Jim Healy

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For the Australian unionist, see Jim Healy (trade unionist).

Jim Healy (1923 – July 22, 1994) was a longtime Los Angeles, California, sports commentator (KLAC, 1961–65; KFWB, 1969; KABC-TV, 1969–84; KLAC, 1973–82; KMPC, 1984–94), whose daily solo radio show featured a number of sound effects[1] and audio clips ("drops") of famous sports personalities, which he played repeatedly to affect an acerbically humorous tone.

Excerpting from his entry on the "L.A. Radio: Where Are They Now?" list:

A one-of-a-kind sportscaster in Los Angeles for 43 years, Jim died July 22, 1994, at age 70 from complications of liver cancer. He began at KMPC in 1950, fresh out of UCLA, writing for broadcaster Bob Kelley.[1] Jim wrote for Bob for 11 years. He hosted "Here's Healy" on KBIG and also worked at KFWB, KABC-TV[2] and KLAC.[3] Jim was the nightly sports reporter on KABC-TV/Channel 7... ..."Is... it... true?" became one of his trademark lines. His headstone at Hollywood Hills Forest Lawn reads: "Jim Healy, 1923-94, IT IS TRUE.” ... In 1997 he was inducted into the Southern California Sports Broadcasters Hall of Fame.

Healy's shows (at least those from the late 1970s onward) took the form of him reading headlines, with the clicking sound effect of a teleprinter in the background. In response to his own headlines or comments, Healy would then play one of his many favorite audio clips, such as "That's a bunch of bull," "That's just plain poppycock" (President Richard Nixon), or "Jim Healy, you've got a weak show" (by a Howard Cosell mimic), followed by the genuine Cosell drop "Who Goofed I've got to know." Among his sound effects was a high pitched smirking laughtrack, sounding like, "Mee-hee-hee-hee..." (Norm Sherry, then manager of the California Angels).

Perhaps the most notorious—and among the most frequently played—clip in Healy's collection was a post-game tirade by then-Los Angeles Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda, after Dave Kingman, playing for the Chicago Cubs, hit three home runs to beat the Dodgers.[4] Lasorda's rant started out: "What's my opinion of Kingman's performance!? What the &@*$% do you think is my opinion of it?"

More often than not, his programs embodied satire and ironies of the sports scene rather than another pedestrian delivery of sports news reports found everywhere else. For example, instead of straight reporting from the weekly UCLA press lunches, he'd talk about "They offered the build-it yourself tostadas at the Bruin football press conference today, drawing a lot of the usual media free-loaders (followed with a sound drop of hogs snorting)," which of course had nothing to do with football but was considerably more amusing. Added side note: UCLA eventually stopped serving lunch at its pressers.

Among other Healy-isms:

  • He used the term "zops" as slang for dollars.[1]
  • He referred to fellow L.A. sports broadcasting personality Stu Nahan (both appeared in "Rocky III") as "Silver-tipped Stu."
  • He called Bill Dwyre, sports editor of the Los Angeles Times, "Journalist Bill."
  • Ever dismissive of his arch-rivals, UCLA alum Healy referred to the USC Trojans as the "Brain Surgeons." He also flashed a distorted recording of the Trojan Fight Song with the fanfare melting down into a slow sludge prefacing USC news "datelines"...
  • He called Chick Hearn, the late announcer for the Los Angeles Lakers, "Chickieburger."[1]
  • Chris Schenkel, who actually died in 2005, eleven years after Healy, was always "the late Chris Schenkel".

His KMPC show was famous for going over its 30-minute time limit. Healy would stay on the air as the top of the hour approached, then warn his listeners about the impending "dreaded six o'clock tone," and continue his program.

During his late career, one of Healy's favorite clips came from then-University of Miami defensive end Jerome Brown, captured on tape when Brown led his fellow Hurricanes out of a pre-1987 Fiesta Bowl dinner with opponent Penn State, saying: "Did the Japanese go and sit down and have dinner with Pearl Harbor before they bombed 'em?" Any reference to Japan or the Japanese on Healy's show would result in a replay of Brown's remark. When Brown died in a car accident on June 25, 1992, Healy announced Brown's death during his 5:30 p.m. PDT broadcast — and never played the "Pearl Harbor" clip again.

Healy is the father of Patrick Healy, a longtime newscaster on KNBC-TV in Los Angeles.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Leggett, William. "Between the Clacks, the Facts". Sports Illustrated, June 12, 1978. Retrieved on July 25, 2013.
  2. ^ Schenectady Gazette. "Rumor Wilt Sent to LA". December 24, 1964, p. 10. Retrieved on July 25, 2013.
  3. ^ Evening Independent (St. Petersburg, Fla.). "Stanford Coach Decides To Accept Rams Post". January 13, 1978, p. 2-C. Retrieved on July 25, 2013.
  4. ^ The Daily Gazette (Schenectady, N.Y.). "Jim Healy, host of sports program" (Obituary). Associated Press, July 24, 1994, p. B8. Retrieved on July 25, 2013.

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