STRATTON STORY MOVIE CAST - COLLECTION CIRCA 1948 WITH BILL WILLIAMS, JAMES "JIMMY" STEWART, AGNES MOOREHEAD, JUNE ALLYSON, BILL DICKEY, FRANK MORGAN, CLAUDE JARMAN JR., SAM WOOD, JACK CUMMINGS AND OTHERS - HFSID 294066
Sale Price $6,800.00
THE STRATTON STORY: A FILM PRODUCTION ARCHIVE
Collection of ten items from the production of this 1949 film, the true story of a great baseball comeback. Included are the original contract signed by Monty Stratton; his pass to the MGM studios; a baseball signed by 15 cast and crew members; a signed baseball card showing the White Sox pitcher; photos and lobby cards signed by stars James Stewart and June Allyson; a DVD of the movie; a release form signed by Hall of Fame catcher Bill Dickey allowing use of his photo stills from this film; and a souvenir album inscribed by cast and crew to Monty's son Dennis!
Collection comprised of: 1) Contract signed: "Monty Stratton", 25 pages, 9x13½. Culver City, California, 1948 February 26. Agreement between Monty Stratton ("the artist") and Loew's, Incorporated ("the producer"), acquiring Stratton's services as "technical adviser, director, coach, and/or technical writing assistant" at the discretion of the producer. Also signed by a Loew's Vice President (name illegible). He may also be used as an actor, and shall make personal appearances for film promotion. Stratton is to be paid $500 per week for the length of the contract, one year beginning on the signing date. Interestingly, the contract never mentions The Stratton Story. Stratton was available for any project the studio might have chosen to assign him. Loew's, Inc. in 1948 was a subsidiary of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, responsible for film distribution. In the very year of this contract, a US Supreme Court decision required movie studios to divest themselves of their distribution arms, and Loew's subsequently became independent of MGM. Two horizontal folds. Lightly creased. Slightly worn. Two staples at top. Otherwise, fine condition; 2) Pass signed: "Monty Stratton", 3½x2½. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures studio pass #12210, issued to Stratton on February 23, . Valid until issuance of his final paycheck. The pass is to be carried by the holder whenever he is on the studio lot, to produce it upon request, to abide by studio rules and respect studio property. Issued three days before the above contract was signed, this pass permitted Stratton on site to negotiate and sign the contract, and then to carry out his duties as an adviser on the film, identified on this card as "The Story of Monty Stratton." Worn. Slightly creased. Lightly soiled. Otherwise, fine condition. 3) Baseball signed: "Bill Williams", "Jimmy Stewart", "Agnes Moorehead", "Frank Morgan", "Jack Cummings", "Dave/Crooked Arm/Friedmann", "Major Roup", "Sid Sidman", "Sam Wood", "June/Allyson", "Harold Rosson", "Robert Gist", and 2 unidentified signers. In all 15 signatures. Lightly toned. Multiple signature lightly beaded but legible. Otherwise fine condition; 4) Lobby Card signed: "James Stewart", Color, 14x11. Illustrated with scene from the film, showing Stewart (in the title role as Stratton), seated in the Chicago White Sox dugout, getting ready to take the mound for the first time, encouraged by Sox manager Jimmy Dykes (who played himself) Ink stamps on verso (no show through). Overall, fine condition; 5) Lobby Card signed: "James Stewart", "June/Allyson" and "Bill Dickey". Color, 14x11. Illustrated with scene from the film, showing Allyson (as Mrs. Stratton) seated at a restaurant table, as Stewart converses with New York Yankees Hall of Fame catcher Bill Dickey (who played himself) Staple holes at each corner and at bottom and top center. ½-inch tear at top center staple holes. Otherwise, fine condition; 6) Baseball Card signed: "Monty Stratton", B/w, 2½x3½. Sealed in a PSA/DNA, 5½x3¼, plastic casing. 1979 Diamond Greats card No. 126. With an image of Stratton wearing his White Sox uniform and his lifetime pitching statistics printed on front. Fine condition. 