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Kill the Umpire

Kill the Umpire(1950)

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When spring training begins in St. Petersburg, Florida, avid baseball fan Bill Johnson cannot keep away and has lost several jobs because of his obsession. Bill, a former baseball player, is married to Betty, the daughter of retired umpire Jonah Evans, but has total contempt for umpires. When Bill loses yet another job, Jonah suggests that he become an umpire and earn his living at the ballpark. After much protest, Bill agrees to attend an umpires' school run by Jonah's friend Jimmy O'Brien, but determines to do everything he can to get kicked out of the school. After many intentional blunders, Bill is asked to leave. While waiting for the train home, Bill breaks up a fight at a boys' softball game, and the players ask him to act as umpire. The experience helps Bill understand the value of the umpires, and he begs Jimmy to take him back. This time, Bill works hard to succeed. The night before graduation, Bill studies late and the next morning uses some eye drops belonging to his roommate, Roscoe Snooker, to soothe his eyes. The drops cause him to see double, and consequently, Bill makes every call twice, earning him the nickname "Two Call Johnson." After graduation, Roscoe and Bill are assigned to the Texas League, where Bill's tough but fair calls make him popular with the fans. Then a group of gamblers try to bribe Bill, and when he refuses them, they unsuccessfully try to frame him. Bill's honesty causes him problems with the fans, however, when, during a close game, he makes a difficult call and is attacked by one of the gamblers. He then orders the game forfeited to the other team. Hearing the news, Bill's family rushes to his side. Angry fans mass outside the hotel where Bill is staying, but despite the danger, Bill is determined to call that night's game. Through a ruse, Bill evades the crowd outside the hotel and, after being chased by the irate gamblers, Bill and Roscoe arrive at the field. There, Bill's controversial call is validated by the catcher, who has recovered from the injuries that earlier prevented him from speaking in Bill's favor, and the game proceeds.