HOW ABOUT THAT?
Mellow and persimmony at the same time, the voice of Mel Allen has been familiar to World Series TV and radio listeners for 18 years and to New York Yankee fans for 25. By decision of Ford Frick, baseball commissioner, it was not heard during this year's World Series, and by rumor it may not be heard from Yankee Stadium next year.
To most of the nation this meant very little, but all New York, with some exceptions, is divided into those who passively tolerate Mel and those who actively resent him. The latter are mostly blind Yankee haters but quite a few are redundancy haters. If you picked up Allen by his ears he would bay something like: " International Falls is the coldest spot in the U.S. Temperature-wise, that is."
There was some astonishment at Frick's decision, presumably inspired by the Yankees themselves, since team owners recommend the broadcasters and Frick is not about to buck team owners at this stage. There was surprisingly little protest. One shot for Allen was fired by Eric Sevareid, the CBS news essayist, but it had the effect of something coming out of a puffed-rice cannon. Sevareid did not seem to mind losing Allen so much as gaining Phil Rizzuto in his stead. It was a clear case, he said, of "creeping Rizzutoism," a situation in which professional talkers and writers are displaced by members of the professions they talk and write about.
"In the last war," he recalled, holding tongue firmly in cheek, "retired generals became war correspondents, taking the caviar right out of the mouths of the deserving.... Senator Goldwater muscled in on our racket and became a syndicated columnist."
Professional writers and talkers who heard Rizzuto and Joe Garagiola team up in an impressive display of expertise during the Series could not, even in jest, agree with Sevareid. The ex-performers talked too much, to be sure, but they talked good baseball sense, with scarcely ever a professional malapropism.
BIRDS OF A WEATHER
A number of radar installations about the country are manned by the U.S. Weather Bureau to check on rampaging cloud formations that could turn into tornadoes or other varieties of foul weather. Sometimes things get dull, and when that happens the weather bureau fellows turn to studying blips that denote flocks of birds. Then, each week, the bureau dispatches a packet of radar-observation pictures to Frank Bellrose, wildlife specialist for the Illinois Natural History Survey. Over the past four years Bellrose has reached some interesting conclusions from his radar pictures. Among them:
Waterfowl migrate ahead of a cold front. Small land birds fly behind it.
Birds can analyze wind shear, a situation that can produce clear air turbulence strong enough to destroy airplanes.