Up Close And Personal: Muhammad Ali with Harold Bell
Harold K. Bell is a pioneer who embarked upon sports talk radio – a relatively new medium for black broadcasters in the 1970s. Bell’s first five (5) minutes of radio stardom was at the helm of two-time Emmy award winner, Petey Greene in 1967. In 1971, Bell founded the original “Inside Sports.” The radio show would air, first, on WOOK-AM. Its span included WYCB-AM, WUST-AM, WPFW FM and WKYS-FM. In 1975, Bell became the first Afro-American to host and produce a television sports prime time special on WRC-TV 4, an NBC affiliate in DC. His special guest was The Greatest, Muhammad Ali. Bell has the copyrights to an interview collection that reads like a “Who’s Who” in sports.
Bell’s commentaries spotlight the trials and tribulations of the black athlete and have become a trilogy of classic proportions. Prior to Bell’s introduction, media roundtables and message music were unheard of in sports talk formats. He challenged athletes for hard truths regardless of their stature. Muhammad Ali, Red Auerbach, Don King, Jim Brown or his partner in crime, the late boxing historian Bert Randolph Sugar.
In 2007, Bell was referred to as “a little known Black History fact” by syndicated talk show host, Tom Joyner. Sportswriters, Jim Beathea and Dick Heller of the Washington Star; Donald Huff, of the Washington Post; Dave McKenna of the City Paper; in addition, radio and television critic, William Taaffe of Sports Illustrated Magazine have all cited Bell for his pioneering contributions to sports talk radio and television. Heller called Bell “The Godfather” of sports talk in Washington, DC. Earl Lloyd, the first black to play in the NBA, was a guest on ESPN 980 radio with former Georgetown Coach, John Thompson. He was quoted as saying, “Harold Bell may be controversial, but I have yet to hear anyone call him a liar.”
Harold has actively advocated for the rights of children in DC, Maryland and Virginia. In 1965 after spending two years chasing his NFL dreams without any success he returned home to Washington, DC. The United Planning Organization (UPO) hired three Neighborhood Workers for its self-held program, Petey Greene, H. Rap Brown and Harold Bell. The three would each leave their mark on the black community.
In 1980, Washingtonian Magazine named Bell “Washingtonian of the Year” for being a one-man community action program. His wife, Hattie, is the daughter of the late Dr. Charles H. Thomas, Jr., a modern day civil rights leader of the pre-Martin Luther King epoch of the early 50’s. He founded and started Voter Registration in the state of South Carolina. He was inducted into the Black South Carolina Hall of Fame in 2006.
In 1968, Harold and his wife Hattie founded the non-profit organization Kids In Trouble, Inc. They have been honored at the White House by President Richard M. Nixon, cited in the Congressional Record by Lou Stokes (D-Ohio), Senator Bob Dole (R-Kan.) and Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) for their work with at-risk children. Today, Harold K. Bell is a contributor on the Maggie Linton Show, heard on Sirius XM Radio-Channel 110 and the DC Historian for the world famous Ben’s Chili Bowl restaurant.
“We consider Harold’s pioneering contributions prominent. His legendary interviews are the portrait of history Harold interprets in real time. He not only talks the talk, but he also walks the walk.” – Kamal Ben Ali, CEO and Owner, Ben’s Chili Bowl, For additional content, visit http://bmia.wordpress/harold-bell and http://www.theoriginalinsidesports.com.
For requests to interview Harold Bell, contact Salim Edwards at 202 427-9247.
- “Black Men In America” – is a popular online magazine which examines the truth, the tragedy and the triumph of ordinary black men, living extraordinary lives in America (www.blackmeninamerica.com).
- Brian McIntyre – (http://www.nba.com) – Senior Communications Advisory to NBA Commissioner David Stern.
- The Tom Joyner Morning Show – (http://www.tjms.com) is heard in 132 markets across America.
