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Wednesday, August 24, 2022

John Thorn: Early Baseball Film

The Ball Game (1898, Edison), which runs for approximately 35–40 seconds, depicts author Zane Grey, not yet famous but at that time an outfielder with Newark, running to first base (!). The film was shown mostly in kinetoscope peep shows, not projected. It has survived all these years because it was deposited for copyright with the Library of Congress as a paper print rather than as flammable nitrate stock, as was the requirement before 1912. See it here: https://www.loc.gov/item/00563587/.

The 50-foot-long Casey at the Bat (1899, Edison) was shot on the lawn of Thomas Edison’s estate in West Orange, New Jersey — Hollywood was a distant dream — and opens with a batter swinging wildly at a pitch and striking out. View at: https://www.loc.gov/item/2020600004/.

Next in line are two films featuring the star lefthanded pitcher of the Philadelphia Athletics: Rube Waddell and the Champions Playing Ball with the Boston Team (1902) and Game of Base Ball (1903). Both nitrate films were produced by the Lubin production company but were destroyed in a fire in 1914. (If only Lubin had thought to register paper prints!)

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 24, 2022 at 12:15 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: baseball in movies

Tuesday, July 05, 2022

How Kevin Costner Helped ‘Bull Durham’ Find Studio Backing at the 11th Hour

In the meantime, Harris called to say that Kevin really liked the script and wanted to meet. Almost immediately we were having lunch at a small place on Melrose called the Studio Grill. We hit it off and then he said one of the most remarkable things I’ve ever heard from an actor:

COSTNER: I like the script. I want to audition for you.

SHELTON: If you want the part, you got it already.

COSTER: No, I want you to see if I can play baseball well enough.

SHELTON: I said the part is yours.

COSTNER: You played professionally, I played in high school. I gotta pass the test.

He then ordered a couple of vodkas for both of us. Lover of spirits though I am, I never imbibe at lunch because I fall asleep; plus I don’t care for vodka. But we downed the drinks and headed to a batting cage on Van Nuys Boulevard in the Valley, a few acres of miniature golf courses, noisy arcades, and a batting cage where you could pick the speed of the machine and test your skills for a quarter. I brought a pocketful of quarters, but first we played catch in the parking lot. One catch and one throw is all it takes to know if someone can play, and clearly he could. Each of us, it seemed, kept a glove and ball in the trunks of our cars for reasons neither of us questioned, though I don’t remember using mine before or since. While we played catch, people walked past Kevin, not knowing who he was. That was about to change.

In the cage, he had a beautiful right-handed stance and then offered that he could switch-hit and flipped to the other side and had the same form left-handed. I thought immediately that wherever the sun was, he could be lit beautifully. It also occurred to me that if Crash Davis was a switch-hitting catcher, he surely would have had a longer run in the Show than 21 days, but that was just me. Kevin was an athlete, and as we left the batting cage, I told him I was going to call the producer and figure out how to move forward.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 05, 2022 at 12:27 AM | 38 comment(s)
  Beats: baseball in movies

 

 

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