Friday, April 19, 2013

To Absent Friends: Pat Summerall and Frank Bank

Pat Summerall died this past week at the age of 82.  Most know Summerall as one of the great TV Network play-by-play guys, but you have to be up there in years to remember him as football player, and a pretty good one at that, so let's let the picture here depict him in his playing days.  He retired as a player after the 1961 season, and became a play-by-play guy, not a color analyst.  He soon became the #1 guy in the NFL rotation for CBS, teaming first with Tom Brookshier and later with John Madden, and moved to Fox when they swooped up the NFL rights from CBS.  He was a calm voice who let the pictures do the talking when telecasting a game.  Wish more broadcasters did the same.  He was also the voice of US Open tennis on CBS, and more significantly, golf on CBS.  Who can forget him on the golf telecasts teasing the upcoming programming for the evening on CBS:  "Tonight following your local news, Sixty Minutes, followed by Murder...(long pause)...She Wrote."

Summerall's full name was George Allen Summerall.  A placekicker in the NFL, he supposedly picked up the name for which he was know because of the frequent listings in NFL box scores of "PAT - Summerall".  That story probably isn't true, but ti should be!

As someone said, if you heard Summerall doing the broadcast, you knew it was a big event.

Perhaps less notable was the death of actor Frank Bank at the age of 71.  Actually, Bank was no longer an actor, but as a teenager, he played Clarence "Lumpy" Rutherford, one of the pals of Wally Cleaver on "Leave It To Beaver".  According to the obituary, and obituaries can be the most interesting things to read in the paper sometimes, Bank left acting after his teenage years, went to college, and became somewhat of a whiz in the stocks-and-bonds/financial planning field.  He earned a six figure income in that field, and handled the finances of many  of his old acting colleagues, including Barbara (June Cleaver) Billingsly.  Interestingly enough, he never talked about his youthful days as an actor on one of TV's biggest hit shows, and his own children were unaware of his past until they were well into their  teens themselves.

RIP Pat Summerall and Frank Bank

1 comment:

  1. I knew of the death of Frank Bank, but not "the rest of his story" as told by the Grandstander.

    Also didn't know about "PAT" Summerall. Like you said if it isn't true it ought to be.

    I don't always comment on the Grandstander but I pretty much read (and enjoy) everyone of them.