The Marciano Interviews—Part Three

By The Fight Film Collector on January 8, 2015
The Marciano Interviews—Part Three
When Nat mentions “signing up” a fighter, it sounds as if he bought himself a racehorse.

This is the third installment of interviews that Rocky Marciano conducted among the 30 episodes of his 1961 television program, Main Event…

Main Event TV Series 1961
Guests: Nat King Cole, Jimmy Durante, George Raft
16mm Sound Transfer, 14 Minutes

This is the third installment of interviews that Rocky Marciano conducted among the 30 episodes of his 1961 television program, Main Event.  Each program included a brief interview with Marciano and his guest, either an artist, entertainer, sports figure or a celebrity. The program would also feature a period or classic fight, which Rocky would narrate, and then discuss with his guest. In retrospect, the interviews themselves have become classics, which is why I wanted to show them. This footage comes from my collection of 16mm prints.

Two Singers and a Gangster

Of the three guests seen here, only Nat King Cole may be familiar to younger viewers, and mostly due to Cole’s daughter, Natalie. In the early 1990s she showcased old TV footage of her father for a series of famous “duet” music videos where the producers created the illusion of Natalie singing with her father. Nat Cole, a brilliant pianist and singer who crossed between pop and jazz, was still a very popular figure in 1961, charting hits until his death of lung cancer just four years after this program was filmed. I like that all three of the guests here were not only genuine boxing fans, but each had boxed at some point when they were growing up as well. When Nat mentions “signing up” a fighter, it sounds archaic—as if he just bought himself a racehorse. It goes to show how popular boxing still was at the time and how fighters were regarded as “investments.” Jimmy Durante was one of the most iconic entertainers of the 20th century. A singer, actor and pianist, his gravelly voice, giant Schnozzola, and trademark vaudeville comic style was uniquely American, and made him instantly recognizable everywhere he performed. George Raft the actor, like Durante, is likely familiar to modern audiences through someone’s impression of him, rather than of the man himself. Raft’s successful work was portraying gangsters in movies during the 1930s and ‘40s. His associations with real life mob figures however, and the fellow actors whom he influenced, have been his legacy. At the time of his appearance on Rocky’s program, Raft’s career was a decade past its peak, which he alludes to, and his remaining movies were mostly as guest roles.

The Rocky Marciano Interviews—Part One
The Rocky Marciano Interviews—Part Two
The Rocky Marciano Interviews—Part Three

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The Rocky Marciano Interviews - Part Three (16mm Transfer) Nat King Cole, Jimmy Durante, George Raft

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  1. nicolas 11:38pm, 01/15/2015

    BIKERMIKE: First Marciano ended his career when Liston was somewhat beginning his. Liston would reach his full potential in 1959. If Marciano had continued to fight until he lost the title, perhaps it would have been Liston to take that title away with the weight, height, and reach advantage he had. People who brought up about the Marciano-Moore fight, what Moore as I understand it was complaining about was that Kessler gave Marciano an eight count, (have to watch the fight again) and that was not permitted as it is of course mandatory now. Somewhat eerie to see the interview with Nat King Cole. Both men would not make it to there 46th birthdays, as Cole died of cancer at 45, just a month I think shyh of his 46th, and of course Marciano killed in the plane crash one day before his 46th.

  2. bikermike 05:20pm, 01/12/2015

    Marciano got hosed…BIG TIME…by his ‘team’ terms of splitting the purse….but Marciano was possibly the best ‘managed’ fighter in history…..49-0….

    that he stayed so long.l…meant he got his checks….but not his share..!!

    Sonny Liston was fighting then…..and he never got a shot at ..DA ROCK

  3. bikermike 05:16pm, 01/12/2015

    lots of former great ...Champions…have climbed into the ring… get their asses kicked….

    Tyson finally got in with lewis…to be pummelled…Holmes got in with Tyson…Ali got in with HOlmes…Frazier did the second one with Foreman….leonard did his two with Comacho and Norris….and on and on ...

    I give these guys credit get in with the best…..even leonard…he got his ass kicked bad…

  4. Eric 10:03pm, 01/10/2015

    Irish…I don’t know who Archie was trying to fool. As you said, Marciano was up in a couple of seconds and then went on to give Moore quite a pounding. Moore might well have been the bigger man. I think Marciano weighed maybe a fraction more than Moore that night, but it definitely wasn’t like past heavy vs light heavy matchups where the hvywt. champ enjoyed a big weight advantage ala Dempsey vs Carpentier, Louis vs. Conn, Frazier vs. Foster, etc. However, I admire both fighters immensely, especially Marciano.

  5. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 07:26pm, 01/10/2015

    Eric-Archie Moore who was a veteran of 175 fights at the time with a ton of KOs was the bigger man when he fought Rocky and had at least a ten inch reach advantage on Rocky (yes he did).Rocky almost beat him to death….yet years later down in his gym in San Diego the “Ol Mongoose” was lying like Obama saying that the referee (Harry Kessler I think it was) saved Rocky after the flash knockdown (a two count) in the first round.

  6. Eric 10:31am, 01/09/2015

    The Rock clearly wasn’t much of an interviewer, and those shows were pretty cornball to the nth degree. Great fighter though. He really put on the pounds and perhaps his added bulk makes his T-Rex arms appear even shorter. Marciano really had some extremely short arms for a 5’10”-5’11” fighter.

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