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Examiner
  • Kansas City chosen for premier of Jackie Robinson film '42'

  • Jackie Robinson, who broke Major League Baseball’s color line in 1947, is the focal point of a new film that will have a special preview screening on Thursday, April 11, in Kansas City.

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  • Jackie Robinson, who broke Major League Baseball’s color line in 1947, is the focal point of a new film that will have a special preview screening on Thursday, April 11, in Kansas City.
    Negro Leagues Baseball Museum president Bob Kendrick, Kansas City Mayor Sly James and Waddell & Reed executive vice president Thomas Butch made the announcement about the screening of “42” Wednesday morning in the museum’s Field of Legends.
    Before Robinson starred for the Brooklyn Dodgers, he played just a few blocks south of the museum at Muehlebach Field, the home of the Kansas City Monarchs.
    “Before Jackie wore 42 for the Dodgers, he wore No. 5 for the Monarchs,” said Kendrick, who along with Butch was instrumental in bringing the screening to the AMC BarryWoods 24 (8101 Roanridge Road, Kansas City, Mo.). “People ask me all the time if Jackie was the greatest player in the Negro Leagues and I tell them, ‘No, he wasn’t. But he was the right man to break the color line.’”
    Newcomer Chadwick Boseman will portray Robinson and film legend Harrison Ford portrays Branch Rickey, the Dodgers general manager who signed Robinson to his historic contract.
    Ford and Andre Holland, who portrays African-American baseball writer Wendall Smith, will attend a special reception before the April 11 screening. Log onto www.42kansascity.com for more information on the screening and sponsor packages.
    “Jackie Robinson’s signing with the Dodgers signaled the beginning of the civil rights movement in America,” Kendrick said. “Martin Luther King was a sophomore in college when Jackie signed with the Dodgers.
    “Branch Rickey was looking for the right player, and he found him in Jackie Robinson.”
    James, sporting a 1945 Jackie Robinson Brooklyn Dodgers cap, recalled the days when he and his father watched Negro League games at Municipal Stadium.
    “Prior to his success with the Dodgers, Jackie Robinson had success here in Kansas City,” James said. “Now, we are so excited to have this special screening of ‘42’ in Kansas City. Kansas City is really on the fast track to the international stage with the All-Star Game here (last summer) and now this screening.
    “And what’s equally as important as the screening is the fact that it will benefit the Negro Leagues Museum and the Greater Kansas City Sports Commission.”
    James also hopes the movie helps generate a renewed interest in Robinson through social media.
    “We hope this film, and Jackie’s story, will start social media chatter among young people,” James said, “who never experienced colored-only restrooms and water fountains. They won’t have to dig into history books to learn about this era, they can watch this film and see what Jackie went through and how he was the right man to break the color line in baseball.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Waddell & Reed’s Butch, who is also chairman of the board for the Greater Kansas City Sports Commission, saw a special screening of “42” in his hometown of Pittsburgh, Pa., and came away with a new appreciation for the man who broke baseball’s color line and the man who had the guts to sign him.
    “It is a very forthright film,” Butch said. “It is factually accurate in its attempt to tell the story of Jackie Robinson, with everything he went through, but it is also a great baseball film.”
    Follow Bill Althaus on Twitter: @AlthausEJC
     
     
     

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