50 Years Ago, Marv Got His Big Break

50 Years Ago, Marv Got His Big Break

Fifty years ago this Sunday, in a media world hardly imaginable today, a play-by-play icon got his break. 

It was long before Americans instantly accessed sports programming around the clock. In 1963, fans settled for a limited number of televised games, often on shadowy black-and-white screens that jittered and fidgeted.

Radio still filled many voids. Ground breaking play-by-play announcers, Mel Allen and Red Barber on baseball and Marty Glickman on football and basketball, delivered graphic word-pictures that mesmerized eager audiences.

Glickman authored basketball's nomenclature on radio, and his pioneering broadcasts after the war fostered interest in the game. One of the early ex-athletes to turn announcer, Glickman, an Olympic track star, first called college doubleheaders and later Knicks games from the old Madison Square Garden at 8th Avenue and 50th Street. By the 1960's, Glickman was also closely identified with his pulsating coverage of the football Giants, whose popularity was starting to surge.

In Brooklyn, meanwhile, a young Marv Albert knew just what he wanted: a career in play-by-play. Albert took a particular shine to basketball, due in part to his fascination with Glickman's rhythmic, rapid-fire and captivating Knicks broadcasts.

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