The AFL is by far the most promotion-conscious group of sporting owners around—and the promotion in Philadelphia worked so well that other sports are bound to copy it. The management of the Titans and the Patriots allowed Philadelphia live wire, Bud Dudley, to distribute tickets at Acme Supermarkets. The theme was, "Have Mom Take Dad to a Football Game," and a free ticket was given to a shopper who bought $10 worth of groceries at the supermarket. The tickets were not just thrown into the shopping bags—the shopper had to ask the checkout clerk for them.
This was not, of course, a cash gate, but getting 73,000 people under any conditions to a locally televised, August AFL exhibition game in Philadelphia strikes us as quite a feat. It is a feat that suggests there are enough people interested in the AFL to give it a good chance of survival, whatever the National League's drumbeaters say or think (not necessarily the same thing). The Titans made $11,000, the Patriots $11,000 from the promotion and the American Football League made a lot of new friends.
The Congressional Record is hardly a sports paper, but it is a repository for material of regional as well as national and international significance. Senators and Representatives use it occasionally the way press agents use other media, to plug their local products. Last week Senator Milton R. Young (Rep., N. Dak.) saw his opportunity and, by golly, by gosh, did he seize it! Senator Young arose after a discussion of foreign aid, conservation, adjustment of postal rates and concern over government spending to say:
"Mr. President, I wish to make an important announcement. Roger Maris, a North Dakota farm-raised boy, hit two more home runs today. We expect him to break the world's record by quite a few home runs."
Senator Robert S. Kerr (Dem., Okla.) may have been remiss in his duty. A mine-raised boy named Mickey Mantle comes from Commerce, Okla. and also is hitting home runs in the Babe Ruth sweepstakes. We can expect Senator Kerr to rise in the Senate any day now and announce how many his boy has hit—and maybe add that his brother Travis' million-dollar Thoroughbred, Round Table, is doing fine at stud.
Harry Balogh, who died last week at 70, needed no introductions. For 36 years he made announcements and extolled boxers with such flair that he became better known than most of the fighters he praised at length. Introducing fighters, of course, demands the imagination of a sideshow spieler and the voice of a snake-oil salesman. Harry had both of these virtues plus the ability to scatter malapropisms all over an arena.
"Lay-deez an' gentlemen," he once began, "in this corner the ex-native of New York, Barney Ross." Whereas all previous ring announcers used the phrase, "May the best man win," Harry gave it a little zing (and, accidentally, grammar) by saying, "May the better participant emerge triumphant." "Anyone can do this job," he once said, "but to do it right, you've got to use those extra 20 words." Harry worked, in a dinner jacket, a stiff shirt, a starched collar and a black tie. No announcer dressed this way before Balogh; they all have since.
On the night of June 25, 1935 Balogh was faced with the job of introducing Primo Camera and Joe Louis to a Yankee Stadium audience filled with racial feelings. He told the 60,000 present, "Leave us all view this contest without anchor or prejudism." They did.