My grandmother got me hooked on Paul Harvey. She’d always had ABC News Radio playing in her kitchen when I was a kid.
Harvey was a radio personality who did news and commentary, but his “The Rest of the Story” segments absolutely hooked me. They were billed as true stories of the famous and infamous, the outrageous and the unknown.
Take the case of Philip Van Doren Stern.
He’d come up with the idea of a heartwarming holiday story one day as he stood in front of the bathroom mirror shaving. A year later, in 1943, he wrote it and titled the self-published story “The Greatest Gift.” He shopped it around to a variety of magazines and newspapers, who all turned him down.
You know his story.
I do, too.
Frank Capra eventually read it and loved it. He bought the rights and made the story into a movie titled “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Actor Jimmy Stewart played George Bailey, a troubled man who imagined what the world would be like had he never existed.
The heartwarming movie was released to lukewarm reception in the winter of 1946. It wasn’t a hit and it subsequently disappeared. But in the 1970s and 1980s it became one of the most beloved and widely watched holiday movies. The film was on network TV all the time when I was a kid.
Well, it turns out, in 1974, a clerical error by Republic Pictures resulted in the failure to renew the copyright for the movie. The film lapsed into public domain. The networks suddenly didn’t have to pay a royalty to air it. So they put “It’s a Wonderful Life” on TV every holiday season, free of charge. As a result, you and I saw the film all over the place every year at Christmas.
What happened next explains why we don’t see it as frequently on network television anymore. In 1993, the Supreme Court ruled that the former copyright owners of the film still owned the derivative rights to the original story on which the movie is based. Therefore, their rights to the story told in “It’s a Wonderful Life” still existed.
The rights holder could now charge those who wanted to air it.
Most of the networks TV stopped airing “It’s a Wonderful Life” but NBC still does a Christmas Eve broadcast. You can also find the film on Amazon Prime and some other streaming services. Or buy it on DVD. But as Paul Harvey always said… now you know… the rest… of the story.
• HALL OF FAME: I spoke with former Oregon Ducks running back LaMichael James in an interview this week. James just found out he will be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. He’ll enter in a class that includes Reggie Bush, Dwight Freeney and Michael Bishop.
James grew up in Texarkana, Tex. He was raised in a small wooden house by his grandmother, Betty James. She died from cancer when the running back was just 17.
He broke college rushing records, got his degree, and played a few seasons in the NFL. He took the money he made in professional football and parlayed that into his business interests. James now owns and operates three Killer Burger restaurants in Oregon. The latest is slated to open this month in Eugene.
Said James: “It’s not just me — we. When I make it, there’s a lot of young, African-American kids in my neighborhood, same upbringing, faced with the same turmoil each and every day… there’s going to be adversity, that’s the way life goes, but I want to be a positive role model for people back home.”
James had 5,082 career rushing yards. Seven times he rushed for 200-plus yards in a college game. He deserves to be in the College Football Hall of Fame. Probably also the Hall of Fame at his old high school and the UO.
The ex-running back said he heard from Oregon coach Dan Lanning after the announcement this week. Also, former head coach Chip Kelly called him to congratulate him and ex-UO running backs coach Gary Campbell reached out.
“I probably have 1,000 unread text messages,” James said.
• SCHEDULING: Everyone is waiting for the release of the Pac-12 2023 football schedule. The ADs have to approve it. Colorado athletic director Rick George said he hopes the schedule will be released in the next week.
ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit leaked some news on that front during Monday night’s College Football Playoff broadcast. Late in the blowout game, Herbstreit said he spoke with new Colorado coach Deion Sanders, who told him the Buffaloes won’t open at TCU in Week 1, as anticipated.
Herbstreit said Colorado instead expects to open the season in a Week 0 game vs. Arizona State. The Sun Devils are led by first-year coach Kenny Dillingham. It’s an interesting twist. The Pac-12 knows it has an asset in Coach Prime and apparently wants his debut to come in a conference game that would turn into an early, high-profile event.
If true — it’s a solid move. It generates buzz. It rewards the Pac-12’s television partners. And it doesn’t allow some other conference to share the glow of Sanders’ Pac-12 coaching debut.
That said, the game may have already been nixed by the Football Oversight Committee, per a report. Brandon Marcello is reporting that the committee didn’t like the idea of players on both teams potentially playing nine straight weeks.
It’s possible Sanders didn’t know. Or Herbstreit only got part of the story. Stay tuned on that front.
• REALIGNMENT: Colorado AD Rick George spoke in a wide-ranging interview on “Canzano & Wilner: The Podcast” this week. The interview is worth your time. He had some strong comments on realignment and the unity of the 10 remaining members of the conference.
On whether Colorado ever spoke with the Big 12:
“The Four Corners have not talked to the Big 12 — at least this corner hasn’t. In our room, and I talk about our AD room, I think there’s a lot of commonality amongst the ADs in the room. We’re confident with the right media deal that we become a very attractive conference.”
On how expansion of the College Football Playoff factors in realignment thinking:
“Why would you want to be in a conference where there’s 16 to 18, when you can be in a conference that is 10 to 12? Your opportunity, particularly when the top six-rated conferences have automatic bids and the top-four have automatic byes, why would you leave?”
• QUARTERBACK UPRISING: Cam Rising announced this week that he’s coming back to Utah next season. Rising joins high-profile QB returners such as Caleb Williams (USC), Michael Penix Jr. (Washington) and Bo Nix (Oregon). Arizona’s Jayden de Laura is back as well. So is Washington State’s Cam Ward.
“Let’s run it back!” Rising said on Twitter.
The Pac-12 had eight quarterbacks throw for 3,000-plus yards last season. Six of those eight are coming back. Only Dorian Thompson-Robinson (UCLA) and Jack Plummer (Cal) are gone. That returning stable is going to be roundly celebrated in the run-up to next season. That’s great. But it’s the Pac-12 newcomers at quarterback I’m thinking more about today.
I’m wondering if UCLA will go all-in playing five-star signee Dante Moore next season. It sure feels like it. And I’m fascinated by how good Oregon State and transfer DJ Uiagalelei can be together. The Beavers look poised for another step forward.
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I bought a VHS copy of It’s a Wonderful Life for $4.95 way back when. I still have the tape, but for the life of me, I don’t remember where I stashed the VHS machine…also in my library, a copy of A War For The Ages OSU V UO 1998, parts 1 & 2, and of course, Beaver Football 2001 Fiesta Bowl. No library would be complete without these titles…now…if I could only remember what I did with that VHS machine…
I think the only way the Pac-12 will get the rest of the country to take it seriously is to schedule some decent non-conference games instead of three powder puff games against Our Lady of Perpetual Motion, Little Sisters of the Poor, and Wattsamatta U. Until Pac-12 schools start playing (and beating) SEC, Big 10, Big 12, and ACC schools, they'll be #5 in a five-conference pecking order.