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Down Memory Lane: Indy 500 on Theatre Closed Circuit

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  • Down Memory Lane: Indy 500 on Theatre Closed Circuit

    I remember going to the Civic Arena, Pittsburgh, PA in late Fifties, or Sixties to see Indy 500 via closed circuit.

    It was black and white, projected on a large screen. Very poor quality, very grainy.
    They lost picture during pre-race, and occasionally during race. Bad stuff.

    Any others experience this?

  • #2
    I saw the race on theatre TV in Philadelphia from 1967 through 1970.It was discontinued after that because ABC went to same day coverage during prime time.The quality of the BW picture was less than wonderful as was the coverage in general.The camera followed only the lead car.

    The first Ontario 500 was also on theatre TV but it was in color and the picture was much better.So was the coverage.In all the races I saw in theatres,the crowds were really large.This was a huge theatre in Philly used normally for big spectacle films like 2001 and Grand Prix.Race telecasts were near sellouts.

    I particularly remember the posters they used to promote it in 1968.After the near win by Parnelli in the turbine in '67,they played up the angle of the rivalry between the turbines and the conventional cars.The posters showed a head on view of the turbine side by side with Andretti's Hawk.
    Proud to be a complainer.

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    • #3
      Yup, I saw several 500's on closed circuit TV in theaters in Chicago's loop. I saw a couple of Daytona 500's that way, too. The coverage stunk, but it was better than nothin'.

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      • #4
        I can also remember seeing the closed circuit telecast of the first Ontario California 500 in 1970 in a movie theater. It was quite a novelty at the time and I remember the theater was nearly full. I kept wondering why all of the long shots of the backstretch seemed foggy. Only later did I realize that the famous Southern California smog was obscuring some of the views. The race was on Sunday of Labor Day weekend. While standing in line outside of the theater someone had a newspaper telling that Jochen Rindt had been killed the previous day at Monza. That was the first we'd heard of it and unfortunately that remains a regrettable memory of that telecast.

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        • #5
          why were the post by aXe and I lost here?

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          • #6
            Living in Indy, the first closed circuit race I saw was the 67 Daytona 500 with Mario winning.. It was shown in the Tyndal Armory which was packed to the rafters (1,000 tops) with cooler carrying fans dressed in the racetrack gear of the day. Pretty cool. Later it moved to the Murat which seemed to lose the "at the track" atmosphere.

            I saw a few Ontario 500s in the State Fair Coloseum which only made me glad that I lived in Indy and could see the 500 first hand.
            "Living well is the best revenge"

            George Herbert

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Mackie:
              <STRONG>why were the post by aXe and I lost here?</STRONG>
              I see, it is a double post, duh!

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              • #8
                Er...Nostalgia forum?

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                • #9
                  Here are the two posts from the other one that was the same as this one.
                  aXe

                  Mackie
                  Race Fan
                  Member # 665
                  posted January 16, 2002 06:48 PM
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                  Why was it bad, at the time there was only two other options, go to Indy and try and find a ticket, or listen on the radio. I am one who went to the theaters every year. Sometimes those outlets were hard to find. There was no place to call, or look to see where the race would be shown, if it wasn't advertised in your area, I always worried about that until I found a location. Living in Connecticut, one year we had to go to Springfield, Mass. to see it. As I recall there was a rain problem that year and we had to return for a second day.
                  One other thing I remember though, is the excitement I felt when the picture came on and you could see all the people milling around the cars before the start of the race.

                  Later, for about six years, I became part of the prerace activities and I didn't find it to be any more exciting, just different.

                  Looking back, it may have been "bad stuff" considering what we have today, but it was all we had. I cherish the memory.

                  On the two trips to Springfield I went with a fellow racer and mentor of mine, Eddie Flemke. On the first day, the true Memorial Day Monday, we were to race later that day in New York State. We parked our open "hailers" on the street outside the theater in Springfield while we went inside for the race. The two cars were open and uncovered but we never gave it a thought. It was a more peaceful and respectful World, maybe not as "advanced" as we are today, but in some ways better.

                  One other reason that I cherish that memory is because my friend Eddie is been gone now for over twenty years, he meant a lot to many of us, and made us all better people. Yep, seeing Indy in a theater was fine by me.

                  [ January 16, 2002: Message edited by: Mackie ]

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                  Miles Nelson


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                  aXe
                  Race Fan
                  Member # 83
                  posted January 16, 2002 07:27 PM
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                  Yea Mackie you got it right
                  it was an awsome experience for a poor kid from out west with no chance what so ever to see the 500 in person. Back then $25 was a lot of money for a kid making about $1.00 an hour. But that was the cost to see it at the San Jose Civic Auditorium and the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds. Poor seating smoke filled rooms very cold at the fair grounds. But looking back the newness and the excitment that the speedway generated for us first time viewers was hard to explain. A few moments to treasure for ever for me.
                  aXe
                  [ January 16, 2002: Message edited by: aXe ]

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                  IF the IRL raced like that other series, There would be no "IRL" by now.
                  aXe


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                  Mackie
                  Race Fan
                  Member # 665
                  posted January 16, 2002 08:51 PM
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                  can these two posts be combined in some way?
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                  Miles Nelson


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                  | IP: Logged

                  Born Again Race Fan seen at
                  www.openwheelracers3.com

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                  • #10
                    Might it not be a good idea for the IRL to revisit this idea. They could help enthusiastic race fans host race parties in large cities.
                    The IRL could make sure the tech setup was proper with live timing and scoring on some of the TV monitors at the bars, hand out some IRL stuff for free and have a souviner seller on hand. The bar would draw a large crowd on a Sunday. Cost would really be minimal. Sigma racing did this in Chicago this past year. It was really a blast as race fans came together from all over Chicago to a bar and cheer for Sigma and watch the race. Good eats and drinks, free shirts, etc. The IRL could even sell tickets to the local race.

                    Hummm . . . . this sounds to me like an idea that should somehow get into the hands of the IRL right away.

                    markbilek
                    http://www.drivechicago.com

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                    • #11
                      Done Mark. I just forwarded this to the IRL.
                      Barney Oldfield - AJ Foyt - Jim Clark - Dan Gurney - IMS - IMS YT - INDYCAR - INDYCAR YT

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