Take Me Out to the Ball Game (1949)

93 mins | Romantic comedy | April 1949

Director:

Busby Berkeley

Producer:

Arthur Freed

Cinematographer:

George Folsey

Editor:

Blanche Sewell

Production Designers:

Cedric Gibbons, Daniel B. Cathcart

Production Company:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
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HISTORY

A Jul 1948 HR news item notes that actor Richard Lane replaced James Gleason, who withdrew from the cast due to an illness. According to a Dec 1948 article in Parade , $38,000 of the nearly $2,000,000 spent on the film was used to shoot the two-and-a-half minute scene in which Betty Garrett chases Frank Sinatra through the bleachers of a baseball stadium. The scene took two months to plan and involved over sixty crew members. The article also notes that the song heard during the chase, "It's Fate, Baby, It's Fate," was recorded by Garrett and Sinatra in a sound studio before the scene was filmed. The song was played back on large speakers in the stadium during the chase, and was later synchronized to match the action. According to the NYT review Kelly and Sinatra's clowning sequences were inspired by the real life comic antics of baseball players Nick Altrock and Al Schacht.
       Modern sources provide the following information about the film: The idea for the picture originated with Kelly, who thought up the story in the the summer of 1946 with help from choreographer and director Stanley Donen, who had hoped to co-direct the film with Kelly. Kelly came up with the idea after turning down a project suggested by producer Joe Pasternak in which he and Sinatra were to have played former sailors who buy a damaged aircraft carrier from the government and transform it into a nightclub. Kelly and Donen sold their story to M-G-M for $25,000, and their original synopsis listed Kelly, Frank Sinatra and Brooklyn Dodgers manager Leo Durocher in the three starring roles. Durocher ... More Less

A Jul 1948 HR news item notes that actor Richard Lane replaced James Gleason, who withdrew from the cast due to an illness. According to a Dec 1948 article in Parade , $38,000 of the nearly $2,000,000 spent on the film was used to shoot the two-and-a-half minute scene in which Betty Garrett chases Frank Sinatra through the bleachers of a baseball stadium. The scene took two months to plan and involved over sixty crew members. The article also notes that the song heard during the chase, "It's Fate, Baby, It's Fate," was recorded by Garrett and Sinatra in a sound studio before the scene was filmed. The song was played back on large speakers in the stadium during the chase, and was later synchronized to match the action. According to the NYT review Kelly and Sinatra's clowning sequences were inspired by the real life comic antics of baseball players Nick Altrock and Al Schacht.
       Modern sources provide the following information about the film: The idea for the picture originated with Kelly, who thought up the story in the the summer of 1946 with help from choreographer and director Stanley Donen, who had hoped to co-direct the film with Kelly. Kelly came up with the idea after turning down a project suggested by producer Joe Pasternak in which he and Sinatra were to have played former sailors who buy a damaged aircraft carrier from the government and transform it into a nightclub. Kelly and Donen sold their story to M-G-M for $25,000, and their original synopsis listed Kelly, Frank Sinatra and Brooklyn Dodgers manager Leo Durocher in the three starring roles. Durocher was suggested for the role of an Irish American named "Shaughnessy," but his character was eventually changed to a Jewish character, played by Jules Munshin.
       Modern sources also add that Kathryn Grayson was suggested for the female lead, but she was replaced by Judy Garland, who, in turn, was replaced by Esther Williams. George Wells wrote the first draft of the screenplay, but it was discarded when Williams was cast in the film. Also discarded was a score written by Harry Warren and Ralph Blane, which included the songs "Someone Like You," "If It Weren't for the Irish" and "The Boy in the Celluloid Collar." A new screenplay was written by Harry Tugend, and the new score was developed from songs written by Roger Edens, Adolph Green and Betty Comden. A biography of producer Arthur Freed indicates that Harry Crane contributed to the screenplay. The film's title song was a standard composed in 1908.
       A song entitled "Boys and Girls Like You and Me," written by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, was performed in the picture by Sinatra but was removed before a 16 Dec 1948 preview in Encino, CA. Take Me Out to the Ball Game was a box office hit, and Freed awarded Donen and Kelly the directorial assignment on On the Town (see above) based on their work on this film. The picture marked the first directorial outing for Busby Berkeley since Cinderlla Jones (released in 1946 but completed in 1944), and also was his final film as director. Berkeley continued to work on films until 1962, but only as a choreographer. The film also was editor Blance Sewell's last film. Sewell, who began editing films in the 1920s, died on 3 Feb 1949. According to a Nov 1951 news item, Erroll Joe Palmer, a writer also known as Erroll Paul, filed a $150,000 suit against M-G-M, charging that Take Me Out to the Ball Game was in part plagiarized from his original script "Base-Hits and Bloomers." No additional information on the disposition of this suit has been located. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
12 Mar 1949.
---
Daily Variety
8 Mar 49
p. 3.
Film Daily
9 Mar 49
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Jul 48
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Jul 48
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Sep 48
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Feb 49
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Mar 49
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Nov 51
p. 4.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
12 Mar 49
p. 4529.
New York Times
10 Mar 49
p. 35.
Parade
5 Dec 1948.
---
Variety
9 Mar 49
p. 6.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Saul Gorss
John "Red" Burger
Tim Hawkins
Dick Wessell
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
Story
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Asst cam
Stills
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
COSTUMES
Women's cost
Men's cost
MUSIC
Mus dir
Vocal arr
SOUND
Rec dir
Sd mixer
Sd mixer
Mus expert
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Mont seq
DANCE
Mus numbers staged by
Mus numbers staged by
MAKEUP
Hair styles des by
Makeup created by
PRODUCTION MISC
Scr supv
Carpenter
STAND INS
Stand-in for Frank Sinatra
Stand-in for Betty Garrett
COLOR PERSONNEL
Technicolor col consultant
Assoc
SOURCES
SONGS
"Take Me Out to the Ball Game," music and lyrics by Jack Norworth and Albert von Tilzer
"Yes, Indeedy," "O'Brien to Ryan to Goldberg," "The Right Girl for Me" and "It's Fate, Baby, It's Fate," music by Roger Edens, lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green
"Strictly U.S.A.," music and lyrics by Roger Edens
+
SONGS
"Take Me Out to the Ball Game," music and lyrics by Jack Norworth and Albert von Tilzer
"Yes, Indeedy," "O'Brien to Ryan to Goldberg," "The Right Girl for Me" and "It's Fate, Baby, It's Fate," music by Roger Edens, lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green
"Strictly U.S.A.," music and lyrics by Roger Edens
"The Hat My Father Wore Upon St. Patrick's Day," music and lyrics by Jean Schwartz and William Jerome.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
April 1949
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 9 March 1949
Los Angeles opening: 13 April 1949
Production Date:
28 July--late September 1948
Copyright Claimant:
Loew's Inc.
Copyright Date:
1 March 1949
Copyright Number:
LP2174
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Sound System
Color
Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
93
Country:
United States
PCA No:
13472
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

In 1906, Eddie O'Brien and Dennis Ryan, star players for the Wolves baseball team, reunite with their teammates in Sarasota, Florida, after completing their off-season jobs as vaudeville entertainers. At the hotel near the training field, Eddie and Dennis lament their lost freedom and long for the days when they could stay up late and date women. The strict training schedule upsets Eddie more than it does Dennis, who has always had difficulty meeting women because of his shyness. The team celebrates the new season with a party, but the celebration is dampened by news that the recently deceased owner of the Wolves has bequeathed the team to a distant relative, K. C. Higgins. When the team is told that K. C. will be participating in the management of the team, Dennis and Eddie lead a rebellion against the change even before the new owner arrives. The team members, who have assumed that K. C. is a man, are astonished when they discover that she is a woman. One day, at a practice session, K. C. steps up to the mound, gives Eddie a batting lesson and proves that she possesses an exceptional knowledge of baseball. K. C. eventually earns the respect of the team, though her formal style is mocked by some of the players. Determined to get K. C. to ease her harsh penalties for breaking training, Eddie sends Dennis to charm her. Eddie takes over when Dennis bungles his mission, but K. C. sees through his ploy. Training season eventually comes to an end, and the first game of the season opens with Dennis, Eddie and their teammate, Nat ... +


