When Vic Jacobs, billing himself as Vic the Brick, came to Channel 13 from Fresno last summer wearing loud tuxedo jackets, bolo ties, spiked hair and tennis shoes, the general reaction was: Send this guy back to the San Joaquin Valley.
The Brick was hammered in print, but he didn't crumble.
The station later asked Jacobs to change his look to conventional coat and tie, which he agreed to do.
Some thought the station should have changed Jacobs' address and shipped him back to Guam, where he got his start in broadcasting.
But the Brick has hung in there and Sunday will be among those working Channel 13's four hours of live L.A. Marathon coverage.
He will man the station's mobile "pack-cam," and interview runners back in the pack. And, just for the fun of it, he'll toss some foam-rubber bricks.
When Jacobs arrived in Los Angeles, Channel 13's management feared he wouldn't be well received at first. They were right.
One local news director said, "He's not only an embarrassment to Channel 13 but to the whole market."
But the Channel 13 people said: "Give him a chance. He'll grow on you."
And that's what some of his fans back in the central San Joaquin Valley said, too.
You know what? They were right. At least partially.
Jacobs still overdoes the cliches and shtick, gets too carried away and has trouble switching gears when dealing with serious topics, but he's really not all that bad.
The first impression was his "Goooooood eeeevening, spooorts fans" opening, the passion, the emotion and the brick-throwing were all just an act. Either that, or the guy is simply a goofball.
Well, Jacobs is no goofball. Actually, he's very likeable off camera. In a profession overloaded with self-centered egotists, Jacobs is refreshing.
"He is the nicest guy on the planet Earth," says Rick Feldman, Channel 13's station manager, who may be overstating it just a bit.
There is no such thing as real job security in the broadcasting business, but Feldman, one of the people who hired Jacobs at Channel 13, said: "I'd love to be able to say Vic will be here forever.
"He is very popular around the station. And I think that his being a nice guy is one of the things that makes him appealing on the air."
Feldman said Jacobs' ratings have improved slightly, but credits that mainly to the addition of the "Arsenio Hall Show" at 11 p.m. During the one-hour 10 o'clock news, Jacobs comes on at about 10:50.
"What we really like about Vic is, he knows his sports," Feldman said. "And he's a terrific writer."
Well, at least he's different.
Jacobs, by the way, went to Cornell, the same school Channel 2's Keith Olbermann attended, although not at the same time.
When the news of Steve Garvey's troubles surfaced last week, here's how Jacobs handled it: "Somebody slap me, I think I'm going goofy," he said. "Garvey in a love triangle. . . . Sports' seedy underbelly is getting Vic sick."
Jacobs, off the air, said: "What's happening to the purity of sports? Now we have to report all this People magazine stuff. We're reporting drugs, arbitration, palimony, not sports."
He was starting to get worked up.
"I'm very emotional about sports," he said. "That's just me. It's not an act or shtick. I lay my guts on the line every night. To the viewer, I say, 'I am you and I'm as upset as you, I'm as peeved as you.'
"I get peeved when I hear Michael Jordan won't compete in the slam-dunk competition.
"I get peeved when I hear they're changing the name of the Forum to the Great Western Forum.
"As a former New Yorker, if it ever became the Gulf & Western Madison Square Garden, they'd have to put me in a straight jacket. I'd go nuts."
Jacobs is one of more than 100 people Channel 13 will use in covering Sunday's marathon. The main announcing team will again be Barry Tompkins, Nancy Ditz, running columnist Toni Reaves and marathon expert Larry Rawson.
And Tim Malloy and Wendy Rutledge, Channel 13 anchors, will be at the starting line.
Phil Olsman, a free-lancer, will again produce the coverage in which 27 cameras and four helicopters will be used.
However, bad weather could ground the helicopters, which transmit signals from the mobile cameras.
"I'm really not that concerned," Olsman said. "If the weather isn't any worse than (Thursday), we'll be OK."
The prerace coverage begins at 8 a.m., the race at 9. Channel 13 will sign off at noon, then have a one-hour wrap-up at 6 p.m.
There will be a preview show on Channel 13 tonight at 10:30.
Channel 13's coverage Sunday will be picked up by the USA cable network and shown, delayed, at noon. It will be live in the East.
KNX will provide local radio coverage, with Barry Rhode and Olbermann anchoring. Bob Scott, Gil Stratton, Chris FitzRandolph, Chris Simon and Pete Arbogast will report from the course.
Mike Tyson and Don King, after Tyson's victory over Frank Bruno, both said last Saturday night on HBO that they were going to watch the movie, "Lean On Me." Stealing an idea from the Disneyland people, Warner Bros., which made the movie, paid them to say it. But they weren't supposed to say it on HBO. Warner Bros. had a film crew there to tape the commercial. So Warner Bros. got a free plug, which didn't sit too well with HBO.
Some people aren't too high on Monday night's fight between Ray (Boom Boom) Mancini and Hector (Macho) Camacho at Reno, but it will mark a couple of significant television firsts. One is a major film studio, Warner Bros., is distributing the pay-per-view telecast. Another is the fight, at a cost of $19.95, which goes to $24.95 on some systems Monday, is being made available not only to cable and SelecTV subscribers but also to satellite dish owners with proper decoders. About 500,000 of the nation's 2 million satellite dish units have them, including many of those in bars.
VideoCipher, a division of General Instruments of San Diego, convinced Warner Bros. it could pull this project off, while at the same time preventing extensive pirating of the signal. General Instruments has launched an extensive anti-pirating campaign and warns it will prosecute violators. A hot-line number, (800) 356-3160, has been established for two purposes. Dish owners can call that number for more information on how to order the fight, and anyone who knows of illegal pirating is also asked to call that number. . . . Monday night's card, which features Olympic super heavyweight Riddick Bowe in his pro debut, begins at 6 p.m. The main event is scheduled for 7:30.
Z Channel begins carrying Sports- Channel America hockey telecasts this weekend, but only one a week, on Saturdays at 4:30. When the playoffs begin April 5, the full schedule will be carried. This Saturday's game is Montreal at Hartford, with Rick Pecham and Gerry Cheeviers reporting.
When Tony Lopez beat Rocky Lockridge on CBS last year, Ring magazine called it the fight of the year. They meet again Sunday at Sacramento, but this fight will be on NBC's "SportsWorld" at noon. CBS couldn't fit it into its schedule, so NBC grabbed it. . . . Marv Albert will call the fight, and on Saturday he will be at Pauley Pavilion along with commentator Bucky Waters to work NBC's coverage of the UCLA-Arizona game, which begins at 11:30 a.m.
Virgil Hill and Bobby Czyz meet at Bismarck, N.D., Saturday, and their fight will be on ABC's "Wide World of Sports." North Dakota was one of only three states not previously visited by Wide World. Now there are only Mississippi and Montana. . . . John Wooden will be the guest on "Sports Look" next Thursday at 3 and 11 p.m. to announce the top 12 candidates for the L.A. Athletic Club's John Wooden Award.
In the battle of the Sunday night sports wrap-up shows, the average ratings for the February sweeps period were: Fred Roggin, 7.7 and 24 share, Keith Olbermann, 4.8 and 15, and Jim Hill, 3.4 and 13. . . . The national rating for the Daytona 500 on CBS was an 8.1. The rating for the Laker-Boston Celtic game that followed was a 7.7.
Sunday's Santa Anita Handicap will be previewed in a one-hour special on Channel 56 tonight at 8:30, after the regular "Racing at Santa Anita" show. Also, past Big 'Caps will be reviewed. The host of the special is Charleye Wright. . . . Channel 11 will show the Dodgers' 1988 highlight film, "An Incredible Year," tonight at 8. Saturday night at 10:30, the station offers a half-hour special, "MVP--the Kirk Gibson Story."