The Eagles Fans Of Irvine

Helaine grew up in Philly. Her dad was a diehard Philadelphia sport fan who indoctrinated his only child. When Philadelphia sports teams are losing, Helaine watches with the sound off.

jenkins-interception

I remember my first Eagles game. I went with my friend Marlene from Northeast Philly. Her dad had seats.

It was a spectacular September day. Mild. Sunny. We walked up the ramp, into the open and looked down at an American flag covering the entire playing field.

Goosebumps. Hooked before the kickoff!

I ended up buying those seasons tickets. I sat through every second of every game in that 4-10 season and the next few stinkers after that.

Helaine grew up in Philly. Her dad was a diehard Philadelphia sports fan who indoctrinated his only child. When Philadelphia sports teams are losing, Helaine watches with the sound off.

We sat down tonight with Stef, third generation Eagles fan, to watch tonight’s game against the Colts.

Tough to watch the first half. The Eagles didn’t look bad. They just didn’t look good. Down 17-6 at intermission. Ugly.

Well into the fourth quarter the Colts were on a scoring drive. They were up 27-20. A score would have almost certainly sealed the deal.

“Game’s over,” said Helaine in typical Philadelphia style, conceding the Colts touchdown and Eagles defeat.

But then, miracle of miracles. On a play where refs missed an Eagles penalty, Malcolm Jenkins intercepted. A few minutes later the Eagles tied the game.

They would go on to win 30-27 on a field goal as time expired.

Are you kidding me? This is how good teams win. I know because of all the times we’ve seen it done it to the Eagles! Do we even remember how to watch without complaining?

Two weeks into the season and we’re liking football a lot. We’re also waiting for reality to set in.

It’s Really Tough To Be A Fan

With no snowballs to throw, the stadium full of season ticket holders booed them to the locker room.

Helaine and I were dumbfounded, beside ourselves. “When does spring training start,” she wondered?

BA6RWe were excited to watch the Eagles play this afternoon. There’s been a lot written about them this summer. Expectations were high. And, today the Eagles were playing patsies, The Jacksonville Jaguars.

On the first series, Nick Foles the unexpected, but apparent, savior of Philadelphia, looked very mortal.

Hit.

Fumble.

Turnover.

Just like that it was 7-0.

Foles coughed it up again, was sacked five times and threw an interception as the Eagles were threatening. 17-0 at the half.

With no snowballs to throw, the stadium full of season ticket holders booed them to the locker room.

Helaine and I were dumbfounded, beside ourselves. “When does spring training start,” she wondered?

Fans are fans. If you’re one you understand. We watch the Phillies play, though their view of the rest of the National League is dim tail lights in the distance. We weren’t going to abandon the Eagles either. We’d be crushed nonetheless!

A different Eagles team came out for the second half. How is that possible? How can a turnaround be so movie script dramatic?

All of a sudden the Eagles were unstoppable. The scored 17 to tie it, then another 17 for good measure. Final score 34-17.

Via Instant Messenger&#185, my buddy Bob in Florida typed, “clearly the best half time locker speech ever.”

Clearly.

Meanwhile, H and I were so invested in the Eagle’s season we were still emotionally distraught from the first half! It’s sort of crazy, isn’t it? To be that much of a fan?

It’s not a choice you make. It just happens.

&#185 – My friend Bob and I are the last two people on AOL Instant Messenger. I remember when that was the Internet’s hottest property.

How I Met Jerry Coleman

jerry coleman baseball cardJerry Coleman died today. Seven decades in baseball. World Series MVP as a player. Broadcaster. Manager.

I met Jerry in the late 70s. I was working in Philadelphia radio and our helicopter traffic guy, Walt McDonald, knew Jerry from San Diego. Could he arrange for me to watch a Phillies/Padres game from the broadcast booth as Jerry did play-by-play?

Done.

I headed to the Vet a few Saturdays later and was escorted into the booth directly behind home plate. I was a little overwhelmed. Jerry Coleman was a big deal former major leaguer with a very distinctive voice. There was no mistaking whose hand I was shaking. He didn’t pass unnoticed in a baseball stadium.

The Padres took an early lead, but between innings Coleman explained how the Phillies looked like they’d figured out the Padres pitcher, who was beginning to tire. I saw none of this, but nodded anyway.

Next inning the Phillies blew it open! The Padres pitcher was chased, just as Coleman predicted and when he predicted it.

Both Jerry Coleman and his broadcast partner, Dave Campbell, were gracious that afternoon. It was my own personal reality show to take in and remember.

Over 35 years later, I still remember. It still makes me smile. I am one of many who will not forget Jerry Coleman.

