The Glory Days voice

Jim Irwin announced Packer games for so long that a lot of Packer fans have no idea who his predecessor was, let alone his predecessor’s predecessor.

For that matter, Ray Scott was so synonymous with the Packers in the ’60s that a lot of Packer fans may think that Scott preceded Irwin.

Scott worked for CBS-TV, and Irwin worked for the Packer radio network, originated on WTMJ radio in Milwaukee since 1929. Before Irwin, who was preceded by Gary Bender, the Packer radio chronicler was Ted Moore, who died last week, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports:

Moore, blessed with a radio-friendly baritone, was a constant presence on the airwaves in his prime, calling games for the Packers, football and basketball games for the University of Wisconsin, and one year calling Marquette University basketball. He broadcast UW basketball for 22 years.

Moore spent 48 years in the radio and television broadcasting business. But he was best known for his work with the Packers. At the Ice Bowl, with the Packers trailing the Dallas Cowboys, 17-14, in the NFL Championship Game, Moore peered through a small unfrozen section of the press box window and called quarterback Bart Starr’s sneak into the end zone.

“The Green Bay Packers are going to be world champions, NFL champions for the third straight year,” Moore yelled.

A native of Bristow, Okla., Moore graduated from UW and worked for a number of stations in Madison, Marshfield, Neenah, Menasha, Green Bay and finally, in 1958, at WTMJ radio and television.

In 1960, he began doing Packers broadcasts and had the good fortune of working for the team that dominated the ’60s under legendary coach Vince Lombardi. Moore was on hand for five NFL championships and two Super Bowls.

In 1962, according to a biography prepared by the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association, Moore was NBC’s play-by-play voice for the Green Bay Packers-New York Giants NFL Championship Game.

After 10 seasons with the Packers, Moore spent the 1970-’71 season calling games for the Baltimore Colts. That happened to be the season the Colts defeated the Cowboys in Super Bowl V on Jan. 17, 1971, earning Moore a Super Bowl ring—Moore also worked for WEMP and WOKY in Milwaukee. He was later inducted into the Wisconsin Broadcasters Hall of Fame. …

Packers President and CEO Mark Murphy said Saturday that “Packers fans lost an iconic voice with the passing of Ted Moore. His play-by-play calls delighted the radio audience during the remarkably successful Lombardi era. Our sincere condolences go out to his family.”

Moore’s impact is actually understated here. The only way Packer fans in the Green Bay and Milwaukee TV markets were able to see the Packers on TV was when they played on the road. All home games, even playoff games, were blacked out.

The other remarkable thing was that Moore worked by himself until Irwin arrived in Green Bay. (He worked for WLUK-TV before moving to Milwaukee.) A Milwaukee Journal sportswriter appeared at the half, but having done a few football games by myself (once by accident of my would-be partner, as you know), I can attest that that is hard work.

Moore also had a voice that isn’t heard anymore — really deep and rich. (There are a lot of distinctive voices you don’t hear anymore because of the decrease in smoking and drinking liquor. Whether or not Moore smoke or drank, that kind of voice is kind of out of style now.)

Moore’s numerous other assignments included Badger football. That was back in the days when any station that wanted to broadcast the Badgers could. In the 1970s and 1980s there were two separate networks — Irwin broadcasted for WTMJ and its network, Moore and Earl Gillespie broadcasted for another network, and WIBA radio in Madison did games too, with its general manager, Fred Gage, at the microphone. (Rank has its privileges.) Two other Madison stations did games for a couple seasons in the ’80s, bringing the Madison-area Badger fan choice to, yes, five.

Moore also did, for a couple of seasons, Badger basketball on TV. On VHS tape someplace I have a copy of the finish of a game he did, the 1978–79 season finale for Wisconsin against Michigan State. The next day’s newspapers reported the spectacular Wes Matthews half-court shot that beat the buzzer and the Spartans, 83–81. That turned out to be the final collegiate loss for MSU center Earvin Johnson, whose team went on to win the 1979 NCAA Final Four. Magic Johnson then turned pro.

 

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