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The Inside Track

January 21, 2002|Larry Stewart

A consumer's guide to the best and worst of sports media and merchandise. Ground rules: If it can be read, played, heard, observed, worn, viewed, dialed or downloaded, it's in play here.

What: "Picture Perfect: the Stories Behind the Greatest Photographs in Sports"

Where: HBO, tonight, 10

Photography was invented in 1839 and the first action shot came after California Gov. Leland Stanford commissioned a photographer to shoot a horse while galloping to determine if all four legs were off the ground at once. The photo showed that they were.

FOR THE RECORD
Los Angeles Times Wednesday January 23, 2002 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 A2 Desk 1 inches; 21 words Type of Material: Correction
Nat Fein--Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Nat Fein died Sept. 26, 2000. A Sports story Monday incorrectly reported that he was still alive.

The Golden Age of sports photography came much later, during the 1940s, '50s and '60s. HBO, in this one-hour documentary, explores that era and the influence of still images in sports history.

This is a great show. You might say it is picture perfect. It will surely earn more awards for HBO Sports.

Among the many photographs highlighted is one taken by Associated Press photographer Nat Fein of Babe Ruth's final appearance at Yankee Stadium in 1948, four months before he died.

Fein, who is still alive, talks about the photo and why he chose to shoot Ruth from behind. Also included in this segment is an interview with Ralph Norse, a Life magazine photographer who shot the event in color. Norse's photos were never used because, after the two weeks it took to develop the prints, Fein's black-and-white photo had been printed everywhere.

One of the more interesting stories involves the classic photo of Y.A. Tittle, where he is bloodied and on his knees after his helmet was knocked off following an interception that led to a touchdown that enabled the Pittsburgh Steelers to defeat the New York Giants in 1964.

Morris Berman took the photo for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but the newspaper never printed it. According to Berman, the sports editor complained because there was no action in the shot. Berman saved the photo and began winning awards with it. A blowup hangs in the NFL Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, and it is considered possibly the greatest sports photo of all time.

"I worked 51 years in the business and that was my chance to win a Pulitzer, but the photo was ineligible because it wasn't printed," laments Berman.

Tittle is also interviewed.

Some of the other featured photos and stories include Ben Hogan at the 1950 U.S. Open, Notre Dame's "Four Horsemen," Mary Decker being tripped by Zola Budd at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, Bob Beamon's record-breaking long jump and Chuck Bednarik's hit on Frank Gifford.

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