50 years ago tonight, NBC kicked off an annual series of specials with the world-famous sports entertainers by premiering An Evening with the Harlem Globetrotters. According to Ultimate70s.com,
Joe Garagiola hosts the first of what will be a series of yearly specials with the famed basketball clowns. The Trotters perform many of their familiar routines, plus some new ones developed during their 43-year history. The antics of Meadowlark Lemon and Showboat Hall will benefit from TV sports techniques of slow motion and instant replay. Nipsey Russell and a 5-year-old basketball whiz named Steve Christry are guests.
I can't find video of the special, but I have this great 1971 Vitalis commercial that made it to our recent YouTube playlist devoted to our 1971 Saturday Morning bonus episode.
And here is some more footage of the guys in 1971:
And here is that great theme song to their cartoon series:
1971 was also notable for the team because it suffered one of its rare losses to the Washington Generals that year, blowing a big lead and giving up a buzzer beater in Martin, Tennessee.