Thursday, April 9, 2015

The Story of the 1957 World Series Game 1 release

The 1957 World Series is one of the few kinescope-era World Series that we have multiple complete or near complete broadcasts.  In 2007, we discussed that Doak Ewing of RareSportsFilms had shown or sold the broadcasts of Games 3, 4 and 7.  Later, in 2013, Doak began to sell a near-complete copy of Game 5.  Game 6 has been part of a partial that he sells with a copy of the World Series Film. That update left only Game 1 and 2 from seeing the light of day.


Game 1, however, has since made it's way out into the world in the last two weeks through an eye-raising series of events.  How that game came out and how you can find it, after the jump.

On March 24, 2015, a consignment seller out of Bolingbrook, IL listed a 4 reel kinescope copy of the 1957 World Series Game 1.  The description of the auction listed by the seller:
RARE AND OLD TV KINESCOPE WORLD SERIES BASEBALL GAME 16MM FILM.  APPEARS TO BE THE ENTIRE GAME OF THE 1957 WORLD SERIES FEATURING YANKEES AND MILWAUKEE BRAVES.  BLACK AND WHITE FILM WHICH STATES GAME #1 AND THE COMPLETE FOUR(4) OF FOUR(4) REELS ARE INCLUDED. APPROXIMATELY 4,000 FEET OF FILM TOTAL.   FIRST REEL BEGINS WITH THE UMPIRES MEETING AT HOME PLATE WITH THE EXCHANGE OF LINEUP CARDS WITH THE OPPOSING MANAGERS (STENGEL & HANEY).  GAME IS TAKEN PLACE AT YANKEE STADIUM.  SOME OF THE PLAYERS SEEN IN THIS GAME ARE MICKEY MANTLE, HANK AARON, YOGI BEARA, CASEY STENGEL, EDDIE MATTHEWS TO NAME A FEW.  THIS IS NOT THE COMMONLY SEEN 40 MINUTE HIGHLIGHT FILM.  GREAT PIECE OF HISTORY TO OWN!!
That sounds like the description of a complete game broadcast alright.  In fact, with that amount of footage (4,000 feet) and the length of the actual game (2 hours and 10 minutes) it sounds like more than just game footage is included.  



The interesting thing about the seller is their location.  They are located not 10 minutes away from Naperville, Illinois.  Naperville is the base of operations for Doak's RareSportsFilms.  Also, as the seller states in their listings:
iSold It is not the owner or seller of these goods, but merely a bailee acting on behalf of the seller to facilitate the sale of the goods by holding the goods until such time as a sale is completed and the goods are shipped to the buyer.
The auction would end on Thursday, with the high bid being over $1500.  

Saturday afternoon, Raresportsfilms listed an offering on their site selling a complete copy of Game 1 kinescope on DVD.  This DVD includes the original pregame, postgame and commercials from the original NBC broadcast.  

Finding complete game broadcast source materials like this is extremely rare, however it is becoming more frequent.  Especially in the case of private collectors, the unfortunate consequences of age and passage of time is leading to the liquidation of film collections by their estates or survivors. 

The intrigue surrounding where the eBay auctioned kinescope came from or went, along with the timing of the release of this game on DVD leaves a lot of questions.  One of the most important questions to me is who now possess the four reels of this game broadcast. 


If you are the person who now owns it or you have any insight into where it has ended up, please feel free to comment below or email me privately. 

One final editorial note: At this point, someone needs to make all the material from this Series available to the public.  Much like 1965 and 1968, we have a complete or near-complete World Series that the general public doesn't have access to.  That should not continue to be the case, especially in an age when we have instant access to content.

8 comments:

  1. Of course the game came from Ewing. Just another way for him to make money since as soon as it sold, he announced the DVD sale. Hopefully whoever bought it will soon put it out themselves and dilute his sales. As for making it all available to the public, well only one person is in possession of the full series and we know who that is. Nobody told NBC to throw out all of their kinescopes from the 50s and 60s but since they did, its a miracle that any games at all still exist.

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  2. How long is it going to take for Game 4 is released on DVD ?

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  3. I've been collecting for several years now. To be honest with you, I'm starting to doubt the old "NBC threw away all the important games" story. I think it's a ruse by RareSportsfilms to keep supply low and give them an excuse for keeping the prices high.

    They're almost as bad as John Miley, who is sitting on thousands of games from 1957 through the late 1970s that have never been released to the public. At least Miley has the courtesy to release one or two games every few weeks, though it's a pain that so many have been from the 80s and 90s recently.

    I despise both Ewing and Miley, and vow to do my best to spread their products around the internet for free to cut into their profits. The biggest joke is that neither of them have official permission from MLB to do what they do. We should all torrent like mad.

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  4. I'm afraid I wouldn't doubt it because it is a sad fact that the networks did not keep this material or more specifically NBC didn't (and CBS wasn't that good either, but they didn't do baseball in this era). NBC's sports programming in those days were produced under the overall authority of the News Department (unlike ABC which under Roone Arledge had its own separate Sports Department) and Reuven Frank, the head of NBC News, *hated* sports. He was the last man on Earth who would ever allow the network to waste space for the preservation of sports broadcast (in fact, NBC didn't even preserve a lot of important news stuff in this era either). Of all the World Series broadcasts prior to 1969 that are known to exist, not one of them came from NBC's vault and that's something we alas have to live with.

    Ewing is an SOB on all levels personally, but unfortunately he is telling the truth on this point regarding what does exist and what doesn't. At the moment, he is still sitting on Game 7 of the 1957 World Series, but I don't think he has Game 2 or Game 4.

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  5. Also, I have to correct you on a couple other points. Miley *does* have a license from MLB to sell his stuff and has had it for quite a few years. I'm not happy that he releases things slow (and I especially don't like it when he'll release only one version of a game when he has both and won't let us choose. For instance he recently put out Game 3 of the 78 ALCS with the Royals broadcast when I would have preferred the Yankees broadcast, which he stuck highlights of at the end. I say make both available!)

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    1. A couple questions:

      1) If Doak Ewing doesn't have a license from MLB ... how come he is able to sell MLB products? Does MLB look the other way? This has always confused me.

      2) If Ewing does have Game 7 of the 1957 WS (or any other Game) ... why sit on it? He could be making $ on current demand. He might make less by sitting on it and selling later as the demand might decrease. I don't know too many millennials (or later) interested in buying this stuff because they grew up on HD. Seems to me the market is shrinking. But I could be wrong.

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  6. I'm usually not one to bump or resurrect old threads, but I just noticed that Rare Sportsfilms is now selling game 2 of the 1957 series. So essentially we have a full world series from the 50's and a classic to boot. God knows what other treasures Ewing is just sitting on that will never see the light of day (while anyone who cares are alive at least.) For all we know he probably has the shot heard 'round the world or game 7 1955 collecting dust (I still find it hard to believe nobody stashed that one away somewhere.)

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    1. Dan - Thanks for bringing this to my attention. I've published an updated article that encompasses all broadcast footage from the 1957 Series. Hopefully we can continue the conversation there!

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