The SportsTalk Shop: FINAL 2121 FB POLL

Full disclosure time!

With the high school football playoff season winding down, it’s time to take a look back to our preseason predictions from early August and see how our SportsTalk pollsters did this year.

Most years we can brag a little (although we really don’t do much of that) or, if we were completely off base, we are fully prepared to offer up a mea culpa to our readers and viewers.

This year, instead of having a big school and small school poll as in seasons past, we are going to break the two polls down into EPC and Colonial League schools within the RCN broadcast area.  This season was the first year in which Colonial teams cross-scheduled and played teams from the Schuylkill League, so our poll reflected teams in the Lehigh Valley while many local teams did not play a majority of teams within the Lehigh Valley area. 

So below we have both our preseason and our final high school polls for both leagues in the RCN viewing area, along with the listing of all of the teams that are included in our respective categories.

EPC-LV TOP 5 (PRESEASON)

1) Freedom
2) Parkland
3) Emmaus
4) Nazareth
5) Bethlehem Catholic

Eligible Teams (in no particular order):

Allentown Central Catholic, Northampton, Bethlehem Catholic, Easton, Freedom, Liberty, Dieruff, Allen, Parkland, Whitehall, Emmaus, and Nazareth.

EPC-LV TOP 5 (FINAL)

1) Freedom
2) Emmaus
3) Parkland
4) Nazareth
5) Central Catholic

Our posters were correct in naming Freedom as our preseason number one team as they captured District XI 6A title for the first time since 2018. Emmaus, Parkland and Nazareth were also in our top four, both before this season back in August and in our final tabulation.

Central Catholic Head Coach Tim McGorry was on our “SportsTalk” program recently and freely stated that his younger players developed much quicker than he had anticipated. SportsTalk co-host Keith Groller also admitted vastly underestimating the Vikings in his preseason prognostications on our last episode, citing that he ranked them eight out of 10 teams back in August.

Regarding Bethlehem Catholic as our preseason “number five,” the Golden Hawks ended up going through a transition under their new coaching staff. It was clear late in the season when I talked to Head Coach Kyle Haas that his emphasis with the program was more on changing the culture, instilling more discipline and building for the future than on winning games this year.

COLONIAL TOP 5 (PRESEASON)

1) Notre Dame-GP
2) Northwestern
3) Palisades
4) Saucon Valley
5) Southern Lehigh

Eligible Teams (in no particular order):

Bangor, Pen Argyl, Notre Dame – Green Pond, Wilson, Catasauqua, Salisbury, Saucon Valley, Northwestern, Northern Lehigh, Southern Lehigh, Palmerton and Palisades

COLONIAL TOP 5 (FINAL)

1) Northwestern
2) Northern Lehigh
3) Notre Dame-GP
4) Palmerton
5) Southern Lehigh

It’s clear this wasn’t our most accurate poll we’ve ever done, but it’s due to many good reasons and we are quite happy to be proven wrong in a few circumstances.

One of the area’s nicest head coaches, Northern Lehigh’s Joe Tout, has had an incredible season after his program really struggled the last few years with injuries and low participation numbers.

Tout was quite vocal when the schedule came out.  He complained his school, one of the smallest in the area, had a disadvantage in playing much larger schools and much better football teams – on paper – than other schools his size.

Joe’s team lost to three teams this fall (including our “number one” team, Northwestern), but remains the last school “alive” from our viewing area in the state playoffs. RCN TV is looking forward to bringing you live coverage of his team’s game against PIAA powerhouse Southern Columbia this Friday night!

Palmerton was another team that had struggled to keep their program going in recent years but became another feel-good story by becoming one of the top teams in the Colonial League this fall.

The resurgence of these two teams was reflected in their appearance in our poll, complete with the Bulldogs defeating the Blue Bombers for the 2A championship.

Notre Dame suffered an incredible rash of injuries and, in one of the biggest surprises of the year, failed to even reach the 3A championship this year.

Palisades also had a disappointing season.  Fresh off a district championship in 2020, the Pirates struggled mightily this fall and saw their head coach resign at season’s end.

Of course, these polls are for amusement purposes only and we hope you enjoyed following along all season. Keep checking back to “The Shop” and to our “SportsTalk” show on RCN TV as we get you ready for the winter sports season, rapidly approaching!

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

GARY’S TRIBUTE SHOW

We interrupt the announcement of our final “SportsTalk” high school football poll of the fall season for this breaking news….

Actually, it’s not exactly a “breaking” flash, but it was really big news!

RCN TV’s long-time sports director and the current voice of the Lafayette Leopards, Gary Laubach, decided to cut back on many of his duties with RCN TV. This includes his roles coordinating and broadcasting the high school sports and other events that he would either host or announce throughout the year.

His “semi-retirement” officially kicked in a few weeks ago, and with that, we saluted him on a tremendous tenure guiding the Twin County and RCN TV Sports broadcasting teams and wished him all the best in embarking on the next chapter of his great career.

Please remember, his work with RCN TV and his broadcasting partnership with us will continue for many more years to come. Gary continues to handle the play-by-play duties for the Leopards football and men’s and women’s basketball games, along with emceeing other Lafayette College events that may occur throughout the year.

So the question then became, how to sum up the part of his career that has, to date, totaled almost 50 years as a broadcaster, plus more years as a local student-athlete and teacher in the Lehigh Valley.

We attempted to do that recently with a tribute show to him on “RCN TV SportsTalk.” The program went by very quickly, asking Gary about all of his many experiences, his thoughts on how local sports have changed since the mid-1970s and other comments on the broadcasting industry in general.

If you missed the show, which also included my own thoughts on Gary’s career and all that he has meant to the community, we invite you to check out the program for yourself through RCN’s video on demand.

Also, we present to you the last half-inning that Gary broadcast of a “non-Lafayette” event, which included his official signoff as RCN’s sports director.

VIDEO: “RCN Sports: Gary’s Last Inning Announcing”

Fortunately, it’s certainly not the last we will hear from Gary. We look forward to his announcing Lafayette football and basketball games, along with his continuing presence within the RCN family for many more decades to come.

One more thing to be thankful for.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving everyone!!

CLASSIC VIDEO SHOWPLACE: “Mr. Television” (Part 2)

For over a hundred years some of the greatest video treasures of all time have been produced. Some have been lost in the sands of time and others, soon to be rediscovered, will become fan favorites for a whole new generation.
Each week we will feature just one of the many hidden gems that you can see on RCN TV with insights and commentaries on classic television shows and legendary cinematic performances.

Last week here at the Showplace we took a look at the early career of Milton Berle. Today we look at the “second act” of this legendary entertainer’s career.

********
Despite success on the silver screen, nightclubs, live performances and popular guest stints on radio, Milton Berle languished for nearly 20 years in mediocrity with inconsistent gigs as a regular radio show host (none of his own shows lasted more than 14 months). While struggling on an audio-only medium, Berle believed that the invention of television would be the perfect place for his “physical comedy heavy” brand of humor.
He was right!
Milton became the first megastar of the medium (predating Lucille Ball’s I Love Lucy by three years) and was one of the most successful TV programs–comedy or otherwise–from 1948 to 1952.
Berle and his show each won two Emmy Awards after the first season (he added two more Emmys in 1950) and NBC signed him to a whopping 30-year, one million dollars per year contract! Television set sales more than doubled after Texaco Star Theatre’s debut, reaching two million in 1949. Berle’s stature as the medium’s first superstar earned him the nickname “Mr. Television.”
He also earned another nickname, “Uncle Miltie,” after ending a 1949 broadcast with a brief ad-libbed remark to children watching the show: “Listen to your Uncle Miltie and go to bed.”
Despite his popularity, NBC made a tragic and extremely costly mistake early during the show’s run. Berle asked the network to film the live show (which would have allowed many of his episodes to be saved in a high video quality and therefore available for full syndication), but NBC declined. This resulted in most of his show’s episodes being lost or saved only on poorer-quality kinescopes.
By 1953 his ratings started to decline and his sponsor, “Texaco” pulled out. Buick quickly became the program’s sponsor before they too dropped out. The show’s ratings continued to slide for two years, leading to the its cancellation.
According to the Encyclopedia of Television, “Berle’s persona had shifted from the impetuous and aggressive style of the Texaco Star Theater days to a more cultivated, but less distinctive personality, leaving many fans somehow unsatisfied.”
Berle followed that program with four failed attempts at his own television shows with none lasting more than a year, much to the dismay of NBC, who was obligated to keep paying him until 1980. In 1966, he opted out of the contract to try his own variety show again on ABC, but that too didn’t last a year. The most sustained success he had as a regular TV host for the rest of his career was as the emcee of bowling shows in which he would throw in jokes in between interviews with the sports’ competitors.
However, he still remained extremely popular in movies, television guest spots and performing in person in Las Vegas, Hollywood and around the world for the next five decades.
He starred in five made-for-television movies and 14 television specials and was featured in additional 14 movies between 1960 and 1995.
Berle was named to the Guinness Book of World Records for the greatest number of charity performances made by a show-business performer. Unlike the high-profile shows done by Bob Hope to entertain the troops, Berle did more shows, over a period of 50 years, on a lower-profile basis. Berle received an award for entertaining at stateside military bases in World War I as a child performer, in addition to traveling to foreign bases during World War II and the Vietnam War. The first charity telethon (for the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation) was hosted by Berle. A permanent fixture at charity benefits in the Hollywood area, he was instrumental in raising millions for charitable causes.
In April 2001, Berle was diagnosed with colon cancer but was advised by his doctors not to undergo surgery as they estimated the growth was not serious nor would negatively affect his health for another 10-12 years.
Eleven months later, Berle died from that same cancer. He was 93.

