Sunday, October 26, 2008

Instant Replay: the Day That Changed Sports Forever by Tony Verna

On December 7, 1963, TV and sport history was made when the first "instant replay" ever seen on the air was broadcast during the Army-Navy game on CBS Television. The creator was twenty-nine-year-old "wunderkind" director Tony Verna, whose illustrious show-business career has spanned forty-five years of Sport and Entertainment history.

His broadcast hallmark was his ability to continually come up with advances in the use of cameras, program content, and creative interplay. Honored by the Directors Guild of America with a "Lifetime Achievement Award," Verna produced and/or directed five Super Bowls, Rome Olympics, NBA Championships, twelve Kentucky Derbies, and won an Emmy for the Los Angeles Olympics.

This heartwarming, inspiring, and funny story of an "entertainment life" portrays his varied career which included creating, producing and directing Pope John Paul's billion-viewer TV Special "A Prayer for World Peace," the historic "Live Aid," and as President of Caesar's Palace, was involved in all their entertainment projects.

My Review:
Without instant replay, games would be won by the "wrong" teams. Here is the behind-the-scenes story of the invention of instant replay as told by the creator himself. This is a good source of detailed information of the interesting life of a man in the field of television and sports. For instance, the first time instant replay was introduced--during the fourth quarter of a CBS telecast of the Army-Navy game from Municipal Stadium in Philadelphia on December 7, 1963--the announcer was fearful that television viewers might think that Army had scored another touchdown! So, he said, "This is not Live! Ladies and Gentlemen, Army did score again." But, what would we do without it now?

The book is written chronologically in first person, with chapters divided every ten years. This would help anyone to use this as a resource to look up information relative to a particular time period.

Although at times repetitive, so much information is intriguing: the famous people the author has met, conversations he's had, and his detailed experiences, all make this a worthwhile read, especially for those interested in sports and television.

No comments: