the Fall 2006 edition, in the About Alumni section, Editor Ann M. Poskocil included the following:

“Radio playwright William E. Spear ’89, Clinton, NJ, has written Lit Between the Ears, Volume One: Chekhov, O. Henry, Spear and Tarkington on the Air, Wolfmont Publishing.”

Thanks, Ann. And thanks to UCC. The teachers and students at Union County College have a hunger to teach and passion to learn which is remembered nearly 20 years later.

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