Sunday, October 14, 2012

Alex Karras

In the "better late than never" department, I just wanted to pay brief tribute to Alex Karras, who died last week.  Karras' NFL career was nearly over by the time I started to watch football on a regular basis, so I was familiar with him mostly through his 3-year stint on Monday Night Football, and his presence in the entertainment world.  I never watched an episode of "Webster," but Karras was just one of those guys who always seemed to be around.  His most famous role was as Mongo in Mel Brooks' "Blazing Saddles," but since I didn't appreciate that movie as much as many others did (and do), I'd say that his performance in "Victor/Victoria" - a great and somewhat unappreciated film - is the one to remember him by.  His scenes with James Garner in that one are classic.

But there aren't a lot of good clips of "Victor/Victoria" online (at least not scenes with Karras in them), so we'll have to settle for a clip from MNF, in 1976.  This clip has a lot going for it - you'll enjoy what passed for cutting edge graphics in the 1970s, you'll enjoy the overbearing Howard Cosell, and hopefully you'll enjoy Cosell's reference to Lou Holtz ("the young Lou Holtz) as "understated," which is likely the only time that has occurred during the course of Holtz' life.

And then there is Karras, singing a song that Holtz wrote for the Jets - which helps to explain why Holtz quickly beat a retreat back to the world of college football - and having a grand time doing it.  And then you'll get to see a glimpse of Frank Gifford, who as always has that "what the hell I am doing here with these loons?" look on his face.


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