Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The 1965 All-Star Game Review

"They invented the All-Star Game for Willie Mays." – Ted Williams

With this broadcast, we have the lone full game that features a Willie Mays homerun. Willie didn’t waste any time as he took the second pitch he saw deep into the left-center stands. Mays, wearing Billy Williams batting helmet, batted lead off in this game. Mays batted leadoff in 8 All-Star Games, something he rarely did in the regular season.

As for the broadcast, it is a mixed bag. The footage is very ‘watchable’ but is only slightly better than the 1968 All-Star Game kinescope and nowhere near as crisp as the 1965 or 1968 World Series kinescope. The print suffers from a large amount of dirt and the original recording appears to have been record with a considerable amount of OTA static and noise.
From Light.....

....To Dark

Evidenced above, you can see that NBC is using their 4 year old Instant Replay technology. Whenever NBC cue'd up the footage, a signal disruption wiped the screen of the live feed and momentarily began the replay. Likewise, NBC had atleast 5 camera angles in this broadcast. The baseline camera (both sides), the high angle above homeplate, the CF camera and the behind homeplate cameras were all in use.

When digitizing the print, MLB seems to have not applied any post-enhancements. There are major contrast problems, either due to lack of lens filters during the broadcast or lighting changes in the kinescope recording environment. I lean more towards it being during the broadcast as only certain camera angles continually suffer from it. Having been spoiled over the last 15 years by great restorations of classic prints involving films, it is a bit disheartening that MLB doesn’t invest the resources in preserving and restoring these classic broadcast. Clearly, it lacks the revenue that a restored print of The Wizard of Oz or North by Northwest brings back to the restoring studio but these broadcast are disappearing treasures that once gone we can’t ever get back.

For MLB Network’s credit, they included a few of the classic commercials. The traditional sponsors such as Gillette and Plymouth were left in. What other commercials existed, I don’t know as there doesn’t seem to be a copy of this broadcast unedited in the trading community. Annoyingly, MLB Network ran their ‘baseline’ throughout the entire broadcast, taking away from the experience.

Part of the past allure of the ASG was that it was often the only time you got to see your favorite players square off against the best of another franchise. An interesting example is the late game at-bat between Willie Horton and Bob Gibson. In the 1968 World Series, Horton is famously the 17th strikeout (as well as the 4th) in Game 1 of that series. Here, in this 1965 game, Horton faces Gibson for the first time in his career. How does Gibson handle the at-bat? He throws him a first pitch curveball for a foul strike, then lets one slip right above Horton’s head. Gibson relied heavily on his breaking ball in the at-bat. In the ’68 series, Horton struckout 5 times, picking up 2 hits out of 11 at-bats vs Hoot, taking his ‘career’ numbers to 2-12 with 6 k’s vs Gibby. He would later face Gibson one final time in the 1970 ASG, going 1-for-1 with a single.

Unfortunately, a lot of the pregame footage is cut from the broadcast. There are quite a few jumpcuts that eliminate the introduction of the broadcast, the introduction of the reserves, the national anthem, etc. Hopefully someday MLB releases the full broadcast of this game either on DVD or on digital media outlets. Even if they do, the likelihood of the broadcast being unedited is slim, as even the 2004 NLCS games they’ve released have a lot of the pregame footage and postgame interviews chopped. When they released the 1968 World Series Game 1, they did the same even though both exist in their entirety in the trading community.


  1. One thing that *could* be done to improve the quality of these kinescopes is a process recently invented called "Livefeed" which takes a kinescope of a broadcast and manages to restore as close as possible the original "live" look of the broadcast which would mean making it look more like a videotape recording than a kinescope. I have seen the work done for the 1956 Elvis appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show and the results floored me completely since no videotape recordings of any kind exist prior to 1957-58.

    I wish the replay could have been ticker-free too like the first airing of the Larsen perfect game was.

  2. I agree, I've seen quite a bit of livefeed footage. I'm not sure how clear it would make an outdoor broadcast look as I've yet to see any footage from it however what they've done with studio clips is outright amazing.

    If anyone is interested, search on YouTube for "Requiem For a Heavyweight" both the non-livefeed version and the restored clip. It's like night and day.

  3. I'm not as concerned with the technology, although whatever they can do to improve the quality of the kinescopes I'm all for.

    I just love watching the batting stances that I remember, seeing the uniform styles, looking at the stadiums, and hearing the broadcasters and what was actually said at the time.

    For instance, I go back to 1967 with the Red Sox, and I'd never seen Felix Mantilla at all in a Sox uniform, so viewing him in this 1965 All-Star Game was cool. Although I was bummed that Yaz was injured.

    Other quick observations: Loved the Indians unis that year, but hated the big block letter ORIOLES on Brooksie's uniform...Was Joe Garagiola contractually obligated to use "He can hit one out of any park, including Yellowstone" in every broadcast he did?...As many of you know, the Met is now the Mall of America, but they still have home plate, and a marker about 500 feet away and 200 feet high where they said Killebrew hit one.

    Anyway, if anybody recorded it onto DVD and wants to sell, let me know.

    And, as always, if anybody finds any complete-game broadcasts of the 1967 World Series, let me know too!!!!

  4. I have no problem with people offering to trade copies of games to other collectors, however any offers of money changing hands is not allowed.

    The legal implications are something I don't want to have to deal with and honestly isn't the point of this site.

    That said, I agree. As someone who spent countless hours staring at a computer screen recreating The Met as a fan for a computer game, it was great to see the old gal with all her chainlink in all her glory.

    I may have been a tad too harsh. After rewatching the HD feed version of the game, there may have been some minor post-enhancement and cleanup done to the print. However, I know that if the original kinescope is in hand, a lot more can be done. In fact, some have created algorithms that if the kinescope was actually recorded poorly enough can decode the color based on lighting and restore the broadcast to a pseudo-full color.

  5. Baseball has always been lazy when it comes to preservation whether its recent or in the past. Need to put the money.

  6. I am not sure how I missed it the first time, however, the 'OTA noise' that I pointed out is in fact the color information on the broadcast having not been filtered out. What you see there is the chroma information that (much like the Dr. Who episodes the BBC is working on) could be turned into color once again.

    It would take an investment of time and money by MLB, but the results would be rather remarkable.

  7. Depending on what you plan to do with the converted video, compression can be an important consideration. If your goal is to preserve the video indefinitely, you’ll want to convert it with no compression at all. This will minimize digital artifacts, and you’ll have a great starting point should you choose to share the video in other formats later on. Just be aware that importing an uncompressed movie requires a lot of storage space. CD & DVD Copies