October 25, 2014

Elyria
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Presentation talks Tribe’s history on the radio

The folks at the Avon Historical Society are getting a real history lesson that dates back to the early 1930s, when TVs were just being invented and radios were the entertainment medium of choice. We’re talking radio broadcasting history, or, more precisely, the history of the Cleveland Indians announcers. Names such as Herb Score, Tom Hamilton, Mike Hegan, Jimmy Dudley, Paul Olden and Cartwright “Pinky” Hunter are sure to ring a few bells for Indians fans.

Speaker John Mercer, a social studies teacher at Olmsted Falls High School, will bring history to life at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Avon High School as he talks about Indians announcers past and present.

Mercer studied the history of the Cleveland Indians announcers during graduate school at Kent State University and has collected tape recordings, memorabilia and other artifacts from the Indians broadcasts. He shares them with groups during his speeches.

“Many people don’t know how interesting the topic really is,” said Mercer. “In the ’30s and ’40s, announcers couldn’t afford to go to the away games, so they’d broadcast live in a studio, receiving game information in Teletype from Western Union. They’d pretend to be there, and the listeners never had a clue that they weren’t.”

Mercer said announcer Jack Graney was especially good at deceiving listeners.

“He even had items laying around the studio to use for sound effects.”

The personal dramas and the rivalries of the announcers are some of the topics Mercer will cover in his 60-minute presentation.

He also will share some of the original audio from his collection.

Jack Smith, president of the Avon Historical Society, said that Mercer is an excellent speaker.

“He really knows his stuff, and he is very exciting to listen to,” he said.

Smith said the public is welcome to attend this free event at the school at Detroit and Stoney Ridge roads.

Contact LeAnn Mullen at 329-7155 or metro@chroniclet.com.