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Brian Shrader's Siteseeing Blog

1957 UNC Champs Return!

Posted January 10, 2008

I got a note last week from Dave Langley, one of the folks who helped sign on WRAL-TV back in December 1956.

Mr. Langley has a neat Web site with some old pictures and film of WRAL in its earliest days, and he just added a gallery of pictures from 1957, when the UNC men's basketball team returned to Raleigh-Durham (not International at the time) Airport after winning the national championship.  From his site:

"On March 23, 1957, the University of North Carolina won National Basketball Championship by upsetting the University of Kansas in triple overtime in Kansas City. The next afternoon, I went out to see the team arrive and was surprised by the large crowd of a couple thousand fans. When I got to the crowd, I saw a WRAL-TV crew with a film camera on top of steps used by aircraft passengers. They said they needed an audio operator and waved for me to come help them. I sat under the camera tripod most of the time and operated the audio level for WRAL-TV News anchor Bill Armstrong. Used the good location to take a few slides with my 35 mm camera."

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  • rlsmith5 Jan 11, 2008

    Does anyone know where they can get a copy of the game film? Thanks

  • davidpmcknight Jan 11, 2008

    It was such an exiting journey in 1956-57. I was 9 years old and wanted to be a lawyer just like Perry Mason. I was a Tar Heel fan, but we would switch over during the season to listen radio broadcasts on the Wolfpack network just to feel the rush of hoops emotions as the legendary Ray Reeve would say: "It's 12 to 8 in favor of State!"

    State had won the first three ACC tourneys in 1954, 1955 and 1956, so they were the team to beat if you wanted a chance to go to the NCAAs. Finally, Carolina got its chance in '57 and made the most of it. Then in the NCAA semifinals and finals out in Kansas City, UNC had to play six overtimes on two consecutive nights. Miraculously the Tar Heels survived a Friday thriller against a great Michigan State team, with Pete Brennan making a one-on-two drive against two Spartans in one overtime to get to the next one.

    And on Saturday, Carolina battled Kansas. Yes, they were "Goin' to Kansas City" and captured the title in style.

    David McKnight

  • theodore864 Jan 10, 2008

    Thats really cool! Look at the how big the camera is. I guess technology had to come a long way to get to the handycams recording kindergartner's first stage apperance by the shakey hand of their Mom.

  • Beach Music Forever Jan 10, 2008

    I was all of ten years old when UNC beat Kansas and Wilt in that title game. I actually pulled for UNC to win that game as I did not know any better at the time. Lennie Rosenbluth and Pete Brennen were great basketball players and UNC just had the will to win that year, as they had numerous close games. Brings back great memories, even as a Duke fan.

About this Blog:

WRAL's Brian Shrader blogs about cool video clips and other interesting Web sites. If you have any video you would like to share, please let us know.