Gillette Cavalcade of Sports (1944– )
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By far the most popular show was "Gillette's Cavalcade of Sports," spotlighting boxing, the "Friday Night Fights" from Madison Square Garden in New York City. The bell would sound and Jimmy Powers at ringside would announce, "Friday night fights are on the air!" Then Sharpie the Parrot would squawk, "Look sharp! Feel sharp! Be Sharp! With Gillette razor blades."
Wrestling on Saturday nights was second to the Friday night fights. But boxing always drew the bigger crowd. Fights were so popular that all weight divisions were represented, not just heavy weights.
Viewers were treated to the likes of Jersey Joe Walcott, Rocky Marciano, and Ezzard Charles. The fight I remember most was the one we all missed (at least we missed the knockout) because it was over while we were visiting. Jersey Joe Walcott had lost the World's Heavyweight Crown to Rocky Marciano. In attempting to regain the Crown, he was knocked out in the first round by Marciano. This match was televised from Chicago rather than from Madison Square Garden.
SPORTS IS AND always has been big on the TV Tube and no company was bigger in advertising and indeed solely sponsoring such events as the World Series, College Football Bowl Games and, of course, THE Friday NIGHT FIGHTS.
USUALLY ORIGINATING FROM New York's very famous Madison Square Garden, our Friday evening living rooms were filled with guests with names such as: Sugar Ray Robinson, Rocky Graziano, Jake La Motta, Rocky Marciano, Joey Giardello, Rory Calhoun, Archie Moore, Gene Fulmer, Carmen Basilio, Bob Satterfield, Yama Bahama, Kid Gavalan, Floyd Patterson, Bobby "Sugar" Hines, etc., etc., etc........
THE GUY WE remember best doing the ringside commentary was Jimmy Powers; who seemed to be the host for the lion's share of the series run. Don Dunphy is the other name that we recall and it was he who did a guest shot in RAGING BULL portraying himself.
ALTHOUGH WE HAVE never been a big fan of Boxing, we surely must have learned a thing or two by sitting next to our own Dad, the late Clem Ryan (1914-74), for we were able to recognize and identify so many of these guys in old films that appear on ESPN CLASSIC and other outlets.
NOTE: * Gillette had some other, more diversified companies in its portfolio. They would often have their own advertisements played during the Friday NIGHT FIGHTS and other Sports broadcasts. They included Papermate Pens (the 1st of the ballpoints) and, believe it or not, Toni Home Permanent, for the Ladies!!!!