Reel Baseball [2 Discs] [DVD]

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The Busher
As might be guessed by the title, The Busher is a baseball film. Charles Ray plays Ben Harding, a country greenhorn who is the hired hand of Deacon Nasby (Otto Hoffman) and pitcher for the local team. A group of major league players and their manager get stuck in town when railroad trouble causes a layover, and they discover Ben's talents. They send him a telegram, asking him to join the team, and his girl, Mazie Palmer (Colleen Moore) bids him a tearful farewell. But success goes to Ben's head and when the hometown folk come to see him play, he screws up the game and loses. The manager fires him and he goes back to work for Deacon and learns to be humble. But all is not lost for Ben -- his successor disappears and he is called into play once again. This time he pitches a great game and ends up victorious. Ray had great support in this film -- not only did he have future star Colleen Moore as his leading lady, John Gilbert, who was also headed for stardom, had a featured role too. ~ Janiss Garza, Rovi

Felix Saves the Day
Felix the Cat and his friend Willie are practicing for the big baseball game against the Tar Heels, an all-black baseball team when Felix's line-drive hits a policeman in the head with the baseball. Felix escapes, but the policeman chases Willie up to the top of a high building. The policeman calls for help, and a flying policeman snatches Willie and puts him in jail. When the game starts and Felix's team is losing, he cannot get Willie out of jail, so he hits the baseball high up into the air where it hits the Greek god Jupiter. Jupiter gets mad and causes it to rain, which causes the game to be cancelled. Felix had been appearing in a series of Paramount cartoon shorts, but Paramount later cancelled his contract. This was the first Felix cartoon for distributor Margaret Winkler, who would handle his films for four years. This film has live-action shots of cars, trains, and baseball spectators intercut with the animation. ~ Bruce Calvert, Rovi

One Touch of Nature
Although he's certainly no actor, it's still worth noting that John W. McGraw, manager of the New York Giants in 1917, played himself in this light baseball comedy. William Vandervoor Cosgrove (John Drew Bennett) is Yale's star ball player. Sam Heegan, a scout for the Giants (Edwards Lawrence) brings manager McGraw news of Cosgrove's talent. Cosgrove, meanwhile, is busy getting involved with a vaudeville star, Madame de Montignon (Viola Cain). When he discovers that she is actually Leonora O'Brien, the daughter of a Chicago plumber, it makes no difference to him. However, his father, a wealthy pork packer (George Henry), is horrified and he and Mrs. Cosgrove (Helen Strickland) threaten to disown him. When this doesn't move their son, they try to buy off Leonora, all to no avail. McGraw signs Cosgrove up to the Giants, and after he hits the home run that wins the World Series, his parents welcome him -- and Leonora -- back into the family. ~ Janiss Garza, Rovi

His Last Game
This offbeat baseball picture was produced by IMP, the forerunner to Universal Pictures. The hero is a Native American ballplayer whose skill on the diamond is surpassed only by his honesty. Approached by gamblers, the protagonist is exhorted to throw an important game in exchange for a huge amount of cash. But the noble Indian refuses, whereupon the crooks try to remove him from the game by spiking his milk. He responds to this attempt on his life by killing the gambler, whereupon the Indian is arrested by the sheriff and sentenced to be executed. By popular demand, he is given a long enough "stay of execution" to score the winning home run. It should be noted that in 1909, it was taken for granted that many baseball games were "fixed," making the hero's actions all the more heroic. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Headin' Home
The sole purpose of this picture was to make money exploiting the "King of Swat," Babe Ruth, in his motion picture debut. The baseball hero plays a character, appropriately named Babe, a country boy who the locals consider useless. He thinks he's got some batting talent, but no one will take him seriously until a rival team comes to town and engages him when their one of their own players can't make it. Babe hits a ball that soars five blocks and smashes through a church window. From that point on, his future fame is assure d. Along the way, he foils the villain -- the local pitcher who does a bit of embezzling on the side (William Sheer) -- and wins the banker's daughter, Mildred (Ruth Taylor). Lawrence Windom directed the picture under the supervision of Raoul Walsh. The sporty subject matter was right up Walsh's alley, but even he couldn't do anything with this silly story, and Ruth was no actor. Its sole saving grace were witty title cards courtesy of Bugs Baer. ~ Janiss Garza, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Image coming soon
    John Gilbert
  • Colleen Moore
    Colleen Moore
  • Charles Ray
    Charles Ray
  • Margaret Livingston
    Margaret Livingston
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