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Take Me Out to the Ball Game

Take Me Out to the Ball Game(1949)


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A July 1948 Hollywood Reporter news item notes that actor Richard Lane replaced James Gleason, who withdrew from the cast due to an illness. According to a December 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 New York Times 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 December 16, 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 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 February 3, 1949. According to a November 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.