Tonawanda News


July 26, 2013

Emile Griffith and the 'fatal barrage'

Tonawanda News — Funny, what you remember. Contrary to modern belief, life was in color, prior to the advent of color television. I grew up in a house painted green, had a bedroom painted blue with white woodwork. The television was black and white, and I watched plenty of it.

I was around to see the sport of boxing go into decline and disrepute (there was a time, pre-television, in which baseball, boxing and horse racing were America’s premier sports), and it did so largely, I suspect, because of television. Once casual fans got an up-close-and-personal view of boxing, as television can offer better than anything other than actually being there, it lost whatever mystery and excitement it had. Unlike football, the elements and complexities of which are multiplied by TV.

There actually was a television presentation called “Gillette Friday Night Fights.” I forget the network, but for those of use awake but too young to go out on a Friday, it remains in memory. A boxing match of flexible length (three-minute rounds and a one-minute break, between rounds, meant a razor blades commercial every three minutes. Perfect.) was followed by an interview with the winner. 

A boxing match could be over in seconds, but the program, as I recall, was scheduled for 45 minutes and followed by some sort of bowling show that included advertisements for pipe tobacco, sung by the Sportsmen’s Quartet, who also did occasional duty as singers on Jack Benny’s program.

I saw a Saturday night fight as well, with details I could not comprehend, but they were details nonetheless. 

Madison Square Garden, 1962. Emile Griffith and Benny “Kid” Paret, for the welterweight championship. All that New York City action and hubbub, all that metropolitan speed and motion. Pre-fight rumors of bad blood between the fighters (Paret, a brash Cuban, called Griffith a maricon, a slang word for gay and not a complimentary one). 

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  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: On lines blurred, crossed and nonexistent It strikes me more and more how blurry the lines have gotten in all facets of our world, large and small.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tucker, Barbara.jpg TUCKER: Oh, the joys of Sound Off Never thought the words "Thank goodness for Sound Off" would ever be printed here.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • adamczyk, ed.jpg ADAMCZYK: And now for something completely different... Last weekend I attended a local movie theater (a plushy, posh experience; they design these places now to get you out of your living room and away from your home electronics) to watch the sun set on the British Empire.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • wallace, amy.jpg WALLACE: Too much information? Is there such a thing as TMI or too much information anymore? Some might say yes.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: On reading and the lack thereof It was surprising to me a few weeks ago when a friend asked a group of us to estimate how many books we have each read over the last five years. The English teacher said 200 and he far and away led the pack. I was probably the median and my number was 20-25.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • confer, bob.jpg CONFER: A Con-Con would be a con game

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: Conflict in Ukraine now a concern of global proportions It seems increasingly clear Ukrainian separatists, with the help from the Russian military, are responsible for the tragedy. They, of course, have denied it. They've also denied access to the crash site to international investigators seeking to recover the dead and determine what happened. That's not something the innocent party does.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADAMCZYK: Personal development, rendered in steel Accepting the premise that everyone needs to fill the same amount of time every day (24 hours, every day), some people use theirs rebuilding things, tangible things, and thus fulfill a few intangible goals.

    July 18, 2014

  • WALLACE: Festival season is underway Summer is the season of fairs and festivals. From Canal Fest in the Tonawandas to the Allentown Art Festival and Italian Heritage Festival in Buffalo to the Erie County Fair in Hamburg, the Western New York area has no shortage of things to do with the family over the summer.

    July 17, 2014

  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: King George's abdication leaves many questions I've covered Niagara County politics for 10 years and it's been a fascinating -- and often infuriating -- experience. With the news the man known with equal parts respect and cynicism as "King George" is walking away it's about to get more interesting.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo