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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) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: baseball in movies

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