Saturday, July 25, 2009

The FDH Lounge Pantheon -- Second Inductees

By Rick Morris

On Wednesday night, The FDH Lounge inducted its second class of enshrinees into The Pantheon. The premise, as it was when the first class was inducted in July 2008, was to honor the best of the best of all time in 16 different categories as indicated on ballots cast by The FDH Academy of Arts & Sciences. It took place on the 66th edition of THE FDH LOUNGE on

Let me first thank the other 25 voters for making this event as great as it was. Aside from FDH Senior Editor Jason Jones, FDH Entertainment Editor Samantha Jones and The FDH New York Bureau Steve Cirvello, they were: Russ Cohen, Mike Morris, Bob Glassman, Buck Woodward, Paul Belfi, Mama Belfi, Vegas Vic, Tom Denk, Tim Foust, TV Week columnist Adam Buckman, Sean Trench, Ron Glasenapp, Tony Mazur, Nate Noy, Mike Ptak, Bob Benak, Dave Adams, Pam Adams, Raymond Smalley, Ryan Scott, Pouyan Karbassi and Ziggy cartoonist Tom Wilson. Dave and Ryan were with me during the entire broadcast, with Jason, Nate, Russ and Adam calling in to participate in the discussion at various times. Congratulations to Sean for voting for winners in exactly half of the 16 categories, the most of any voter!

The rules were simple: voters could choose anyone they wanted in the different categories. Not every voter cast a ballot in every single category. Any ties would go to a second ballot, with voters being able to choose anyone except their first-place selections and with all second-place ballots counting the same as first-place ballots (thus allowing an entity not part of the first-place tie to come from behind and win here, as was the case twice). The third ballot constituted the final tiebreaker and came into play once: it consisted of whichever voter had called in to be a part of the show on Line #1, with said voter having to choose between the factors in a first-place tie.

Having laid all of this out, let's get to the results. Unless otherwise noted by a number in parentheses, each candidate received only one vote.

OTHER CANDIDATES: Scotty Bowman (4 votes), Phil Jackson (4 votes), Tom Landry (2 votes), Vince Lombardi (2 votes), Mike Scioscia, Mike Tomlin, Tom Coughlin, Sam Rutigliano (!), Bill Belichick, Sparky Anderson, Chuck Daly, Billy Martin, Jon Gruden, Gregg Popovich, Casey Stengel (cast on the second ballot)
NOTES: Bowman and Jackson were actually tied for the lead after the first ballot, with Brown surging on the second. I voted for Bowman and valiantly tried to sway second-place votes by noting that when he came in he was a contemporary of Woody Hayes and left when Urban Meyer was a head coach. Nobody else has bridged eras with championships like that!

BEST SPORTING EVENT: Super Bowl (9 votes)
OTHER CANDIDATES: Stanley Cup Playoffs (2 votes), March Madness (2 votes), Kentucky Derby (2 votes), World Cup (2 votes), Stanley Cup Finals Game Seven, Army-Navy football game, World Series, WrestleMania (!!!???), football in general, Wimbledon, The Masters
NOTES: This was a landslide, in a not entirely unexpected vote. The first two votes that came in were for the Stanley Cup Playoffs and none of the remaining 24 were! Well, except for the one vote for Game Seven of the Finals, that is.

BEST FANTASY SPORT: Football (17 votes)
OTHER CANDIDATES: Baseball (5 votes), Golf
NOTES: Ultimately, there weren't enough fantasy sports elitists like myself who really treasure the amount of skill needed to win in fantasy baseball!

BEST OLYMPIC SPORT: Hockey (6 votes)
OTHER CANDIDATES: Swimming (3 votes), Men's 100 Meters (3 votes), Boxing (3 votes), Gymnastics (3 votes), Luge, Triple Jump, Decathalon, Speed Skating, Soccer, 10-Meter Platform Diving, Basketball
NOTES: Hockey would not be denied, considering the nostalgia of the Miracle on Ice and the present-day tournament with its peerless blend of NHL All-Star skill and nationalistic frenzy. There were many strong contenders in this category, however, and it was surprising that basketball was not among them. I ragged on Russ for his luge pick, but backtracked when he said he'd actually gotten to sample the sport. Pretty cool!

OTHER CANDIDATES: Al Michaels (5 votes), Harry Kalas (2 votes), Ron Franklin, Marv Albert, Jon Miller, Mike Lange, Howard Cosell, Chick Hearn, Jack Buck, Marty Brennaman, Joe Tait, Dick Enberg, Cris Collinsworth, Gary Thorne (cast on the second ballot), Bob Costas (cast on the second ballot)
NOTES: Michaels made a late run on the ballots to force not one tiebreaker, but two, since he and Scully each tallied a vote on the second ballots. The third tiebreaker went to Russ as he was on Line#1 at the time and he chose Scully. Regional broadcasters did very well in this category.

OTHER CANDIDATES: Ron Jaworski, Joe Garagiola, Rex Hudler, Rich Gannon, Myron Cope, Ralph Kiner, Hubie Brown, Don Cherry (really more of a studio guy, but we counted the ballot!), Bob Brenly, Walt Frazier, Ron Santo, Troy Aikman, Merlin Olsen, Jeff Van Gundy
NOTES: What a beatdown Madden delivered! Nobody else even received more than one vote. On a shameless personal note, I was happy to see fellow Ohio University Bobcat Brenly represented here (not on my ballot -- I'm not quite that shameless -- I voted for Jaws).

BEST SPORTS MOVIE: Bull Durham (5 votes)
OTHER CANDIDATES: Major League (3 votes), Miracle (3 votes), Caddyshack (3 votes), The Natural (2 votes), Hoosiers (2 votes), Rocky, Rudy, Slap Shot, Remember the Titans
NOTES: Bull Durham pulled away very late in the voting, garnering four of its five votes among the final seven ballots submitted. Inasmuch as it has been credited as setting the template for the modern sports movie, it was shocking to see Rocky receive only one vote.

BEST MOVIE VILLAIN: Joker - Heath Ledger version (4 votes)
OTHER CANDIDATES: Dr. Evil (3 votes), Odd Job (2 votes), Joker - Jack Nicholson version (2 votes), Darth Maul, Jack Torrance in The Shining, Agent Smith in The Matrix, Wicked Witch, Khan - Ricardo Montalban version, Hannibal Lechter, Hans Gruber, Joker - cartoon version, Cody Jarrett in White Heat, Joker - any version, John Lithgow in Cliffhanger, Darth Vader, John Malkovich in any role, Gordon Gekko
NOTES: With all incarnations taken together, The Joker would have been the winner in a landslide. It's hard to believe Darth Vader only received a single vote.

BEST PRO WRESTLING MANAGER: Bobby "The Brain" Heenan (7 votes)
OTHER CANDIDATES: The Mouth of The South Jimmy Hart (5 votes), Captain Lou Albano (3 votes), Precious Paul Ellering, Miss Elizabeth, Vince McMahon
NOTES: Heenan joins the man he once managed, Ric Flair, in The Pantheon since The Nature Boy won for Best Pro Wrestler last year. Voting tended to be clustered around a few nostaglic faves in this category.

BEST VIDEO GAME (NON-SPORTS): Grand Theft Auto (4 votes)
OTHER CANDIDATES: Gallaga (2 votes), Space Invaders (2 votes), Duke Nukem, Mario Cart Wii, Guitar Hero, Pac Man, Star Wars Trilogy, Super Mario, Twisted Metal II, Bionic Commando, Asteroids, Doom, Rainbow Six Vegas, Civilization, Tetris, Mass Effect, Halo
NOTES: As I noted during the show, GTA didn't win for Best Social Redeeming Value! It was strange to see Gallaga, which was in the shadows of the other 1980s arcade games at the time, finishing in a tie for second -- especially with some of those other old favorites receiving votes. The balloting here was just all over the place.

