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  theBLMC     
   The LIU Brooklyn Library Media Center Newsletter 
   We love movies, among
other things.

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. 

 

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"Watch me paste this pathetic palooka with a powerful paralyzing perfect pachydermus percussion pitch."
-- Bugs Bunny,
Baseball Bugs (1946).


Baseball, Of Course
It's opening day as I write this, so the summer game is on my mind.  Baseball and movies go together like baseball and literature, which is to say, a lot, for some reason.  I've already weighed in on
the best baseball movie ever, so I won't repeat myself, and you already know about Ken Burns' epic love letter to the game, but I have found a couple tidy little gems of baseball and comedy that I believe are much greater than the sum of their durations.  And by the most charming of coincidences, they both date to 1946. That was the first year after the war, and baseball's rosters once again featured players like American League MVP Ted Williams, who served as a pilot in the Marine Air Corps.  It was also the year that Jackie Robinson played for the Montreal Royals in the Brooklyn Dodger farm system.  And Stan the Man Musial's Cardinals beat Teddy Ballgame's Red Sox in a seven-game World Series.

"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!
Just inside the third floor entrance of the Library, there is a display case filled with 52 simple line drawings that represent films, documentaries, and TV shows in the Library Media Center collections.  How many can you correctly identify?  Grab a form and fill it out as completely as you can.  Some are easy, some are harder. Feel free to ask for help or do research (donít forget to use LIUCAT).  The first student to name all the titles correctly will win $100!  You can work alone or in teams (although youíll have to split the prize if you win).

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)


The LIU Brooklyn Library Media Center
Rachel King, Media Librarian  (718) 488-1311 Rachel.King@liu.edu
Patrick Jewell,  Media Staff  (718) 488-3392
 Patrick.Jewell@liu.edu
Lisa Rivera,  Media Staff  (718) 780-4378  Lisa.Cotton@liu.edu

The LIU Brooklyn Library Media Center is located on the fifth floor of the LLC. 
Come up and see us some time.