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The Jackie Robinson Story

(1950 b 76')

En: 5 Ed: 6

This is the true story of the first season of the first African-American to play baseball in the major leagues.

         In 1928 a colored boy is given an old baseball glove. In 1937 Jackie Robinson (himself) is at Pasadena Junior College, and he breaks his brother Mack’s national record by broad-jumping over 25 feet.

         Jackie gets a scholarship to UCLA and plays football. Rae (Ruby Dee) learns he was an All-American honorable mention. Jackie wants a job so he can get married. He plays basketball for UCLA, and he and Mack Robinson (Joel Fluellen) read the rejection letters for coaching jobs. Jackie is drafted and makes lieutenant before the war ends.

         Jackie plays baseball for the Panthers. The colored team sleeps on the bus and sends Jackie in to buy food. A scout for the Brooklyn Dodgers tells Jackie to meet him, but the other players make fun of it. The scout takes Jackie on a train to meet Branch Rickey (Minor Watson) in his office. Rickey tells him that he will play for Montreal. He asks Jackie if he has the courage not to fight back. Rickey gives him a contract and has him call his mother (Louise Beavers). She advises him to go to a church, and Jackie talks with a minister.

         Jackie goes to see Rae, and they get married before spring training. They arrive at Vero Beach, and a Negro lawyer welcomes them. Sports writers question Jackie, and the manager Clay Hopper (Richard Lane) tells him to get on the field. Rickey watches Jackie in an intra-squad game. An exposition game in Florida is cancelled because of Jackie, but Rickey says they’ll go elsewhere.

         The first game is at Jersey City. Jackie plays second base and muffs a ground ball. Jackie gets a bunt single and steals second. He also hits a home run. In a hostile city Jackie is booed. After the game three men tell him to get out of town, but team-mates rescue him. Fans and players taunt Jackie. Hopper tells Rickey that Jackie led the league in hitting.

         The Dodgers and Montreal train in Panama. Rickey talks to the Dodgers who signed a petition against Jackie playing and says baseball is about fair play. Rickey has Jackie play first base for Montreal against the Dodgers.

         Jackie plays for the Dodgers in Brooklyn and gets a triple. Rae massages Jackie, who says he is not hitting because he is worried about playing first base. A Dodger first-baseman shows Jackie what to do, and he practices. Jackie starts hitting. Jackie scores the winning run as the Dodgers win the pennant. Rickey urges Jackie to go to Washington, and he testifies before Congress about the freedom he enjoys.

         This inspirational biography has added realism as the baseball star plays himself; but the story is rather simplified.  This drama reflects the racial conflict in American society as a courageous and gentle man breaks the color line that kept Negroes out the major leagues for so many years. Rickey gets what he wanted too - a winning team.

Copyright © 2007 by Sanderson Beck

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