SI Vault
William Johnson
January 19, 1970
What goes on behind its crane and camera, mike and monitor, switch and socket as television brings Super Spectator his electronic sport, and sometimes a little Swiss girl, too
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January 19, 1970

Towering Babble And (sob) Heidi

What goes on behind its crane and camera, mike and monitor, switch and socket as television brings Super Spectator his electronic sport, and sometimes a little Swiss girl, too

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2:54: Two Dodgers on base. Tension, terrific. Sudakis hits to left. Brock makes Herculean throw to plate. Dodgers' Tom Haller out! Crowd roars. Busboy leaps up, yells, "Out! Beautiful!"

2:55: In control truck, Harry Coyle calls for isolated-tape replay, close-up of dramatic play at home. Beautiful. Kusserow says, "That's one of the best shots this year, Harry." Coyle lights another Omega, says into intercom: "Nice going, isolated. Nice going, video tape. Nice going, everybody."

3:01: New bartender at Elks Club. Moves mixing operation to end of bar nearest TV set. A fan.

3:04: Brock singles. Tension among NBC crew. If Brock steals second, it's 18th steal in 18 attempts. Coyle says: ' 'Camera 5 you stay on Brock for the isolated. On the split screen, 2 you'll be on the left with the hitter, 3 you'll be on the right with Brock. We go full screen to 2 for a hit, full screen to 3 if he steals." Perfect. Brock steals while on split screen. Camera 3 zooms full-screen down the base path. Camera 5, in centerfield, gets tight shot, isolated, at second. Replay instantaneous; isolated superb; 18 for 18 for Brock. One for one for Coyle. At Elks Club, new bartender missed play mixing Scotch and water. Busboy in men's room. Shriners talking. Women talking. Silk Shirt has back to screen. Only Mr. Poppy saw. He does not move. He does not blink. He does not speak. Fade. Camel commercial. Perfect.

3:10: Dodgers load bases, none out, crowd bellowing, last of seventh. Gowdy sips Coke, stretches, looks lazy, still blurts words with maximum drama. Wes Parker up. Mr. Poppy intent. Busboy, too. Bartender, too. Crucial moment.

3:13: Parker singles. Two Dodger runs score. Mr. Poppy blinks. Coyle orders shot of screaming Dodger crowd. "Shoot anywhere in the crowd, anywhere, just get the frenzy," he shouts. Frenzy picture comes on. Game out of Cards' reach. Bartender slams hand on bar. Busboy rises, makes derisive gesture at TV. Woman's voice fills Elks Club, "Charlie, I never had so much fun in my life as that night, remember? There was you and Bob and Leo...."

3:21: Dodgers score again. Double play ends seventh, 4-0. Chrysler commercial. Kubek hums, "Mr. Sandman...." Gowdy clears throat, blows nose. Audioman in control truck says, "Curt runs outta voice in the seventh and eighth, we got to pop him a little." Turns dial to pop Gowdy.

3:30: Shriners leave Elks Club. Women stay. Mr. Poppy stays. Game drags on. One more Dodger run. Mr. Poppy sees all.

3:34: Connal on phone with Broadcast Operations Control in New York, says, "Roger. We got to 3:43:40." Meaning at that instant, Game of the Week is off air if game is over. Sense of new tension builds among NBC crew now. Flight to New York leaves L.A. at 4:30. Next plane not until 10:30 p.m. red-eye special, arrival 6:30 a.m. New York. NBC now pulling hard for Cards to die fast in ninth to make 4:30 plane.

3:38: Brock goes out. Game over. Gowdy does hurried wrap-up. Coyle lights another Omega. Kusserow says, "Good show, let's go." Connal, Kusserow, Coyle, Kubek pile into waiting limousines, roar off toward airport and 4:30 flight.

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