Another interesting one is; who is Red Klotz? And why was his vacant Atlantic City liquor store spared the wrecking ball as urban renewal was tearing everything else around it down?
To acknowledge the revitalization of my friendship with STU (thanks FACEBOOK), I will introduce you to Louis Herman "Red" Klotz.
Klotz, in his late eighties, was born in Philadelphia, October 21, 1921. He attended South Philly High School and starred, in leading their basketball team to consecutive championships in 1939 and 1940. He played college ball for Villanova and briefly in the NBA during the 1947-48 season. Klotz, a point guard, appeared in eleven regular season games and six more in the playoffs for the original Baltimore Bullets. At 5 foot 7, he has the distinction of being the third shortest player in NBA history.
When I was around fourteen, Red Klotz was frequently the brunt of STU's humor. But what could possibly have earned this insignificant player a place in STU's heart?
Klotz is best known for forming (owning) teams that played against and toured with the Harlem Globetrotters. Although the team played under different names, they were overwhelmingly called the Washington Generals...and Klotz was their exasperated player/coach.
Red Klotz was the Globetrotters' perfect victim of circumstance. He was a great actor and played the part of a stooge/fall-guy with tremendous verve. Whether it was the basketball that didn't bounce, the "yo-yo ball" or the phony water bucket (it was usually filled with confetti but sometimes it was water)! The Generals coupled impeccable timing while emoting their chagrin to the delight of the predominately young crowds.
In 2005, my son Andrew's birthday party included a Globetrotter game at nearby Stockton State College. He not only loved the hi-jinx but when his friend was chosen from the audience to assist the clown-princes of basketball...his friend deferred to Andrew. His friend did a great thing and Andrew keeps the memory and the un-dribbled, autographed ball proudly.
Somehow, in all the excitement, Andrew is unclear whether Red Klotz participated that day or not. Its too bad, because in addition to Klotz's funny name, his advanced age, lack of height, wild, thinning red-hair and hyper-disposition, he made the Generals the ideal lovable losers, (straight men), for the comedic icons of exhibition basketball.
RED KLOTZ (above) WAS INDUCTED INTO PHILADELPHIA'S JEWISH HALL-OF-FAME IN 2001, (I'M GUESSING THE SPORTS WING IS ESPECIALLY SMALL). IN 2007, HE BECAME THE FIRST NON-HARLEM GLOBETROTTER TO RECEIVE THE GLOBETROTTER "LEGEND" AWARD.
After striking up a deal in 1953 with Abe Saperstein, (creator of the Globetrotters), Red Klotz coached teams lost over 13,000 times, in 118 countries, over the next 42 years. Klotz claimed that he tried to win every game but in all that time, the Generals won only six games. The last of which came under the name the New Jersey Reds, on January 5, 1971, in Martin Tennessee. This rarity ended an estimated 2495-game Globetrotter winning streak and featured a Red Klotz game winning shot at the buzzer. Later, Klotz who was 50 years old at the time said, "The crowd wanted to kill me." He remained player/coach until he was 62.
I can still hear STU ragging on Red Klotz and whistling (poorly), the Globetrotter theme song, "SWEET GEORGIA BROWN." Now after I typed all this up, my only hope is that he remembers what I'm talking about. But because I know he was also a MONOPOLY freak, I'll bet he scrolled down before reading the column to find out that: the MONOPOLY game spells one of the "yellow" properties; Marvin Gardens. When it should be spelled; Marven Gardens.http://www.google.com/url?q=http://www.youtube.com/watch%3Fv%3D0jE2g055zRA&ei=ewVuSrStEIPUlAf6qKS1Ag&sa=X&oi=video_result&resnum=1&ct=thumbnail&usg=AFQjCNGXvlaYZuRCJgSx68uAG9DsHL3auQ CLICK ON LINK ABOVE FOR THE 1980 BENNY GOODMAN VERSION OF "SWEET GEORGIA BROWN." (4 minutes)
More importantly...here's another trivia question for all you casual visitors of Atlantic City...where is the actual Marven Gardens located? Don't bother scrolling down this time STU...because you're ALL gonna have to ask me individually for the answer.