Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Cosell and Ali …

Watching the 2001 film “Ali” recently brought back so many wonderful memories of my years in New York City in the late 50’s.

I did not know Muhammed Ali but I was definitely aware of the colorful sportscaster Howard Cosell. I had to laugh when (in the film) Ali asks for his support and Howard, working at WABC radio, tells him it would be difficult “because my bosses care only about Nielsen ratings.” I knew that feeling well since I worked there too writing promotional material and I had learned to interpret reams of facts and figures to always make our network Number One !

Howard was an acquaintance who, along with others, would share a cab with me to the East side…he to Grand Central Station and me to my apartment in Tudor City. 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 had no reason to believe that he would become one of the most controversial figures in the world of sports reporting.

Howard was the first sportscaster to call the heavyweight champion, originally known as Cassius Clay, by his new name Muhammed Ali. It was actually considered scandalous to many Americans. I left WABC in 1959 when my first child was born but it was a treat to follow Howard’s career and, especially, his very particular friendship with Ali.

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


Blogger Anvilcloud said...

He was a sports icon.

4:56 AM  
Blogger lucylocket said...

What an interesting life you've led! Thanks for sharing with us, your readers.

6:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A very nice memory Ginnie. Thanks for sharing.

5:53 AM  
Blogger ellen said...

What wonderful memories, Ginnie. Thanks for sharing.

9:58 AM  

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