“NATIONAL PRO HIGHLIGHTS”
(Week 1 and Week 4)
Before NFL Films was born in the sixties, the ABC network TV show "National Pro Highlights", hosted by Harry Wismer, covered all the NFL highlights each week throughout the fall. Each weekly Black & White TV show ran almost a half hour and featured the big plays of every game. Here are two of these shows (55 minutes running time) from the 1952 season - Opening week and week 4. Wismer, the first of the early TV sportscasters and later the first owner of the AFL New York Titans, introduces the program, sponsored in 1952 by whoever the local station could get to buy the show. Below is a brief description of each game. All players listed below are actually named in the narrative, with many others shown also.
* Behind Jim Finks and Fran Rogel, Steelers score points, but Pittsburgh can’t stop Eagles from scoring, either! QB’s Adrian Burk and Bobby Thomason with Pete Pihos, Bobby Walston and Frank Ziegler lead Eagles to 31-25 win at old Forbes Field! Ray Mathews, Ed Modzelewski and George Sulima are also shown for the Steelers vs Russ Craft and Bob Stringer for the Eagles.
* At old City Stadium, Green Bay, George Blanda, Bob Williams, Whizzer White, Curley Morrison, Kayo Dottley and Bill Wightkin star for Bears as Chicago beats Packers 24-14! Pack leads 7-3 at halftime, but Bears roar back to win over Tobin Rote, Billy Howton, Tony Canadeo, Bobby Jack Floyd and rookie Babe Parilli. Also shown are Ed Sprinkle and Gene Schroeder of the Bears.
* The Dallas Texans play their first game, jumping on top early 6-0 over the New York Giants and are only behind 10-6 at halftime, but Giants pull away in second half to win 24-6. Kyle Rote looks familiar scoring on a long run in the Cotton Bowl and Tom Landry plays where he will coach 8 years later. Other Giants shown are Charley Conerly, Bob McChesney, Eddie Price, Frank Gifford, Joe Scott and Ray Poole. QB Bob Celeri, George Robinson, Buddy Young, Dick Wilkins and George Taliaferro are shown for Texans.
* World Champion Rams visit Cleveland and Otto Graham and Browns get revenge for last fall’s loss in the NFL Title game. Ken Carpenter, Dub Jones, Mac Speedie, Marion Motley, Lou Groza, Tommy James, Sherman Howard and Bert Rechichar combine to overwhelm Rams 49-7! Rams score only in final minutes. Norm Van Brocklin, Tom Fears, Vitamin Smith, and Deacon Dan Towler are all shown for Rams.
* Future Hall Of Famer Hugh McElhenny plays his first pro game and is sensational in season-opening 17-3 win over eventual World Champion Lions at old Kezar Stadium! Teammates Joe Perry, Y.A. Tittle, Frankie Albert, J.R. Boone, Gordie Soltau, Bill Jessup, Ed Henke and Sam Cathcart are all shown along with all the great Lions of the era: Bobby Layne, Doak Walker, Joe Schmidt, Hunchy Hoernschemeyer, Leon Hart, Cloyce Box, Jim Hardy, Pat Harder and Jack Christiansen.
* Tough 49’ers visit Wrigley Field and humble Bears 40-16 as McElhenny has another great game (95-yd punt return)! Hardy Brown, Lowell Wagner and Bobby White shown with other 49’ers and Jim Dooley (interception), Gene Schroeder, Steve Romanik and Babe Dimancheff are shown for the Bears.
* Packers visit Cotton Bowl for the first time and easily handle Texans 24-14 in Saturday night game (remember the old white footballs?) Packers Parilli, Bob Mann, Fred Cone shown vs Texans Celeri, Dick Hoerner, Chubby Grigg and others.
* Steelers lead 17-14 at the half, but only score one TD rest of the way as Redskins knock off Pittsburgh 28-24 at Forbes Field. Jack Spinks, George Hayes, Ed Kissell and Pat Brady of the Steelers battle Choo-Choo Charlie Justice, Sammy Baugh, Eddie LeBaron, Harry Gilmer, Gene Brito, Leon Heath, Joe Tereshinski and rookie Johnny Williams of the Redskins.
* Lions score final 10 points of the game to beat Rams 24-16 at Briggs Stadium. Lavern Torgeson and Lions shown vs Bob Waterfield, Towler, Bob Carey, Crazy Legs Hirsch, Herb Rich and Skeets Quinlan of the Rams.
* Browns smash Eagles at Shibe Park, 49-7. Graham, Lenny Ford, Darrell Brewster, Horace Gillom, Chick Jagade and backup QB George Ratterman vs Al Pollard, John Huzvar and Ralph Goldston of the Eagles. Lou Groza kicks his 85th consecutive PAT for a new NFL record!
* Chicago Cardinals knock off undefeated Giants at NY in see-saw 24-23 game for the week’s big upset! Charlie Trippi, Ralph Pasquariello, Ollie Matson, Billy Cross, Don Stonesifer, Joe Geri and Cliff Anderson star for Chicago! Ray Poole misses game-winning 23-yd FG as time runs out!
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