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I remember the first time I saw Stalag 17 -- it was probably in the '90s -- and thinking, That's Gil Stratton! After years of knowing him as a sportscaster, it was an incredible revelation. My other lasting memory of Gil comes from CBS NFL broadcasts in -- and I'm guessing -- the '60s. The studio highlight shows we have today didn't exist back then, so if a game ended early and there was time to fill, CBS had someone at each game to give scores of other games. I remember seeing Gil, with a rotating scoreboard that had to be pushed manually, reading NFL results. As an 8-year-old, I wanted that job. Now I'm in my 40s and I still want that job. I'll miss Gil Stratton.

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We worked together for the first time on Gunsmoke, March, 1952, their first broadcast. On all the dramatic radio shows we participated Gil was always "all business" and the "star".
Beginning in 1988, he appeared in various old time radio shows for the Radio Enthusiasts of Puget Sound, in Seattle. Year after year, he never missed.
Thanks Gil. You are certainly a star !!!

Dick Beals


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Dearest Cary and Mary-Margaret,

I've known Gil as Cary's Dad and somehow that role shone more brightly to me than all of the other accolades, probably because I love Cary and MM so much. But I am sure pleased to view this website and see that Gil has lived such a rich and glorious life. He will be missed by many. But, he sure played life to its fullest while he was here, and enriched so many of us through his work and contributions.

Love to you, Cary and MM, and anyone else who is mourning the passing of this great man.


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I'm very sad to hear of Gil's passing. I belonged to the SCSBA for a number of years and Gil was one of the greatest members the club has ever had. He will certainly be missed.
I'm actually at work right now and I'm working on this story (of Gil's passing) and I'm actually looking for a photo. I don't know if I can use the photo on this web site. Gil deserves to be remembered and I want to get something up that will look good. jimriggio@clearchannel.com


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Gil will live forever in our hearts-from the time we all moved in our new houses at the same time 39 years ago to this present time, the friendship has been strong and sweet and dynamic.

What a guy! We will miss him a lot.

Dee dear, our loving wishes to you and your great family.

love ya-Gene and ellie


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Dee, much sadness prevails...Gary Owens called me with the news...I emailed Uppie who's in France...My thoughts are with you.

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Gil Stratton, 1st Ld-Writethru
Channel 2, KNX Veteran Gil Stratton Dies at 86
Eds: ADDS details.
By HANS LAETZ
City News Service
LOS ANGELES (CNS) - One of the biggest voices in Los Angeles
broadcasting history is still, with the death of Gil Stratton Saturday at his
Toluca Lake home. He was 86.
Stratton spend decades appearing on KNXT, and then KCBS Channel 2, and
reporting for KNX on stories ranging from the arrival of the Dodgers to the
Lakers ``showtime'' era.
In 1961, Stratton became an integral part of the nation's first regular
television newscast longer than 15 minutes: Channel 2's hour-long ``The Big
News.'' Stratton and cohorts Jerry Dunphy and Bill Keene owned the early-
evening Los Angeles television airwaves for that decade, and became the
prototype news team for local TV stations across the country.
``Hi folks, time to call 'em as I see 'em'' was the veteran
sportscaster's trademark opening, both on Channel 2 and on co-owned KNX radio.
Listeners in the western United States were familiar with ``sports and the
weather together,'' a nightly segment featuring Stratton and Keene on KNX's
50,000 watts.
He was also the broadcast voice of the Los Angeles Rams for their early
years, and was frequently tabbed to call sports remotes on the CBS television
network.
Stratton, a native of Brooklyn, got his start on Broadway with a role in
1941's ``Best Foot Forward.''
Arriving in Hollywood in 1943, Stratton landed several big radio jobs,
but put his career on hiatus for a spin as an Army Air Corps bombardier.
The vet then made the rounds of major radio networks shows originating
from Hollywood, including ``Lux Radio Theater,'' ``The Great Gildersleeve,''
and ``My Little Margie.'' He played opposite Judy Garland in a 1950 radio
adaptation of ``The Wizard of Oz.''
He also appeared in 40 movies, and shared an Academy Award for his role
as ``Cookie'' Cook in 1953's ``Stalag 17.'' He played ``Mouse,'' an outlaw
motorcyclist, next to Marlon Brando in 1954's ``The Wild One,'' and at times
starred with Cary Grant, Shirley Temple, Marilyn Monroe and William Holden.
But it was doing sports at Channel 2 where Stratton became most-familiar
to Southland viewers. Stratton has spent nine years as an umpire for the
Pacific Coast League, and was hired at CBS station KNXT in 1954.
Working for both the local station and the network, he covered Major
League Baseball, pro football, the Olympics, and major boxing matches.
Stratton was part of an experiment at Channel 2 in 1961, when station
executives combined 15-minute long news and sportscasts, added weatherman Bill
Keene, and put the first evening news hour on the air in U.S. television
history. Within a year, ``The Big News'' was earning a 28 percent share in the
Los Angeles ratings books and rewriting the way TV listings would look across
the continent.
At Channel 2, Stratton won five local Emmys and seven Golden Mike awards
from the Radio-Television News Association.
Stratton semi-retired in the 1980s, but returned to his old home at the
1070 spot on the AM dial as the weekend sports anchor, bringing back his ``call
'em as I see 'em'' tagline.
He left the air in 1997, but continued charity work and teaching
broadcasting students at Cal State Northridge. The newborn nursery at Henry
Mayo Hospital in Newhall is named after him, in honor of the charity golf
tournaments he hosted to raise funds.
Stratton died of heart failure Saturday, CBS2 announced on its Web site.
Services have not been announced.

CNS-10-12-2008 12:52


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I got the sad news about the passing of Gil Stratton last night from Don Barrett of the LARADIO.com website. I'm 53 years old. My family moved to Anaheim, near Los Angeles in the summer of 1965, after having lived in Santa Maria. The Big News at 6 pm on KNXT/channel 2 was always must-see watching in our home, and the sportscaster, Mr. Gil Stratton became like an old friend! He was a Southern California broadcasting celebrity for many years, and after he was relaced on the channel 2 news some years later, he was one of the regular sportscasters heard twice an hour on the CBS-owned all news radio station, KNX-1070. Stratton was a voice I trusted and loved to hear on TV and radio. It wasn't until many years later that I learned he had previously worked as an actor in "old time radio" and in the movies! Wow! I loved him in "Stalag 17", and enjoyed hearing recordings of some of the old radio shows he had worked on over the years. A few years ago, I emailed him about an item he wrote in LARADIO.com about doing play-by-play for some high school football games in the San Fernando Valley over the old KGIL-1260 AM station in the early-'50s. Gil was very nice to reply to my email and take time to answer my questions. It was a thrill to get an email from this icon I had been such a big fan of for much of my life. I wish I had been able to see him do one of the radio show re-creations at a SPERDVAC convention. You will be missed, Mr. Stratton, but you won't be forgotten! My condolences to your friends and family. WE loved your work and we loved you for always "calling them as you saw 'em", both on the air and in real life.

Sincerely,

Jim Hilliker
Monterey, CA


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Cable movie channels have been showing "Stalag 17" recently, in which the very young Gil Stratton played William Holden's loyal sidekick; and Gil got the last word, make that last sound, after Holden escaped, whistling "When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again."

He was a nice presence on the movie screen, and an even better one, for much, much longer on our TV screens.


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Oh dear -- I'm so sorry to read of Gil's passing. He was such a good friend during the many years we've known each other in Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters. My memories of him go way back to my childhood listening to radio programs in Spokane with Gil Stratton, Jr. in the cast; and of course, who could forget him in "Stalag 17"? His later work on Channel 2 is, of course, now legendary. He was a devoted member and past president of Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters and he will be greatly missed by all of us. I send my sincere condolences to Dee and family.

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