Be on the lookout for “Uncle MIltie’s” unusual brand of comedy on the surviving episodes of his own television show that airs Sunday afternoons at 2pm. You can also spot his many guest appearances on other programs you can see on RCN-TV.
To view the complete rundown of classic programming on RCN TV, check out the weekly listings here on our website.

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

HS FB POLL: 11/17/21

Here are three local sports observations before we take a look at this week’s “SportsTalk” high school football poll for teams in the RCN viewing area.

#1
2021 continues to be a banner year for Allentown Central Catholic athletics!
The Vikings have already captured two state titles this year. This fall, they’ve won four district titles and have three teams still alive in the state playoffs.
Central Catholic will also be on the short list of “teams to beat” this winter in boys’ basketball and the girls’ team will likely be in the state playoffs as well. With several spring sports teams returning a bunch of solid players, there’s no reason why their string of gold medals won’t continue into 2022.

#2
You couldn’t have asked for a much better night of high school football last Friday.
As you saw on RCN TV, Emmaus came from behind with 21 unanswered points in pulling the upset over the number one seed, Parkland, to advance to the 6A title game.
In the 4A championship, Central Catholic came from behind with two straight scores to beat Northwestern.
In the 5A title game, East Stroudsburg South scored two very late touchdowns to force overtime and win in their championship contest over Whitehall.
Let’s hope the 6A championship game this Friday will be just as exciting!

#3
When looking at the Northampton football 2021 season, a lot depends on whether you typically think the glass is half full or half empty.
The K-Kids, playing in the EPC North division this fall, had a record-breaking season in terms of wins and earned their first-ever district playoff victory. The playoff win, along with every other victory the team had this year, was against teams that averaged less than three wins on the season.
The community enjoyed the successes that came with an 11-0 season. However, as is often the case when playing a weak schedule, the lack of quality opponents seemed to hurt them in preparing for the postseason and for the stronger opponents from the Lehigh Valley.
Northampton suffered its first loss of the year last weekend against Freedom and their potential playoff run came to a grinding halt. At no point was the team ever ranked in the top five among any local media outlets, nor received any regional accolades whatsoever, while other teams with as many as three losses were ranked in the state polls.
Yes, this year’s team will go down in the record books as one of Northampton football’s best squads ever.
But the question remains – did the team have an overly successful season or something less?
With their administration choosing to stay in the North division for the foreseeable future, a season like this – for better or for worse – will probably continue for the next few years.

**********
That brings us to this week’s input from the RCN SportsTalk pollsters — a random collection of local coaches, athletic directors and media members. We never announce nor release the names of our non-media voters to get their honest opinions on the local football landscape while avoiding any thoughts of retribution or potential “bulletin board” material. Our “media voters” usually reveal themselves when we have the pleasure of having them on our weekly SportsTalk program, seen on Thursday nights on RCN TV and available through RCN on Demand.
This year, instead of having a big school and small school poll as in seasons past, we are going to break the two polls down into EPC and Colonial League schools, within the RCN broadcast area. This season will be unique in which Colonial teams will be cross-scheduling and playing teams from the Schuylkill League, so our poll will be an interesting barometer for teams in the Lehigh Valley since many local teams will not be playing the majority of teams within their own leagues!
So below we have high school polls for both leagues in the RCN viewing area, along with the listing of all of the teams that are included in our respective categories.
Feel free to email me at Chris.Michael@rcn.net for your thoughts on this week’s poll and we might read and respond to your emails on this week’s SportsTalk show.

EPC-LV TOP 5
1) Freedom
2) Emmaus
3) Parkland
4) Nazareth
5) Central Catholic

Eligible Teams (in no particular order): Allentown Central Catholic, Bethlehem Catholic, Easton, Freedom, Liberty, Dieruff, Allen, Parkland, Whitehall, Emmaus, Nazareth, and Northampton

COLONIAL TOP 5
1) Northwestern
2) Northern Lehigh
3) Notre Dame-GP
4) Palmerton
5) Southern Lehigh

Eligible Teams (in no particular order): Bangor, Pen Argyl, Notre Dame – Green Pond, Wilson, Catasauqua, Salisbury, Saucon Valley, Northwestern, Northern Lehigh, Southern Lehigh and Palisades

Be sure to view the “upcoming eventshere on the website and check it frequently for our playoff broadcast schedule information for each week.

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

CLASSIC VIDEO SHOWPLACE: “Mr. Television”

For over a hundred years some of the greatest video treasures of all time have been produced. Some have been lost in the sands of time and others, soon to be rediscovered, will become fan favorites for a whole new generation.

Each week we will feature just one of the many hidden gems that you can see on RCN TV with insights and commentaries on classic television shows and legendary cinematic performances.

In an earlier “Showplace” blog entry, we focused on the success of the Milton Berle Television Show.
Today we focus on the man, the myth and the legend.
Milton Berle‘s career is one of the longest and most varied in show business, spanning silent film, vaudeville, radio, motion pictures, and television.
Mendel Berlinger was born on July 12, 1908 in Harlem, New York.
Berle entered show business in 1913 at the age of five when he won a children’s Charlie Chaplin contest. He also worked as a child model and was the first “Buster Brown” for “Buster Brown” shoes and as a child actor in many silent films. According to his own autobiography, his first pictures were in The Perils of Pauline, The Mask of Zorro (starring Douglas Fairbacks, Sr.) and Tillie’s Punctured Romance (starring Charlie Chaplin and Mabel Normand), although there is no formal record of him actually being a part of those pictures.
At the age of 16 he changed his name to Milton Berle (when he became famous, his mother, who was frequently in the audience and would help “inspire” the audience with her laughter, also changed her last name to “Berle.”)
Through the 1920s, Berle moved up through the vaudeville circuit, finding his niche in the role of a brash comic known for stealing the material of fellow comedians. He also became a popular master of ceremonies in vaudeville, achieving top billing in the largest cities and theaters. During the 1930s, Berle appeared in a variety of Hollywood films and stage musicals, wrote and performed comedic records and further polished his comedy routines in night clubs.
In radio, he never had the success that he would later achieve in television. His longest running gig was as a regular joke teller on The Rudy Vallee Show from 1934 to 1936. He attempted a number of different programs with himself in the lead–all with different formats and utilizing various different types of comedy, but none was renewed after its initial seasons.
In 1940, in an attempt to gain more popularity on radio, he cancelled all his personal appearances and scheduled entertainment shows in order to spend more time working on his radio program. While his last attempt as his own radio show did prove to be extremely successful in building the skills necessary to sustain a physical audience, The Milton Berle Show on radio never caught on with audiences and was cancelled after just a little over a year on the air.
The lack of radio success and the decline of movie offers left Berle questioning if his career and popularity as an entertainer was burning out in 1947.
But in reality, it was just getting started.
Join us next week to find out what historic event took place in 1948 and took Berle to heights he had never seen before courtesy of a brand new medium…one that would be linked to Berle for the rest of his life.
In the meantime, check out The Milton Berle Show every Sunday afternoon this fall at 2pm on RCN-TV.
To view the complete rundown of classic programming on RCN TV, check out the weekly listings here on our website.

