The Almost Flawless 1948 Babe Ruth Movie

Babe Ruth
Gone But Never Forgotten
Forever the Hero

 

The Almost Flawless 1948 Babe Ruth Movie …. as seen by the 6-to-10 year old tribe of Pecan Park Eagles upon its release for viewing at the Avalon Theatre on 75th near Lawndale during the Summer of 1948:

  1. Babe had to grow up in a Boy’s Home because his mom died and his father couldn’t handle him. Poor Babe. It could have happened to any of us.
  2. At St. Mary’s, Babe grew up to become an incredible baseball player under the watchful eye of Brother Mathias, the priest who ran the place.
  3. When Baltimore Orioles Manager Jack Dunn came to St. Mary’s to sign Babe Ruth, Babe was only 19, but he looked to be about 35, as portrayed by actor William Bendix.
  4. While Dunn was waiting inside the place with Brother Mathias to meet Babe, a hard tossed ball came crashing through a glass window, breaking only a hole that was only slightly larger than the baseball that had made it. Once the talking was done, and his new contract signed, Brother Mathias invited Babe to take the ball back outside. Babe picked it up and, from a distance of about 60 feet, 6 inches, he threw it back outside through the hole from which it had first come – without nicking off any new glass damage in the process.
  5. After that memorable early scene, the movie just continued to unfold as one more incredible Ruth story unfolding upon another.
  6. In the movie, Babe Ruth turned out to be just the hero we thought he was. He was kind to ladies and he loved kids. He did things on the field that no other player could do – things like predicting his next home run and then doing it – after taking two strikes before he ever even swung the bat that crashed the homer.
  7. Babe cared more about taking care of a little dog named Pee Wee, whom he had injured with a foul ball in batting practice, than he did about getting back to the ballpark from the real hospital where he found a real doctor to treat the little shaggy canine in time to play his game.
  8. The doctor that treated the little dog for his foul ball injuries would turn up late in the movie as the same doctor who would treat Babe Ruth for cancer.
  9. Also late in the movie, Babe awakens from a dismal short 1935 season with the Boston Braves, finally leaving the game in a burst of glory by hitting three homers in Pittsburgh – and then turning over his job to a rookie who had been taunting him as a has-been – until this magic retirement moment comes along.
  10. After hitting three monster home runs at Forbes Field, the Babe almost stumbles on his way to first with a late inning single that we are led to believe is the last hit of his career. This turns out to be the moment in which the Babe calls over the rude rookie to run for him and take over his job.
  11. In the wake of Babe’s heroic Forbes Field exit performance, the rookie is awed by both the hero’s incredible ability and his unimaginable generosity.
  12. “Take care of baseball, kid,” the Babe says to his rookie replacement runner at first. “Take care of baseball. – And baseball will take care of you.”
  13. When someone suggested to the Babe that he should sue baseball for not making the Braves keep their promise to make him their next manager, Babe waved his head in a way that was as clearly rejecting of that idea as his words that followed. “Sue baseball?” asked the Babe. “Why, I couldn’t do that. – That would be like suing the Church!”
  14. The movie ends, of course, on a sad heroic note. The Babe is laying in his hospital bed, dying of cancer, but he is about to be carted down the hall for treatment by an experimental drug that could save him and help others to be saved from the same terrible illness. A small chorus of sandlotters stands outside the open window of Babe’s first floor, street-side room – and they are singing a low and mellow version of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” The singing continues as Babe is bed is rolled from the room by orderlies and pushed down the hall for his daring adventure into treatment.
  15. “Goodbye, Babe, but take this thought with you too: No matter what happens next, we shall love you forever!”
  16. As Babe’s hospital gurney disappears down the hospital hall, the final movie scene shifts seamlessly to kids playing sandlot baseball in street clothes on an improvised field, somewhere out here in the heart of America. And a powerful orchestra and accompanying angel chorus has picked up on a rousing, building conclusion to “Take Me Out to the Ballgame’ as kids throw, hit, run, and slide home on the field.
  17. The closing announcer affirms that, even though Ruth is now gone, the game will go on, as long as there’s a kid with a bat …. a ball …. and a glove …. to carry on!”
  18. When the movie ended, there was a nanosecond gap of silence that seemed to hang in the air for ten minutes or more. Then we all broke into shouts of support for Babe Ruth.

As kids of 1948, were we buying any of this? – Of course, we were. At least our little Pecan Park Eagle group and our fellow denizens of the Avalon Theatre were. And every bit of it. Our heroes were bigger than life – or the actual truth. We needed them to be. And Babe Ruth was the biggest hero of them all.

____________________


Bill McCurdy

Publisher, Editor, Writer

The Pecan Park Eagle

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One Response to “The Almost Flawless 1948 Babe Ruth Movie”

  1. roy bonario Says:

    I WAS 14 WHEN I SAW THIS MOVIE AT THE DON GORDON THEATER ON CANAL STREET. I BELIEVED EVRY BIT OF IT AND AS THE NEWSPAPER MAN
    SAID IN THE MOVIE “THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE” STARRING ANOTHER ICON, JOHN WAYNE, “WHEN THE LEGEND BECOMES TRUTH, PRINT THE LEGEND”

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