Video/VCR Test #3 – “The Albert Achievement Awards”

Before you ask, this isn’t an award given to people named Albert.

Why would you think…oh.

Ok, now I understand. You thought…people named Albert…ohhhh.

Glad we cleared this up!

I rooted through VHS tapes in my basement. I culled video and VCR tests for two videocassettes in my collection (See Exhibits A and B), and because I can’t leave well enough alone, you’re getting a third one for your troubles!

You’re so lucky.

This video and VCR test comes to us from another tape in my collection, the 1993 CBS Fox Video print of The Albert Achievement Awards, a sports bloopers compilation that covers the wild (yes, wild) world of sports, ranging from high school (and even younger) to professional, singers of the national anthem, broadcasters, and even fans. No one was safe from Marv Albert and his crack staff at NBC Sports.

My brother got this video as a gift from our parents for Christmas when we were eleven, and the video was a hit for quite a few years. We’re Yankees and Giants fans, and yes, they weren’t even safe from Marv. Neither were Charles Barkley, David Letterman, and some of the personalities on NBC Sports. Even Amad Rashad is forced to refer to Marv as his “best friend.”

And sports bloopers are awesome…if you like sports. Which I do.

The “Albert Achievement Awards” were a segment that aired on David Letterman’s talk show, both on NBC and CBS, during Albert’s 126 appearances. He would show the clips set against the song “12th Street Rag.” And yes, this song does appear on the video rather prominently.

I’m going to take a look at this video at some point, as it is worthy of my recapping prowess, but for the moment, enjoy the video test I did for it.

Uploaded by Allison Venezio

So, is it painfully obvious yet that Allison loves old videos in her collection, and the goodies she can find on them? Do you like them too? If you do like this among, other geeky stuff she covers, you can check out her blog, Allison’s Written Words. You can also follow her blog on Facebook, and her on Twitter @AllisonGeeksOut.

No footage exists of Allison playing sports. Because she never played them.


What Muhammad Ali means to me.

When I woke up this morning, I reached for my smartphone and saw a news notification I feared was coming, “Muhammad Ali dead at 74”. I put my head back on the pillow and saw a message from an editor of The Retroist website asking if I would like to write something about Ali. I told him I would. He responded immediately telling me that he thought it was best that I write about the man since he did not know as much about the sport. What Vic Sage (the editor) is referring to is my background in boxing; I was an amateur boxer and USA Boxing coach. Then I thought, “Ali was more than a boxer, he was public figure that most of the world knew.” I have no more a right to write about him than anyone, but since I accepted the task, I decided to write about what Muhammad Ali means to me.

For the casual fan or people not interested in the sport, they must think of boxing as nothing more than two people beating each other senseless inside a square-shaped combat zone. That is completely understandable. The truth is that there is a lot more to boxing hence the nickname “the sweet science”. Muhammad Ali was the embodiment of that. While technically he did a lot of things incorrectly, his athleticism, size and height made up for that. More importantly his mind found ways to win. He can see a challenge and prepare for it as he did when he surprised everyone by laying on the ropes in his bout with George Foreman in Zaire.

[Via] Jeff Jackson

So while there is a technical side of boxing, there is something else that is required, a prerequisite: toughness. That is not something you can teach and frankly, you as a boxer don’t know if you have it until you start fighting. Muhammad Ali was tough. His toughness & skills made him the heavyweight champion of the world. The fans knew it, his opponents knew it, and the average person knew it. Yet, I find many fighters, world champions even, that feel they have to act tough all the time. Not Ali. Outside of the ring, he was a jovial person. Loving, caring, and downright silly at times. He didn’t need to prove his toughness except in the ring where he felt fighting belonged. Not on the streets.

He avoided violence at all cost. An example of this was when Ali & Joe Frazier were in a television studio with Howard Cosell discussing their first fight when Frazier stood in front of Ali clearly ready to fight, because he grew tired of Ali’s insults. Ali stayed in his chair, but his brother got on the studio stage and confronted Frazier. Ali, probably fearing that Frazier would fight get into an altercation with his brother, jumped up and pulled Frazier’s head down and wrestled him on the floor. Ali, a boxer, could have simply punched Joe while he was distracted, but he went the route of trying to defuse the situation without anyone getting hurt. Sure enough, no one did as enough people ran over and separated everyone.