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

HS FB POLL: 11/9/21

Before we take a look at this week’s “SportsTalk” high school football poll for teams in the RCN viewing area, a quick programming note for our RCN TV viewers.

Join us on Thursday’s “SportsTalk” show at 7pm for a comprehensive recap of last weekend’s first-round playoff games and a look ahead to this Friday and Saturday’s high school playoff football action.
RCN commentators will sound off on some interesting results last week along with a couple interesting matchups coming up this weekend.
That brings us to this week’s input from the RCN SportsTalk pollsters — a random collection of local coaches, athletic directors and media members. We never announce nor release the names of our non-media voters to get their honest opinions on the local football landscape while avoiding any thoughts of retribution or potential “bulletin board” material. Our “media voters” usually reveal themselves when we have the pleasure of having them on our weekly SportsTalk program, seen on Thursday nights on RCN TV and available through RCN on Demand.
This year, instead of having a big school and small school poll as in seasons past, we are going to break the two polls down into EPC and Colonial League schools, within the RCN broadcast area. This season will be unique in which Colonial teams will be cross-scheduling and playing teams from the Schuylkill League, so our poll will be an interesting barometer for teams in the Lehigh Valley since many local teams will not be playing the majority of teams within their own leagues!
So below we have high school polls for both leagues in the RCN viewing area, along with the listing of all of the teams that are included in our respective categories.

EPC TOP 5
1) Parkland
2) Freedom
3) Emmaus
4) Nazareth
5) Easton

Eligible Teams (in no particular order): Allentown Central Catholic, Bethlehem Catholic, Easton, Freedom, Liberty, Dieruff, Allen, Parkland, Whitehall, Emmaus, Nazareth, and Northampton

There weren’t very many surprises here–if you have been following along with our polls all season long.
Last weekend, Parkland had no trouble dispatching Pocono Mountain West I their District XI 6A quarter-final. As you saw on RCN TV, Emmaus edged Nazareth in an exciting contest that went down to the final play.
The Trojans and Hornets will be the live game this Friday on RCN TV.
Freedom, meanwhile, jumped out to an early 30-0 lead before dispatching Easton from postseason action. Northampton continued to roll against teams from the Poconos. We’ll get a look at the K-Kids next weekend as well as they will host the Patriots on RCN TV.

COLONIAL TOP 5
1) Northwestern
2) Northern Lehigh
3) Notre Dame-GP
4) Palmerton
5) Wilson

Eligible Teams (in no particular order): Bangor, Pen Argyl, Notre Dame – Green Pond, Wilson, Catasauqua, Salisbury, Saucon Valley, Northwestern, Northern Lehigh, Southern Lehigh and Palisades

Northwestern, Northern Lehigh and Palmerton all scored “mercy rule” victories over Wilson, Minersville and Catasauqua, respectively, in District XI semi-final matchups and Central Catholic scored a two touchdown victory over Pottsville.
As you saw last Saturday on RCN TV, Jim Thorpe edged Notre Dame – Green Pond in a very exciting contest that went down to the final minutes. With the Crusaders’ elimination, this means there will be no 3A representative from the Lehigh Valley in the state playoffs this fall. The Bulldogs’ win combined with Notre Dame’s loss also moved Northern Lehigh into the second spot in our Colonial League rankings.
Be sure to check back to the “upcoming events” section here on our website and check it frequently for any changes and for our ongoing playoff broadcast schedule information throughout the postseason.

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

CLASSIC VIDEO SHOWPLACE: Bela Lugosi’s Later Years

For over a hundred years some of the greatest video treasures of all time have been produced. Some have been lost in the sands of time and others, soon to be rediscovered, will become fan favorites for a whole new generation.

Each week we will feature just one of the many hidden gems that you can see on RCN TV with insights and commentaries on classic television shows and legendary cinematic performances.

