Last week, we announced the death of Bill Marcroft. Media and Sports personalities continue to lend tributes to the “ Voice of the Utes.” Bill also was a pioneer in early live TV from the 1950s. The storyteller used to tell our Craig Wirth about those days and shared some rare films.
Most will remember Bill as the sportscaster with the infectious laugh. However he started out as an announcer who had but one task to do each half-hour—that was to open a microphone and say “this is KUTV, Channel Two, Salt Lake City.” Bill says in-between times he would do wood carving and got pretty good at that hobby.
He then added the task of doing live commercials, often for cars that were driven into the studio on Social Hall Ave. He got his first break when Kimbo the Clown wanted more money for his kids show. KUTV wouldn’t agree, and so Kimbo went elsewhere. The station asked Bill to be “Captain Jet.” That is because they knew Bill still had his flight suit from his days in the Air Force. So Bill had a show. He continued to do commercials but also added being a weatherman to his duties.
While he was a good storyteller, he was also an excellent journalist. He was called upon to cover one of the most horrific events in Utah news, the fatal crash of a United Airlines jet at the Salt Lake airport in 1965.
His sports broadcasts started with his doing high school basketball games, as TV required a person to announce about everything. That started a passion that led to doing the University of Utah games in 1969. He would continue until his retirement well into his 70s.