Once A Star #2

The second of two hour-long programs profiling former professional athletes. The show focuses on these athletes' lives after retiring from sports, with archival footage sprinkled throughout. We get an in-depth look at these personalities, while also indirectly getting a sense of the difference between professional sports of the '50s, '60s, and '70s versus today: virtually all of the athletes work for a living. This program includes segments on Former Chicago Bears Doug Atkins and Bill Wade;  pioneer female jockey Robyn Smith; hockey’s Dennis and Bobby Hull; pool hustler and oddball raconteur Minnesota Fats; baseball commissioner Bowie Kuhn; and former world heavyweight champion Floyd Patterson.

0:00Copy video clip URL Bars and tone. (There is a brief break around 0:30).

1:02Copy video clip URL Text mentions this show has WGN Emmy nomination.

1:20Copy video clip URL Opening titles for “Once a Star” and host introductions.

3:20Copy video clip URL 1963 Bears player Doug Atkins, #81.

3:33Copy video clip URL Atkins, now a beer distributor in Knoxville, TN and a pit bull owner, talks about the jobs he has had since leaving football. He was not prepared for the real world after leaving football.

4:25Copy video clip URL Atkins talks about the ’63 Bears, his favorite team he played on. He says it was the only team he played on that didn’t have a problem with cliques.

4:58Copy video clip URL Atkins talks about his reputation for laziness. Coach George Halas hired a detective to check up on his after practice habits. Halas was happy to find out all the gossip he found out about team problems.

5:56Copy video clip URL Atkins talks about the giant scales they had to weigh the players. They would manipulate the scale so they would appear to weigh less.

6:40Copy video clip URL Atkins talks about the fines they had to pay for being overweight.

6:59Copy video clip URL Atkins talks about the differences he had with Halas. He says that other players after they retired began to complain about Halas, but he thinks that’s bad, and was glad he got all of that out while he was still playing.

7:44Copy video clip URL Atkins talks about his frustration with the youth today who don’t know anything about football before the Super Bowl existed. He says the championship games back then were much harder than the Super Bowl.

8:33Copy video clip URL Atkins talks about the ‘63 Bears and Mike Ditka.

9:02Copy video clip URL Hosts talk about Atkins’ large size and about how unprepared Atkins was for post-football life. Also the fact that using detectives is very common.

10:05Copy video clip URL Brickhouse talks about an incident that occurred in 1963. When the Bears became the 1963 World Champs, player Ed O’Bradovich accidentally threw his helmet into the stands during the celebration. Fan Norm Wolf caught the helmet, and decided to give it back 22 years later, in honor of the 1985 Bears win. We see Wolf throw the helmet back to O’Bradovich.

11:23Copy video clip URL Commercial break.

11:34Copy video clip URL Stone introduces next segment about a female jockey, Robyn Smith. She is now 41 and is living in Beverly Hills with her husband, Fred Astaire.

2:00Copy video clip URL Smith talks about always wanting to be a jockey and a cowboy.

12:33Copy video clip URL 1974 clip. Smith talks about how she was just as good as all the men, but it was hard for her to get work. She says she has a God-given talent for getting horses to race. Most people just avoided hiring her since it was easier to avoid controversy. She never considered riding work since it was so much fun.

14:08Copy video clip URL Smith talks about how 1972 was her best year. This year she had a top agent for the only time. She only had him for two months on a special deal. She had a great season, but still got dumped.

15:07Copy video clip URL Smith married Fred Astaire in 1980 and quit riding. She says she just couldn’t do both because she is getting too old.

15:44Copy video clip URL Hosts talk about her career.

16:23Copy video clip URL Mengelt introduces Secretariat, champion horse. Since retiring from racing, he has been bred with 500 mares.

16:50Copy video clip URL Clip from Belmont Stakes 1973. Shots of Secretariat in 1985 getting groomed and exercising.

17:17Copy video clip URL Commercial break.

17:33Copy video clip URL Brickhouse introduces the Hull brothers, both hockey players for the Chicago Blackhawks. (Dennis and Bobby).

18:00Copy video clip URL Park Ridge, IL. At an ice rink, we are introduced to Bobby Hull, who is now a cattle breeder. He says he had a natural talent for hockey.

18:33Copy video clip URL Dennis, who is now an athletic director for IIT. He says he was not a natural player, but he practiced so much he became better than everyone else. He says his brother was a “real exciting player.”

19:20Copy video clip URL Bobby talks about Dennis’s abilities. He says that goalies were very scared of him. He says his dad was the driving force behind his success, but his mom helped him get through his dad’s harshness. He says he couldn’t have played without the pressure, which mostly came from his father.

