Reel Baseball

Reel Baseball

Coming soon from Kino Video is a real labour of love – Reel Baseball, a compilation of baseball films from the silent era. The 2-DVD set (Region 1) features mostly fiction films of baseball from 1896 to 1926. The set includes two features: The Busher (1919), featuring Charles Ray, Colleen Moore, and John Gilbert; and Headin’ Home (1920), starring baseball’s greatest, Babe Ruth. The eleven shorts include Casey at the Bat or The Fate of a “Rotten” Umpire (1899), How the Office Boy Saw the Ball Game (1906), John Bunny in Hearts and Diamonds (1914), a Felix the Cat cartoon, Felix Saves the Day (1922), and a 1922 Phonofilm sound short of the evergreen poem Casey at the Bat, recited by DeWolf Hopper. The DVD is released on 3 April, and promises to be a real gem (but what a shame all they had room for on the actuality side of things was a single minute-long Kinograms newsreel of Babe Ruth).

6 responses

  1. Luke: Thank you for the tip. I agree that is sad that they went light on actualities, but it is hard to beat a program that includes John Bunny and Felix the Cat.

    Joe Thompson ;0)

  2. It’s a terrific line-up, and I know that Kino are really pleased at having put it together, but I have a nagging feeling of an opportunity lost. I’ve put together programmes of silent sports films (football, tennis, horse racing, boxing, Olympic Games), and I’ve always tried to mix factual with fictional – it just makes for a richer presentation. Of course there is silent newsreel footage of baseball available on DVD e.g. in Ken Burns’ BASEBALL, but I’d still like to see the two forms come together. After all, that’s what Babe Ruth did with his career on film.


  3. I appreciate the feedback but I did not WANT any actualities. It is pretty common to
    see baseball newseel type footage, but not much fiction out there. My interest was in
    how the game was portrayed. I was lucky enough to convince Kino ( where I work anyway)
    to let me do 4 1/2 hours of footage. The newsreel type baseball footage is pretty common
    in my view. this stuff is not.
    Well anyway hope everyone buys it so the office does not kill me

    Jessica Rosner
    Producer of the DVD and die hard Cub fan

  4. Jessica: Thank you for taking the time and trouble to put this together. I can see your point about avoiding newsreels, which do pop up all the time on documentaries. I’m looking forward to getting the dvd. The whole family is looking forward to it, especially Felix.

    My sympathies about the Cubs. I’m a Giants fan.

    Joe Thompson ;0)

  5. OK, fair point Jessica. This is rare and precious stuff which has not had the airing on DVD that actuality silent film of baseball has enjoyed, and on that count alone it makes perfect sense. I hope it does really well for you, and I’ll certainly be buying a copy myself.

    Luke McKernan
    Sports film fan and die hard Kent CCC follower (which isn’t so far away from baseball)

  6. Luke you may one of the very few folks outside the US who buys one. Serge Bromberg
    could not have been nicer letting me use some shorts from Lobster but let’s just say
    baseball is not his cup of tea.

    Joe you should especially like ONE TOUCH OF NATURE ( well the 18 excerpt we got)
    It has fantatistic footage of the old Polo Grounds and is really the most team specific
    of the films ( HEADIN’ HOME was produced by the Yankees and has some good footage
    but not as much).
    I confess FELIX SAVES THE DAY is not that rare and out on some Felix compilations
    The early western HIS LAST GAME is perhaps my favorite. It is just so wonderfully
    strange with more plot in 12 minutes than GONE WITH THE WIND

    One important thing. It will be up for order on the Kino web site by 3/6 or before
    and it will have the usual 30% discount.


%d bloggers like this: