How an appointment with a coach became a lesson on packing
THIS column will be about Douglas Edwards, CBS, 1946; Dana X. Bible; Edward R. Murrow; and something my father once told me. Douglas Edwards is our pioneer television anchorman. He began the CBS Television News in 1946. He is retiring tomorrow. He richly deserved the lengthy story in this paper March 9, which began on Page 1. During World War II, Mr. Edwards worked for CBS Radio under Edward R. Murrow in Europe. Both came to CBS in New York in 1946. So did I - Ted Husing quit CBS in July, and Murrow hired me as director of sports.
I selected and broadcast on radio the college football games. As the 1946 season matured, a game in Texas got bigger and bigger - Texas at Rice. Both teams were rolling along with perfect records.
But what made this game even more appealing was the great coach at Texas, Dana X. Bible. This was his 10th and final season as coach at Texas. He had announced his retirement in advance, just as Edwards had done. Bible had been coaching 33 years - previously at Texas A&M and Nebraska - and was rated with Bob Zuppke, Knute Rockne, Amos Alonzo Stagg, Fielding Yost, and Pop Warner. He had won everything a big-name coach could win, and now this was his last season. He had a splendid team, and the hope in Texas was for an undefeated season.
Preparation is the key to broadcasting any sport, especially football, which at best is organized confusion. I arranged to be in Austin, Texas, on Thursday to see coach Bible, whom I'd never met, then be in Houston Friday with Rice coach Jess Neeley. When I telephoned Bible, he warned me to be strictly on time, as his schedule was very heavy.
The plane into Austin was coming into the airport shortly after daybreak. The stewardess had just handed me a cup of coffee. Suddenly the plane hit an air pocket and dropped. The coffee splashed squarely into my lap.
I was traveling light. For some reason, I hadn't packed an extra jacket or pants.
As soon as I got to the hotel, I sent for the bellman and tried to impress on him that I had to have my pants back from the valet in a very short time. - that I had to see coach Bible and must be prompt.
An hour. No pants. Two hours. No pants. Three hours. No pants. Frantic telephone calls. The pants are coming, but they didn't come. I had no choice but to call coach Bible and say I would have to be late because I had no pants. A man is very helpless in a strange city without a pair of pants.
Another hour. No pants. Another call to coach Bible, who didn't think this was very funny - the new director of CBS Sports, in a downtown hotel, without pants.
Finally, I got my pants. Coach Bible saw me pleasantly, I had my interview with him, saw film of his team's previous game, and went on to Houston. I carefully avoided having coffee on the plane. Sometimes, quite often in fact, a so-called big game turns into a laugher. This one was a beauty, 18-13. Rice, however, had the 18 points and spoiled Bible's hope for an undefeated farewell season.
When I read in the story on Douglas Edwards that he'd been our first TV news anchorman, starting in 1946, it all came back: the sudden drop of the plane, the coffee in my lap, my only pair of pants, coach Bible rearranging his busy schedule.
My father often told me, ``Son, it's all right to make a mistake. But there is no excuse for ever making that same mistake again.''
Since that Rice-Texas game of 1946, I've never gone anywhere out of town without at least one extra pair of pants. At least one.