Monday, June 25, 2012

1957, WABC & Howard Cosell

1957 was an exciting time for me. I had been hired by WABC radio to write promotional material and every day was a new adventure.

I was living in Tudor City, which was located near the United Nations on 42nd Street. My place of business was on the opposite side of town at West 86th Street. This was a bit of a hike but I actually walked it many mornings. I would be dressed “to the nines” but wearing sneakers and carrying my “stilettos” in a shoulder bag! I would start out very early and loved to stop and buy breakfast at one of the open-air carts that dotted the streets. This would consist of two eggs on toast and a few sliced tomatoes.

The days at work were long and very tiring and I seldom walked home. Often I would share a cab with others who lived on the East side, or were taking a train home to the suburbs from Grand Central Station. One of the regulars who did this was a young man named Howard Cosell.

Howard worked on the “broadcasting” floor of our building so I never ran into him except on our rides to the East side. His demeanor was always extremely proper and I had no reason to believe that he would become one of the most controversial figures in the world of sports reporting.

The thing I remember most about Howard Cosell was his quiet and compelling voice. The nasal sound was there but I never heard the excited and almost-manic quality that were to become his particular trademark. I remember seeing the Woody Allen movie “Bananas” years later and being shocked at Howard’s part in it.

Howard loved music and especially opera. He never tired of telling us about the shows that he and his wife had seen. He would outline the plots of the operas and when and where they had been performed. He was a born teacher and we were avid students.

Howard Cosell was a sportscaster like no other. He has been revered and despised but he has never been forgotten. I don’t know if he changed as he became famous but somehow I doubt it. I prefer to believe that he was a man with strong opinions and loves and that he couldn’t attempt to please all the people all the time. He probably didn’t care to either.

Howard is many things to many people...but to me he will always be the gentleman who insisted on paying the cab-fare.


Blogger NCmountainwoman said...

I will think of Howard Cosell in a different light now. Nice post.

5:11 PM  
Blogger ellen said...

Dearest Ginnie,
I well remember him and not in a bad light.
You are such an amazing person...truly.
I send love to you.

8:19 PM  
Blogger Arkansas Patti said...

Wow, how great to have met someone "before" they were famous. I always enjoyed him on Monday Night Football. He certainly was unique.

4:01 AM  
Blogger Anvilcloud said...

Muhammad Ali always thought highly of him.

7:30 AM  
Blogger Diana said...

How interesting Ginnie. I learned things I never knew about Howard .
It did sound like an exciting time in your life. Please tell us more, I love it! Love Di ♥

5:04 AM  
Blogger kenju said...

I will now always think of him in a different light too, Ginnie. You have met such interesting people!! Who would have known he liked opera!?

8:51 AM  
Blogger Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Ginnie as a former NJ native who listened to ABC radio all the time, I remember Mr. Cosell.Thanks for showing us a lovely side of him other than the feisty sportscaster so many knew him as from his broadcasts.

3:49 PM  
Blogger Cazzie!!! said...

As usual, your words make me smile. :) xoxo

1:26 AM  
Anonymous schmidleysscribblins, said...

How clever you were to wear sneakers and carry your shoes in a little bag. Would that I had done that. Instead, I spent a fortune on shoes as I replaced one pair of air-vent damaged shoes (I fell through the grates over and over) after another. Too soon old, to late wise.

Nice memories you have and I enjoy reading about them.


12:37 PM  
Blogger Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

You are right, we will always remember Howard Cosell. He was one of the great characters of broadcasting. Now it seems broadcasters are discouraged from being too controversial, unless you are one of the right wingnuts.

I hope you have a nice time visiting with family and friends in the North East. If you think you will get away from the heat. . .don't count on it. It is hot where I live once again.

1:37 PM  
Blogger Syd said...

Another one of your many touches with a celebrity. You have such interesting stories about people.

4:54 AM  

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