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From 1980s, 1990s, 2000s

Crocketts release classic high school basketball games

C2 Productions digitizes, airs Midcoast court battles from past 30-plus years
By Mark Haskell | Mar 31, 2020
Courtesy of: Charlie and Penny Crockett Penny, left, and Charlie Crockett.

Rockport — Looking for a way to cure those work-from-home, refrain-from-interaction, social-distancing blues?

Well, Charlie and Penny Crockett, two of the tallest pillars of the Midcoast sports scene, have the medicine.

Through a great deal of work, the Crocketts of C2 Productions are digitizing and releasing, on television and online, numerous classic, vintage Midcoast high school basketball games from the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s.

The Crocketts, former teachers and coaches at Camden Hills Regional High School and Camden-Rockport High School and longtime Hope residents before moving to Rockport a few years ago, have a vast archive of basketball games on VHS produced over decades of calling games in the Midcoast and “has always put off digitizing them to a later time.”

“Now,” Charlie said, “Seems to be a good time.”

“I have been stockpiling hundreds of games over the last 30 years and have always wanted to upgrade them for historic, archival purposes,” said Charlie. “This time during the COVID-19 crisis, seemed like an ideal time to do that and to provide to our Midcoast community some alternative options for family programming, especially as the professional basketball and baseball seasons have been cancelled or on hold.  We thought it would be fun for the participants to share their high school games with their own kids and family members who were there. We also thought this would be a welcome distraction and would lift the spirits of our community.”

The games will be shown on Spectrum TV channel 1301 and on ROKU on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays at 1 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. After they air, broadcasts of the games can be accessed anytime on the Maine Coast TV website.

Notices of when a new game is available are posted on Facebook on the pages for C2 Productions and Maine Coast TV.

The first game debuted on Sunday, March 29, which featured a boys basketball game from Feb. 5, 1991 featuring the Rockland Tigers and [then] Camden-Rockport Windjammers.

“The response has been heartwarming and amazing,” said Penny. “People love it. We have received requests for more games. They love seeing themselves and their friends and families, either on the teams or in the stands, and some ‘interesting’ discussions about memories of the games have been stimulated, all in good fun.

Charlie agreed, as he added, “It gives us a sense of continuity in the community.”

“It is nice to see some of these kids who played in Midcoast games and who since have gone on to play in college, to coach in high school or college, to referee, and to gain various recognitions by their colleges, by the Midcoast Sports Hall of Fame or by the Maine Basketball Hall of Fame,” he said. “This applies to the referees and coaches, too.”

The majority of the Crocketts' videos from this era are games played in the old Camden-Rockport High School — the current Camden-Rockport Middle School.

The Crocketts were teachers in the district, but after retiring in 1999, had more opportunities to cover games featuring other teams throughout the region.

"From 2000 on, we were publishing the games on KNOX TV Channel 38, then KNOX TV Channel 58, and METV 85, and now Maine Coast TV for TV and internet,” said Penny. “We have broadcast games from local Midcoast Maine gyms — Rockport, Rockland and Waldoboro, but also Belfast, Winslow, Waterville, Cony, and of course tournament games in Bangor, Augusta, and Portland. Since 2000, we have also done soccer, field hockey, football and ice hockey in the Midcoast area and around the state.”

The production of the CRHS games in the 1980s and 1990s was a combination of a radio broadcast on Rockland-based WRKD, and featured play-by-play announcers Charlie Crockett and Don Palmer, and a live TV broadcast over the educational TV channel from the CRHS gymnasium produced by the CRTV Club, as students created graphics and slow-motion replays.

Penny Crockett directed and ran the mixing board, which brought the separate elements together.

The transition from old VHS tapes to online and television for the Crocketts is a tedious process, which takes about eight hours to resurrect one broadcast.

“First I had to find the tapes, organize them by date, and get out the old VHS equipment needed to play them [hopefully]," Charlie said."Next, the tape is played in the VCR to a converter camera onto an older version of my editing system on an iMac desktop computer. The tape is played in real time into the computer. Then I change the format of the screen size from 4x3 to 16x9 so it will look correct on the new flat screen TVs. Next, I do what I can to improve the sharpness and color of the images, considering that the originals were on VHS tape 30 or so years ago, with varying degrees of success. Then, the game has to be rendered into a form that the TV stations and internet can handle.”

The quality of the broadcasts will vary, but the memories are lasting.

The next three games on the docket are the Feb. 6, 1990 girls game between Rockland and Camden-Rockport set to air Tuesday, March 31,, the Jan. 8, 1991 boys game between Medomak Valley and Camden-Rockport to air on April 2 and the Dec. 21, 1992 girls game between Rockland and Camden-Rockport to air April 5.

Charlie is a 2009 Midcoast Sports Hall of Fame inductee, while his wife, Penny, joined him in the Class of 2018.

Penny, left, and Charlie Crockett broadcast a Camden Hills ice hockey game last winter at the Midcoast Recreation Center in Rockport. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
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Comments (1)
Posted by: Worthington Scholars | Apr 01, 2020 09:14

This is an awesome idea!  I'm doing the same with 40 years of personal photos! (eventually).  Can't wait to see the Rockland Tigers/Camden Rockport game when Rockland beat Camden for first time in 16 years on their home court.   Was about 10 years ago?    Aidan Hadley, Chris Nolan, Luke Morrill versus Tyler McFarland, Graham Safford, etc.

This will also be fun for so many students and parents to relive these memories.

Thank you Crocketts!!



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