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
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 and advertisements.
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…