Thursday, November 09, 2006


Note, 2/14/07: These vids got taken down, but they'll be back soon. Sorry.

Warning: There are 12 videos to watch in this post. One for each year of the 80s, an intro and a closing.

If you grew up in the tri-state area in the eighties, and your parents watched the Cee Bee Ess station every night to get the news while you watched something else on another TV until they called you downstairs when the sports report came on, you are familiar with Warner W. (Watch the videos for his last name. I'm trying to make sure these don't get taken down from YouTube.)

Warner was absolutely classic. Every night, his smiling face would come on and he'd say "Let's go to the videotape!" He'd do "plays of the week," which would be accompanied by wacky music. Then there'd be the monthly and yearly versions.

In January of 1990, Warner came out with "Plays of the Decade," which warranted an hour-long special. I missed that, but I taped the edited half-hour version. It is rumored that my friend Deane has the hour-long one, though.

In the late nineties, I found the tape, and showed it to my group of friends. It became an instant tradition.

We had this frigger memorized. We'd watch it--with 1990 commercials--and say every line, like we were at some sort of Rocky Blooper Picture Show. (Speaking of Rocky, Warner appeared as an announcer in Rocky IV, the first Rocky film I saw in the theater--in Danbury, where the Super FoodMart now stands.)

We'd quote it like, well, like ourselves quoting Ghostbusters. "Down goes Roberto Duran." "...and the Buena Vista coach faints!" "...and hits Ripken in the head!"

Other quotes were perfect for real life. If you were waiting for someone's answer to a question: "What's the call, ref?!" Somebody makes a good shot in a pickup game: "Nice shot, Mel!"

The ball rolls around the rim for more than a half second: "The longest roll in a college game!" Your friend tries to blow a ball foul: "Blow it, Lenny, blow it!" Okay, that one's not likely to happen. But, I assure you, we'd break it out for anything close.

These players' names, for their committing of these bloopers and their making of these amazing plays, became part of our lexicon: Gymnast Brian Meeker ("Ohhhhh! Meeker was not injured.") (In Warner's world, everyone always turns out fine: "The worst crash of a hydrofoil with only a slight injury to the driver.") Iowa defensive back Ron Hauley. "...back to" Kevin Moen. Cheerleader Sally Neigh. Matadors Vincente Ruez and Jose Manzaneri. Kickboxers Joe Poe and Tom McElrue. 250-pound kicker William Ritten. They're all here for you.

Of course, there are also Warner's famous catch phrases to imitate: "Come awn, guys!" "Give us a break." "...and the ball rolls in!" "And Dr. Frank Field was at the game..." (He'd show people in the crowd who looked like celebs or other members of the news team.) "If you had West Virginia and 29 points, YOU LOST."

Shortly after our late-90s Warner obsession, he returned to New York, where he'd stay until 2004. It was good to have him back, although it was a little Pet Sematary-ish. You can't bury Warner in the old Micmac burial grounds and expect him to come back good as new. To me, he'll always represent the happy-go-lucky 80s. The clip of him and Andre the Giant--I mean, look at the background. You can't find stuff like that anymore. You can buy it at the "vintage" store for 30 bucks, but I can tell the difference. I loved those days when you had to move the antenna to get a station in, and UHF? Good luck! That was a bonus. And watching stations go off the air at night. It was like a win. Those days were so, so...Barney Miller. 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 11, 13. The original nine colonies. Pix pix pix pix pix pix pix.....

But the best part of this show, with all apologies to Warner and the athletes, is the "A SPECIAL Presentation" graphic at the beginning. This thing was on before all the Charlie Brown specials growing up. And the sound effect that accompanies the spinning "SPECIAL"--what is that? My lifelong dream is to be in a band where I'm the "coo-coodly-coodly coodly-coo-coo fwaaaaah. (duh nun duh nun) Fwah!"-player.

So, I finally uploaded it, in segments, for your viewing pleasure. Hopefully, you'll get as much enjoyment out of it as we did, although that's highly unlikely.

My favorite Warnerism is his adamant insistence that the foul pole should be called the fair pole since if a ball hits it, the ball is fair.
"Of Course it's the fair pole. It's a fair ball":

"& Spencer Christian is at the game"(Often The San Diego Chicken, The Phillie Phanatic or Youppi);

"This is Warner Wolf, Ernie?"
Great stuff, Jere. I was always a Warner Wolf fan. He usually showed highlights from the Red Sox games, as he realized that a lot of Sox fans watched, mostly in Connecticut. He and Len Berman were the only local sports news guys I ever watched with any regularity.

I miss WW, but I've heard him on the radio lately doing commercial voiceovers...
For me it was "This is Warner Wolf, Jim?" (as in Jim Jensen.) The classic channel 2 news team: Jim Jensen, Michelle Marsh, Roland Smith, Mr. G with weather, and Warner with sports.

Q: Yeah, he's on those ads where he uses "New York/Long Island Honda Dealers" as an adverb: That's not just good, that's New York/Long Island Honda Dealers good. Something like that.
And Carol Martin!
Great review ....blast from the past! I also had taped that special and watched the heck out of it....although it's long gone now. Where in the world can someone find that thing nowadays????
I'd LOVE to have a copy! Someone email me if you have a line on how to get a copy! Thanks!

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