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The “Ice Bowl”: One of NFL’s Most Historic Games

 

A victorious Vince Lombardi is held above Lambeau Stadium

A victorious Vince Lombardi is held above Lambeau Stadium

Fun Facts About NFL’s “Ice Bowl”

 

Where and When?

January 1, 1967 at Lambeau Field, Green Bay, Wisconsin

What was the significance of the game?

This was the 1967 National Football League Championship Game.  The winner of this would go on to play the winner of the American Football League (AFL) in Super Bowl II.

What was the final score?

Packers, 21, Cowboys, 17

What 2 famous future NFL Hall of Fame coaches were pitted against each other?

Tom Landry (Cowboys) and Vince Lombardi (Packers)

The Two Star Quarterbacks:  "Dandy" Don Meredith and Bart Starr

The Two Star Quarterbacks: "Dandy" Don Meredith and Bart Starr

The game became known as the “Ice Bowl” because the field was a sheet of ice and the air temperature at game time was -13 Fahrenheit. What extraordinary measure had been used to try to keep the field playable?

Warming it with an underground electric heating grid.  Packer coach Vince Lombardi had purchased a system of heating coils that were implanted six inches under the field. The coils were intended to keep the ground warm enough to ward off freezing. In “When Pride Still Mattered,” a biography of Lombardi, author Dave Maraniss suggested that the problem came about because of the tarpaulin covering the field. The warm air under the tarp formed condensation, which froze immediately upon exposure to the extremely cold air.

How did Cowboy receiver Bob Hayes help the Packer defense throughout the game?

He kept his hands in his pants. Varying accounts exist of whether Hayes kept his hands in his pants only when the Cowboys were running the ball, or for all plays for which he wasn’t the receiver. But whatever the account, Hayes was the Cowboys’ best receiver, he frequently kept his hands in his pants, and this would let the Packer defense know they didn’t need to worry about him for the play.

How cold were conditions that day?

All of these (CBS sportscaster Frank Gifford said, “I think I’ll take another bite of my coffee”, An official tore the skin off his lip when his metal whistle froze to it, The halftime show was cancelled when the marching band scheduled to play found that its instruments were unplayable). After several officials had problems with their whistles, the officiating crew stopped using them and relied only on voice commands. At least Gifford was in a broadcast booth, and the halftime musicians got to go home early.

Which uncharacteristic miscues by the Packers led to the first 10 points for the Cowboys?

Fumbles. The warm-weather Cowboys eventually adjusted to the cold better than the Packers did. After Green Bay had built a 14-0 lead on two Bart Starr passes to Boyd Dowler, the Cowboys’ George Andrie recovered a Starr fumble and ran it seven yards for the Cowboys’ first touchdown. Later in the second quarter, the Packers’ Willie Wood fumbled a punt and the Cowboys recovered, leading to a field goal that sent them into the warm locker room at halftime trailing only 14-10.

How did Cowboys’ halfback Dan Reeves figure in the touchdown that put his team ahead 17-14?

He threw a pass for the touchdown. Reeves, later a successful NFL coach, threw a 50-yard halfback option pass to Lance Rentzel in the end zone, giving the Cowboys a 17-14 lead on the first play of the fourth quarter.

A month after the game, Vince Lombardi announced his retirement from coaching, making this the last game he coached in Green Bay. For what Packer player was this the last game he played in Green Bay?

Fuzzy Thurston. After playing for two seasons for the Baltimore Colts, Thurston played the remainder of his NFL career from 1959-67, for Green Bay. Hornung was picked up from Green Bay by New Orleans in the 1967 expansion draft, but retired before ever playing for the Saints. Kramer and Starr retired from the Packers and the NFL in 1968 and 1971 respectively. Besides Thurston, this was also the last game in Green Bay for receiver Max McGee and kicker Don Chandler, two other players who played vital roles in the Packers’ title teams.

The Packers won the game on Bart Starr’s quarterback sneak. The play called in the huddle was “31 Wedge.” As the “31 Wedge” play was written, who was intended to carry the ball?

Chuck Mercein. The play was designed to be a handoff to Mercein. This is another moment from the Ice Bowl for which accounts differ as to what actually happened. David Maraniss writes in, “When Pride Still Mattered”, that Starr fearing Mercein slipping before he could take the ball, decided to keep the ball himself but didn’t tell anyone else. Accounts by Jerry Kramer and others described Starr announcing a quarterback sneak in the huddle. No matter what though, as written in the Packers’ playbook, the “31 Wedge” play was designed to be a handoff to the fullback, who on that play was Mercein.

In the famous photograph of Bart Starr’s winning touchdown, Chuck Mercein can be seen with both hands in the air. He later said that he was not signaling a touchdown. Why did he say his hands were in the air?

To show that he did not push Starr. It would have been illegal to assist Starr by pushing him, so Mercein threw his hands in the air as if to say “look ref, no hands!”

What was later shown to have happened on Starr’s touchdown that could have changed the game’s outcome?

Jerry Kramer was offside. In a frame by frame analysis of that play, Kramer can be seen lifting his hand while the ball remains on the ground awaiting the snap. Even Kramer wrote “I wouldn’t swear that I wasn’t actually offside on the play.” Many Packer fans argue though that Donnie Anderson made it into the end zone on the previous play (the officials spotted the ball about two feet outside the end zone though). In fact, Jethro Pugh, the Cowboy blocked to make room for Starr’s score, supported this theory, saying that most of the Cowboys thought Anderson had scored.

The dramatic ending of the game helped provide the name of the book that Jerry Kramer and Dick Schaap wrote, based on Kramer’s diary of the season. What was the book’s title?

Instant Replay. The replays of Starr’s touchdown, and of Kramer’s block on the play, helped make Kramer much more of a celebrity than linemen usually get to be. “Instant Replay” was released the following year and became one of the best-selling sports books in history. In the locker room after the game, Kramer dissuaded center Ken Bowman, also instrumental in the block, from joining him on camera for a television interview. Kramer argued that he was old and that Bowman’s day of glory would come. Little did Bowman realize how rare such recognition is for a center, or that after that season’s Super Bowl, he would play in exactly one more playoff game in his career.

VIDEO:  The Story of the Ice Bowl

Special thanks to funtrivia.com and wikipedia.com

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Allan Sherman: Writer, producer, singer and brilliant comic parodist

Allan Sherman, Nov 30, 1924 - Nov 20, 1973

Allan Sherman, Nov 30, 1924 - Nov 20, 1973

 

Fun Facts About Allan Sherman

Birth and Death: November 30, 1924 – November 20, 1973

Most known for: An American comedy writer who became famous as a song parodist in the early 1960s.

First album: My Son, the Folk Singer (1962). It became the fastest-selling record album up to that time.

Biggest hit: Sherman’s biggest hit single was “Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh”, a comic novelty in which a boy describes his summer camp experiences to the tune of Ponchielli’s Dance of the Hours.

Allan Copelon?: Sherman took his mother’s maiden name after being abandoned in childhood by his father, Percy Copelon, a stock car racer, mechanic, and inventor. Much later, Copelon offered to pay for Sherman’s education if he would re-take the family name, but when no support was forthcoming, the young man became Allan Sherman once again.

TV Show Writer and Producer: Sherman created a game show, which he called “I Know a Secret.” TV producer Mark Goodson used Sherman’s idea and turned it into I’ve Got a Secret, which ran on CBS from 1952 to 1967. Rather than paying him for the concept, Mark Goodson-Bill Todman Productions made Sherman the show’s producer. Sherman was reported to be warm and kindhearted to all who worked for him. But sparks often flew between Sherman and anyone who was in a position to try to restrain his creativity.

As producer of I’ve Got a Secret, which was broadcast live, he showed a fondness for large scale stunts that had the potential to teeter on the brink of disaster. He once released 100 bunny rabbits onstage as an Easter surprise for the Madison Square Boys Club, whose members were seated in the studio. The boys were invited to come up onstage to collect their prize. Although the resultant melee made a good story, it did not necessarily make for good TV. The relationship between Mark Goodson-Bill Todman and Sherman became strained to the breaking point when he finally fought to execute an idea that was destined to fall flat. His plan was to have Tony Curtis teach the panel how to play some of the games he had played as a child growing up in New York City. The problems manifested themselves when it became obvious that Tony Curtis had never actually played any of the games that Sherman had brought the props for. The situation might have been salvaged had the props worked as planned, but they did not. The handkerchief parachute failed to open and land gracefully and the pool “tank” which was propelled by rubber band moved painfully slowly. The spot, which aired June 11, 1958, was a disaster and Sherman was fired as producer. His dismissal did not, however, prevent Mark Goodson-Bill Todman from bringing Sherman back many times as a guest on their shows in subsequent years after he achieved celebrity status following the release of his albums.

Sherman also produced a short-lived 1954 game show, What’s Going On? which was technologically ambitious, with studio guests interacting with multiple live cameras in remote locations. In 1961 he produced a daytime game show for Al Singer Productions called Your Surprise Package which aired on CBS with host George Fenneman.

