Inside The Broadcasting Booth With Sam Posey
Tony Hulman purchased the Indianapolis Motor Speedway shortly after World War II. A wealthy patriarch, he plowed all profits back into the track, making it the finest in the world. Attendance at its signature event, the Indianapolis 500, was over 300,000. The purse was the biggest, the speeds the highest. Hulman correctly felt that he and the Speedway held a leadership role in American racing and that TV was essential to the growth of the sport. But when ABC approached Mr. Hulman in the mid-1960s, he wasn’t at all sure he wanted his event on network TV. A live show would compete with him for attendance at the track, and he feared that if people across the country saw one of the era’s particularly violent crashes in their living rooms, it could lead to a public outcry, even a ban on racing. In a compromise, ABC agreed to film the race and air it as a three-hour special in the evening. They got the show, but it was a technical nightmare. Fitting the race in the time slot meant cutting half the laps — but which ones? We didn’t have much time to decide before the editing had to begin, and every year the tension was palpable as minutes ticked away to the show.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/Articles/2016/07/27/Calling-Indy