Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Remembering the 'Mouth of the South'

Former Charlotte sportscaster Bill Currie died late Monday in Washington State, but the memory of his days as the voice of the Tar Heels will live on with every Carolina fan who heard him talk. Caulton Tudor of the News & Observer had a good column today
on the man Sports Illustrated once dubbed the Mouth of the South. And Robert Dvorchak had this column in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
For my money, Currie was a wordsmith. His often-flamboyant ways – he once described a slow game as about as exciting as artificial insemination – masked gems of the uttered art. My favorite is what he once said about former UNC point guard Dick Grubar around 1969 or ’70, I guess. Grubar was an extremely poised floor leader who always seemed to know where his next pass would go – while looking in another direction.
Grubar, Currie said, was “cooler than the other side of the pillow.”
Got any memories of Bill Currie you’d like to share?

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

dugg for no Jimmy Hart content

Jim Cornette said...

Yeah for real I thought this was about Jimmy Hart

Anonymous said...

I loved him in Pittsburgh's sports heyday of the 70's with his wild jackets, ties, and boutonnieres on KDKA tv.

Anonymous said...

..........A REAL PRO. COULD MAKE A SO-SO GAME ENTERTAINING. DEFINITELY ONE OF THE ALL- TIMERS.

Anonymous said...

I grew up in Pittsburgh when the 'Mouth of the South' was on the news. As a kid who loved sports, all the kids on the block thought he was an idiot. The phrase 'A village has lost its' idiot' was true when he came to Pittsburgh. Thank god he finally left.

PS: I'm sure he was a great dad, but a sportscaster, he was not.

Anonymous said...

Was it he or another sportscaster who coined the phrase "he tickled the twines"?

Anonymous said...

When was Jimmy Hart in Pittsburgh?

Anonymous said...

I remember being amused by Bill Currie's commentaries and sportscoats as a kid growing up in Pittsburgh in the '70s and '80s. He was one of a kind -- at least in these parts. Rest in peace and don't be too hard on Bowie Kuhn up there.

Bob Farrington said...

I worked for Bill when he was sports editor of the High Point Enterprise. He kept a second typewriter where he hammered out books for the pulp trade. He always said he wrote them under an assumed name - his first wife's first husband's name.

Anonymous said...

Woody, Gary and Bob are very competent announcers, but none of them could turn a phrase like Bill Currie. I can still remember Currie describing a catch by a UNC Tar Heel in the end zone at Clemson, "that fellow just retched up and snaught the ball." I laughed so hard I fell out of my chair. He was a great one.

Susan Smith said...

My dad was a brilliant man who entertained people from all walks of life - even those who weren't usually sports fans. When I was young, I was amazed how he could cut up on the evening TV news, call ball games with precision, make people laugh 'til they cried at banquets, preach a sermon, write, sing, and play the piano by ear. I thought he was all powerful. He was always busy, and it was hard to get his time until he was retired. I am much the same today and I see him in me. He used to say " A stray dog would have been a better father than I was", but I would remind him of my success, which indicated he hadn't done so bad after all. I loved my dad, and plan to see him again in the afterlife.
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Hickory

Anonymous said...