BEST MUSICAL GUILTY PLEASURE: Phil Collins "air drum solo" to In The Air Tonight (3 votes)
OTHER CANDIDATES: ABBA (2 votes), Neil Diamond (2 votes), Journey - Any Way You Want It (2 votes), Elton John, singing aloud to Boston, Eli Young Band, Justin Timberlake, Christopher Cross, Debbie Gibson, Barry Manilow, Sade, Thelma Houston - Don't Leave Me, Andy Samburg - Incredibad, Mamma Mia musical/movie, America's Got Talent TV show, Blondie - Heart of Glass, country music in general, The Producers musical/movie
NOTES: The Phil Collins entry only received one vote on the first ballot, but took the final lead on the second ballot -- where Journey also received its second vote. Again, this category was really spread out as well.

BEST NON-U.S. CITY: Toronto (4 votes)
OTHER CANDIDATES: Monte Carlo (2 votes), Vancouver (2 votes), Melbourne (2 votes), Rome (2 votes), Amsterdam (2 votes), Prague, Tokyo, Cancun, Milan, Sydney, Singapore, Jerusalem, Montreal, Puerto Vallarta, London, Paris
NOTES: The end result here was kind of a surprise: Toronto, really? Nothing against Canada's most dominant city, but we would have thought that one of the more sunny and far-flung locales would have garnered the most votes. There really were a lot of interesting choices on these ballots.

BEST U.S. CITY: New York City (9 votes)
OTHER CANDIDATES: Las Vegas (7 votes), San Francisco (3 votes), Washington D.C., Phoenix, Philadelphia, San Diego, Los Angeles
NOTES: I was shocked that Vegas was getting absolutely buried by New York before making a late comeback on the ballots -- of its seven votes, five came on the last eight ballots received, but it wasn't enough to bring down the Big Apple. It's interesting that a sizable majority of the voters lived in Cleveland (the FDH and STN HQ city) at one time or another but the anchor of the North Coast received a cool zero votes. Paging the Chamber of Commerce!

BEST POLITICAL SCANDAL: Watergate (7 votes)
OTHER CANDIDATES: Clinton-Lewinsky (6 votes, Teapot Dome (2 votes), Jimmy Dimora in Cuyahoga County, Cuyahoga County's present scandals in general, Chappaquiddick, Larry Craig, Joe Biden's law school plagiarism, JFK-Marilyn Monroe, Gary Hart-Donna Rice, Whitewater
NOTES: Apparently in the minds of our voters, there are two big scandals, and then there's everything else. Watergate staged a late comeback on the ballots to win, securing five of its seven votes on the last nine ballots cast.

BEST SEINFELD EPISODE: Soup Nazi (4 votes)
OTHER CANDIDATES: Shrinkage (3 votes), The Contest (3 votes), Giant Ball of Oil/Kramerica Industries/The Voice (2 votes), Keith Hernandez & The Second Spitter, The Jimmy, Elaine & The Eagles Song Dude, Teri Hatcher's Breasts, The Finale, George Impersonates The Nazi Leader, Bizarro Jerry, anything with Lloyd Braun, Susan Dies, Jerry Is The Devil/Elaine's New Yorker Cartoon
NOTES: This was easily one of the most fun categories for purposes of discussion. As Dave and I noted at the time, so many great episodes didn't even receive any votes. We had a really interesting note during this category: Ziggy cartoonist Tom Wilson voted for the episode in which Elaine was accused of ripping off a Ziggy cartoon and submitting it to the New Yorker! I could have never anticipated one of our voters being able to vote on an episode involving their own product when we created this category!

OTHER CANDIDATES: The Most Interesting Man in The World, crying Indian in litter commercial, Arby's Oven Mitt, Billy Mays, Geico stack of money, The Burger King - NFL spots, Little Dez, Trix Rabbit, Pillsbury Doughboy, Real Men of Genius narrator, Terry Tate Office Linebacker, Miller Lite Repo Man, Maytag Repairman, The Lebrons, The Noid, Mr. Clean, Coors Light press conference guys, eTrade baby, Bud Lite "Yes I Am" guy, Geico caveman
NOTES: This was another contender for the most interesting category. There were so many great candidates receiving votes here, but Mr. Whipple winning this one going away was on a par with Toronto's win in terms of a highly unexpected outcome. People were really looking towards the old school here!

Thanks again to all who participated in the selections and we won't be waiting a full 12 months for the third induction ceremony for The FDH Lounge Pantheon -- it will be not long after the start of 2010.

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