Remember that one day when you could wake up without an alarm? When you would get your favorite bowl of cereal and sit between the hours of 8 and 12? This is a blog dedicated to the greatest time of our childhood: Saturday mornings. The television programs you watched, the memories attached to them, and maybe introducing you to something you didn't realize existed. Updated every weekend.
In 1920s Chicago, Abe Saperstein organized and coached a new basketball team, the Savoy Big Five,
named after the Savoy Ballroom where they played exhibition games (the team’s
official history indicates the year of their formation as 1926, but the Savoy
didn’t open until 1927). After several players quit the team over disputes,
Saperstein became involved with another team formed by Tommy Brookins called
the Globe Trotters that toured Southern Illinois. In 1929, Saperstein had
renamed the team the New York Harlem Globetrotters after Harlem in New York
City, then considered to be the center of African American culture. He also
felt that an out-of-town team name gave the team more of a mystique (the
Globetrotters wouldn’t play a game in Harlem until 1968).
Abe Saperstein and the new Harlem Globetrotters.
Having become one of
the best teams in the country, the Globetrotters found themselves becoming
eclipsed as the National Basketball Association (NBA) began to rise and fielded
African-American players in the 1950s; particularly members of the team as the NBA teams often paid better. That necessitated the increasingly comic
routines that the team had become known for, gradually moving away from sports
into pure entertainment. Brother Bones’ whistled version of “Sweet Georgia Brown” had become the team’s signature song, played during their exhibitions
Poster for the 1951 film The Harlem Globetrotters.
In 1951, the team
took their first leap off the court in the movie The Harlem Globetrotters; a drama about young Bill Townsend (Billy Brown) dropping out of college to join the team and finding love along the way.
It was followed up in 1954 with the sequel Go,Man, Go!. Twelve members of the team were featured on What’s My Line?in 1956. Then, in 1970, the Globetrotters brought
their talents to Saturday mornings…