April 2012, issue 63
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This issue of BLMC is brought to you all the way from the back row by Media Assistant and itinerant Mud Hen Patrick Jewell. Tell your friends.
paste this pathetic palooka with a powerful paralyzing perfect pachydermus
Baseball, Of Course
"Bugs Bunny changeup" is a phrase still used by major leaguers today to describe a pitch that badly fools a hitter with its change up of speed. And yes, it comes from the classic Warner Brothers Looney Tunes short, Baseball Bugs. Bugs uses it to strike out the side with one pitch. He takes on the bullying Gashouse Gorillas (a swipe at St. Louis' Gashouse Gang?) all by himself at NYC's own Polo Grounds, and this is one of the wildest shorts to come from director Friz Freleng--it is the very definition of 'frenetically paced.' Written by Michael Maltese, it piles sightgags and wordplay on top of each other with abandon, having all kinds of fun with the cliches and conventions of the game. It's lunacy is more in tune with the spirit of the game than all the solemn sanctimony of Pride of the Yankees or Field of Dreams.
The other little baseball gem we recommend this month is from the 4-DVD set called Treasures from American Film Archives, and it's an 8-minute, wordless short on the second disc called, simply, Negro Leagues Baseball. The name is misleading. It is not really about the Negro Leagues in any broad sense but instead focuses on one player in one game. Set to a swinging blues score, this short trains its eye entirely on the performance of Reece "Goose" Tatum of the Indianapolis Clowns. Many years later, Tatum would be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame because of time with the Harlem Globetrotters, and he lent the same kind of loose but precise physical comedy to baseball. We see him taking part in a wild game of pepper with two teammates, and their sleight of hand definitely reminds of the Globetrotters. We also see him playing first base, warming up his fellow infielders with casual looseness -- he reminds me of Satchel Page's advice to keep your body 'jangly' to keep the juices flowing -- his arm like a rubber band. He kneels before an at bat to pray for a hit (Tebowing antecedent?), then uncoils a ferocious swing and lopes into a wide turn at first before diving back and literally embracing the bag in his arms. It's eight minutes of baseball joy, and what's better than that? (If you want a more sober look at the Negro Leagues, try the documentary Only the Ball was White.)
Just a Few Weeks Left
to Win $100 in the BLMC Challenge!
Turn in your form to the Media Center on the fifth floor of the library (you MUST come to the Media Center to enter the challenge).
If no one has named all the titles by May 1st, the prize will go to the entry that has the most correct answers. In the event of a tie, there will be a tiebreaking set of additional drawings. Students only. Winner will be announced May 1st! Good luck!
"Gracious! I don't know what could have come over me! Ball one!" --Home Plate Umpire, Baseball Bugs (1946)
LIU Brooklyn Library Media Center
LIU Brooklyn Library Media Center is located on the fifth floor of the