We saw much to love and hate on TV in 1987, one of the best years for our Heidi Awards since 1968, when we gave the original to the eponymous moppet for knocking a thrilling AFL game off the tube. The envelopes, please....
THE HEIDI HEIDI AWARD—To CBS for pulling the plug on the stirring U.S.- Cuba gold medal volleyball match at the Pan American Games in August. The U.S. won, viewers lost.
BEST LIVE TELECAST—Game 7 of the World Series. ABC presented focused, energetic commentary by Al Michaels and Tim McCarver, plus proof-positive replays of the three missed umpire calls and the Gary Gaetti-Steve Lake collision at home plate.
TITANIC AWARD FOR DISASTER AT SEA—To ABC for its muff of the most important shot in the New York City Marathon: winner Ibrahim Hussein of Kenya crossing the finish line. Finishing-line unit director Larry Kamm had his cameras trained everywhere but on the winner until a disembodied voice, apparently that of Jim McKay, could be heard saying "Whoops!"
THE ROSEMARY WOODS EIGHT-MINUTE GAP CITATION—To Super Bowl producer Bob Stenner ( CBS). When Denver receiver Clarence Kay's second-quarter pass reception was ruled incomplete, Stenner couldn't find a correct-angle replay. Eight minutes later—voila!—the tape appears. Sorry, Broncs.
CONSISTENTLY BEST PRODUCTION—To ESPN for the America's Cup series. Executive producer Geoff Mason's mast-affixed camera, which caught the sights, sounds and sheer adventure of high-seas racing, filmed unforgettable scenes.
OUR FIRST LITTLE BOY BLUE BUTTON—To Dan Rather, who walked off the CBS Evening News set, causing the network to go black for six minutes, when the Steffi Graf-Lori McNeil U.S. Open semifinal match ran two minutes into his scheduled newscast.
MOST MEMORABLE SHOTS—1) Pat Cash climbing into the grandstand to hug his father after winning at Wimbledon ( NBC). 2) ABC's Metrodome decibel meter being rendered inoperative by the crowd noise following Kent Hrbek's grand slam in Game 6 of the World Series. 3) Mark Bavaro on one knee in the end zone after his third-quarter Super Bowl touchdown ( CBS).
WORST LIVE SERIES—ABC's golf coverage whacked it out of bounds almost every time off the tee. The U.S. Open seemed a lock for the Titanic Award until the NYC Marathon came along. The British Open was top-heavy with bagpipes and scene sets. And at the Western Open in August, ABC could not show the leaders because it hadn't sent enough cameras to a backup course on which the tournament was decided after two days of rain postponements. Fore!
THE NOT READY FOR PRIME TIME AWARD—To Dick Vitale of ESPN. DV promised to stand on his head if Austin Peay beat Illinois in the NCAAs. After the game, Vitale rested his head on the desk and tried to do an HS (handstand), but couldn't get enough of the Big Mo (momentum). Then again, maybe his head was too pointy.