Bill Slater (broadcaster)
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Bill Slater (December 3, 1902-January 25, 1965) was an educator, sports announcer, and radio/television personality from the 1920s through the 1950s. He was perhaps best known for hosting the radio shows Twenty Questions and Luncheon at Sardi's. He is also the great uncle of actor Christian Slater.
Education and educator
He taught English and math at his hometown of Parkersburg, West Virginia. He then joined the Greenbrier Military School in Lewisburg, West Virginia as commandant. Next he was on the faculty of the New York Military Academy where he also coached football. He was then the head of the math dept and football coach at Blake School in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Finally he was the headmaster of Adelphi Academy in Brooklyn, New York from 1933-1942.
From educator to broadcaster
While teaching at the Blake School for Boys in Minneapolis, it was suggested by a student, whose father was a radio executive, that Slater had the voice and knowledge to be a sports announcer. His first network break came while at Adelphi Academy when Ted Husing asked Slater to call an Army-Navy football game.
Slater hosted/emceed many early television shows:
- Birthday Party (1947), aka King Cole's Birthday Party
- Charade Quiz (1947)
- Messing Prize Party (1948)
- Twenty Questions (1949) DuMont and NBC versions
- Fishing and Hunting Club (1949)
- Broadway to Hollywood Headline Clues (1949)
- With This Ring (1951)
Slater announced the first television broadcast of a World Series in 1947 between the New York Yankees and Brooklyn Dodgers, which the Yankees won. His co-broadcasters for that event were Bob Stanton and Bob Edge.
He covered the 1936 Summer Olympics for NBC, announced for the New York Yankees and New York Giants baseball teams, the 1937 Sugar Bowl, West Point, Yale, Penn and other college football games, and later, tennis from Wimbledon and Forest Hills.
Born William E. Slater, December 3, 1902 in Parkersburg, West Virginia. His first wife was Rebecca and his second wife, Marian, sometimes accompanied him on the Luncheon at Sardi's radio show. He was 6’3” and died in Larchmont, New York after a long battle with Parkinson's disease.
His younger brother, Tom Slater, five years his junior, was also a sports broadcaster and followed him as the host of Luncheon at Sardi's. Tom Slater’s son, actor Michael Hawkins (Thomas Knight Slater) is Christian Slater’s father.
- Golden Voices of Radio –Patterson, Jackson
- The Golden Voices of Football pg 76, by Ted Patterson, Keith Jackson
- The Golden Voices of Baseball pg 185, by Ted Patterson
- Partial obituary (Top of right hand column)
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