In 1906, Eddie O'Brien and Dennis Ryan, star players for the Wolves baseball team, reunite with their teammates in Sarasota, Florida, after completing their off-season jobs as vaudeville entertainers. At the hotel near the training field, Eddie and Dennis lament their lost freedom and long for the days when they could stay up late and date women. The strict training schedule upsets Eddie more than it does Dennis, who has always had difficulty meeting women because of his shyness. The team celebrates the new season with a party, but the celebration is dampened by news that the recently deceased owner of the Wolves has bequeathed the team to a distant relative, K. C. Higgins. When the team is told that K. C. will be participating in the management of the team, Dennis and Eddie lead a rebellion against the change even before the new owner arrives. The team members, who have assumed that K. C. is a man, are astonished when they discover that she is a woman. One day, at a practice session, K. C. steps up to the mound, gives Eddie a batting lesson and proves that she possesses an exceptional knowledge of baseball. K. C. eventually earns the respect of the team, though her formal style is mocked by some of the players. Determined to get K. C. to ease her harsh penalties for breaking training, Eddie sends Dennis to charm her. Eddie takes over when Dennis bungles his mission, but K. C. sees through his ploy. Training season eventually comes to an end, and the first game of the season opens with Dennis, Eddie and their teammate, Nat Goldberg, performing a clown act on the field. During the game, Shirley Delwyn, a fan of the team and an admirer of Dennis, comes to his rescue when he is knocked unconscious in a scuffle with the umpire. Shirley is not aware that her companion, Joe Lorgan, is an underworld figure who is betting heavily on the Wolves. Despite Dennis' lack of interest in Shirley, she continues to aggressively pursue a romance with him and chases him around the stadium to prove her devotion. While the Wolves enjoy a winning streak on the road, Lorgan continues to make a fortune betting on them. Lorgan eventually changes his betting practices when he finds an opportunity to fix the game in his favor. As part of his plan, Lorgan coaxes Eddie into leaving the team to pursue a full-time career as a performer, hoping it will hurt the team. Eddie starts rehearsals right away and continues to play baseball during the day while rehearsing his act at night. His busy schedule begins to take its toll on his game and his team goes into a slump. K. C. soon suspects that Eddie is playing badly because he is in love with her, so she offers her affections to him in an attempt to reverse the team's fortunes. Eddie eventually discovers Lorgan's scheme, but not before K. C. finds out about his moonlighting and suspends him. Desperate to get back on the team, Eddie enlists the help of a group of children to start a protest movement to get him back on the field. The plan works, much to the dismay of Lorgan, who has counted on Eddie's suspension and bet $20,000 against the Wolves in their next outing. Fearing that Eddie might win the game for the Wolves if he is added to the lineup, Lorgan plots a scheme to keep him from playing. Shirley, who finally realizes Lorgan's crooked ways, warns Dennis that Eddie will be in danger if he is placed in the lineup. Dennis deliberately knocks Eddie unconscious with a baseball, hoping that it will prevent him from getting hurt or killed by Lorgan. Eddie is removed to the locker room just as the game begins, and Lorgan sends two of his men, posing as doctors, to guard him. When Shirley tells K. C. about Lorgan, K. C. sends her players to subdue the fake doctors and release Eddie. After Lorgan is exposed and knocked unconscious by K. C., Eddie returns to the field and hits a game winning homerun. All ends happily as Eddie looks forward to a real romance with K. C. and Dennis finally takes notice of Shirley. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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