Sometimes you get help from unknown sources.

If you click on the link above you will see one of the different program covers that we created during my tenure as head of the International Roller Derby League.

There were actually a lot more, but Gary Powers, the head of the National Roller Derby Hall of Fame, posted ten on his facebook page.

A number of them are for the Championship playoffs which occurred at the end of our season, with the top four teams in the league playing over a two-night tourney. the playoffs were held at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Ca and the Cow Palace in San Francisco; International Amphitheatre and St Louis Arena in the Midwest; and Madison Square Garden and Shea Stadium in New York.

Well, this is the weekend of the WFTDA regional in Richmond, VA. We played there, of course, but this reminds me of something that has tickled me for years.

Our penalty boxes were located on the infield of the banked track, just behind the players benches, one on each side. Now I never wanted to miss a promotional opportunity, and since our games were seen live in the San Francisco Bay Area on Channel 2(and the second half videotaped and shipped to our extensive -110 station -network) so I had our phone reservations numbers on the back of each penalty box, with the numbers for our main SF Bay Area arenas: Oakland, San Jose and Richmond. (click to see the famous TV commentator)

Well, on our nationwide tour we had booked a game in Richmond VA as well as 80 other cities. We started our local campaign as always, dropping commercials for the games starting 6 weeks before into each local telecast. We would usually get a huge initial response and almost always sold out each arena before the actual game dates.

The spots on WTVR – Richmond went off as scheduled (gawd, still 50 years later tell me the city and I will generally be able to tell you the station and time we were on), and we told people to buy advance tickets at Thalheimers (is it still in Richmond?). On Monday morning Peggy Brown, who was in charge of just about everything at Derby, came in to my office in Oakland and was giggling. “I think you might want to talk to this nice lady on the phone”.

One of the numbers on our penalty box which of course could be seen by anyone watching our tapes anywhere was BEacon 2-1284 for Richmond CA. The lady who was calling was from Richmond VA and had that same phone number. Was she upset? no “I have been getting so many calls about Roller Derby and I don’t know anything about it, can you give me some information so I can tell the callers what they want to know?”

I apologized profusely, gave her tickets to the upcoming game in Richmond, and of course gave her the ticket sale information; why waste a good opportunity?

2 comments on “Sometimes you get help from unknown sources.

  1. I can never forget that phone number either, since it was before my era. there were 5 extensions on that phone, the fifth directly to my father’s apartment so the office could reach him. After the first telecast in New York, when they didn’t know if anyone was watching, and Ken Nydell announced that starting the following day, people could make reservations for upcoming games (only 300 at first game!), my father walked into his place, heard the phone ringing, and ended up taking reservations until 3 in the morning….They knew they had a hit.

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