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It Happened in Flatbush

It Happened in Flatbush(1942)

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The working titles of this film were Them Lovely Bums and Dem Lovely Bums. The opening credits are followed by a written prologue that reads: "This story is fictional but anything might happen, and usually does, on a strange island just off the eastern coast of the United States. It's people are friendly...could even be taken for Americans, but they have a language, customs, and a tradition all their own... the name of this island is-BROOKLYN!" Although a February 23, 1942 Hollywood Reporter news item stated that Twentieth Century-Fox had obtained permission from the Brooklyn Dodgers baseball team to use the Dodgers name, the Hollywood Reporter review noted that "the [film's] writers had their work cut out for them by prohibitions that caused them to steer clear of countless actual incidents from annals of the Brooklyn ball club. Even the nickname 'Dodgers' had to be avoided." The name "Dodgers" is not used anywhere in the film. Technical advisor Johnny Butler was a veteran of twenty-three seasons of major league baseball, including two season as shortstop for the Dodgers. According to studio publicity, at the time of the film's production, he was working as a studio policeman.
       The Variety review observed that the story of the team cracking "under the strain of the pennant race, with players signing petition for manager replacement" was "similar to the Cleveland incident." The incident Variety referred to occurred in the 1940 season, when Cleveland Indians manager Oscar Vitt was fired and replaced by Roger Peckinpaugh after the players complained that Vitt constantly criticized them. Studio publicity and Hollywood Reporter news items noted that some scenes were shot on location at Gilmore Field in Los Angeles, CA. The Variety review pointed out that "numerous clips of the [Ebbets Field] Flatbush ballpark [were] used to interweave with staged action." A April 14, 1942 Hollywood Reporter news item asserted that "a different ending with lots of baseball" was to be shot at Gilmore at a cost of $25,000 for five days' work. Other Hollywood Reporter news items reported that although the studio wanted Dodgers' manager Leo "The Lip" Durocher to appear in and narrate the film's trailer, his participation was forbidden by the team's owner, Larry McPhail. The narration was instead assigned to Ed Thorgersen, the sports commentator for Twentieth Century-Fox's newsreels.