A beautifully told story with colorful characters out of epic tradition, a tight and complex plot, and solid pacing. -- Booklist, starred review of On the Razor's Edge

Great writing, vivid scenarios, and thoughtful commentary ... the stories will linger after the last page is turned. -- Publisher's Weekly, on Captive Dreams

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Pleased at the Movies: 42

TOF and the Incomparable Marge went to the movies today and saw 42.  No, not forty-two movies, a movie about Jackie Robinson, No. 42 for the Brooklyn Dodgers.  Although a black man had played pro ball for the old Toledo Blue Stockings back in the early days of base ball, Robinson was the first in the modern era of Major League baseball.  His spirit and valor cannot be underestimated.

As TOF understands the story, the movie seems to have gotten it pretty much correct. Durocher's lecture; Chapman's vile hazing.  Bragan's change of heart.  Pee Wee Reese's magnificent gesture in Cincinnati.  The two major exceptions were that Dixie Walker, who had circulated a petition against playing with Robinson, actually grew to respect him, which the movie does not show.  The other is that Durocher's 1947 suspension was due to his association with gamblers, not due to a Catholic Youth Organization boycott threat over his adultery. 

TOF grew up as a Brooklyn Dodger fan, favoring Duke Snider, who rookied the same year as Robinson, though less memorably.  By then, much of the 1947 team was gone - Reiser, Branca, Walker, et al. - cut Reese, Furillo, and Hodges were still in place.  Robinson by then was playing 3rd base instead of 1st.  It never occurred to TOF that there was anything strange about black men playing baseball.  In fact, TOF was a Pennsylvania boy and never saw or heard any of that Jim Crow crap until in college when he met a student from Baltimore.  The Incomparable Marge, however, grew up in Tulsa and 'whites only' water fountains and the like were the rule.  She once as a child tried to drink from a 'coloreds only' fountain and could not understand why she was prevented.  She was thirsty. 

TOF gives the movie three approving nods of his head.  (The nod is my new rating system.)


  1. How about the 1950 classic starring Jackie Robinson himself?

  2. My mom grew up nearby in Reading, PA and loved to sit in the back seats of the buses with her friends. And was mighty disappointed when she went down to Biloxi, MS in the mid-fifties and learned she wasn't allowed to.


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