[Via] Pbarry’s 191 Channel

That, more than anything, made an impression on me. I don’t have to go around acting tough, because I know what I am. I know who I am. I have nothing to prove, because I proved it by climbing through the ropes and fighting my heart out. If I walk away from a fight in a bar, on the street, anywhere outside of the ring, it doesn’t mean I am a coward, it simply means I am in control of my feelings, have nothing to prove, and frankly, do not want to cause harm to someone else. Muhammad Ali taught me that by the way he lived his life.

The Superfight: Rocky Marciano Vs. Muhammad Ali

Hey kids. It’s me again. IseeRobots. So, I was poking around the old WWW the other day when I came across something that was news to me, the fact that Muhammad Ali and The Rock, Rocky Marciano had had a fight back in 1969! What? You missed that one too? I know, weird right? Those two were the greats from two totally different eras! When did they ever get down? Well, it wasn’t all so much a real fight as it was a computer simulation. It was more than that though. The two great pugilists actually got into the ring with each other and threw some blows, albeit in a sort of sparring style for a film that was going to go along with the simulation. Let’s start at the beginning.

In 1967 a computer programmer who I guess was also a huge boxing fan got together with some sports writers and other computer dudes to produce a tournament between history’s top heavyweight boxers. The idea was that all the data from all of the dude’s fights would get put into a super computer, the NCR 315. The 315 was totally top of the line for the era and through it’s incredible processing abilities an answer to the question “Who was the greatest of all the times?” would finally have a definitive answer.

Sounds great right? Well it was even better than that. How? Well each one of the fights would be recreated on the radio as sort of a blow by blow radio play with announcers, sound effects and everything! Totally Rad! Our man Vic Sage should dig those up for a special episode of Retro Radio Memories! Or not, it’s up to him. No pressure.

Anyway, in a controversial moment the top fighter of the then present day, Muhammad Ali got merked in the first round of the tournament by James J Jeffries! Now, Jeffries was a former World’s Champ and he was for sure no slouch but he was no Ali.

Ali took the loss personally and threatened to sue the producers of the show who appeased him by offering him the chance to save face in a one on one match with the only other man alive who could lay claim to being an Undefeated World’s Champ, Rocky Marciano.


The producers upped the ante for the Super Fight with an added visual element. This time around the two men would enter the ring and act out the blows in the same way that the NCR 315 SUPER-COMPUTER said that it would go down. That is so bananas. Ali and Marciano got in the ring and acted out a computer boxing match. People just did whatever computers told them to back in 1969.

Ali - Rocky Marciano

Marciano hadn’t fought in like 15 years but in the spirit of the event lost 30 pounds and wore a toupee in the ring while Ali out of action due to some legal issues was still in ring ready condition.

The deal was that neither dude would know the result and that they would record multiple outcomes to the fight to match whatever outcome The NCR might spit out. All in all 75 rounds of action were taped.

Marciano - Ali

In the end The 315 determined that Marciano was the better man and through computer wizardry decreed that The Brockton Blockbuster would put Ali down for good in the 13th Round.

The fight was promoted as a big event and as such was only shown on Close Circuit Television to a limited set of 1500 theaters around the country. Also, it was decided that all prints of the fight were to be destroyed immediately after the fight. Why? I don’t know. Just to be cool I guess.

Sadly, Marciano passed away in a plane crash just weeks after the fight and never learned the outcome. Really though, The Rock retired as the undefeated champion of the world so I don’t really think he was sweating a computer boxing match all that much…

As it turned out a print of the fight did survive the times.

[Via] 6,969,697 views

Someone must have kept one hidden away or something, and in 2005 a DVD of the fight was released which included a documentary of the event and all of the radio fights from the previous tournament as well. If you want you can pick it up on ebay for like 7 bucks. I’m actually going to go do that. I really want to hear those radio fights!

Want a bit more of this sort of Off Beat Shenanigans in your life? Sure you do! Hop on over to ISeeRobots.COm for tons of fun as well as my weekly podcast, The Toys R Us Report! You won’t be sorry for long!

Craig T. Nelson Hosts and Narrates “The Agony of Defeat”

In the early Nineties the video, “The Agony of Defeat” swept through the video store I worked at like a hurricane. People could not get enough of these insane, life threatening sports bloopers and no matter how many copies we had, especially around the holidays, we couldn’t keep them in stock. It seemed that every boyfriend, husband and son was getting a copy that year and we gleefully accepted money hand over fist. The owners of the store were very happy. Me, not so much.

As soon as we realized that by just putting this video on our series of TVs, we could sell out, this video went into regular rotation and I had to watch this video again and again and again and again. Maybe I have a weak stomach, but I do not enjoy watching people get hurt, so the challenge became to try to sell out of the tape as quickly as possible so that we wouldn’t have to play it. This became a self-perpetuating system. The more we sold, the more the boss ordered, the more we had to sell.

Eventually the market must have gotten saturated enough and sales slowed. We would still sell copies from time to time, but nothing like the original rush.

With the birth of the internet, videos of people getting hurt are available at the touch of a button, so programs like this no longer get made. But because of that same technology, the original video is now available online (from a VHS rip), in all of its Craig T. Nelson narrated glory.

Was this shot on the set of “Coach”?

100 Three-Name ‘80s Stars

(A list of notable people from the 1980s whose names feature three parts.)

Three is a magic number—if Schoolhouse Rock! or De La Soul are to be believed. It certainly worked its magic for a number of stars in the 1980s who were known by their three-part names.

The criteria for this compilation was simply: people of note during the decade who had three parts to their name. Those who may not technically tally three separate names—whether by hyphenation, unique capitalization, inclusion of ‘nicknames’ or the use of particles (like de, la, van, von and the)—?were included in *honorary mention below.

They must also have used their triple moniker during the 80s. (For example: 21 Jump Street star Holly Robinson Peete was known simply as Holly Robinson then.)

(Note: Though extensive, this is not a comprehensive list.)

Without further ado, here are ladies of the eighties who went by three names: (listed alphabetically by the secondary portion)(with parenthetical credits specifically for their work during the ‘80s)

Lesley Ann Warren (Clue, Victor Victoria)
Penelope Ann Miller (Biloxi Blues, Big Top Pee-wee)
Meredith Baxter Birney (Family Ties)
Barbara Bel Geddes (Dallas)
Maria Conchita Alonso (The Running Man, Moscow on the Hudson)
Rae Dawn Chong (Soul Man, American Flyers)
Sandra Day O’Connor (Supreme Court Justice)
Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio (Scarface, The Abyss)
Tammy Faye Bakker (wife of televangelist Jim, The PTL Club)
Jennifer Jason Leigh (Fast Times at Ridgemont High)
Sarah Jessica Parker (Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, Footloose)
Sally Jessy Raphael (talk show host)
Wendie Jo Sperber (Bosom Buddies)
Mary Kay Place (Private Benjamin)
Keshia Knight Pulliam (The Cosby Show)
Jamie Lee Curtis (A Fish Called Wanda, Trading Places)
Sheryl Lee Ralph (It’s a Living, Oliver & Company)
Mary Lou Retton (gymnast, Scrooged)
Jean Louisa Kelly (Uncle Buck)
Lynne Marie Stewart (Pee-wee’s Playhouse)
Catherine Mary Stewart (The Last Starfighter)
Soleil Moon Frye (Punky Brewster)
Susan Saint James (Kate & Allie)
Mary Stuart Masterson (Some Kind of Wonderful, Chances Are)
Melissa Sue Anderson (Little House on the Prairie)
Mary Tyler Moore (Ordinary People)
Moon Unit Zappa (National Lampoon’s European Vacation)
Zsa Zsa Gabor (A Nightmare on Elm Street 3)

And here are some gentlemen from back then with thrice-as-nice-names:

Brian Austin Green (Beverly Hills, 90210)
Phillip Baker Hall (Falcon Crest)
Jon Bon Jovi (singer, Bon Jovi)
Big Daddy Kane (rapper)
Harry Dean Stanton (Pretty in Pink)
Richard Dean Anderson (MacGyver)
Billy Dee Williams (Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, Batman)
Lou Diamond Phillips (La Bamba, Young Guns)
Joe Don Baker (In the Heat of the Night, Fletch)
James Earl Jones (Star Wars, Coming to America)
Ke Huy Quan (The Goonies, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom)
Edward James Olmos (Blade Runner, Stand and Deliver)
David Lee Roth (singer, Van Halen)
Chao Li Chi (Big Trouble in Little China, Falcon Crest)
Andrew Lloyd Webber (composer: Cats, Starlight Express)
Jam Master Jay (DJ, Run-D.M.C.)
Anthony Michael Hall (Weird Science, The Breakfast Club)
Phillip Michael Thomas (Miami Vice)
Kool Moe Dee (rapper)
Charles Nelson Reilly (All Dogs Go to Heaven)
David Ogden Stiers (M*A*S*H)
David Patrick Kelly (48 Hours, Commando)
John Patrick Shanley (writer, Moonstruck)
Neil Patrick Harris (Doogie Howser, M.D.)
John Paul Jones (musician, Led Zeppelin)
Stevie Ray Vaughan (musician)
Sugar Ray Leonard (boxer)
Robert Sean Leonard (Dead Poets Society)
Terence Trent D’Arby (singer: “Wishing Well,” “Sign Your Name”)

Here are some guys that used a letter (or two) as part of their names: (listed alphabetically by those letters)

B.B. King (musician)
C. Thomas Howell (Soul Man, Secret Admirer)
D.B. Sweeney (Eight Men Out, Lonesome Dove)
Thomas F. Wilson (Back to the Future)
Michael J. Fox (Back to the Future, Family Ties)
M. Emmet Walsh (Blade Runner, Fletch)
R. Lee Ermey (Fletch Lives)
Craig T. Nelson (Poltergeist, Coach)
T.K. Carter (227, Punky Brewster)

Honorary Mention

*As cited above, the following may be considered ineligible for the triple threat status due to varying stipulations and/or punctuation. They were included for thoroughness and debate.

JoBeth Williams (Poltergeist, The Big Chill)
Reginald VelJohnson (Die Hard, Family Matters)

Rebecca De Mornay (Risky Business)
Robert De Niro (Raging Bull)
Eriq La Salle (Coming to America)
Sabrina Le Beauf (The Cosby Show)
Simon Le Bon (singer, Duran Duran)
Dick Van Dyke (The Golden Girls)
Dick Van Patten (Spaceballs)
Joyce Van Patten (St. Elmo’s Fire)
Max Von Sydow (Flash Gordon, Dune)

Kermit the Frog (The Muppet Show)
André the Giant (The Princess Bride, WWF)
Andrew ‘Dice’ Clay (Pretty in Pink)
Oran ‘Juice’ Jones (singer, “The Rain”)
Noriyuki ‘Pat’ Morita (The Karate Kid)

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (basketball player, Airplane!)
Tiffani-Amber Thiessen (Saved by the Bell)
Daniel Day-Lewis (My Left Foot)
Brian Doyle-Murray (Caddyshack)
Florence Griffith-Joyner (athlete)
Malcolm-Jamal Warner (The Cosby Show)
Jackie Joyner-Kersee (athlete)
Mary-Kate Olsen (Full House)
Mark Linn-Baker (Perfect Strangers)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Saturday Night Live)
Mary-Louise Parker (Longtime Companion)
Jan-Michael Vincent (Airwolf)
Jean-Michel Basquiat (artist)
Olivia Newton-John (Xanadu)
Mark-Paul Gosselaar (Saved by the Bell)
Courtney Thorne-Smith (Summer School)
Pee-wee Herman (Pee-wee’s Big Adventure)
Yo-Yo Ma (musician)

And these may just be completely a stretch: (enjoy)

Fab 5 Freddy (hip hop artist)
Ed Begley Jr. (St. Elsewhere)
John Cougar Mellencamp (singer: “Small Town,” “R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A.”)
Robert Downey Jr. (Chances Are, Less Than Zero)
Captain Lou Albano (wrestler WWF)
Mount St. Helens (volcano)

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