Last time here at “The Showplace,” we took a look at the early career of Bela Lugosi. This week, we continue our look at the horror cinema legend.
While most people in 1929 were suffering from the initial hit of the Great Depression, actor Bela Lugosi was lobbying hard for what he believed was the role of a lifetime…HIS lifetime.
Lugosi was a natural playing Dracula on stage…his voice, delivery, mannerisms…even his face looked eerily similar to Bram Stoker’s undead creature (when he previously performed the role on the silver screen, they barely needed any makeup to enhance his features.)
Dracula was a commercial and critical success upon release, and led to several sequels and spin-offs. It has had a notable influence on popular culture, and Lugosi’s portrayal of Dracula established the character as a cultural icon, as well as the archetypal vampire in later works of fiction. The film has since been selected by the United States Library of Congress for preservation in the National Film Registry as “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” With most copies of the silent Dracula classic Nosferatu destroyed because of a contract dispute, Lugosi’s film became the definitive image for this (and subsequent) generation(s).
Bela, however, was not so thrilled.
Upon its release, Lugosi realized that he was becoming increasingly typecast as Dracula and was finding it near impossible to secure any other roles due to the popularity of his alter ego. Many reports claimed that he swore he would never again don the cape and play the role. He also tried to lobby film executives to hire him as something other than villains but after finding himself out of work and drowning in debt, he reluctantly agreed to take on antagonistic roles in popular sequels like Son of Frankenstein and as Dracula in parodies like Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein.
However, the side effects of his popularity caused irreparable damage to his career. Lugosi would have very few job offers other than those associated with evil villains, monsters or, during World War II, Nazis. His better films during the 1930s included The Black Cat, The Raven, Son of Frankenstein and Black Friday.
Furthermore, Lugosi was under contract with Universal Studios, who would frequently pair him with fellow horror legend Boris Karloff. Karloff always demanded top billing and got more money than Lugosi throughout their pairing, even in films where Bela was the main star and Karloff had little more than a few lines.
Two more things worked against the Hungarian actor.
In 1936, England placed a ban on horror movies and refused to show any films resembling anything from that genre.
Also, the increasing pain that Lugosi was experiencing from injuries suffered in World War I led to an increasing dependence on morphine. As word spread among Hollywood producers of Lugosi’s drug use, his job opportunities became virtually nonexistent and he found himself once again out of work and destitute.
He made one final attempt at a film career years later in 1955 by approaching Bel-Air Pictures in cooperation with the “actor friendly” film distributor, United Artists. He did receive a role in the financially successful film, The Black Sheep, which included fellow horror film legend Lon Chaney Jr., along with major motion picture stars Basil Rathbone and John Carradine. However, Lugosi’s character in the movie did not have any lines and his appearance was largely overshadowed.
Bela Lugosi died of a heart attack in 1956. He was 73.
To view the complete rundown of classic programming on RCN TV, check out the weekly listings here on our website.

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

HS FB POLL: 11/1/21

Before we take a look at this week’s “SportsTalk” high school football poll for teams in the RCN viewing area, I just want to take a moment to recap some news from the past several days.
Thanks to District XI Football Chair Jason Zimmerman for being on last week’s “SportsTalk” show and explaining the playoff system. If you’re scratching your head wondering why things shook out the way they did, you really need to go back and watch last week’s show through RCN On Demand.
Jason did a tremendous (and thorough) job explaining the weighted “ratings” system that is used for determining who gets in and how the teams are seated.
Speaking of “SportsTalk,” Tom Housenick of The Morning Call will be joining us this Thursday at 7:00 p.m. to preview this weekend’s district playoff games, highlight the key players, match-ups and teams to watch and give a comprehensive overview of the high school football postseason for all the teams in our coverage area.
Be sure to watch both last week’s and this Thursday’s shows before jumping into a busy weekend of playoff action.
Don’t forget to bookmark our website and check back for our playoff broadcast schedule each week.
Lastly, a big pat on the back to our crew members and all the people who worked last Friday night’s football game. It was one of the worst games in terms of the weather that I, and many others who have been around high school sports longer than me, had ever seen.
Rain, in particular, wreaks havoc with television equipment and our crew had to adjust on the fly and correct issues while we were live on the air during our broadcasts. Because of their hard work, I didn’t run into anyone this weekend who signaled a drop off in our broadcast quality and, in fact, we received a number of great comments from our viewers about our ability to broadcast in such treacherous conditions. Many of those viewers were able to stay home (and warm and dry!) while not missing a minute of the action, thanks to the efforts of our RCNTV crew members!

