Sports on Television

Sports on Television

Sports on Television

Sports on Television

Synopsis

Marill covers the changing relationship between live sports broadcasts and television dramas, as well as the important technological developments and cultural shifts that have changed the way we view the reality of sports.

Excerpt

Television, as initially envisioned by its founding fathers, David Sarnoff of NBC, William S. Paley of CBS, and Allen DuMont, of the somewhat short-lived network that bore his name in the early “commercial” days, was reported to be a fount of cultural, informational, instructional entertainments. In perusing the books about these insightful men, the word “sports” was hard to find. Nevertheless, sports, an afterthought, would emerge large in the televised scheme of things. Not only sporting events—and in more recent times, cable networks devoted fulltime to baseball, golf, tennis, auto racing, etc.—but also sports-related dramas, comedies, series, and television movies, would more or less dominate what would familiarly be termed “the tube.”

Sports were to be not only spectator events airing from many of the great outdoor stadiums and indoor rinks and courts but, as in the case of drama, comedies, series and the like, metaphors for life lived by fictional and sometimes real-life heroes in whatever sports world TV writers positioned them. Virtually all sports dramas chronicled in this book took place off the field; it was too complicated to replicate an actual event, or even a tiny piece of one, except for stock footage on a flickering 10” TV screen in the background. This applied across the board, whether it be Paul Newman’s 80-Yard Run or Bang the Drum Slowly, both originals written for TV; or Brian’s Song or It’s Good to Be Alive, TV movie biographies; or any number of Rod Serling originals (pre-Twilight Zone). It was even the case for not so enthralling . . .

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