The Baseball Film in Postwar America

A Critical Study, 1948–1962


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SKU: 9780786461233 Categories: , , ,

About the Book

This work focuses on the baseball movie genre in the years following World War II, beginning with the 1948 biopic The Babe Ruth Story and ending with the 1962 Mickey Mantle-Roger Maris vehicle Safe at Home!, when the consensus was that conflict should be limited in American society by emphasizing economic growth and a strong stand against Communism.
This study of selected films indicates, however, that this strategy was not entirely effective; while offering a certain amount of nostalgia, these films could not provide shelter from the storm gathering in postwar America which challenged conventional ideas of race, gender and class and broke in the 1960s.

About the Author(s)

Ron Briley is assistant headmaster and teaches history at Sandia Preparatory School in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he has taught for more than thirty years. His baseball essays have been published in the annuals for the Cooperstown Symposium and in such journals as Baseball History and Nine. He is the author of several books and lives in Albuquerque.

Bibliographic Details

Ron Briley
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 220
Bibliographic Info: 14 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2011
pISBN: 978-0-7864-6123-3
eISBN: 978-0-7864-8479-9
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface      1

Introduction: The Post-World War II Consensus and the Baseball Film Genre      9

1. The Babe Ruth Story (1948) and the Myth of American Innocence      17

2. Taming Rosie the Riveter: Take Me Out to the Ball Game (1949)      33

3. Getting a Leg Up in Postwar America: The Stratton Story (1949)      46

4. The American Dream in Service of the Cold War and Civil Rights Movement: The Jackie Robinson Story (1950)      57

5. Hollywood and Assimilating the American Indian Through Sport: Jim Thorpe: All-American (1951)      75

6. The Retreat to Nostalgia: Grover Cleveland Alexander, Ronald Reagan, and The Winning Team (1952)      87

7. Education Ain’t No Stumbling Block to Mobility: Dizzy Dean and The Pride of St. Louis (1952)      103

8. Baseball and Supernatural Intervention: It Happens Every Spring (1949), Angels in the Outfield (1951), and Rhubarb (1951)      117

9. Baseball Enlists in the Cold War: Strategic Air Command (1955)      131

10. Jimmy Piersall and Freedom from Want: Fear Strikes Out (1957)      142

11. The Devil Made Me Do It: Damn Yankees (1958)      157

12. Back to the Future: Safe at Home! (1962) Within the American Consensus      171

Chapter Notes      187

Bibliography      199

Index      209