Glickman is the incredible story of Marty Glickman, one of New York’s most famous sports broadcasters, and the man who helped put HBO on the cable map. It was written, produced, directed and narrated by James L. Freedman and executive produced by Martin Scorsese.
“I don’t ever remember walking as a young person, I always ran. It was just my nature to run.” Those are the words spoken by New York sports broadcasting legend Glickman at the beginning of HBO’s fascinating documentary about his life and career. Marty was known for his love of all things sports, his amazing play-by-plays and his tireless support of New York’s youth.
Sports dominated his life from the beginning right up until the very end. But many do not know that Marty Glickman was a track star and U.S. Olympian who represented his country in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, during Hitler’s reign of terror. It was at those games that an 18-year old Marty Glickman’s dreams were destroyed. I won’t mention what happened to him because I would rather you watch the film. But I believe it was this event that made Marty the man that he became because he realized how someone’s life could be altered in a split second by a person with less than good intentions. In the film, Marty wonders out loud how “grown men” could ruin the dreams of a kid. Good question.
Luckily for the rest of us, Marty did not let what happened in 1936 stop him from dreaming big. And those big dreams led to an illustrious career as a sports broadcaster. Marty Glickman changed the way sports was broadcast to its fans and created a vernacular all its own. The next time you watch a basketball game and hear the words “swish,” “the lane,” “the elbow” or “the top of the circle,” think of Marty Glickman. His play-by-plays on the radio were so exciting and inventive, many sports fans said that they could imagine what was happening because of Marty’s recreations. Many refused to know the final score until they heard Marty’s broadcasts, they were so good. His move to football was a coup for its fans, as Marty took his enthusiasm and magical voice to first the New York Giants and then to the New York Jets.
Marty’s work with New York’s youth was something he was very proud of. He wanted to make sure those children had the same chances he did and took the enthusiasm he brought to his broadcasts to one lucky high school every week. His show, “High School Game of the Week” lasted 16 years and was something many New York sports fans and athletes looked forward to watching. Marty made sure that young people were recognized for the hard work they put into their respective sport no matter where they came from. He also mentored some of the most famous sportscasters of today, including Marv Albert, Bob Costas and New York Jets legend Joe Namath.
Glickman was an absolutely remarkable film and I highly recommend that all sports fans watch it. Whether you are a New York Giants fan like myself, or love the Boston Red Sox, take a couple of hours to watch Glickman and see why watching sports now is so much fun. Make sure you stick around for the credits to see a famous Matchbox car commercial starring Marty Glickman that made me feel like a kid again. I know it will do the same for many of you, as well.
Glickman is currently airing on HBO, HBO On Demand and HBO GO.
Photos courtesy of HBO