Saturday, February 11, 2017

In Deed, Ed: My Ray Christensen story

The death of Ray Christensen, legendary radio voice of Gopher football and basketball, is a bit stale now as news, but the Twins keep making moves as spring training nears, and that's provided fodder for this blog all week. Better late than never, however.

Since this is a baseball blog, I want at least some tie-in to baseball, and here's the tie-in, tenuous as it is: Christensen was part of the Twins radio crew for three seasons or so in the early 1970s. (Most of the obituaries say three years, but Herb Carneal's autobiography says they worked together four years.)

But Christensen did many other things for WCCO back in the day besides sports. One of them was cohosting (with Steve Edstrom) an evening trivia game called "Honest to Goodness," which aired on weekday nights during the non-baseball season (and on nights when there were no Gopher or North Stars games on the Good Neighbor).

Listeners sent in postcards with their name and phone number, and a card would be pulled, and the number called, and Christensen and Edstrom would chat with the contestant and pose the question. The prize started at $8.30 and rose in increments of $8.30 (for 830, obviously).

I sent in a card. It was probably 1973 -- maybe 1972, but I think '73 -- and one night, with the amount building, I was called.

The puzzle was something like this: "A six letter word that consists of two letter, each used three times." It might have been "verb" rather than "word" -- I'm a little hazy on some of the details. And I did not have the answer.

I don't remember much of the conversation. I remember hanging up, excited about having been called and being on the air, and disappointed that, despite a pretty extensive vocabulary, I didn't win,

And I remember that within minutes of being on the air, the answer came to me.

The decades have passed. But still, I cannot see the word "deeded" without thinking of Ray Christensen.

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