Pat Summerall's 'Murder, She Wrote' Bit Was So Good

Kyle Koster
Tommaso Boddi/GettyImages

Angela Lansbury, a star of screen and on Broadway, has died at the age of 96. She had a long and illustrious career, but will be best remembered for portrayal of Jessica Fletcher, the intrepid mystery writer in Murder, She Wrote — which aired on CBS for 12 seasons in a primetime Sunday slot. This meant it was a part of countless promos during NFL football, many of them voiced by Pat Summerall, who led the network's coverage during the height of Murder.

Summerall had a very distinct way of teasing the show, apparent to viewers who couldn't help but notice the long pause he'd take after the comma. Years later, John Madden would reveal that he and his broadcasting partner would bet on how long the silence could last. It was a silly thing they did to entertain only themselves but as a kid watching at home, I remember looking forward to the bit. And then grappling with the realization that it was about to do the homework neglected until that point.

Here's Madden reflecting on the experience back in 2013, and the time Gone With the Wind provided an even bigger punchline as the Sunday Night Movie.

That's right. They used to put old movies on network television on the weekend and it was a major event. Things used to be different.

One wonders how many football fans never saw an episode of Murder, She Wrote yet felt some connection to it. I know if at least one.