Sunday, September 8, 2013

The Life and Times of Marty Glickman

HBO Films
Written and Produced by 
James Freedman
Five Scoops of Bosco

Reviewed by Allen Bacon, The Daily Bosco

One thing about being a sports fan and living in Southern California is that we are extremely privileged to be able to listen to the best Sports Announcers in the history of radio and television.

I grew up listening to the likes of Chick Hearn (Basketball), Vin Scully and Dick Enberg (Baseball) and Bob Miller (Hockey).

Only by tuning my radio so I could pick up the out of market broadcasts from the rest of the Western region or while I was traveling and then later, through the internet, was I able to hear the other regional sports announcers in the United States.

I had heard about Marty Glickman from New York and I had heard one or two of his broadcasts over the years but I did not fully understand his greatness or why he is revered by so many, especially in the Eastern United States, until I saw HBO's film Documentary "Glickman" which debuted last week.

Glickman was the one that pioneered the vernacular of the College and Professional Basketball announcer.  The way that he called and his language that he used on New York area college games and then the New York Knicks back in the 40's and 50's set the standard for everyone that followed after him including his protege Marv Albert and many others.

Then there was his assignment as the New York Giants football announcer during their incredible run in the early 1960's and later on as a member of the New York Jets announcing team in the early 1970's.

And even after all his assignments on Professional Sports, maybe he is probably best remembered in New York as the producer and broadcaster of the High School Game of the week.  Glickman wanted to give back something to the community he came from.

Glickman would later help pioneer sports programming on HBO in the 1970's and help coach many new and upcoming broadcasters on NBC.

If the documentary had just focused on the late Glickman's Broadcasting career that would have been a great enough documentary.

Before he became a legend in broadcasting, Glickman was an outstanding athlete in track and field and football in High School and then at Syracuse University.

He was so good at track he earned his way on to the 1936 USA Olympic team that went to Berlin, aka "The Hitler Olympics" .  He was supposed to run the 4x100 relay but due to some shenanigans from the Olympic Track coach and the Head of the Olympic Committee, the fact that Glickman was Jewish and the fact that the black Jessie Owens had already embarrassed Adolph Hitler earlier, Glickman and another Jewish runner were pulled at the last minute.

Glickman would get some measure of revenge after the Berlin Olympics when he, Jessie Owens, another Jewish runner and another Black runner shattered the World's record in the 4x100 relay in a track meet in France.

Racism would rear it's ugly ahead again when the NBA, who Glickman helped bring to prominence and popularity as a regional announcer was left off the first National Broadcast television team, because there were "too many Jewish guys" involved on the Broadcast.

"Glickman" is told mostly in Marty Glickman's own words through past interviews with Glickman and wonderful archival sports and broadcast footage.

The story is compelling and visually stunning, making it a must see if you are a sports enthusiast and student of Sports broadcasting.

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