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TV History: 1955 World Series

by Christine Becker

This clip was uploaded for an assignment in Christine Becker's FTT 30461: History of Television class at the University of Notre Dame in Spring 2019. Check the commentary dropdown menu for a student's analysis of the clip.

Ryder Garnsey: Sports in the 50s compared to today

by Ryder Garnsey

This clip displays highlights from the 1955 World Series between the Brooklyn Dodgers, who have since been moved to Los Angeles, and the New York Yankees. The Dodgers won the series which we see in the clip, but what isn’t as obvious in the clip is that they won the series in seven games, and it was the first time that they had ever won the World Series, despite the fact that they had previously been there ten different times, failing in all of them.
My first impression after watching these highlights was that today as viewers we are extremely spoiled. While I believe nothing beats the environment of actually being present at a sporting event, you wouldn’t be pressed to find somebody that believes they would rather watch a game from the comfort of their home. More comfortable seating arrangements and cheaper refreshments make a difference in this decision, but the television experience is also a huge part of this. The views that are just regular parts of a broadcast, think about a pylon cam in football, or an angle in a baseball game where the camera pans directly down the foul line, giving the fan a chance to form their own opinion on if the ball was fair or foul. These luxuries are commonplace in todays sports viewing world, and are things that are not usually present at various stadiums across the country. Think about Notre Dame stadium just a few years ago, the lack of video board made it almost impossible for some fans that were seated in nosebleed seats to form opinions of their own on what was happening on the field. It is evident, to me at least, that there would be no such argument made in the 1950s where somebody would rather be watching the game on TV rather than being at the game in person. There simply was no advantage of being at home. You wouldn’t get to experience the environment that is such an important factor in sporting events, and you also wouldn’t be treated to the different perks of TV that make it so popular in current time. According to bleacher report, talking about their interview with Darren Rovell of CNBC, “his friends go to the game and then watch it on TV after they get home because they feel they miss too much being there.” The ability to sit in the comfort of your home without the threat of incumbent weather, fear of obnoxious fans, and the luxury of being able to watch the game in super HD with instant replay coming from what seems like hundred of angles is certainly something that can entice the consumer to stay and watch on TV rather than pay to be at the event itself.
It is interesting to see the contrast that exists between an announced or commentator in the 1950s and an announcer or commentator in today’s landscape. In the clip there are not many details given by the commentator other than the monotone description of what is happening in the various clips, something that could’ve been accomplished all the same with subtitles running across the bottom of the screen. In today’s day and age the commentators and announcers are expected to add comments that either inform the viewer in a way that demonstrates their expertise in the area and gives the viewer something to think about outside of just what is going on on the screen. A perfect example of this in todays landscape is Tony Romo. Tony Romo was a quarterback for an extended period of time for the Dallas Cowboys, playing at a high level, so he walked into the broadcasting booth already with a certain amount of credibility. In the last two years since his retirement from football he has demonstrated a wealth of knowledge that has done nothing but improve his reputation for being a smart football mind, giving viewers more information during a football game than ever before. Romo’s value comes from his expertise, not necessarily his incredible entertainment value. Chris Berman on the other hand, not being known previously for his football acumen, although certainly higher than the average viewer, has made his mark in sports broadcasting by being more entertaining than most other commentators. Known for the various sound effects he makes when commenting on different highlights and his personality, Berman, or Boomer as some call him, has made himself valuable as an entertainer.
While an argument can be made that the product on the field has stayed the same throughout the years in professional sports, one thing that cannot be argued is that the experience of watching the games has not changed. Whether it be the clarity of the video, or the spectacle that the games have turned into through the analysis and celebration of the things that happen, the viewing experience has improved drastically in the last 60 years. The Dodgers and Yankees of the 50s would be jealous to see what heroes the Red Sox and Dodgers were made out to be in the fall of 2018, and in 1955 there were twelve Hall-of-Famers involved.

Levy, Dan. “Is Watching Sports on TV Actually Better Than Being at the Game?” Bleacher Report, Bleacher Report, 3 Oct. 2017,

1955 World Series Dodgers/Yankees Highlights

1955 World Series Dodgers/Yankees Highlights

from 1955 World Series Dodgers/Yankees Highlights Jackie Steals Home (1955)
Creator: Unknown
Distributor: YouTube (User: Brad Davis)
Posted by Christine Becker