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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Life of Mickey Mantle (3 Oct. 1956): review.

The New York Times, October 4, 1956 by Jack Gould (wiki: "American journalist and critic, who wrote influential commentary about television")

Mickey Mantle's Life

Mickey Mantle's life story was dramatized last night on the "Kraft Television Theatre" over Channel 4 in furtherance of the current viedo fad for highly topical drama.  The documentary was unashamedly on the sentimental side at it recounted Mickey's professional and personal ups and downs.  While the play didn't detail the pressures that go with sudden baseball fame, it did have some very effective, even touching moments.

Nicholas E. Baehr captured in the script some of the inarticulateness of Mickey when the breaks did not happen to go his way and he was puzzled by his own inner turmoil.  But chiefly it was a remarkably sensitive portrayal by James Olson that expressed the painful awkwardness that bridges adolescence and manhood.  The scene in which Mr. Olson and Loretta Leversee portrayed Mr. and Mrs. Mantle was beautifully done.

The "Kraft Television Theatre" was unquestionably wise in not attempting to do a true-to-life interpretation of Casey Stengel.  Some things are impossible.
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The imdb.com link for Nicholas E. Baehr, the screen writer, shows one listing for Kraft but not the one for the Mickey Mantle program:
Kraft Theatre (TV series) 
– The Day of the Hunter (1956) (teleplay)

Same with actress Loretta Leversee:
 Kraft Theatre (TV series) 
Mrs. Altmar
– Smart Boy (1957) … Mrs. Altmar
– The Devil as a Roaring Lion (1956)
– Half the World's a Bride (1955)

James Olson, however, has for his first credit in imdb.com:
Kraft Theatre (TV series) 
– The Life of Mickey Mantle (1956)

1 comment:

Kenneth Matinale said...

A friend sent this:

And all along I thought that Jimmy Olson only worked with Clark Kent at the Daily Planet. Now we find out that he is Mickey Mantle, another Superman.