The Sign At 2212 Walnut Street

There was a thermometer mounted on the brick next to the fire escape’s door. I’d always refer to the temperature on the “95PEN Weather Fire Escape!”

I just got a tweet with a blast from the past.

Candy Egan Perri @kuteskatergirl 7h
@geofffox I just drove past the WPEN building, it looks exactly the same. #Philadelphia

It’s still there! The WPEN sign along the eastern edge 2212 Walnut Street in Center City Philadelphia. Considering WPEN hasn’t been at 2212 since the late 70s that’s quite an accomplishment.

Chalk it up to benign neglect. It’s probably cheaper to leave it where it is than pull it down.

I started at WPEN late in 1974. It was the WKRP of Philadelphia–bad signal, underfinanced and AM. Even in ’74 music on AM was a tough sell.

We played oldies. We had a good product. That alone was not enough. We just couldn’t compete.

At one time WPEN was a big deal. It even provided the seed that made Dick Clark a big deal.

If any program can be designated the prototype for Dick Clark’s legendary dance show, that distinction goes to WPEN’s 950 Club, named for the station’s location on the AM dial. Originated in 1945 and hosted by the popular duo of Joe Grady and Ed Hurst, the 950 Club was the first radio show on which a studio audience was invited to dance to records being broadcast over the air. The show, which saluted a different high school each day, quickly became the focus of the area’s bobby-sox set, who, seeking admission, deluged WPEN with two to three thousand pieces of mail each week. – American Bandstand
Dick Clark and the Making of a Rock ‘n’ Roll Empire

That studio was still there, in a terrible state of disrepair, when I arrived. It even had a name: The William Penn Room. Could it be more Philly?

I loved that building.

There was a fire escape at the end of the 3rd floor hallway, just past the studios, where you could go for a smoke (I was a smoker). We also went to try and catch a glimpse of the Moore College of Art girl’s dorm at the corner.

The statute of limitations has expired, right?

A big metal thermometer was mounted on the exterior brick next to the fire escape’s door. On-air I’d refer to the temperature “On the 95PEN Weather Fire Escape!”

I’d never before worked in a commercial district right in the middle of a big city. It was much more exciting than a suburban office park or studios built at the edge of the towers. It made me feel more grown-up, more professional.

WPEN was my favorite job in radio. It’s nice to have this reason to remember and smile.

I hope they never take down the sign.

I Met Helaine 31 Years Ago Today

As I rounded a blind corner a young woman who had just started at the station approached from the other direction. Boom! I knocked her on her butt.

July 28, 1980 was sunny summer day. I remember that.

It didn’t begin as a special Monday when I made my pre-dawn drive from Center City Philadelphia to my job in Bala Cynwyd. It turned out to be one of the most significant days of my life!

Indulge me if you’ve heard this story before.

I was the morning drive disk jockey at WIFI in Philadelphia. I was desperately trying to get my first job on TV. I had tapes out everywhere.

Sometime around 9:30 AM I got a call from Farrell Meisel. He offered me the opportunity to co-host PM Magazine/Buffalo at WGR-TV.

I said yes!

There were no PCs or cellphones in 1980. I had to wait until 10:00 AM to leave the studio and find my friends.

I bolted as soon as I could and began to rush toward the radio station’s front door. As I rounded a blind corner a young woman who had just started at the station approached from the other direction. Boom! I knocked her on her butt.

That was Helaine! That was how we met.

A friend of mine (my secretive friend from the San Fernando Valley) was working for a major music act at the time. They were coming to Philadelphia that weekend. I asked Helaine if she’d like to go to his concert with me?

It was only after figuring out the date Barry Manilow played the Mann Music Center in Philly that we were able to finally figure out this date, July 28th. For the last 31 years we only had an approximation.

Thank you Internet for holding all data known to man including Manilow’s concert schedule from 1980.

Two weeks later I was gone. Helaine and I had no contact for a year and a half&#185!

We did finally get together again. We have lived happily ever after. I’ll save that story for another time.

As fateful days go how many are more significant than 7/28/80 is to Helaine and me? The entire path of our lives changed in the course of 30 minutes. I think that’s worth celebrating!

&#185 – I was an idiot. I’m sure all’s well that end’s well, but I was an idiot. Did I mention I was an idiot?

She Found A Photo Of Me From 1975

I remember that shirt. I remember that vest. I remember those Clevite Brush headphones.

I got this photo earlier tonight from Candy Egan Perri, my Facebook friend. She took it in 1975. I am on-the-air in the WPEN studios, 2212 Walnut street in Center City Philadelphia. I was doing 6-10 PM back then.

I remember that shirt. I remember that vest. I remember those Clevite Brush headphones.