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Off Main Street / The offbeat side of the news

Lockport takedown

John Murphy, voice of the Bills, and John Beilein, coach of the University of Michigan men’s basketball team, have more in common than a first name.

Both share roots in Lockport and have known each other for decades. Beilein, who coached at Erie Community College and Canisius College before eventually moving to the Big 10, played basketball at DeSales High in Lockport with Murphy’s older brother, Mark, and occasionally slept at the Murphy house after practice.

In other words, they’re close enough to bust each other’s chops once in a while.

Murphy did not miss his chance last weekend, when he got a hold of some audio of Beilein’s visit to the broadcast booth during Michigan’s football game against Oregon State. The announcers, Jim Brandstatter and Dan Dierdorf, invited the hoops coach to try his hand calling one play, and Beilein obliged.

Murphy’s critique was quick and merciless and very public on Twitter: “Don’t quit your day job.”

Get hyped

Bills fans were fired up after that season-opening win over the Colts. No surprise, they’re primed for the Patriots game on Sunday.

National radio talk show host Jim Rome, whose three-hour program is heard on more than 200 stations in the United States and Canada, has some advice: Pump the brakes.

Rome says he has seen this pattern before: Bills fans go overboard about the team’s  exciting start, only to watch their playoff hopes fade away.

But he made this pledge over the airwaves: if the Bills defeat the Patriots to go 2-0, “I will devote the entire first hour of Monday’s show to hyping Buffalo.”

Well, so much for fans not going overboard about the next game.

Spirit of Buffalo

Recently, there were cards on the elegant Lobby Bar of the Statler advertising shots of Krupnik for $3.50.

Are they already anticipating Dyngus Day?

Not exactly. This particular stock of Krupnik is from the Fourth of July, when actress/singer and former Miss America Vanessa Williams married Jim Skrip of Depew. The couple held their reception at the Statler, and as Skrip is Polish, Krupnik was on the menu – bottles and bottles of it. 

Buffalonians know enough to savor the drink, a honey-laced spirit perfect for after-dinner sipping. But many of the wedding guests weren’t from Buffalo, so the supply of Krupnik greatly exceeded the demand. As one bartender explained: “People didn’t know what it was.”

Well, that’s good news for Buffalo, which now apparently boasts the largest stock of Krupnik outside of Poland. 

And it only gets better with age.

Come on down again

If you wondering what it takes to be called up to “come on down” as a contestant on the long-running CBS daytime game show “The Price is Right,” Jerry Trunzo of Buffalo is your man.

Not only did Trunzo make it to contestants’ row 11 years ago, he repeated the trek on a recent trip to Los Angeles.

“Only nine people get called out of 300, but I know what it takes, I guess, to get in. It’s not as random as you would think,” Trunzo said.

Everyone who gets into a taping of the show is interviewed by a producer, which is when you’ve really got to work your magic.

“When they got to me, I just go crazy and keep talking and talking and talking,” Trunzo confided.

He is prohibited from saying whether or not he had won anything until the show airs. However, 11 years ago, Trunzo made it to the showcase showdown, and then lost.

Tune in Oct. 8 to see if he reversed his fortunes. A third appearance is possible, but unlikely, as the rules of the show don’t permit him to be a contestant again for another 10 years, he said.

Off Main Street is written by Harold McNeil, with contributions by Matt Glynn and Mary Kunz. email: