28 February 2010

Giggling Time: Bewitched Horse Racing Episodes

I wanted to do a blog post on horse racing movies, so I did a video search for the old movie 1936, Three Men On A Horse. One of my racetrack buddies and regulars at Woodbine and Greenwood back in the 70's, 80's and 90's, Sid (he has been deceased for around 10 years now), used to say it was the most realistic and funny movies about horse racing ever made. The search results included a Bewitched episode from 1971. I had to watch it, because I didn't remember that Bewitched did a racetrack episode. I do remember reading that Elizabeth Montgomery was a lifelong horseplayer. I knew there had to be a reason I had a childhood crush on her.

Anyway, enjoy Three Men And A Witch On A Horse (it is pretty funny stuff):

Is it just me, or was it really awkward seeing Darrin on the rocking horse and even more awkward hearing the rocking horse say "Ah that's nice," when Darrin started rocking him? I wonder if that would get past the censors today.

Some interesting observations from the next part. Darrin worked at a NYC advertising firm, so at the time it was completely feasible that he had a phone betting account with the NY OTB (according to my research, phone betting began in NY in 1970):

If you've ever wondered what goes on in a racehorses head, part three is for you. Now before you watch, some trivia. The race on TV at the OTB definitely starts out at Aqueduct, but it finishes at another track. Not only that, but footage of a famous horse was used for most of the race, right up to the end. Answer to who the horse was and the track involved can be viewed at the bottom of this post:

Alright, if you watched, that had to bring a smile to your face. I like the fact that the payoffs on what was quoted as actual winnings was right on. And Elizabeth Montgomery seemed very at ease in the presence of a horse.

Back in those days, the win pools were all the rage, and there were very few exotics (the idea of betting a daily double though was a way to expect bigger returns). Today, only about one third of what is bet goes into the WPS pools. If you take inflation into account, these pools have shrunk considerably over the last 40 years while the majority of money bet goes into high takeout exotic pools.

Back then, the idea of bringing a few dollars to the track and getting lucky so that you could make a quarter of a year's salary or even half a year's salary, wasn't out of the question. A down payment on a house could be achieved with a bankroll of a couple of hundred dollars and a couple of good bets on medium sized long shots. Nowadays, that just isn't the case. Even a 10 G score on a super won't do that for you.

Because there was only a few exotics, WPS was the focus of most horseplayers. And it was much easier to walk out of the track with enough to come back the next day or as soon as possible. But there were known winners back then, so even though to most, racing was a losing proposition, there was still the element that the game was beatable back then, and again, if you were lucky enough, you could get your down payment on a house, get out of debt, or even get enough to start your own business, which brings me to my other find, another Bewitched episode, this one from 1966, where a mare becomes human for a day and a half. Funny stuff. A little less realistic though. This episode is aptly named The Horse's Mouth. Lots of funny racetrack puns and jokes:

Part Two. I doubt there was a time when the public could openly go to the backstretch stables in search of information:

Lots of different tracks were used in the racing scenes. Your guess is as good as mine. Great to see the big crowds, that were a daily occurrence at just about every track in the 60's. Now for part three:

Now for the answer of the trivia question. The race in question began at Aqueduct but finished off at Santa Anita. The video mostly contained a famous race by Silky Sullivan. It was a 6 and a half furlong race in 1958.

I'll save my movie post for another day.


The_Knight_Sky said...

I have been looking for the F. Scott episode of Partridge Family in which Danny wins a colt at the San Pueblo county fair.

But these Bewitched episodes will suffice until you find them. Good luck. ;-)

Cangamble said...

Hulu and TV.com apparently have that episode, but being Canadian, I can't access it.