Raw footage for the documentary "Veeck: A Man For Any Season." In this video, Veeck is interviewed in Assembly Hall at the Illinois high school basketball championship tournament in Champaign, IL.
00:00Copy video clip URL Black.
00:13Copy video clip URL Continuation of interview. Tape opens with Veeck in conversation with Herb Gould about the tournament. He then poses with another man for a picture and jokes with him.
02:00Copy video clip URL The interviewer speculates that Veeck’s attitude about appreciating every moment of life has been with him his whole life. Veeck responds that “I’ve been lucky. I’ve had a very varied life. And it’s had a great many bright colors and not many dull colors.” He claims that he’s never been bored, even when spending 9 months in bed, saying that there’s always something new to learn or experience. He talks about books, the use of your hands to make things, but especially people are the main reason why life is interesting. He tells the story of going for dinner the previous night, pointing out that everywhere you look there are interesting things which are “grounds for endless fascination.”
05:50Copy video clip URL Veeck decries fast food because of the lack of variety and mediocrity, rather than the highs and lows of differing experiences. “What if there were no ritz and no redwood? You have to have contrast, you have to have difference to appreciate.”
07:30Copy video clip URL Veeck goes back to analysis of the tournament, continuing with the theme of the unexpected and the variety of each game and each day.
08:40Copy video clip URL He also credits his wife, Mary Frances, for his lack of boredom, noting that she plays many roles and keeps things interesting. He also credits his kids, highlighting that they are all different, saying, “it’s the difference that adds the seasoning to life.” He connects this to promotions in baseball, where the key element is incongruity. He uses the examples of giving one person in the ball park 30,000 Eskimo Pies (rather than giving each person 1 Eskimo Pie) or giving someone an elephant (rather than a car) because these offer intrigue and are much more fun. “Every person I talk to is different. Every person has a different approach. Every person adds something to my life. And I’d like to think that I’ve added a little something maybe to some of theirs.”
11:40Copy video clip URL The interviewer notes that Veeck’s generosity and openness to allow people into his life has added to this. Veeck cuts her off, saying, “You’ve got that wrong. I’ve been taking advantage of their tolerance by intruding on their world.”
13:00Copy video clip URL Producer Tom Weinberg asks Veeck to expand on his concept of time being precious. Veeck responds, saying that time is relative. He uses the example of Christmas Eve or a summer day to a child. He compares the sense of time as being more finite as you get older to the young who have limitless time. He speculates that older people don’t sleep as much because they realize that their time is limited, as opposed to babies, who sleep all the time.
15:30Copy video clip URL “You want to utilize the little time you have.” He pauses, then proceeds to tell the story about when he was in the hospital a year before, noting that “the greatest fear I had when I was in Illinois Masonic Hospital was not getting to see her [Mary Frances] again if something should happen to me. And it looked at the time as if something were going to happen to me.” He tears up, saying, “And that worried me. It made me appreciate more the value of time.”
17:42Copy video clip URL End of tape.