20:34Copy video clip URL Dennis talks about the Blackhawks’ fans’ reputation for being so loud. Bobby says he would have played hockey even if he wasn’t paid.

21:03Copy video clip URL Dennis talks about liking his job with IIT. Bobby says making money is a cinch. They retired the same year and it was the first Christmas they spent together as a family for 20 years.

22:28Copy video clip URL Mengelt and Stone talk about missing holidays when they were professional athletes.

23:25Copy video clip URL Commercial break

23:43Copy video clip URL Clip from Celebrity Billiards 1968 with Zsa Zsa Gabor and Minnesota Fats.

24:27Copy video clip URL Hosts introduce Minnesota Fats, who hails from the streets of New York.

24:49Copy video clip URL Introduction to Fats’ pool career and style. Fats now lives in a hotel in Nashville.

25:17Copy video clip URL Fats is labeled onscreen as a legendary hustler. He himself says he was not a hustler. He says he always played the best players. He says he never asked for odds, he just wanted to play. He claims to have been a pool genius from when he was 8 years old.

25:44Copy video clip URL He talks about other players and about his own versatility. He says Masconi can’t play straight pool, but he himself can play anything. He even entered eating contests. He doesn’t eat junk foods, he eats chicken and turkey, not donuts and graham crackers. He talks about a friend who was a junkie for figs. He feeds pigeons every day.

28:35Copy video clip URL He says he plays differently when he’s playing for fun versus playing for money. He doesn’t try to beat people who are really bad, like children or politicians. He says he’s not scared of anything because he’s real smart and doesn’t take risks.

29:43Copy video clip URL Commercial break

29:59Copy video clip URL Stone introduces Bowie Kuhn, baseball commissioner.

30:29Copy video clip URL Kuhn discusses a variety of topics, such as the Media and how they treat people.

30:52Copy video clip URL Kuhn says that he is recognized more often than the players. He talks about his policies as commissioner.

31:25Copy video clip URL Kuhn talks about the relationship between TV and baseball. He doesn’t like the World Series being played during the day so that no one watches it.

31:59Copy video clip URL Kuhn on owning a team.

32:31Copy video clip URL Kuhn on the best interests for baseball. One has to consider the interests of the fans, owners, players, media and balance them. That is his job.

33:08Copy video clip URL Hosts argue about Bowie’s merits.

35:05Copy video clip URL Mengelt introduces Bill Wade, #9, quarterback for ’63 Bears.

35:30Copy video clip URL Bill Wade is now a banker. He talks about his love for football. He says ’61 was his best year; he didn’t like the way they played in ’63, it was less exciting. He talks about a game when it was 17 degrees below zero. Despite the cold, Coach George Halas wouldn’t let him put on long underwear.

36:48Copy video clip URL He talks about the contributions football has made to America. He says that soccer is getting very big, and he thinks this is dangerous because it is not a “total combat sport” like football, which he thinks is a better thing for America.

37:30Copy video clip URL The hosts disagree with Wade’s last statement.

38:08Copy video clip URL Commercial break

38:22Copy video clip URL Floyd Patterson, Heavyweight Champion of the World from Brooklyn. He held the heavyweight title for five years. He also was the youngest heavyweight champ in history. We see a clip from his 1956 fight against Archie Moore. Talks about thinking about boxing in his sleep.

39:55Copy video clip URL Patterson says that any time you love something so much you take it above and beyond what it is. He would have boxed without the money. Says every fighter that does that has a special spark within.

40:35Copy video clip URL Clips from two fights. He lost to Ingmar Johansson in 1959 and came back to beat him in 1960.

41:13Copy video clip URL Patterson says boxing is a revenge sport. Clip from Patterson vs Tom “Hurricane” Jackson 1957. Audio was peaking on original so it was hard to hear. Says eventually people started following him around so he went out in disguises. Clip from fight against Sonny Liston at Comiskey Park in 1962. (Patterson lost that fight).

42:55Copy video clip URL Says his life changed when he married his second wife. She became more important than boxing. He stopped after that when he realized something was gone from his sport. They now live in New Paltz, NY.

43:40Copy video clip URL He adopted a son, Tracey Harris Patterson, who he is now training as a lightweight.

45:46Copy video clip URL He says is very hard to be a regular part of society when you are famous.

46:04Copy video clip URL Hosts say Patterson has a good head on his shoulders.

46:49Copy video clip URL Commercial break.

47:00Copy video clip URL Hosts sum up show and talk about life after competition.

48:02Copy video clip URL End credits.

49:15Copy video clip URL End of tape.



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