Roger Kahn, author of The Boys of Summer , narrates this five-part miniseries on the old baseball team that played at the corner of Bedford Avenue and Sullivan Place in Brooklyn . Interviews with players, authors, and poli... more »ticians relate the historical hol« less
"Perhaps you had to have seen them. One fan has observed that trying to explain what they were like creates bewilderment in present day baseball fans. This series (along with others that have been done) is the next best thing.I fear that people who never saw them might think think the series sentimental. But there is a difference between sentimentality and sentiment. And this series though filled with sentiment is never sentimental. This lovingly crafted documentary gives a fine sense of what the team represented--passion, democracy, and community. The centerpoint of the series is Jackie Robinson--and rightly so; but what a great team they were! Duke,Campy, Pee Wee Gil , Clem,and the wonderfully humane Carl Erskine are presented in all their glory. One complaint that will resonate only with those who remember the moment: I wish this series had shown footage of the catch Duke made off what seemed a certain homerun by Willy Jones--a catch that rivals Willie Mays famous catch in the 54 world series. Jake Pitler the Dodger first base coach thought the Duke's the best catch he had seen since 1909. Oh, I also think that it is not fair that Vin Scully who replaced Red Barber as the Dodger announcer is not recognized properly) The inevitability of their destruction a combination of changing social times and real villany (Robert Moses was as ruthless as any Shakespearean villain and as for O'Malloy the joke runs--what would you do if you had Hitler Stalin and O'Malley in the same room a a gun with two bullets? The answer: Shoot O'Malley twice) is the substance of a Shakesperean or Greek tragedy. The comparison is not "academic" Maybe there is one that seems less contrived but I cannot think of any. So just consider: In Shakespeare's Coriolanus. Aufidius a moment before murdering Caius Martius calls him "Boy" and Coriolanus in all his fury and brilliance responds " like an eagle in a dovecote I fluttered your Volscians in Corioles. Alone I did it. Boy!" Jackie Robinson could have said that. He really could have! And Erskine, Duke, dear Clem Labine and the rest of his teammates would have agreed. But they were all eagles. "I have been striken a mortal blow" Agamemnon cries out in Aeshylus' play. New York suffered a mortal blow when the Dodgers left Brooklyn--and I mean mortal. I don't think the city ever recovered. I really don't think the comparison far fetched. I just watched a modernization of Othello in which the great general is reincarnated so to speak as a basketall star--and why not? Anyway, just watch the series and then put bumper stickers on your cars demanding that Gil Hodges be inducted into the Hall of Fame!"
"Never give up, never give up, never give up!"
J. H. Minde | Boca Raton, Florida and Brooklyn, New York | 08/20/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Brooklyn Dodgers ceased to exist as an active ballclub a half century ago. Gone but not forgotten, they have been mourned by generations of Brooklynites. Their history, real and legendary, has been passed down through family lines like a lost patrimony. The villain of Brooklyn Dodger history is Walter O'Malley, their owner, who, driven by greed, uprooted one of the oldest and most beloved baseball teams in the country, and moved it 3,000 miles from home.
Long having faded in the memories of people living beyond Kings County, New York, there has been a recent upsurge in interest about the Brooklyn Dodgers. Currently there are an impressive number of videos (and books) available that immortalize the team. Fifty years after their demise, American society is just beginning to see in "Dem Bums" a vision of America that was truly a nation of virtues, being all-inclusive, prone to failure but dedicated to excellence, and dedicated to family and community. The undoing of the Dodger mystique, as unrecognized as it was in its time, marked a first step toward the depersonalization and commercialization of this nation of non-acheivers we now fear ourselves to be. As this video shows, we need not surrender to that fear.
The Brooklyn Dodgers have become more than just an absent baseball team. Each of the scores of books and videos produced about the Dodgers seeks to understand and describe their crucial role in the self-definition of America.
They were not just Brooklyn's team. Through a combination of verve, nerve, and sheer willpower they transcended baseball, becoming as much a part of the American mythos as George Washington and the Cherry Tree, Honest Abe Lincoln, the indefatiguable United States Marines, or even the Dodgers' perennial rivals, the New York Yankees, who, as it has been said, "represented another side of the American Dream." Where the Yankees exuded certainty, power and authority, the Dodgers spoke to the dreams of the common man, often beaten down but never vanquished. Victory was theirs in 1955, a lone World Series victory over those selfsame Yankees, made ephemeral by O'Malley's self-serving decision to move the team to Los Angeles in 1957. As host Roger Kahn (The Boys of Summer) reflects, whether O'Malley was a visionary or a villain all depends on one's point of view and point of geographic reference, New York or Los Angeles.