The Mouth Of The South decked out in his yellow red plaid sports blazer big rimmed glasses yacking away back in the 60s with other tv oldies like weatherman Jimmy Kilgo with his Kanteen ever Saturday and a different high school and the Kilgo Girls, Doug Mayes, Fred Kirby, Brooks Lindsey aka Joey the Clown, Bob Hice, Jim Paterson aka Uncle Jim, Jack Callahan, and a few others. The Charlotte Colisiem was the stuff and Park Center next where all the wrestling was held with Johnny Weaver, George Becker or Rip Hawk and Swede Hanson or the Bolos or Mountain Men hosted by Big Bill Ward.
Wooden Clark Griffin Stadium for the 1A Hornets was still standing off S Blvd on Marsh with the Krispy Kreme on the corner and one on Independence where all the cops hung out.
Memorial Stadium was used for all the conferences 10 high school football games.
Douglas Airport was a small red brick airport with a parking spot for lovers and crime was small plus schools did great.
Atlantic Mills on S Blvd and Park & Shop on NTryon and Wilkinson were the only grocerys.
I-77 didnt open until 1970 so it didnt exist while Charlotte was known as the Trucking Capital with I-85 lined with trucking companies.
There were 2 small banks NCNB &
1st Union. It was called Charlotte Motor Speedway then. There was a big fairground and dirt track on Highway 16 with the Fox drive in.
South Park didnt open until 1970. N Tryon St Mall and Charlottetown Mall and Cinema was it with Cotswold Mall.
Woolco was everywhere. Belk and Ivey uptown with Sears and Kress on the square was it with Wood Bros and Al Manch Jewelry who owned the Checkers.
KMart on Independence S Blvd and Freedom and Viking Twin Drive In.
Paper Doll Cloud 9 and C'est Bon for adults.
Young Ford & Lapointe Chevrolet uptown & later Arnold Palmer Cadillac.
Shoneys all over and Open Kitchen on Morehead with Barclays Cafeterias on Freedom and Independence.
UNCC was small & played games in Garinger and Harrisburg gyms.
A&P and Harris Teeter all over. Betty Feezer was queen of cooking on tv. South 29 driveins couldnt be beat. Hidden Valley was a new suburb and Clanton Park. All the money was in Myers Park and Park Rd Shopping Center was hot. South was the team beat in basketball. Harding Garinger and MPark in football.

Yea, ole Bill had good company back then ....

Anonymous said...

When "The Reverend" turned up one day on the #1 news channel in Pittsburgh,Channel 2 with the legendary Bill Burns and daughter Pattie, we all thought it was
some sort of joke. Mr. Currie's coats and ties had electrical plugs attached. We took him in though, like one does a stray cat and soon enough he was part of the Pittsburgh family. Nitely people had to choose between "The Reverend's" commentary or that of longtime
voice of the Steelers, Myron Cope.
If you were quick switching channels, maybe you could hear them both. And mind you this was before most had remote controls! Perhaps us Pittsburghers were getting prepped by Mr.Currie's southern drawl, for the day so many of us would relocate to the warmth, and southern hospitality of our friends in the great town of Charlotte. As for Mr.Currie, may you be in a place like Froggies, a place I know you held dear to your heart, like so many of us did in Pittsburgh. We raise the glasses one last time, cheers Reverend. You will be missed.

r wetzel said...

I first met Bill in 1966, when he invited me to watch his sportscast, then have supper at his home. He was a friend of my brother Frank Wetzel and covered his trial in 1958 for the murders of 2 NC Troppers for WRAL radio. He put the first live mike in a court room during that trial, the judge saw it under his desk and the cut the wire with his pocket knife! Currie was cited for contempt. He maintained my brothers innocence and had composed a book exposing this miscarriage of justice! I am in the process of rewriting Franks story of FIFTY YEARS of wrongful conviction and hope that the Currie family will be proud. They lost a great man who always told the truth in a very unique way that no one in broadcasting could match. Please contact me at wetzelsrus@yahoo.com with comments or book info. Richard Wetzel

fredgregory said...

Jack,

I have a lot of fond memories of Bill Currie.

Correct me if I am wrong, and I hope this doesn't sound macabre, but I recall that Sports Illustrated featured a photo of one of Bill's practical jokes/stunts.. a photo of himself laid to rest in an open casket. I had clipped it and stashed it away. Now I can't locate it but I am sure someone has it in their archives, See if you can find it.

Fred Gregory
Class of 1962
( freshman year spring '57 )

Anonymous said...

I adored Bill. My mother was his care-taker for the last seven years of his life, so I came to know him a little through that. He was a sweet old man. A little out there, and he dressed funny, but he was still lovable. I've only seen old clips of his casts, but I think he did a great job. No slamming on Sweet Ol' Bill!

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