**********
That brings us to this week’s input from the RCN SportsTalk pollsters — a random collection of local coaches, athletic directors and media members. We never announce nor release the names of our non-media voters to get their honest opinions on the local football landscape while avoiding any thoughts of retribution or potential “bulletin board” material.
Below we have high school polls for both leagues in the RCN viewing area, along with the listing of all of the teams that are included in our respective categories.
Feel free to email me at Chris.Michael@rcn.net for your thoughts on this week’s poll and we might read and respond to your emails on this week’s SportsTalk show.

EPC-LV TOP 5
1) Parkland
2) Freedom
3) Nazareth
4) Easton
5) Emmaus

Eligible Teams (in no particular order): Allentown Central Catholic, Bethlehem Catholic, Easton, Freedom, Liberty, Dieruff, Allen, Parkland, Whitehall, Emmaus, Nazareth, and Northampton

COLONIAL TOP 5
1) Northwestern
2) Notre Dame-GP
3) Northern Lehigh
4) Palmerton
5) Wilson

Eligible Teams (in no particular order): Bangor, Pen Argyl, Notre Dame – Green Pond, Wilson, Catasauqua, Salisbury, Saucon Valley, Northwestern, Northern Lehigh, Southern Lehigh and Palisades

Be sure to view the “upcoming events” here on the website and check it frequently for our playoff broadcast schedule information for each week.

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

HS FB POLL: 10/25/21

Before we take a look at this week’s high school football polls, just a little bit about how the RCN sports department is getting you ready for “Rivalry Week” in the Valley and setting up the final weekend of regular season football in the Lehigh Valley for our viewers.
On Thursday, we’ll have District XI Football Chair Jason Zimmerman on our “SportsTalk” show to give his thoughts on another intriguing high school football season, his opinions on the top teams and players and the latest local sports policies. Also, he will answer questions about the often-confusing playoff format system, outline the preliminary plans for this fall’s playoff schedule and discuss how COVID-cancelled games will impact the postseason seeding.
If you have any questions you’d like us to ask Jason about this year’s fall playoffs, email them to me at chris.michael@rcn.net by noon this Tuesday and we’ll try to ask on this week’s show, that will air at 7pm on Thursday night on RCN-TV.
On Friday, we’ll feature the number one (Parkland) and number two (Emmaus) ranked EPC teams in our coverage area, squaring off against each other, live at 7 pm. That game will be followed by the number 4 (Easton) and number 5 team (Nazareth) in our high school football poll (see more below).
We wrap up the weekend with the annual Christmas City battle between our third-ranked team (Freedom) taking on the hard-luck team of the fall, Liberty. The Hurricanes are clearly moving in the right direction under new head coach Shawn Daignault, but only have seven tough losses to show for it.
Liberty quite possibly could have won any of those last seven games–they lead Parkland 7-0 through most of the first half last week before losing to the Trojans, 22-10.
Saturday’s annual game is always filled with emotion and features a spectacular half-time show featuring the Liberty and Freedom bands, as well as Bethlehem’s middle school bands.
Many Bethlehem alums refer to this game as an “event” that starts on Monday. New sideline reporter Okezie Alozie (a Freedom alum) will be giving his insights on all that goes on during Freedom-Liberty week as well as analysis of the game as it unfolds this Saturday afternoon on RCN-TV.
All three of these games will also be important in determining matchups for next week’s district playoffs, and reveal who gets the top four seeds, which determines which schools will secure home field advantage for the first two rounds of the postseason.
Keep checking back to RCN TV to get your high school football fix this week!
**********
That brings us to this week’s input from the RCN SportsTalk pollsters — a random collection of local coaches, athletic directors and media members. We never announce nor release the names of our non-media voters to get their honest opinions on the local football landscape while avoiding any thoughts of retribution or potential “bulletin board” material. Our “media voters” usually reveal themselves when we have the pleasure of having them on our weekly SportsTalk program, seen on Thursday nights on RCN TV and available through RCN on Demand.
This year, instead of having a big school and small school poll as in seasons past, we are going to break the two polls down into EPC and Colonial League schools, within the RCN broadcast area. This season will be unique in which Colonial teams will be cross-scheduling and playing teams from the Schuylkill League, so our poll will be an interesting barometer for teams in the Lehigh Valley since many local teams will not be playing the majority of teams within their own leagues!
So below we have high school polls for both leagues in the RCN viewing area, along with the listing of all of the teams that are included in our respective categories.
Feel free to email me at Chris.Michael@rcn.net for your thoughts on this week’s poll and we might read and respond to your emails on this week’s SportsTalk show.

