Smokin Joe Frazier
Click here for table of contents
Hardcover, 400 pages
Order online or contact:
Paige Stover Hague
343 Commercial Street, Unit 214
Boston, MA 02109
About Hank Schwartz
You've probably never heard his name, but you sure as hell know who he is. If you watched any of the great fights of the 70's on pay-per-view, you were probably seeing his work—live from the four corners of the earth.
Hank Schwartz is a genius in communications technology. Although it is hard to imagine now, there was a time when live, remote broadcasting was a technical challenge. Microwaves and satellites opened up a whole new way of transmitting video signals and enabled this Jewish guy from Brooklyn to bring live sporting events into hotels, theaters, casinos, and private homes. He started in hockey and auto racing but quickly moved over to the sweet science, doing business as Video Techniques.
It didn't take Hank Schwartz long to figure out that if he could pull the financing together and get the fighters under contract, he could run the show. He knew that negotiating with the boxers was not his strong suit so he figured he should affiliate with someone who spoke their language. Don King, who was a small-time boxing manager in Cleveland at that time, showed up and was offered the position of Vice-President of Video Techniques. Together they put together some of the biggest boxing matches in the history of the game. Eventually they parted ways and each went on to produce other events, but it was quite a ride while the arrangement lasted.
Born in Brooklyn, NY, Hank Schwartz secured a scholarship to attend Stuyvesant High School, which was at the time one of the few science and technical-based schools in New York City. Hank finished his four-year science program in three years and was first exposed to the emerging radio wave electronic equipment as well as video networking and related electrical power systems through his studies in this program. He served in the US Army in WWII and then attended Brooklyn PolyTech University, from which he received his Bachelor of Electrical Engineering degree (BEE). Schwartz holds a number of patents and patent applications in the electronics and visual communications fields, including film jukeboxes CineBox (Italy) and the Colorsonics and VideoMate IIa color video projectors.
In the late 1960's Schwartz was invited by Bruce Norris, owner of the Detroit Red Wings, to improve the broadcast quality of the hockey games televised from his arena. Schwartz had previously participated in the live broadcast of several auto racing events and had developed expertise in the transmission of video communications signals to microwave towers.
Schwartz's knowledge regarding both the technical side of international networking and the communications systems needed to transmit television signals worldwide led him to become involved in the international broadcasting of boxing matches.
In 1971 Madison Square Garden hired Video Techniques to broadcast the historic heavyweight championship fight between Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali.
In 1972 Schwartz was invited by the Japanese television network ITV to advise the production crew and engineering staff for the global broadcast of the fight between Mac Foster and Muhammad Ali. By the time Ali fought Jerry Quarry and Oscar Bonevena, Video Techniques had hit its peak and was considered to be the leader in these new distribution technologies.
In 1973, Schwartz traveled to Kingston, Jamaica to televise the fight between George Foreman and Joe Frazier, which was the first pay-per-view event ever broadcast on HBO.
By 1974 Hank Schwartz had laid the groundwork enabling him to negotiate millions of dollars in financing with major financial institutions in London, Paris, New York, Zurich, and perhaps other places he was never quite sure about. Video Techniques acted as the promoter of The Rumble in the Jungle—the most famous match in boxing history when Muhammad Ali regained his title as World Heavyweight Champion.
Video Techniques also participated in the promotion and worldwide distribution of Foreman/Roman from Tokyo Japan, Foreman-Norton in Caracas, Venezuela, Ali-Bugner in Kuala Lumpur, Ali-Frazier in The Philippines (The Thrilla in Manila), Ali-Wepner in Cleveland, Ohio, and Ali-Holmes at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas.