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Colgate Sports Newsreel - January 9, 1948

January 22nd, 2010

If you've ever seen the Woody Allen comedy "Radio Days", you've seen a great parody Bill Stern and his shtick - it's so great, in fact, that it's not far from the style of the actual Bill Stern.  If you've never heard Bill Stern before, you're in for an old time radio treat.

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Mixing pathos and ballyhoo in his nightly fifteen minute sports show, the "Colgate Sports Newsreel", Stern told dramatic sports-themed "Believe It or Not" stories dripping with irony and strange plot twists.  Stern was a unique personality with a long career that started with local radio in the 1920s and extended into the television era - probably half of the sports commentators out there today are trying to emulate Stern's sense of on-air drama.

In this post we hear the January 9, 1948 edition of the "Colgate Sports Newsreel" originally broadcast on NBC and sponsored by Colgate shaving cream.  Stern tells the story of the writing of "On the Sunny Side of the Street" that has a connection to a famous sportsman.  Composer Jimmy McHugh and entertainer Eddie Cantor drop by and talk about a Hollywood sports charity and the famous stars who have been athletes themselves.  The show that week was broadcast from Hollywood.

Our transcription is an original lacquer line check recorded by WHO in Des Moines, Iowa, and the master file was run through some click reduction software to improve the sound.

Isn't that a neato custom label that WHO had for their transcriptions?

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  • Mark Cooper

    This was great. I’ve to google and try and find some more of these.

    Jan 22, 2010 at 8:12 pm
  • Jim B.

    You’ve got to love Stern’s audacity. He wouldn’t have thought twice about reporting Eddie Arcaro built the first space rocket at the behest of a dying stable boy, went to Mars, found Martians shaped like horses and brought one back to Earth to come from behind and win the Belmont, which inspired the stable boy’s uncle, Harry Truman, to run for president.

    His hyperbolic style is so amazing to listen to, I suppose that’s why no one ever called him on his BS; they just enjoyed it for what it was.

    Jan 23, 2010 at 4:12 pm
  • Dr. OTR

    I discovered Bill Stern a couple of weeks ago. I think I was hesitant at first because I don’t really care for sports that much, but sports are only tangential to these stories. For entertainment value, he can’t be beat. He apparently lost a leg in the 30s, but flourished as a broadcaster and eventually battled (and won) an addiction to painkillers. Portrait — of a hero (or at least a solid entertainer)!

    Jan 26, 2010 at 10:47 pm
  • Mike Hobart

    I find Bill Stern quite mesmerising. I don’t believe a word of it, but his delivery is so gripping that you can’t stop listening.

    Very much of its time, but great listening.

    Jan 28, 2010 at 7:28 am