EL SEGUNDO, CA — Here in the Los Angeles area, sports fans have been blessed with beautiful music during broadcasts of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Kings and the Los Angeles Lakers, not to mention the UCLA Bruins, Los Angeles Rams, and what was then the California Angels.
That “music” came from the broadcast booths for those teams, with the incredible voices of Dick Enberg, Chick Hearn, Bob Miller and Vin Scully behind the microphone—four of the finest play-by-play announcers to ever the hit the airwaves, “serenading” Southern California sports fans.
Enberg called UCLA basketball games, and called the play-by-play for the Angels and Rams. Hearn was the legendary voice of the Lakers, and Scully, another legend, is still going strong with the Dodgers.
Miller, 77, received the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award in 2000, which recognizes “…members of the radio and television industry who made outstanding contributions to their profession and the game during their career in hockey broadcasting,” making him a media honoree in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Of course, Miller, now in his 42nd season behind the microphone for the Kings, has two Stanley Cup Championship rings from the team’s 2012 and 2014 Stanley Cup Championships, and to top that off, a documentary film, Voice of the King: The Bob Miller Story, about him and his career in broadcasting, dating back to his days at the University of Wisconsin, will premiere at the Regal Cinemas L.A. Live on December 5, 2014, and will run for at least one week.
Proceeds will benefit the Kings Care Foundation.
Miller was initially reticent to do the film.
“[Documentary filmmaker] Charlie Minn talked to me about three years ago, wanting to do a film,” said Miller. But I told him, ‘I don’t think anybody would really care about that.’”
But things change when your team wins.
“Then we won the Stanley Cup in 2012, and then last playoff season, when we were one win away from winning the Cup, [Minn] said, ‘you know, this is it. This is the time. Now or never. Let’s do it,’” Miller recalled.
“I said, ‘OK, let’s go ahead and do it,’” Miller added. “We got the backing of Kings co-owner Ed Roski, so [Minn] said, ‘OK, let’s do it. The proceeds go to the Kings Care Foundation.’”
“He wanted to do it, and I agreed with him that, if you’ve won two Cups in three seasons, if you’re ever going to do it, this is the time, so we went ahead and did it.”
The name, “Charlie Minn” probably doesn’t ring a bell, as his documentaries focus on “true crime” cases that have gotten little exposure in the United States, a far cry from anything even closely related to hockey.
But Minn has a hockey background.
“He’s done a lot of documentaries on disasters and murders, and I told him, ‘I don’t think I fit your plan here. I haven’t killed anybody,’” Miller joked. “But he said, ‘no, no, no, we want to do it,” and he’s a big hockey fan, so we’ll see how it turns out.”
“I knew him before,” Miller added. “He did stats for us during a Kings game on Long Island several years ago. He’s a huge hockey fan, a huge Boston Bruins fan.”
“He’s done a lot of documentaries, so he kept talking to me about it, and finally, with the Stanley Cup wins, this was the time to do it.”
A masterful storyteller, Miller, shared with Minn story after story from his time with the Kings during a lengthy interview.
“He did quite a long interview with me, and I don’t know how much he’ll use,” said Miller. “I told a lot of the stories I’ve told through the years, thinking that maybe a lot of fans haven’t heard them—some stories about [original Kings owner] Jack Kent Cooke, [former Kings general manager] George Maguire, and some other things that went on during my career with the Kings.”
Miller noted that the film is much more than him talking about himself.
“I just tell some stories, and he interviews some people to get their comments about me, and about the Kings telecasts,” Miller explained, adding that Minn interviewed Kings radio play-by-play announcer Nick Nickson, Kings radio color commentator Daryl Evans, Kings television color commentator Jim Fox, Los Angeles Lakers radio play-by-play announcer John Ireland, radio personality Tim Conway, Jr., who Miller said is a, “huge Kings fan,” Wayne Gretzky, and former Kings owner Bruce McNall.
Miller pointed out that he did not want to influence what anyone said about him when they spoke with Minn.
“When he interviewed them, I did not stay in the room,” Miller stressed. “I didn’t think it would be right for me to be in the room when he’s asking questions about me, so I don’t know what they said.”
Over the years, much has been reported, both on television and in print/online media, about Miller and his career with the Kings. So what might this film reveal that would be new information?
“I’m sure a lot of people don’t know some things about my background,” said Miller. “[Minn] went back and got some video from when I started back in Wisconsin in 1960. He’s got some footage of great Kings moments, and the calls I made on them.’
“What they might learn is some of the things that even I didn’t know that some of these people might bring up in the interviews,” added Miller. “Some of those people might bring up some things that people don’t know about me, maybe some things that even I don’t know about myself.”
Miller noted that obtaining source material (video footage, photographs) was a rather daunting challenge.
“I had a lot of the footage, and I gave it to him,” he noted. “But the National Hockey League is very, very protective of some of that stuff, as far as owning the rights, and things you can and cannot do with the Stanley Cup, and all of that. I think Charlie ran into some frustration along those lines, so I really don’t know the amount of footage that he got, or how much is going to be in the film. I’m hoping it’s going to be quite a bit, but they really protect how much you can use, but I guess all the leagues do—the NBA, NFL—they all have a certain amount of minutes that you can show, and that’s it. So it’s going to be interesting.”
“He’s got some still photos from years ago, when I was just a young kid,” he added. “I don’t know how he’s going to use that.”
By now, you’ve probably realized that Miller has chosen not to see the film yet, and he will not do so until it debuts on December 5.
“I went over and saw the trailer—I haven’t seen the complete film—when the Kings were playing last Thursday (November 20), at home,” he said. “I was apprehensive when I went to see the trailer, just thinking, ‘what’s this going to look like on the big screen?’ But it looked fine, so I’m hoping a lot of Kings fans will head over to the theatre to see it.”
“Maybe [next] Saturday, [December 6], we have a game at 1:00 PM,” he added. “Maybe some fans will say, ‘let’s go see the movie, and then go to dinner, or have dinner and then go to the movie, as long as we’re down there at Staples Center.’ I hope it’s going to be well-attended.”
The announcement of the film’s impending release has been met with anticipation, especially by Kings faithful. But it has also generated a rather ominous feeling among some.
Was this film Miller’s way of letting everyone know, not in so many words, that he is retiring?
After all, as reported earlier, this is Miller’s 42nd season with the Kings. He is a media honoree in the Hockey Hall of Fame, he has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and he now has two Stanley Cup rings after spending so many years worrying that he would retire, only to see the Kings win the Stanley Cup the next season.
Given those circumstances, the subject of this film, along with the timing of its release, some began to wonder…and worry.
Fear not, Kings fans.
“I didn’t go into this thinking, ‘OK, it’s going to be the film, and then, it’s my last season,’” Miller stressed. “That wasn’t my intent.”
“I’m going year-to-year with my contract, and the Kings want to know, by March 1, what I’m going to do,” Miller added. “‘Are you coming back?’ But I’ve said that this is the time to be around this team. Finally, after all these years, we’re winning, and the team has a high profile, so no, I haven’t made any decision like that.”
Miller then shared a final thought from when he saw the trailer for the film.
“They played it right before the showing of [the feature film], Dumb and Dumber To, which I thought was pretty appropriate.”
No one is ever going buy that one, Bob.
Filmmaker Charlie Minn also spoke exclusively with Frozen Royalty about the film, and about Miller. You can learn much more about the film by reading New Film Will Show Sides Of Legendary LA Kings Play-By-Play Announcer Bob Miller Few Get To See.
See Voice of the King: The Bob Miller Story FREE!
You could win four tickets to see Voice of the King: The Bob Miller Story, including a special appearance by Bob Miller! For details and to enter the contest, check out: Win Tickets To See “Voice of the King: The Bob Miller Story” With An Appearance By Miller.
Voice of the King: The Bob Miller Story – Preview
Frozen Royalty’s Bob Miller Coverage
- Bob Miller: The Los Angeles Kings’ Greatest Ambassador
- Stanley Cup Win Allays LA Kings’ Hall of Fame Announcer Bob Miller’s Greatest Fear
- Bob Miller And Nick Nickson: 2012 Playoff Expectations Started Low For LA Kings, But Quickly Skyrocketed
- Professionalism And Pain: Bob Miller, Jim Fox Forced To Be Healthy Scratches During Most Of LA Kings Playoff Run
- Stanley Cup Win Moves LA Kings Hall Of Fame Broadcaster Bob Miller Closer To Retirement
- Frozen Royalty Audio: Exclusive Interviews with Bob Miller, Jim Fox, Nick Nickson and Daryl Evans
- Bob Miller Talks About LA Kings Second Stanley Cup Win and His Future
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