As "America's Team" the Brooklyn Dodgers were at the forefront of the Civil Rights Movement. The Dodgers integrated in 1947, seven years before the Supreme Court of the United States declared separate but equal to be inherently unequal. This daring was not without a high price, as this video shows.
More by example than by design, Dodger players, living in small middle American towns in the off-season and "that community of communities" Brooklyn, in the summers, embodied all the virtues we consider our own. As the Dodger wives say, "We didn't know at the time that we were anything out of the ordinary," mostly due to their very ordinariness.
ESPN's multi-episode special has been brought to this two disc DVD, an examination of the Brooklyn Dodgers through its history and its departure, and through the lenses of some of its most popular players, Pee Wee Reese, Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella, and Duke Snider.
At nearly 300 minutes, this video takes the time to delve in depth into the hearts and minds of these men and the people---teammates, rivals, bosses, fans, and family members---around them. In each segment, we are introduced to the world as seen through the eyes of each man, and are invited to share and feel what he felt, first as an up-and-coming player, then as a superstar, then as a man dislocated from his home turf of Ebbets Field, and finally, after baseball.
Each man's shared experience is uniquely different. The material is not all adoring, but it is honest. In stepping away from mythologizing the Dodgers, the film makes them all the greater, as they are described as extremely talented and ordinarily flawed men who accomplished something beyond evaluation.
Jackie Robinson's talent is highlighted, as is the intrinsic bitterness, "that ate him up from the inside" as he integrated baseball, alone at first, being the target of unimaginable ugliness, death threats, crass insults and more, which Jackie answered fighting back by excelling beyond all expectation.
Duke Snider is properly credited as being the greatest Center Fielder of his time (and this in comparison with Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle). His sometimes unpleasant temperament and lack of tact is addressed as is his later conviction on tax evasion. In the end, the Duke is seen as a proud but humbled man, having found some true joy and contentment in his life.
Roy Campanella's boyishness shines through as does his unwillingness to become politicized by race. His unexpected divorce is discussed. Roy, a quadriplegic since 1958, is seen struggling for breath in his last interview.
Pee Wee Reese emerges as a truly extraordinary man of character, revered as the Captain of the Dodgers, a leader and a molder of men, clearly, the single player who might have been said to define what the Brooklyn Dodgers were at their best. Pee Wee, a Southerner by birth, embraced Jackie Robinson (both literally and figuratively), and by so doing broke down more walls than can be imagined. Pee Wee was so much more and finer than just gifted a shortstop, a truly admirable, modest human being.
"The Boys of Summer In Winter" is the last segment of this collection. A film by Mark Reese, it chronicles the struggles of the Dodgers in times most ordinary, and records the last year in the life of his father, taken away by cancer. Deeply moving, this film transcends documentary to become both an intimate portrait, a home movie, and a paean to marriage, fatherhood, love, and profound respect.
Beyond this, there is so much more. This may be the finest visual document created to date about the Brooklyn Dodgers. It is a long voyage lasting almost five hours, but it is a valuable exploration of our true cultural values as expressed through our National Pastime, and through the story of what may have been the most talented, unique and revolutionary group of players ever to take the field. Oh my Boys of Summer, we hardly knew ye."
The Brooklyn Dodgers - The Original America's Team
Simon P. Fitzgerald | Melbourne | 06/27/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It was a great DVD I thouroughly enjoyed the moments and the sense of great history"
J. levy | stuart, fl | 08/15/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This was a gift for my son-in-law, a Brooklyn native and a lover of the original Brooklyn Dodgers. I can only go by what he told me, and he was very enthusiastic and thrilled with this DVD. Evidently, this gift was a hit!"
Brooklyn Dodgers The Original Team
William Snipes | san marcos texas | 02/10/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It was great The only thing is I ordered "The Ghosts of Flat Bush an HBO Documetary on the same subject I am dissapointed with Amazon and really have not been able to take the time to hassle with exchangeing"