March 6, 2014

US-USSR hockey, 1960 Winter Olympics

A little late with this perhaps, but I just ran across this footage today: CBS' coverage of the first period of the US - USSR hockey game at the 1960 Winter Olympics in Squaw Valley, CA, with - I believe - Bud Palmer at the mic for the play-by-play.  (There are several versions available; this one appears to be the complete game.)

A few observations: first, Bud Palmer isn't exactly an unbiased announcer, is he?  But I always enjoyed listening to his work.

As was the case with the 1980 Miracle on Ice, this isn't the gold medal game; the medals were decided based on the overall record of the teams in the medal round.  The US finished with a perfect 5-0 record in that round, followed by Canada at 4-1, and the Soviet Union at 2-2-1.  The US actually clinched the gold with their 9-4 victory over Czechoslovakia the next day.  (By the way, the corners on the ice surface are really deep, aren't they?  It makes the rink look almost rectangular.)

And did you notice the sunshine streaming across parts of the ice and the crowd?  Olympic regulations of the time required all events to be held outside (or, more precisely, they couldn't be held "under a roof"); thus, Blyth Arena  was constructed with one complete side open (the one facing the camera).  The Olympic rings were attached via cables, and ropes were hung down in an effort to cut down on the sun's glare on the ice.  I don't know how you all feel about it, but I think it's kind of neat.  And with the success of the NHL's Winter Classic, why not have all the skating events outside?  The arena in Cortina for the 1956 games did this to great effect.*

*Not to mention its appearance in the James Bond movie For Your Eyes Only.

Al Michaels, eat your heart out!

Cross-posted to Our Word and Welcome to It.


  1. Bud Palmer was no stranger to doing hockey: From the 1956-57 through the 1958-59 seasons, Bud Palmer shared play-by-play with Fred Cusick (the latter was the longtime voice of the Boston Bruins) on CBS-TV's broadcasts of Saturday-afternoon NHL games.

    For some years prior to that, he did play-by-play of local New York Rangers telecasts.

    1. I did not know that - thanks for the info! As I said, I always enjoyed Bud Palmer, though most of my exposure to him was on Wide World of Sports or the Prudential College Scoreboard show. By the way, where is Prudential College? :)

    2. It was not a college, but the Prudential Insurance Company. They sponsored a show featuring scores of college football games across the country that followed ABC's college football games back in the day.

      It usually began around 4:45 P.M. Eastern time, and would run as long or as short as needed to reach 5 P.M. EDT/EST, when "Wide World Of Sports" took to the air.

      Back when only one (or maybe three or four, on a regional basis) college football game a week was televised, and no Internet that had up-to-the-minute scores of games in real time, this scoreboard show was often the first words of how a viewer's alma mater (or favorite college football teams in/near the viewer's hometown) did on a particular Saturday afternoon.

      Today, most big-time college football games are at least televised in the home areas of the participating schools, and many games are nationally telecast. And in the very unlikely event that a viewer's alma mater or favorite local college football team isn't being televised where he or she lives, he/she can go on-line and get the score in real time.

      No need for a "Prudential College Scoreboard".


Thanks for writing! Drive safely!