Skip to main content

Sports Announcers I Grew Up With: Lance Russell and Dave Brown




There is a special place in my heart for the radio and TV sports announcers I grew up with. From ABC's Wide World of Sports to roller derby and wrestling, and everything in between, sports was a big part of my life growing up. At my house, we watched on TV whatever sport was 'in season,' especially on Saturday's. If there was a sports event on radio, we listened to it. I was very blessed to grow up with many now- legendary voices and characters. Today, I want to pay tribute to Lance Russell and Dave Brown.


Lance Russell was the announcer for the Saturday morning wrestling programs that aired on TV throughout my childhood. It was my favorite program to watch. Russell announced matches in the Memphis region from 1959 to 1997, for the NWA Mid-America and the Continental Wrestling Associations. He was best known for his relaxed announcing style, as well as the much-used phrases, "By golly" and "Son of a gun." His co-host for more than two decades was Dave Brown, a college student and disc jockey, and later, TV meteorologist. While he was definitely a star, Lance Russell never found himself in the position of being a bigger than the wrestlers he worked with. That list runs long: Lou Thesz, Jackie Fargo, Jerry Lawler, Jimmy Hart and Randy Savage, to name a few. Russell would get up from his chair to conduct interviews, walking around to the front of the desk. It was common to see one or more of the heel wrestlers demolish the set or even run roughhouse over Russell. Be sure to watch the video below. These interviews were often the highlight of the Saturday morning television broadcast. Russell also literally rang a bell to begin matches, in addition to pounding it loudly in futile attempts to halt out-of-control melees in the ring. Russell used the mic to chastise and exhort wrestlers during their match. He often encouraged other wrestlers to run in from the locker room and offer assistance. His famous one-liners were "Don't start with that smart stuff" and "Will you guys just stop and get out of here?"


Dave Brown, began his broadcasting career in 1962 at age 16 as a disc jockey at WKBJ Radio in Milan, Tennessee. For 38 years, he has been chief meteorologist for WMC-TV, the NBC affiliate in Memphis. Dave Brown spent 35 years as an announcer for the Memphis Wrestling television program (later Championship Wrestling). 25 of those years was spent alongside Lance Russell. Russell and Brown have been described by wrestling insiders and fans as the greatest television announcing team in the history of wrestling. Heel wrestlers and managers like Jimmy Hart nicknamed him "Dave Brown the Weather Clown" as well as "Howdy Doody."






Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Tornado at Beaty Swamps

Shortly after midnight on Wednesday, May 10, 1933, Beatty Swamps, TN ( also known as Bethsaida), a small rural community located in Overton County, Tennessee, approximately 6.7 miles from Livingston, was struck by an F4 tornado that completely devastated the community. The funnel, anywhere from one-half to three-quarters of a mile wide, destroyed every home in the community, and killed or injured virtually every single resident. Much of the area was swept clean of debris. This is the second deadliest tornado ever to strike Middle Tennessee.

There have been tornadoes that have gained greater notoriety, such as the Super Outbreak of April 3, 1974, but never has a tornado affected a community as completely as the one that struck Beatty Swamps.

According to the National Weather Service, it had been a humid evening in the rural Cumberland Plateau community. In nearby Allardt, the temperature that Tuesday afternoon had climaxed at 82 degrees, a warmer-than-normal reading for early May. …

Ode To A Mule

James Arness died today. Gunsmoke was every one's favorite TV show back when I was a kid. For years, at my house, we watched every single episode that came on the TV. There's isn't any need to explain the show because I am sure that most of you have seen an episode of Gunsmoke at one time or another.

When I heard that Mr. Arness has passed away, I went online, because I wanted to read some quotes from the TV show - more specifically, I wanted to read some dialogue between Festus, played by singer Ken Curtis (Sons of the Pioneers), and the rest of the cast. Festus had a way of speaking, but he always spoke the truth and what he said always made sense, well in a Festus-sort-of way, I guess.

So, I went online to do that, and well, one click led to another click, and then another and another, and before I knew it, I found myself on YouTube, and that's when I heard, for the first time in many years, this beautiful story that I want to share with you.

If you paid close atte…

Long Live The Goat Man

(This photo was made in the 1950's as the Goat Man passed through my town)
Charles McCartney was born on July 6, 1901. In 1915, at age 14, he ran away from his family's Iowa farm. He eventually wound up in New York, and was soon married to a Spanish knife-thrower. When she got pregnant they tried to make it as farmers, but bad weather and the Great Depression wiped them out. About the same time, he experienced a religious awakening. A man on a mission, he hitched up his team of goats to a wagon and took to the open road with his wife and son. His wife made goatskin clothes for him and his son to wear as a gimmick during their travels, but she quickly grew tired of the road and returned to Iowa, taking their son with her.

Charles McCartney looked like a goat. He smelled like one, too because he rarely took a bath. You take a fellow who looks like a goat, travels around with goats, eats with goats, lies down among goats and smells like a goat and it won't be long before peop…