A.I. Wilt Chamberlain Narrates Showtime’s New Wilt Chamberlain Documentary

Plus, Al Schmidt pops up in Donald Trump investigation, says CNN.

wilt chamberlain, the subject of a new documentary on showtime

Philadelphia native Wilt Chamberlain, the subject of a new Showtime documentary (Getty Images)

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A.I. Wilt Chamberlain Narrates Showtime’s New Wilt Chamberlain Documentary

Wilt Chamberlain died nearly 25 years ago. Yes, it really has been that long. But the Philadelphia born-and-bred basketball great (or at least his voice) has been revived thanks to A.I.

Showtime just released Goliath, a three-part Wilt Chamberlain documentary. And the narrator of said documentary is none other than Chamberlain. Sort of.

The filmmakers hired an actor to read Chamberlain’s statements he made in the press as well as excerpts from his three autobiographies. (Because when you’re as larger-than-life as Chamberlain, two autobiographies just won’t do.) Then A.I. used countless hours of recordings of Chamberlain’s actual voice to tweak the actor’s to sound just like him.

A few years back, controversy erupted after a filmmaker used similar technology to recreate Anthony Bourdain’s voice. But so far, no one has seemed to voice any major opposition to A.I. Wilt Chamberlain.

Wild Weather

Five people are now confirmed dead after flash flooding ripped through Upper Makefield Township in Bucks County on Saturday afternoon. And rescue workers continue to search for two young children caught up in the floods. Over in New Jersey, Governor Phil Murphy has declared a state of emergency due to the storm damage there.

Another Trail Derailment

Sixteen freight cars derailed in Whitemarsh Township early Monday morning. So far, no reports of any injuries or hazards to nearby residents.

Al Schmidt Pops Up in Donald Trump Investigation

According to this CNN report, former city commissioner turned Pennsylvania Secretary of State Al Schmidt has spoken with Jack Smith’s team that’s prosecuting Donald Trump. You may remember that Schmidt, a Republican, sat at the middle of a firestorm in Philadelphia after Trump claimed widespread voter fraud led to his defeat in the 2020 presidential election. For a refresher, read my 2021 interview with Schmidt, in which he talks about death threats and other consequences of being singled out by Trump.

Local Talent

If you’ve been a Philly Mag reader for a while, you probably remember the tale of Jennifer Zavala’s vegan meatballs. The chef entered her vegan meatballs into a South Philly meatball contest. And all hell broke loose when people were given the impression that her vegan meatballs defeated all the old-school meaty meatballs. Well, local filmmaker Cheryl Hess just released her documentary about the saga on Vimeo. You can watch She Got Balls! here.

By the Numbers

$1.2 billion: Funds Pennsylvania plans to spend to make reliable broadband internet service available to everybody statewide. But first the state has to figure out how to do so.

4: Home-invasion suspects a Germantown woman shot at when she found them inside her apartment over the weekend. She was reportedly standing over one of the men when police arrived. And police found another suspect nearby with a gunshot wound to his back. Police are searching for the other two suspects.

$8,000: Amount one resident claims their monthly water bill shot up to after getting an “upgraded” water meter from the Philadelphia Water Department — one of many such claims of skyrocketing water bills.

And in What-Rain? Sports News …

For the start of a four-game series, the Phils faced the Padres on Friday night with Cristopher Sanchez pitching. San Diego’s Gary Sanchez led off the third with a solo homer, and Fernando Tatis homered with one on later that inning. The Phils got one back in the fourth on back-to-back doubles by Bryson Stott and Alec Bohm, but a Manny Machado homer in the sixth and a crappy outing by reliever Jeff Hoffman in the seventh made it 6-1 and brought in Dylan Covey.

A double and a homer for Juan Soto for the Padres in the ninth took it to 8-1, and despite a brief flurry in the ninth that included a solo homer by J.T. Realmuto, it was too little, too late. Final: 8-3 Padres.

There was better Phils news on Saturday, even though the Padres took a 3-0 lead in the second inning on a Trent Grisham homer — for instance, a stunning defensive play by just-called-up Johan Rojas. Bohm doubled home two runs in the sixth, and Kyle Schwarber hit a solo homer in the bottom half to even things up, but a Manny Machedo homer put the Padres up again by one. In the eighth, Stott reached first on an error, and a bunch of singles, by Marsh, Harper, Schwarber and Turner, put the Phils up 6-4, which is right where it stayed at the end. Oh, there was this.

Taijuan Walker started the second game in the doubleheader for the Phils and walked the first batter, who scored after a Garrett Stubbs error at catcher. Walker eventually walked another batter and hit one before working himself out of further woe. Harper hit a solo homer — his first since May 25th! — to start off the fourth and evened it up.

The Padres picked up another in the fifth, but a Schwarber homer with two men on put the Phils on top, 4-2. Andrew Bellatti replaced Walker for the sixth and got three straight outs. Stott singled to lead off the bottom of that inning against Adrian Morejon, and so did Sosa, for a hit in his 11th straight game. A gorgeous bunt single by Rojas brought Stott home for a 5-2 lead. Two Padres collided on a Schwarbs pop-up to make the Phils feel better about the last game’s ending, but unfortunately, their shortstop hung onto the ball.

Castellanos splintered a bat grounding out in the seventh, Harper walked, and Stott singled to load the bases. Sosa at bat! And reliever Brent Honeywell nailed him on the hand to send a run in. Stubbs walked for yet another, and an outfielder dropped a Rojas fly that got scored a single — man, what a lucky start for him! Luis Garcia replaced Honeywell and got the final two outs.

Thomson brought Luis Ortiz in for Vasquez in the eighth and gave up a one-out walk, and Juan Soto brought the runner in with a double that Rojas just missed in center field: 9-3. Gregory Soto, in for the Phils for the ninth, hit the first batter, got a fly out, handed a single to Austin Nola, got a fly out, loosed a wild pitch past Stubbs that scored a run, and got a fly ball to close it. Final: 9-4. Man, you gotta believe!

The final game in the series was a Sunday thriller that started almost three hours late because of rain. The Padres’ Ha-Seong Kim got it going fast, though, with a first-inning homer off starter Zack Wheeler. Xander Bogaerts smacked another in the fourth, and two doubles in the fifth made it 3-0. Stott hit a solo of his own in our half. Another by Schwarber and a single and two doubles gave the Phils the 4-3 lead. That knocked out starter Seth Lugo, and in came Tom Cosgrove, who gave up another run.

Gregory Soto came in for Wheeler in the seventh, and San Diego tied it up at 5-5 in the eighth. That’s right where it stayed till the top of the 10th, when the Padres went ahead by one. The Phils got it back in their half, though, then went up 7-6 in the bottom of the 12th on a Schwarber one-out sac fly that brought start-on-second Edmundo Sosa home for the exhausting, and exhausted, win.

And in Doop News …

Andre Blake was back in goal for the Union home game vs. New York City FC on Saturday night, having returned from his CONCACAF Gold Cup journeys with Jamaica’s national team. He had a nice stop on a header in the 19th minute, and José Martinez nailed a cross from Quinn Sullivan for a goal in the 24th minute. NYC had a great chance in the 56th minute but couldn’t convert. They had a couple more flurries, but Chris Sullivan scored his first-ever MLS goal on a rush in the 80th minute, sliding right between the goalie and a defender: 2-0! (He’s a Drexel product, too!) The goalpost barely saved a mess in front of Blake in the 84th, but one got through a minute later. And that’s where it closed out, for the U’s fifth straight win against NYC. Doop!

All Philly Today sports coverage is provided by Sandy Hingston.