Sunday, February 6, 2011

Super Bowl Number 1

How crazy is this?  There is no existing copy of Super Bowl Number 1?  None of the TV Broadcast Companies had the forsight to record the video???  Really.  Wow.

What is equally amazing is the NFLs take on it….we own it, here is $30K for bailing our asses out…now go away.

Check out the article and afterwards the vintage Muriel Cigar ad that is mentioned. 

Everyone have a great Super Bowl Sunday and Go Pack-

Found at Last: A Tape of the First Super Bowl

Football fans know what happened in Super Bowl I. The game, which was played on January 15, 1967, was the first showdown between the NFL and AFL champions. It ended with the Green Bay Packers stomping the Kansas City Chiefs, 35-10.

For years, the Holy Grail of American sports video has been Super Bowl I -- the championship game between the Green Bay Packers and the Kansas City Chiefs. Now, the Paley Center for Media in New York believes it has a tape of a mostly complete broadcast of the 1967 game. WSJ's Lee Hawkins reports.

Unless they were one of the 61,946 people at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum that day, or one of the fans who watched it live on NBC or CBS, there's one thing that all football fans have in common: They've never actually seen the game.

In a bizarre confluence of events, neither network preserved a tape. All that survived of this broadcast is sideline footage shot by NFL Films and roughly 30 seconds of footage CBS included in a pre-game show for Super Bowl XXV. Somehow, an historic football game that was seen by 26.8 million people had, for all intents and purposes, vanished.

HBO executive Rick Bernstein, who produced a two-part history of sports television in 1991, is one of many who have searched for a tape. He says his team chased numerous leads, from a reported copy in Cuba to rumors that Hugh Hefner might have recorded the game on a videotape machine in the Playboy Mansion. Nothing turned up. "It's the holy grail," Mr. Bernstein says.

A scene from the recently recovered tape of the 1967 CBS broadcast of Super Bowl I between the Green Bay Packers and the Kansas City Chiefs.

The long search may finally be over. The Paley Center for Media in New York, which had searched for the game footage for some time, has restored what it believes to be a genuine copy of the CBS broadcast. The 94-minute tape, which has never been shown to the public, was donated to the center by its owner in return for having it restored. It was originally recorded on bulky two-inch video and had been stored in an attic in Pennsylvania for nearly 38 years, the Paley Center says.

Ron Simon, a curator at the Paley Center, said the center's archivists had issued "most-wanted" lists in the past for lost tapes it coveted, and the Super Bowl I broadcast was always on them. Mr. Simon says the sequence of plays shown, the announcers and graphics that appear and the general look of the production leave no doubt that the tape is real. "I've seen faked games before, and this is not one," he says.

Mr. Simon likens the tape's emergence to the center's discovery of lost episodes of "The Honeymooners." "This is one of the great finds," he says.

It seems preposterous now, in the DVR age, that a telecast shown by two major networks could go missing. But in 1967, "people just didn't have video recorders at home," Mr. Simon explains. He says the networks didn't develop consistent policies for preserving programs until the 1970s and that while they did a good job of preserving prime-time programs, other shows–daytime shows, morning shows, and sports–weren't usually preserved at all. Representatives from both CBS and NBC confirmed the networks do not have copies of their broadcasts.

The 94-minute tape, which has never been shown to the public, was donated to the center by its owner in return for having it restored.

The tape's owner said through his attorney, Steve Harwood of Norfolk, Va., that the recording had been shot by his client's father, who recorded the broadcast by WDAU-TV in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Pa., on a videotape machine at his workplace in hopes the tapes might someday be valuable.

In the summer of 2005, Mr. Harwood says that the tape's owner found out that Sports Illustrated had named the missing Super Bowl broadcast one of the "lost treasures" of sports and estimated the tapes were worth more than $1 million. Mr. Harwood says his client decided to approach the Paley Center about restoring the tape.

WSJ's J.R. Whalen reveals some little-known facts about Super Bowl I, played in 1967. Like, for instance, it wasn't even called the Super Bowl.

Doug Warner, the Paley Center's director of engineering, remembers the day when the unthinkable happened. "This guy showed up with a shopping bag that had Super Bowl I in it."

The two reels of two-inch quadruplex tape were warped and slightly beat up. To restore the recording, the Paley Center worked with a consultant with expertise in crude tape machines used to record them and hired New Jersey-based film preservation house Specs Bros. to do the work. The center says it was allowed to keep a copy but cannot show it without the owner's permission. (The still photographs accompanying this story and the short clips available on were provided by Mr. Harwood).

The tape, which is in color, is an absorbing time capsule. It contains vintage commercials for McDonald's (then boasting of "Over Two Billion Served") and Muriel cigars ("So much more cigar for just 10 cents"). The first touchdown in Super Bowl history—a 37-yard pass from Green Bay's Bart Starr to backup wide receiver Max McGee—is shown in a replay where the words "video tape" appear on the screen. There's some understated commentary from CBS broadcasters Jack Whitaker, Ray Scott and Frank Gifford ("Dawson... Sideline... Burford... Incomplete.") and a rare postgame grin from Packers head coach Vince Lombardi.

The recording also includes a shocking sight for a Super Bowl: empty seats. The game didn't sell out, even with ticket prices that topped out at $12.

The tape isn't perfect. The halftime show and a large chunk of the third quarter are missing. The person who recorded it skipped over some breaks in the action. The image pixelates on occasion, the sound quality varies and there are occasional eruptions of white static at the side of the screen.

Mr. Harwood, the attorney, says he contacted the NFL in 2005 about the tape. He says the league sent him a letter on Dec. 16, 2005 claiming the NFL was the exclusive owner of the copyright. Mr. Harwood says the NFL offered his client $30,000 for the tape and his client declined. Mr. Harwood said his client would like to sell the tapes and make them available to the public if the legal issues can be resolved.

Whatever its fate, the tape's discovery is the first strong evidence that one of the lost treasures of sports may not be lost after all. "This is an amazing document," Mr. Simon says.

1 comment:

  1. I remember watching that game with my Dad.

    Great Commercial! I wonder if you can still find those cigars, or would want to? :)


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