At Studio B at Sweetwater Sound on Wednesday, there was a little bit of Hoosier basketball history in the remaking.
Sitting on a chair in front of a screen rolling grainy, soundless original tape of the 1960 state semifinal basketball game between Fort Wayne’s Central High School Tigers and the East Chicago Washington Senators, Kent Hormann did what he does best – making a sports game come alive.
"Here come the Tigers with the ball," Hormann roared in the sound room as he marked the play. "And it spins off the rim. It’s a free throw! This is Indiana basketball at its best!"
The Tigers lost the game by one point, 62-61. But win or lose, the game is part of the Tigers’ glory days.
The exclamatory commentary will be spliced with another tape Hormann recorded Wednesday, courtesy of both he and Sweetwater, where he identifies the names and numbers of the team members.
The final product will be ready to view in May, co-produced by William Bryant Rozier, 36, and Fort Wayne’s African/African-American Historical Society Museum. Rozier is a local marketing consultant and son of Willie Rozier, one of Central’s starting five.
Rozier and the museum’s executive director, John Aden, had hoped to have the basketball movie ready to show at the Central High School reunion April 25, but they will have only a trailer ready by then, Rozier said. Since the reunion is a yearlong festival, the premiere will be May 18 at Indiana Tech.
The game looms large for the Central High School alumni whose numbers have dwindled as each year passes since the high school closed in 1971.
"We went down to state and lost in the afternoon," said Martha Curry at one alumni meeting as she turned the pages of an album devoted to her husband, Willie Curry. Another of the starting five, he went on to play basketball at Winston Salem Teachers College, then returned to Fort Wayne to coach the same sport as a teacher at Memorial Park Middle School. He died at age 27.
It was Martha Curry who gave the original game tape to Rozier, who made a digital copy. Other members of the starting lineup were T.C. Williams, J.C. Lapsley and Jim Keim. The sixth man off the bench was Ray Thompson, Rozier said.
Rozier said that even though the film is blurry and you can’t easily tell who the players are, he instantly knew his father by the way he played the game.
Hormann, a news anchor at WISE Channel 33, said he was delighted to be part of the project. Rozier said Hormann was the obvious choice.
"I’ve listened to Kent Hormann since I was a kid," Rozier said. "He’s been my voice for sports for a long time. He’s the voice for us, and we knew he could do a bang-up job."
The project was out of the norm for Sweetwater engineer Jacob Culberson, who worked the boards as Hormann carried on.
"It’s cracking me up," he said. "I’m listening, but I can’t see what’s going on."