| NEW YORK
NEW YORK Aug 25 Barred from competing in the
1936 Olympics, the Jewish kid from the Bronx who could run
faster than anyone in the neighborhood went on to forge a career
as a pioneering sportscaster who was the voice of two pro
franchises, but never forgot his roots.
"I don't ever remember walking as a young person," Marty
Glickman, the subject of the documentary "Glickman" which
premieres on Monday on HBO, says in the film's opening.
"I always ran. It was my nature to run."
But at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, then under the grip of
Adolf Hitler's Nazis, Glickman was one of two Jewish runners on
the U.S. relay team pulled by U.S. officials at the 11th hour.
Glickman, who died in 2001 at 83 and was known as the voice
of the NBA's New York Knicks, the NFL's New York Giants as well
as Paramount Newsreels, recalled being frustrated and angry.
"I wanted to show that a Jew could do just as well as any
other individual, and perhaps even better," he said in the film.
"He never really became a national broadcaster, which
bothered him," said the film's director, James Freedman, who
worked at age 17 for Glickman producing the broadcaster's
late-night WNEW radio show, and was treated "not as a high
school kid, but as a producer."
Freedman, a successful television writer for hit TV shows
such as "Cybill," recalled that "people in Hollywood would say
'Who's Marty Glickman?' So I hope this film will bring him the
national recognition that he so deserved," he told Reuters.
"He was the first jock-turned-broadcaster in the history of
"Glickman," which had Martin Scorsese as executive producer,
features interviews with leading sports figures such as Bob
Costas and Marv Albert, both of whom he mentored, Larry King,
Red Auerbach and Frank Gifford. It intercuts those with archival
footage of his youthful athletic feats in track and football and
his legendary broadcasts.
"There was an almost orchestral quality to his vocal
inflection ... a texture to it that only a tiny handful of
broadcasters could ever match," Costas says in the film.
Said King: "He invented the one best term ever in sports
broadcasting - swish," used to describe the ball passing quickly
and without resistance down through a basketball net.
"Nobody framed a basketball game like Marty Glickman," King
added. "I saw the game."
Scorsese reflected that "You don't need to know about Marty
Glickman to appreciate the film. I am certainly not a sports
enthusiast." But the Oscar-winning director was intrigued by
Glickman's "intense commitment, one that fought through
adversity and bigotry. There was no other option for him besides
Freedman said that despite having known and worked with
Glickman since his youth, he learned more about the man through
making the film.
"I had no idea how great an athlete he was," said the
first-time director. "He was once the third-fastest man in the
world," one of the two faster being the legendary Jesse Owens,
another member of that 1936 U.S. Olympic team which struck down
the Nazi myth of Aryan supremacy as Hitler watched.
"Also, I never knew just how deeply '36 hurt him," Freedman
said, adding that he was deeply moved by "what happens when an
18-year-old kid's dreams are crushed by prejudice."
For his part, Glickman said it was not until he returned to
Berlin's Olympic stadium in 1985 that he became dizzy with rage,
saying "I had maintained this pent up anger and hatred for 49
Glickman said he was asked about that dark time every four
years during the Olympics. "I do not at all hesitate to tell the
story, so that it won't ever happen again," he said.
With the film, the story will win an even wider audience.
(Editing by Vicki Allen)