Thanks to my dad’s recognition that cool moments need to be preserved, and my mom’s genius for saving just the right things, I just saw the program for the 1967 Central Cambria County Sports Hall of Fame, which, among others, included good ole Ron Kostelnik and Johnny Weissmuller.
Tarzan himself signed the program, along with NBC sportscaster and the night’s MC Mel Allen, ace pitcher Warren Spahn, Michigan State Coach Duffy Daugherty and legendary baseball umpire Augie Donatelli.
Born in Hungary, Weissmuller spent his early years in Cambria County, Pennsylvania where he contracted polio at age nine and, on the advice of his doctor, took up swimming to recuperate. He went on to become the world’s fastest swimmer, setting records in three events at the 1924 Olympics and besting two of those records four years later in Amsterdam. When he retired from swimming in 1929, he held every world free style record from 100 yards to a half-mile.
But, Weissmuller is best known for the 12 years he played Tarzan and the yell he created that became so famous it holds a trademark with the following description:
The mark is a yell consisting of a series of approximately ten sounds, alternating between the chest and falsetto registers of the voice, as follow – 1) a semi-long sound in the chest register, 2) a short sound up an interval of one octave plus a fifth from the preceding sound, 3) a short sound down a Major 3rd from the preceding sound, 4) a short sound up a Major 3rd from the preceding sound, 5) a long sound down one octave plus a Major 3rd from the preceding sound, 6) a short sound up one octave from the preceding sound, 7) a short sound up a Major 3rd from the preceding sound, 8) a short sound down a Major 3rd from the preceding sound, 9) a short sound up a Major 3rd from the preceding sound, 10) a long sound down an octave plus a fifth from the preceding sound.
Here it is:
Anyway, by February 20 of 1967, my dad was a 27-year old Super Bowl champion and the proud father of two with another on the way. He and the Packers would go on the win another Super Bowl the next season.
I’m glad he had to foresight to ask his table mates to sign his program and I’m really glad my mom kept it all these years.
Thanks again to Cambria County for honoring my dad and his fellow recipients on that cool night in February.