- The Maggie Linton Show features positive lessons and successful stories to inspire listeners within their own journeys; heard on Sirius XM Urban View channel110.
About the Ali/Harold Bell Project
October 30, 2014 is the 40th Anniversary of one the most profound fights in boxing history – Muhammad Ali vs. George Foreman in Kinshasa, Zaire. The fight was called the “Rumble in the Jungle,” On October 30, 1974, Muhammad Ali did the unthinkable and against all odds when he defeated Big George Foreman. However, what took place days following that great fight is just as historic and it’s a story that has never been told — until now.
In early November 1974 a sports talk show host by the name of Harold K. Bell and his camera crew, (Rodney Brown and Wilfred Williams) were able to get an exclusive one-on-one interview with Muhammad Ali. This event was just as historic as the fight, as Bell was the first person from the media granted access to Ali immediately after the fight.
Bell and his team scooped legendary television sportscaster Howard Cosell, 60 Minutes and the entire sports media world. The champ didn’t just focus on the fight and his historic win, but he talked about the most important game being played in the Black Community–THE GAME CALLED LIFE! Ali, who sustained a black eye in the fight, was candid, uncensored and “uncut” in his conversation giving Harold Bell full access to all of the facets that make up Muhammad Ali.
About the Documentary Interview
40 years ago, fresh from his victory over George Foreman, Muhammad Ali sat in a New York City hotel room for an exclusive interview with his good friend Harold Bell, an independent radio sports talk show host with no connection to any major newspapers, radio or television networks. In this historic one-on-one interview Ali discusses the differences between a boxer and fighter, his boxing career and shares his perspective on women, children, violence in the black community, friendship and more.
Ali tried to get Bell to attend the fight so they could conduct the interview over there. But Bell was reluctant to flying over the ocean and was skeptical about the level of security in a jungle setting—a decision he now regrets. Despite refusing the invitation Ali promised Bell an interview once he returned to the states.
A man of his word, Ali called Bell shortly after arriving in New York City. The next morning Bell along with his camera crew arrived in the wee hours of the morning to tape the interview. Emmy award winner and legendary Actor/Producer Robert Hooks interviews Harold Bell, Roy Foreman, the younger brother of George Foreman and Wilfred Williams, one of the original cameramen who filmed the interview. Hooks, a native Washingtonian and a longtime friend of Bell, is best known for his television roles in N.Y.P.D and in major motion pictures such as Sounder, Hurry Sundown, Troubled Man, 1972 and Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. The interview ends with a poem titled “THANK YOU MUHAMMAD ALI” written and performed by renowned spoken-word artist Ty Gray-El.
Goals and Objectives
One of our objectives is to generate enough media and attention through this documentary to be picked up by a major television or cable network in the United States. A secondary goal is to tell the untold story of a Black American radio sports talk show host Harold K. Bell. Together, Ali and Bell are two who went often found themselves at odds with societal norms and yet comfortable with themselves because they were always guided by “the truth.” Two men, who exercised courage and acted on what they believed to be true. Perhaps, that was part of the formula that led them to be icons and pioneers in their field. The narration of the documentary was recorded on October 4, 2014 at Tony Bell’s Gym in Washington, D.C.
Top KICK-STARTER sponsors will be given signed autographed copies of the film, “Up Close and Personal: Muhammad Ali with Harold Bell.” There will also be access to VIP screenings to donors and sponsors of this project. Once successfully funded, the money will be used for final editing and production costs, including camera and lighting equipment and distribution costs as determined by the Don Baker Digital Group. Once we exceed our goal we will reach out to marquee boxers, athletes and sports commentators who have shown an interest in this project to add their perspectives in the film. If you would like to contact the filmmakers regarding production, investment opportunities or other related endeavors, e-mail Harold Bell at email@example.com. You can learn more about Harold Bell by visiting and subscribing to his YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsjirjSZBSyzaq7M6jIpWcw and witness Bell’s interviews with some of the greatest athletes of the past century.