09.24.07

No Mention of the Butthole Surfers

Posted in Sports TV, The World Of Entertainment at 4:38 am by

Kevin Sherrington of the Dallas Morning News checks in with Jerry Haynes (above, middle), who did a little sports when he wasn’t “Mr. Peppermint” of kid’s TV fame.

…He remembers what it was like growing up in Plano and Dallas with football on his mind, even if he was too small to play.

“I went out for the basketball team, and the coach tripped me on a fast break,” he said. “I figured this wasn’t for me, either.”

Still, his love of sports remained undiminished, inflamed by his years as an SMU student following Doak Walker and Bobby Layne.

He wanted to be a sports announcer. Got his start in the SMU press box providing stats for Bill Stern.

“He was kinda full of it,” Haynes said. “If he didn’t have the stats, he’d just make them up. Once Doak had to come out of a game, and we were so high up you couldn’t even see their faces.

“But Bill told the audience, ‘There were tears in that boy’s eyes …’ ”

Still, the job had its perks. Celebrities visited the cramped booth. Bob Hope came up once, as did a famous dancer.

Said Haynes: “I got to rub knees with Cyd Charisse.”

Easy, Peppermint.

Haynes worked some high school games but eventually gave up on a play-by-play career. Too excitable on air, he said. He trained as an actor in New York and returned to Dallas in ’52, when he took a job as sports anchor at WFAA because it was the only position open.

Lasting memories? He talked to Babe Didrikson by phone as she lay dying from cancer in a Galveston hospital. He could barely contain himself interviewing Dizzy Dean. And a forgetful Kyle Rote once sprinted four blocks for an interview after watching Haynes promote him as a guest at the top of the telecast.

Haynes’ favorite sports line on camera: When SMU’s basketball team departed for a game in San Francisco, he said, “Off they flew into the shadow of big Bill Russell.

Presumably no one ever said Gibby wasn’t big enough to play.

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