EPC-LV TOP 5
1) Parkland
2) Emmaus
3) Freedom
4) Easton
5) Nazareth

Eligible Teams (in no particular order): Allentown Central Catholic, Bethlehem Catholic, Easton, Freedom, Liberty, Dieruff, Allen, Parkland, Whitehall, Emmaus, Nazareth, and Northampton

COLONIAL TOP 5
1) Northwestern
2) Notre Dame-GP
3) Northern Lehigh
4) Palmerton
5) Bangor

Eligible Teams (in no particular order): Bangor, Pen Argyl, Notre Dame – Green Pond, Wilson, Catasauqua, Salisbury, Saucon Valley, Northwestern, Northern Lehigh, Southern Lehigh and Palisades

Be sure to check the “upcoming events” here on the website and check it frequently as there continues to be changes from day to day.

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

CLASSIC VIDEO SHOWPLACE: Bela Lugosi’s Early Years

For over a hundred years some of the greatest video treasures of all time have been produced. Some have been lost in the sands of time and others, soon to be rediscovered, will become fan favorites for a whole new generation.
Each week we will feature just one of the many hidden gems that you can see on RCN TV with insights and commentaries on classic television shows and legendary cinematic performances.

We are counting down to RCN-TV’s Halloween Marathon here at The Showplace. 
It’s hard to have a comprehensive look at Halloween-themed movie classics without a discussion on the intriguing career of one Bela Lugosi.
Béla Ferenc Dezső Blaskó was born on October 20, 1882 in Lugos, Austria-Hungary. He dropped out of school at the age of 12, and at 18 began his acting career. Like the fictional Vito Corleone, Bela used his hometown in formulating his stage name.
Bela spent the next 20 years performing in foreign silent films and stage productions in various countries. He also fought in World War I and suffered injuries that would later come back to impact his acting career.
Lugosi arrived in America in October 1920 and worked odd jobs before forming a stock company comprised of fellow immigrants performing in various Eastern United States cities.
His first American film role was that of a villain in the silent movie, The Silent Command. Other film opportunities–all from New York City film companies–followed with Lugosi almost always cast in an antagonist or villainous role.
Bela was first approached about his signature role as Dracula for a Broadway production in the summer of 1927. The play was a hit and ran for 261 productions over a two-year span. The success earned Lugosi two starring movie jobs (Prisoners, The Veiled Woman). His two films were also successful, causing Lugosi to stay in Hollywood, but he failed to find any additional work in films.
He returned to his role as Dracula on the stage to continued critical acclaim. Despite this, when Universal Studios decided to produce the film version of Dracula, Lugosi was not initially cast in the titular role.
Throughout 1929 Bela continued to lobby for the part, constantly contacting Universal’s executives asking for the part. Dracula producer Carl Laemmle, Jr. also was not interested in Lugosi, in spite of the good reviews for his stage portrayal. Laemmle instead considered other actors, including Paul Muni, Chester Morris, Ian Keith, John Wray, Joseph Schildkraut, Arthur Edmund Carewe, and William Courtenay.
Lugosi happened to be in Los Angeles with a touring company of the play when the film was being cast.
Against the mounting swell of studio opinion, Lugosi ultimately won the executives over. One of the deciding factors was him accepting a paltry $500 per week salary for seven weeks of work, amounting to $3,500 for the entire production. (By comparison, supporting actress Helen Chandler was paid $750 per week and had less than half the amount of lines as the titular character had).
Bela had now captured the starring cinematic role he had long coveted. The film, along with Lugosi’s starring performance, were both major successes, but the Hungarian born actor would so begin to regret these turn of events.
We’ll have more on Lugosi’s life and career coming up next week here at “The Showplace.”
In the meantime, be on the lookout for Bela Lugosi in various horror flicks on RCN-TV like White Zombie, Ghosts on the Loose and other classics often seen this time of year. To view the complete rundown of classic programming on RCN TV, check out the weekly listings here on our website.

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.