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Silent Sunday Nights - October 2012
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,Headin' Home

Headin' Home

Babe Ruth, fresh from his sale to the New York Yankees by the Boston Red Sox, plays a character simply known as "Babe" in Headin' Home (1920, Yankee Photo Corp./States Rights), a five-reel comedy-drama. By 1927, Ruth's off-the-field revelry had become such common knowledge that New York Times sportswriter/columnist John Kieran could casually refer to him as the "Playboy of Baseball" in a piece written the day after the Bambino hit his record-breaking 60th homerun. But seven years earlier, Ruth still could be cast as a clean-living, mother-loving all-American boy: a character who is the polar opposite of the real Bambino. In Headin' Home, which qualifies as a genuine cinematic novelty, the Babe plays a humble chap who resides with his mother and kid sister in the small town of Haverlock. This Babe spends his spare hours chopping down trees and fashioning them into baseball bats-and he is fated to become a homerun-hitting baseball hero.

Just as Babe Ruth was becoming the ballplayer who epitomized the 1920s, Headin' Home was the one baseball film that embodied the mass-marketing of the sport. No measly movie palace could house it during its New York premiere. Fight promoter Tex Rickard reportedly paid $35,000 to book the film into Madison Square Garden, where it was screened from September 19-26, 1920. Variety, the motion picture trade publication, informed its readers that moviegoers could purchase everything "from Babe Ruth phonographic records to the Babe Ruth song, 'Oh You Babe Ruth,' which was sung and played by Lieut. J. Tim Bryan's Black Devil Band, which accompanied the picture."

Producer: William Shea, Herbert H. Yudkin
Director: Lawrence C. Windom
Screenplay: Arthur 'Bugs' Baer, Earle Browne
Cast: Babe Ruth (Babe), Ruth Taylor (Mildred Tobin), William Sheer (Harry Knight), Margaret Seddon (Babe's Mother), Frances Victory (Pigtails).
BW-56m.

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