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The World Was Our Stage: Spanning the Globe with ABC Sports Paperback – August 31, 2013
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"To be sure, on its surface, The World Was Our Stage is a string of anecdotal encounters with personalities made famous in part by how Wilson and his colleagues at ABC Sports captured them on camera. Underlying these charming yarns, however, is a cautionary tale about the precipitous rise and the almost imperceptible fall of television as a cultural and economic force in American society."
From the Back Cover
"Doug Wilson tells a fascinating story in The World Was Our Stage, a unique personal journey that also recalls the riveting history of the coming-of-age of sports television. Doug is one of the finest and kindest gentlemen to ever work in the business, and it's a delight to go back in time with him as he spans the globe once more to tell the stories that he and his colleagues first told so magnificently decades ago. In Doug's storytelling, it truly still is a wide, and wonderful, world of sports." --Christine Brennan, USA Today national sports columnist, ABC News commentator, best-selling author of Inside Edge
"Doug Wilson revisits a time when ABC's Wide World of Sports was must-see TV every weekend for millions of Americans. If some of these stories seem made up--trust me--they're not. I was there for many of them and would walk away thinking, 'You can't make this stuff up.'" It was great fun to witness and just as much fun to read about." --Al Michaels, Emmy Award-winning NBC sportscaster, previously with ABC Sports for three decades
"ABC Sports and Wide World of Sports not only changed but also virtually created the sports television landscape in the United States and set the standard by which sports coverage around the world is now measured. They had the vision to put the King/Riggs Battle of the Sexes match in prime time and it paid off for them and for Bobby and me, and it raised the profile of tennis worldwide--all while putting social change in the national spotlight. ABC Sports was a game changer and they fully understood the importance of bringing sports to the people." --Billie Jean King, Sports icon and humanitarian; Cofounder, World Team Tennis
"As Olympic athletes, we always cherished ABC's Wide World of Sports for exposing sports like gymnastics to a much wider audience than our sport ever enjoyed before. Doug Wilson, who has been a friend for over thirty years, has always delighted us with his behind-the-scenes stories about this groundbreaking sports television show. We are thrilled that Doug has finally decided to share these incredible stories from the award-winning show that represented a paradigm shift in sports television." --Nadia Comaneci and Bart Conner, Olympic and World champions in gymnastics
"Doug Wilson's sensitivity and his passion for 'getting it right' from the perspective of the athlete continue to define his amazing contributions to television. I love this book, and I couldn't put it down." --Scott Hamilton, 1984 Olympic gold medalist in men's figure skating, four-time World champion
"Everything America knows or loves about figure skating comes from the eyes and heart of Doug Wilson. It was a privilege to work with him." --Lesley Visser, Hall of Fame sportscaster
"Doug Wilson has an elephantine memory. Our decades of working together at ABC Sports took us from Innsbruck, Austria, to Nagano, Japan, to Podunk, USA. I enjoyed reading about the history we shared."
--Dick Button, Emmy Award-winning sports analyst, Olympic and World champion in figure skating
"In addition to all of the interesting and entertaining stories Doug Wilson tells with firsthand knowledge of the people and events that shaped ABC Sports, there is a great deal of history in this book. Not only is there plenty of sports history but also the history of the sports television industry from an insider point of view.
The World Was Our Stage should be required reading for every student of broadcasting. What is documented in this book is critical for understanding the origins of this industry." --Jim Jennett, Emmy Award-winning sports television director
"Along with my father, Jim McKay, Doug Wilson was in many ways the heart and soul of ABC Sports. Doug's passion for his craft and his remarkable creativity are surpassed only by his storytelling ability, both on television and in print. The World Was Our Stage is a fascinating and compassionate behind-the-scenes look at many of the greatest sports television stories and personalities of all time. My father would have loved this book, almost as much as he loved working with Doug." --Sean McManus, Chairman, CBS Sports
"For 50 years, Doug Wilson embodied the spirit and creative excellence that was ABC Sports. His passionate storytelling played an integral part in the success of Wide World of Sports, the longest and most celebrated sports anthology show in television history. Doug allowed the places, events, and athletes to always be in the story. This book relives the lost age of innocence in sports and chronicles its greatest athletes, 'up close and personal.' I was fortunate to produce many of the world's greatest sporting events with Doug, and for that I am grateful." --Curt Gowdy Jr., Emmy Award-winning executive producer
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In a distinctive voice that at once shows immense color yet respectful restraint, Doug Wilson paints a full picture of what it was like when TV technology, then broadcast in black and white, was just beginning a new and totally innovative phase in sports reporting, when “Wide World of Sports” enabled ABC to rise from #3 among the alphabet networks to become the reigning number 1. Wilson’s fills his compelling memoir with stories that keep the reader turning the pages till we reach the present day satellite era. Along the way, we not only meet the previously mentioned stars, but people behind the cameras and in the back offices who made it all happen. We experience the triumphs and tragedies of the athletes, relive their trepidations and insecurities, their ups and downs and ultimate conquest of fear. Wilson also describes in vivid detail the horrors of the Munich Olympics, when the Palestinian Black September group kidnapped and killed the Israeli team members, from a perspective that has never been related before.
Doug Wilson not only gives us a bird’s eye view of the cities, the stadiums, the back alleys of an immense number of countries, he tells us about his own life, beginning when as a 15 year old aspiring singer, he attempted to impress crooner Perry Como, who was golfing on the fairway that backed up to his parents’ home, by opening the window and singing in the shower. Inadvertently, this led to Wilson’s brilliant 50 years in broadcast TV.
Even if you are not a sports fan, you will delight in this book.
His accounts of events that occurred during my twenty year stint rekindled many memories. The stories are accurately retold and I found myself reading the stories and saying, “That’s right! I’d forgotten all about that!”
Not only does “The World Was Our Stage” provide a fascinating look at the history of television sports, it gives the reader/viewer a great deal of insight about the behind the scenes process that goes into putting a network telecast on the air. It provides a glimpse of the long hours, the hard work and the dedication displayed on a daily basis by the people who worked behind the cameras at ABC Sports. It also gives some idea of the sense of triumph and pride that is felt when the pieces all come together and the lows that are experienced when the work was for naught; “The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.”
If you are a viewer who remembers watching “ABC’s Wide World of Sports” this book will rekindle your memories of those broadcasts and of those days. If you are someone thinking of a career in broadcasting, I would strongly recommend that you read this book. You’ll learn a lot! If you’re someone already in the business, I’d also recommend this book. You too can learn from Doug’s experiences and at the very least, you’ll enjoy the tales!
This memoir by Doug Wilson, director/producer of the show, is extremely engrossing and well-written. He takes us back to the charm of Olga Korbut and the terror of Black September at the '72 Munich Games; Ali at the top of his game, sparring with Howard Cosell; Evel Knievel and his many broken bones; even ski jumping and skeleton racing!
A worthy companion to Jim McKay's MY WIDE WORLD, this book is fascinating for its foray into the early years of live broadcast and the evolution of how sports are recorded for a wide audience.
Bravo, Doug Wilson & Jody Cohan!