Monday Mendozas: Jackie Robinson Special Edition

Today, Jackie Robinson is more famous than he's been in a long, long time. Just look how many people are writing about him!

Wait a second ... 42 was released just last Friday and today is Jackie Robinson Day? That's like the greatest coincidence in history, and in celebration I've compiled a fair number of 42-related links for your clicking pleasures ...

  • One of the names that never comes up in 42 is John Wright; he would have muddied the waters, and if there's one thing filmmakers try to avoid, it's muddy waters. But it's still sort of a shame that Wright, the second black player signed by Rickey, and for a time Robinson's teammate in Montreal, doesn't get even a second of screen time.
  • At some point I might engage in a bit of fact-checking myself, but Allen Barra's made a good start, particularly when it comes to that famous moment when Pee Wee Reese threw his arm around Jackie Robinson in Cincinnati. Supposedly.
  • All the Negro League and minor-league uniforms in 42 were made by Seattle’s Ebbets Field Flannels (and if you've never seen their catalog you're really missing something).
  • Here's a really nifty historical article from Keith Olbermann about the kid in the famous photo (which was staged, but it's still a good story).
  • I've been to the site of old Ebbets Field (and for that matter, the old Polo Grounds), but this piece reminds me that there's so much more to see, the next time I visit New York.
  • I'm inclined to appreciate a piece about Jackie Robinson that brings both The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance and Superman into the conversation.
  • It's possible that I'm reading this poorly, but I believe this column from The Atlantic means to suggest that 42 would have been a lot better if the filmmakers had simply bothered to show, in grand cinematic form, "the protests against segregation within the military, mobilizing for a federal anti-lynching law, marches to open up defense jobs to blacks during World War II, and boycotts against stores that refused to hire African Americans under the banner 'don't shop where you can't work.' " Sure, that's an HBO miniseries, at least. But why let the realities of filmmaking intrude on a petty complaint.
  • Sunday, night, I went on Twitter and suggested that anyone who's seen the movie might come here and share their thoughts. In response, someone on Twitter just .dropped in this link instead I'm a fan of subversion, and I'm a fan of this particular link-dropper. But you know, sometime's a movie is just a movie. Or should be allowed to be just a movie.

Then again, I've seen it just once and was taking notes. Maybe the second time I'll become subversive, too.

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