Q.1. Murray, what motivated you to write this book?
A.1. There are two responses to this question. First, I wanted to learn more about my father’s early life and his struggles. Second, there was a wealth of information on Pittsburgh sports in his notes and I felt I owed it to the public to put it in print, just as dad had wanted to do.
Q.2. You have written the book in the first person, as if your father had written it. Why did you decide to choose this style?
A.2. When I began playing with the information from the files, I wrote a chapter in third person. It was dry, and frankly boring. I then toyed with the idea that these were my father’s ideas and he would not write in the third person. My writers group in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, provided criticism and guidance during my many rewrites and liked the first person approach. So did I.
Q.3. What is your favorite part of the book?
A.3. If I were pushed against the wall with a gun at my head I would have to say the hilarious antics of Bill Cullen was the part I enjoyed the most. On my website I have included just one excerpt of the antics of Cullen (murraytuckerwriter.com) in which he replaced dad’s usual vocal chord “lubricant” with Listerine®. In another situation, he was caught reading the funny paper instead of broadcasting a hockey game. There are several more!
Q.4. What is your favorite Pittsburgh sport?
A.4. I really enjoy watching ice hockey, whether it is a Pittsburgh team, or not. How the players do the things they do on skates is exciting. I love the area of the country I live in, but it is isolated. I rarely get to an arena or stadium. I watch a lot of sports on TV. When I am not watching the Pens, I find myself cheering for one of the teams on the ice. Anyone who spends the time learning the sport can’t help but enjoy the speed and demonstration of skill. Also, the time for commercials is much less than what it is for football.
Q.5. Why have you remained loyal to Pittsburgh teams?
A.5. The question really should be why are there so many Pittsburgh Steelers and Penguins fans around the world who have never stepped foot into Pittsburgh! For me, I grew up with these teams. They were part of my everyday existence. My father lived and breathed and earned his living following Pittsburgh teams. It was hard not to be infected living in a house with him!
Q.6. You have not mentioned baseball. Why?
A.6. I guess that if my father had been primarily a baseball announcer, I would continue to follow the Pirates. I find baseball tedious and boring to watch. Dad was third man on Pirate broadcasts until 1956 when competing breweries forced him to choose football and Bob Prince to choose baseball. I went to many games at Forbes Field and did more socializing than watching. I even gave up my seat for the 7th game of the 1960 Series!
Q.7. Why did you put, “The Forgotten Voice of the Pittsburgh Steelers” in your title?
A.7. It has been forty years since my father broadcasted Steelers games. People over age 55 might remember him. Certainly people my age do. As I say in the Foreword to the book, I chose the title because in a question of trivia, “What team has had only two announcers for the past forty years?” The given answer was the Steelers with Jack Fleming and Bill Hargrove. I thought the question should have been “What NFL team has had only three announcers?” Jack Fleming succeeded my father on radio in 1964. Dad had been the radio voice from the inception of game broadcasts in 1936. Thus I felt that the historical record was incomplete and had forgotten Joe Tucker.
Q.8. Is there more? Will you write additional parts of the history?
A.8. I sifted through piles of disorganized notes with the help of my sister. I wrote what I thought was relevant. There were many more notes, for instance, Dan Rooney probably does not remember his pleading as a seven year old with George Halas not to kill his father’s team! Dad covered much of the early Steelers' history this material in Steelers Victory After Forty, a book he had written in 1974. If I were to do anything, I would put that book in better form and add some of the elements that he left out. But I have moved on to write my own ideas, a novel.
Thanks for the opportunity to share my experience in writing Screamer. I hope that Pittsburgh Sports fans around the world get to read it. I look forward to hearing from them.