- Five Vintage Films -
Here are five selected films on probably the greatest first baseman in baseball history - Lou Gehrig of the New York Yankees. Even though he was a teammate of the incomparable Babe Ruth and also continued to play four years after Ruth retired, much less film footage exists of Gehrig than Ruth. Lou was not as flamboyant as the Babe and tended to stay more in the background as Ruth's play and exploits made the headlines and the newsreels. Here, we have gathered most of the known motion picture film of Gehrig, much of which was shot by Pathe Movietone News during the 1920's and 1930's. Because we are presenting ALL of the footage of each of the five films, you will see some, or parts of some scenes repeated, especially those of his farewell on Lou Gehrig Day at Yankee Stadium, July 4, 1939. The first three films are all short B & W presentations mostly showing highlights of his career and all include some of Lou Gehrig Day. The other two films, "Lou Gehrig's Greatest Day" and "In A League By Himself", are longer and much different in style (see detailed descriptions below). The entire DVD (all five films) runs 1 hour and 14 minutes. Here is a more detailed description of each film:
"Almanac Newsreel" - Brief story of Gehrig. Shows him batting, fielding, with manager Joe McCarthy, Lou Gehrig Day (last sentence of his famous speech), locker and plaque in the Baseball Hall Of Fame.
"King Of Diamonds" - Shows Lou as a youth, high school age, attending Columbia University, Spring Training with the 1925 Yankees, Miller Huggins, Gehrig playing with Babe Ruth, autographing baseball, scenes of 1932 and 1935 Spring Training with Yanks, marriage to Eleanor Twitchell of Chicago, acting in the movies, his visit to Mayo Clinic in 1939, Lou Gehrig Day (famous second sentence of his speech), Gehrig and Ruth with the '27 Yankees, his post career with the NY City Parole Board and swearing in with mayor LaGuardia and finally his monument in Yankee Stadium.
"Lou Gehrig's Farewell" on "Milestones Of The Century" - Batting stance, grip and follow through, 1937 All-Star Game at Griffith Stadium (homer off Dizzy Dean), Lou Gehrig Day (famous second line and last line of speech).
Bonus: Yankee's Babe Dahlgren (who replaced Lou at first base in 1939) gives an emotional tribute to Lou and a remembrance of Lou Gehrig Day. More Lou Gehrig Day and famous second line of his speech.
NOTE: All three of the above films are made up of 100% vintage footage.
"Lou Gehrig's Greatest Day" of the "You Are There" series by CBS Television - This is a 1955 B & W film presented by Young America Films and CBS TV, not for TV airing but for actual film showing in theaters, etc. "Hosted" by Walter Cronkite of CBS, it is a sort of screen play of Lou Gehrig Day at Yankee Stadium, July 4, 1939, hence the title. The authentically-staged scenes in the 26-minute film are presented as if you are actually there in 1939 with actors of more than 60 years ago playing the characters of 1939. However, the real treasure of this film is in the more than 5 minutes of vintage footage of Gehrig and the actual sound from much of his speech and scenes of the speech. You'll hear parts of his actual speech you have never heard before, not just the first, second and last lines that are so familiar! First shown is Cronkite as the 1939 reporter, then depicted is famous sportswriter Grantland Rice in the Yankee Stadium press box before the game (the ceremony took place between games of a DH vs the Washington Senators). Next is a look into the Fox Movietone News cutting room (this visit is used to get more actual vintage film footage of Gehrig's career into the presentation), then an interview with trainer "Doc Painter" in the Yankee clubhouse. Finally, an interview with Gehrig's "parents" and then the star of the presentation, Lou's wife Eleanor (played by Sheila Bromley) in the front row of the stands. As vintage film of the actual ceremony begins you'll recognize some shots and others, especially during the speech, you will not have seen. It's a very different and interesting type of presentation!
"Lou Gehrig - In A League By Himself" - The final film was made almost 40 years ago in 1977 and is hosted by Hugh Downs. It is mostly in color, but with the 11 minutes of vintage film scenes in B & W. Downs does a nice job of presenting the life of Lou Gehrig, with some of the color film being shot in new Yankee Stadium. There are pictures and scenes of Gehrig's birthplace at 1994 Avenue in Manhattan, Commerce High School and Columbia University, his discovery by Yankee scout Paul Kritchell, his meeting of later-to-be wife Eleanor Twitchell, scenes of Gehrig at home with Eleanor, dining out, opening fan mail, playing in Yankee Stadium and the clubhouse celebration after the 1937 World Series.
Now you can get your own DVD containing all five Lou Gehrig films for only $29.95 plus $4.00 shipping. (Illinois residents add $2.00 sales tax.)
"RARE SPORTSFILMS NET"
1126 Tennyson Lane
Naperville, Illinois 60540