1950s1960sChicago BearsFootballNFLNFL FilmsSteve Sabol

NFL – Chicago Bears – RB Willie Galimore – Willie The Wisp


The NFL holds a special place in my heart….cuz it conjures up memories of getting prepared for NFL Sundays….that’s right, Sunday and the NFL….cuz there was always been a feeling of excitement in the air as I would wake-up on Sunday morning…..for there would always be wonderful smells coming from the kitchen that just permeated the house…..carne guisada or picadillo (meat in spicy gravy)…chile and beans…..chile and hotdogs (we’re talking homemade chile here)….as if it isn’t obvious to you by now….this lil ole Chiweenie (1/2 weenie dog & 1/2 chihuahua) just loves anything that starts off with sauteed garlic, onions and chiles and then adds meat and spices….but regardless of what Bone Daddy was cooking and preparing for the day….two things  were in play….one, it was going to be good….and two, there was going to be a bunch of that which was prepared of whatever was going to be providing sustenance throughout the entire line-up of televised NFL football games for each Sunday of the season…..typically having an early afternoon game, a late afternoon game and a prime-time game at night…..so, when you factor in the pregame shows…..Bone Daddy and I were “glued to the tube” from 10am to 10pm….with plenty of good vittles to be loaded on a plate during any halftime…..which for these two Sportsphiles made a dang-near perfect day.

I said all of that to say this….NFL Sundays bring back great memories….even of those that I wasn’t present at….like on NFL Sundays during the late 1950’s around the family house in Midland, TX…..cuz the tradition of NFL Sundays around the TV that Bone Daddy and I share together every NFL season really started back in 1956….that’s when CBS began to televise selected NFL regular season games….and by 1959, big-market teams such as the Chicago Bears and New York Giants had all their games televised….but small-market ones like the Packers and 49’ers still did not. Upon becoming NFL commissioner, Pete Rozelle worked to ensure that every team got all its games on TV.

Anyway, while sitting with Bone Daddy on past NFL Sundays…..I have heard many stories of the early days of televised NFL games of the week….as observed by Pops (BD’s Dad) and Los Tres Hermanos (the 3 brothers….lil W, Bone Daddy and Runt)…..as the family would hurry home immediately after attending church….take off their “Sunday go meeting church clothes”….and get into something comfortable to spend the afternoon with Pops and the boys as they would gather around the black and white TV with “rabbit ears” antenna…. always having to move those rabbit ears around in all directions until the NFL game of the week came into focus….so, by the time the 1963 NFL season had rolled around….it became obvious that Chicago Bears running back, Willie “The Wisp” Galimore…..had become a family favorite throughout the family household….which simply translated to many wonderful stories from those NFL Sunday’s spent with his family when Bone Daddy was young….stories that I got to hear from a budding Sportsphile about this incredible running back for Da Bears known as Willie the Wisp.

Galimore possessed incredible speed and lateral movement….as many of the opposing players of the time stated that they believed Galimore could run side-to-side down the field just as fast as most men could in a straight line.  In this short NFL Films special look at Galimore seen herewith….it notes that he was probably the last great find before NFL scouting became sophisticated….as Bears assistant coach Phil Handler, while scouting for talent in Florida, received a tip about Galimore’s prowess as a halfback….and the Bears subsequently drafted him in the 5th round of the 1956 NFL draft…..for peers like Chuck Bednarik and Doug Atkins referred to Galimore as one of the best runners they ever faced.  Galimore was killed in an automobile accident on July 27, 1964 in Rensselaer, Indiana at the age of 29 with teammate Bo Farrington. His number 28 has been retired by the Bears.  

In truth, there is really no telling just how great Willie the Wisp was….simply because we did not get to his the latter have of his career due to his early death….but it is fair to say the in Bone Daddy’s mind…..Willie Galimore holds a special place in the original Sportsphile’s memories of NFL Sundays spent watching The Wisp spin his magic in the early days to televised NFL football on Sunday afternoons…..which makes this video well worth watching….along with our thanks to Steve Sabol and NFL Films for all their incredible production pieces on the NFL and their heroes.

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