Sunday, September 11, 2005

Chris Schenkel, 1923-2005

Longtime ABC Sports broadcaster Chris Schenkel died today at the age of 82.

Schenkel played a key role in my childhood as the play-by-play voice on ABC's Saturday afternoon telecasts of the Professional Bowlers' Tour — a staple of my weekend viewing regimen. Partnered first with Bowling Hall of Famer Billy Welu, and later with Nelson "Bo" Burton, Jr., the angular Schenkel lent an air of sophistication and class to a game largely populated by beer-swilling, overweight guys wearing ugly shoes. He was also a staple of ABC's coverage of the Olympic Games, beginning in 1968.

Chris popped up occasionally in movies, usually in a cameo as himself broadcasting some fictional sporting event. Fans of the Farrelly brothers and their films (and there are such folks, proving once again that there's simply no accounting for the tastes of the American public) will recall Schenkel's play-by-play appearance in Kingpin, the movie in which Randy Quaid plays an Amish yokel being trained as a pro bowler by the prosthetic-handed Woody Harrelson. (Don't blame me — I didn't make it up.)

My condolences to the Schenkel family.

2 insisted on sticking two cents in:

Anonymous Ben offered these pearls of wisdom...

My favorite Chris Schenkel moment was the 1972 Olympic gold medal men's basketball game. I recently got to hear his call in its entirety.

With so many sports people today either losing all control getting caught up in the moment or being such blatent homers, simple story-telling is becoming a lost art, especially in the broadcast booth. Schenkel, McKay, and Gowdy made a sporting event fun to watch even if you didn't care who won.

11:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous offered these pearls of wisdom...

Schenkel didn't call that controversial game of USA vs USSR in 72, Frank Gifford did, but he did do the NBA with Jack Twyman when Willis Reed made his grand entrance, us bowlers will miss him, he was Mr. Bowling!

12:23 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home