Saturday, February 4, 2017

The 1957 World Series: What Exists

Nearly 10 years have passed since we first wrote about the surviving kinescopes from the 1957 World Series.  At that time, only 2 of the games were commercially available by Rare Sports Films and neither of those games were complete.  We also knew that Rare Sports Films had publicly shown at least two other games.   It was rumored more existed beyond those four and as the years passed by, those games began to trickle out.  First, it was a partial of Game 5 in 2013 and then, a complete sign-on to sign-off version of Game 1 was released two years ago. Now, as the 60th anniversary of this historic World Series is upon us, Rare Sports Films has released yet another game.



So where do we stand?  It has taken 10 years (or 60 depending on how you look at it) but we are on the cusp of having a near complete series.  We now know that Rare Sports has 4 of these games in complete form, one game missing a single at-bat and two partial broadcasts. 

After the jump, we will combine all the information we have to give the most complete view of the series to date.


Game 1

Runtime: 2 hours 32 minutes
What’s missing? : Broadcast is believed to be complete 
Sign-on? : Yes, including Armed Forces Network sign-on. 
Sign-off? : Yes 
Commercials? : Yes 
Source? : Armed Forces Network 
Availability: A DVD copy is sold, containing both the television and radio audio attached to the broadcast.  This DVD was made available in 2015 around the same time that the kinescope reels were sold on eBay for $1500.



Game 2

Runtime: 2 hours 17 minutes 
What’s missing? :  Broadcast is believed to be complete 
Sign-on? : Unknown 
Sign-off? : Unknown 
Commercials? : Yes 
Source? : Armed Forces Network 
Availability: A DVD copy is sold, containing both the television and radio audio attached to the broadcast.  The DVD was made available in early 2017.



Game 3


Runtime: 3 hours 1 minute 
What’s missing? : Tony Kubek’s 2nd homerun in the 7th inning.
Sign-on? : No
Sign-off? : No
Commercials? : No
Source? : Unknown
Availability: A DVD copy is sold, containing only the television audio with the broadcast.  The DVD was made available in 2007.


Game 4

Runtime: Unknown
What’s missing? : Broadcast is believed to be complete.
Sign-on? : Unknown
Sign-off? : Unknown
Commercials? : Unknown
Source? : Final reel comes from Armed Forces Network.  Rare Sports holds another kinescope copy of this game that was acquired from the Milwaukee area.
Availability:  On February 2, 2008 this game was shown in its entirety before a SABR gathering.  In the original listing, a point was made of emphasizing that the game would be shown in its entirety.  This was a classic 10-innings affair that ran 2 hours and 31 minutes.  Since that date, no known copies have been made.



Game 5


Runtime:  1 hour 27 minutes
What’s missing? : Parts of the 2nd, 3rd and 5th innings.  Roughly a 30 minutes of game time is missing.
Sign-on? : No
Sign-off? : No
Commercials? : Yes
Source? : Unknown
Availability: A DVD copy is sold, containing both the television and radio audio with the broadcast.  The DVD was made available in late 2013 but was later updated to include radio audio.



Game 6

Runtime:
What’s missing? : Contains most of the first 5 ½ innings but is missing bottom of 3rd, all of innings 7-9.
Sign-on? : No
Sign-off? : No
Commercials? : Yes
Source? : Unknown
Availability:  This partial is sold as part of a World Series compilation disc that includes highlights from all 7 games, along with a World Series preview.



Game 7

Runtime: Unknown
What’s missing? : Broadcast is believed to be complete.
Sign-on? : Unknown
Sign-off? : Unknown
Commercials? : Unknown
Source? :  Unknown
Availability:  On February 3, 2007, this game was shown in its entirety before a SABR gathering.  Since that date, no known copies have been made.


While this may seem like an advertisement for Doak Ewing’s enterprise, the truth is we are currently limited to only their offerings.  The lone other known kinescope copy of a game (Game 1) was sold by Rare Sports through a consignment seller; however the whereabouts of the copy are still unknown.  A search of MLB’s content shows only news and World Series film footage.  The reality is that Rare Sports has been the only entity to produce the broadcast footage from this series.

The trade, as always, that you get with a private entity versus a professional league has both pros cons.  One of the pros with these broadcasts being distributed by a private entity is that they are being shown in nearly complete original form.  Commercials and network pregame/postgame footage remains intact, when a commercial release by a league would face many licensing issues.  Another is that they are actually seeing the light of day.  Despite an often slow, drawn out time period between the releases by Rare Sports or the amount of time it often takes for materials to find their way out of private collections, they eventually make it out to the public.  In the case of MLB, we haven’t seen a game over 30 years old released in nearly 5 years.  Their network has stopped showing full, classic broadcasts altogether and their YouTube channel only releases snippets and clips.

The cons come in the limitations in technology, packaging and bonus materials.  Leagues have the full rights to use team logos, artifacts, photographs and any other accompanying materials related to the teams involved.  Likewise, in this case, MLB has a vast archive of footage ranging back most of the leagues history.  We do not know what MLB has from this series in their vaults.  Leagues also have the resources to bring in former players, announcers and team personnel to provide commentary or backstory to the events that take place during these series.  Leagues also have deep pockets which allow for extensive restorations, cleanups and transfers in an archival format so that these rare, decaying pieces of media survive for future generations.

The bottom line: While it has taken us a decade (or 6) to get here, we are finally inching closer to this entire series being in the hands of the public.  At the current pace of 2 years per game, hopefully we are all around in 2021 to see this Fall Classic from start to finish.

Editorial Note: This post will be updated regularly as new information becomes available.

4 comments:

  1. Great to hear the release of Game 2, but where is Game 4 when Eddie Matthews hit the game winner off Tommy Byrne in the bottom of the 10th. Keep up the great work!!

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    Replies
    1. Ben - One thought would be that Doak knows that Game 4 was the most exciting (Howard 9th inning 3 run game-tying HR/Matthews 10th inning come from behind walkoff) and Game 7 is the most important, so he held those two back.

      We've known since 2008 that he exhibited both games in their entirety to Milwaukee-area SABR chapters. The only other explanation would be that the quality of the prints are not great or are not good enough for video release.

      Either way it becomes a waiting game. Hopefully some day the missing footage from Games 3, 5 and 6 are also found.

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  2. I don't see Game 3 on the Rare Sports Films site. Have they pulled it? Or did you find it somewhere else?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Steve,
      It does appear to not be listed on RareSportsFilm. It is one of his older offerings, so maybe he is getting ready to update it. It could use an update to include radio broadcast or if he found the missing at-bat or pregame.

      Game 3 is available on Baseball Direct at the following link:
      https://baseballdirect.com/product/baseball-videos/world-series-videos/world-series-videos-year/ws-1950s/1957-world-series-game-3/

      Hope that helps!

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