My Son, The Folk Singer: Sherman lived in the Brentwood section of West Los Angeles next door to Harpo Marx, who invited him to perform his song parodies at parties attended by Marx’s show-biz friends. After one party, George Burns phoned a record executive and persuaded him to sign Sherman to a contract. The result was a long playing album of these parodies, entitled My Son, the Folk Singer, which was released in 1962. It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc.

My Son, The Celebrity: My Son, the Folk Singer was so successful that it was quickly followed by My Son, the Celebrity, which ended with “Shticks of One and Half a Dozen of the Other,” fragments of song parodies including Robert Burns’: “Dinna make a stingy sandwich, pile the cold cuts high;/Customers should see salami comin’ thru the rye.”

Success with Top 40 Hit: In 1963’s My Son, The Nut, Sherman’s pointed parodies of classical and popular tunes dealt with automation in the workforce (“Automation,” to the tune of “Fascination”), space travel (“Eight Foot Two, Solid Blue,” to “Five Foot Two, Eyes of Blue”), the exodus from the city to the suburbs (“Here’s to the Crabgrass,” to the tune of “English Country Garden”), and his own bloated figure (“Hail to Thee, Fat Person,” which perhaps only half-jokingly blames his obesity on the Marshall Plan).

One track from My Son, The Nut, a spoof of summer camp entitled “Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh,” became a surprise novelty hit, reaching #2 on the national Billboard Hot 100 chart for three weeks in late 1963. The lyrics were sung to the tune of one segment of Ponchielli’s “Dance of the Hours”, familiar to the public because of its use in the Walt Disney film Fantasia. That December, Sherman’s “The Twelve Gifts of Christmas” single appeared on Billboard’s separate Christmas chart. Sherman had one other Top 40 hit, a 1965 take-off on the Petula Clark hit “Downtown” called “Crazy Downtown”, which spent one week at #40. Two other Sherman singles charted in the lower regions of the Billboard 100: an updated “Hello Mudduh, Hello Fadduh” (#59 in 1964), and “The Drinking Man’s Diet” (#98 in 1965). He “Bubbled Under” with “The End Of A Symphony”, reaching #113 in 1964, spotlighting Arthur Fiedler’s Boston Pops Orchestra.

Decline in Popularity: Sherman’s career success was short-lived: after peaking in 1963, his popularity declined rather quickly. After the JFK assassination, impersonator Vaughn Meader vowed to never again do a Kennedy impression, and perhaps because of this ominous shadow – Meader was a very popular parody impressionist of the day – and the resulting reluctance to book such acts, the public saw less of Sherman’s type of comedy. By 1965, Sherman had released two albums that did not make the Top 50 and in 1966, Warner Brothers dropped him from the label. His last album for the company, Togetherness, was released in 1967 to poor reviews and poorer sales. All of Sherman’s previous releases had been recorded in front of a live studio audience – or in the case of Live, Hoping You Are The Same, recorded during a Las Vegas performance – but Togetherness was not, and the lack of an audience and their response affected the result, as did the nondescript backup singers and studio orchestra.

On and Off Broadway: In 1969, Sherman wrote the script and lyrics – but not the music, which was written by Albert Hague – for The Fig Leaves Are Falling, a flop Broadway musical that lasted only four performances in 1969, despite direction by George Abbott and a cast that included Barry Nelson, Dorothy Loudon and David Cassidy. Still creative, in 1973 Sherman published the controversial The Rape of the A*P*E*, which detailed his point of view on American Puritanism and the sexual revolution.

With Dr. Suess: In 1971, Sherman was the voice of Dr. Seuss’s “The Cat in the Hat” for the television special. He also did voice work for Dr. Seuss on the Loose, his last project before his death.

Death: Late in his life, Sherman drank and ate heavily, which resulted in a dangerous weight gain; he later developed diabetes and struggled with lung disease. In 1966, his wife Dee filed for divorce, and received full custody of their son and daughter.

Sherman lived on unemployment for a time and moved into the Motion Picture Home, near Calabasas, California for a short time in order to lose weight. He died of emphysema at home in West Hollywood ten days before his 49th birthday. He is entombed in Culver City, California’s Hillside Memorial Park Cemetery.

Legacy: Sherman was the inspiration for a new generation of developing parodists such as “Weird Al” Yankovic, who pays homage to Sherman on the cover of his first LP. Sherman’s hit song, “Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh” has been translated into other languages. In one notable example, the Dutch-Swedish poet Cornelis Vreeswijk has translated the song into Swedish and adopted it as his own.

 

Video: Hello Muddah Hello Faddah (1963)

Bonus Video: Harvey and Sheila (1963)

 

Special thanks to www.mahalo.com and www.youtube.com

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