7) Photograph signed: "James Stewart". B/w, 8x10. Movie still showing Stewart as Stratton, during the pitcher's comeback. Fine condition; 8) Album inscribed and signed: "1948/Dennis Lee Stratton", "To Dennis/Was nice seeing you,/Good Luck and Best Wishes/Claude Jarman, Jr./June 1, 1950", "For Dennis -/My very/fondest thoughts/June/Allyson", "Great Dad/you got there/Frank Morgan", "To Dennis -/A fine son/of a fine man/James Stewart", "To Dennis -/Thank you for letting me play/your 'grandma'/Best Wishes/Agnes Moorehead", "Denny -/The last time you threw a ball/to me you threw it so fast my/hand still hurts. So I can't sign/my name very well./But on account of we're pals -/Douglas Morrow", "To Dennis/with best wishes from/Macey Hodges", 6x4½, green book marked "Autographs" on the cover. Dennis Stratton, Monty's son, was on the set during the filming. This album was presented to him by the signing members of the cast and crew. Overall, fine condition; 9) Document signed: "Bill Dickey", 1 page, 8½x11. Culver City, California, 1951 March 21. Dickey authorizes Loew's Inc. to use still photos of him, taken while he was appearing in The Stratton Story, as set dressing for another baseball movie, Angels and Pirates. [This film was released in the US later in 1951 as Angels in the Outfield.] Filing holes at top edge. Lightly toned and creased. Multiple mailing folds. Otherwise, fine condition. 10) DVD, unsigned. Complete version of The Stratton Story. In addition to the story itself and its well-loved stars, the movie offers its owner the chance to see some of the best ballplayers of the era, including Jimmy Dykes, Gene Bearden and Joe Dimaggio, as well as signer Bill Dickey. No wonder reviewers praised the realism of this film's baseball scenes. Unopened and in original condition; MONTY STRATTON (1912-1982) pitched for the Chicago White Sox from 1934 to 1938, winning 36 games and losing only 23. His career really took off in 1937, the first of his two 15-win seasons and the year he made the American League All-Star team. Then tragedy struck. During the off-season, Stratton accidentally shot himself in the leg while hunting, and the leg had to be amputated. This would have ended most baseball careers, but not Stratton's. After coaching with the White Sox for several seasons, Stratton made a successful comeback. In 1946, he won 18 games for Sherman of the East Texas League. He never made it back to the Majors; his willpower couldn't lift him quite that high. But he continued pitching through the 1953 season. In 1948, MGM resolved to film this classic baseball story, with Stratton as the movie's technical adviser.Stratton personally recommended JAMES STEWART (1908-1997) to portray him. (Ronald Reagan, who would portray another comeback pitcher (Grover Alexander) in The Winning Team (1952), wanted to play Stratton, but couldn't get permission from his own studio, Warner Bros.) James Stewart was already one of America's greatest film stars, having won the Best Actor Oscar for The Philadelphia Story (1940) and garnered nominations for Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) and It's a Wonderful Life (1946). He would go on to two more nominations (for Harvey, 1950; and Anatomy of a Murder (1959). With other classic films to his credit, including Destry Rides Again, Rear Window, The Spirit of St Louis and Vertigo, Stewart was destined to receive a special Honorary Academy Award in 1984. JUNE ALLYSON (1917-2006), who often played wholesome girls next door and ideal wives, was a natural choice for the role of Ethel Stratton. This proved to be the first of three performances for her as Stewart's screen wife. The others would be The Glenn Miller Story (1954) and Strategic Air Command (1955). In real life, she was married to actor Dick Powell until his death in 1963. After many more screen roles, mostly in positive roles like Jo in Little Woman (1949), Allyson hosted her own TV anthology series (1959-1961), and appeared often in the medium through 2001. The premier catcher of the late 1930s and early 1940s, the lefthanded-hitting Hall of FamerBILL DICKEY (1907-1993) was the soul of the Yankee dynasty bridging the Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Joe DiMaggio eras as a player, and the Mickey Mantle era as a coach. A key performer for the Yankees on eight American League pennant-winners and seven World Series championships, Dickey hit .313 over his 17-year career. From 1947-1957, he was a Yankee coach. SAM WOOD (1883-1949) hired as an assistant by Cecil B. DeMille in 1915, directed his first film in 1919. Wood was three times nominated for an Oscar as Best Director: for Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1939), Kitty Foyle (1940) and King's Row (1942, considered Ronald Reagan's best screen performance). His other films included the Marx Brothers comedies A Night at the Opera and A Day at the Races (1937), For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943) and another classic baseball film, The Pride of the Yankees (1942), with Gary Cooper starring as the recently deceased Yankee superstar. FRANK MORGAN (1890-1949, cast in this film as former Major-Leaguer and Stratton mentor Barney Wile, began in silent films in 1916. Morgan is most famous from The Wizard of Oz, where he played three roles: the Wizard, carnival huckster Professor Marvel, and the gatekeeper of the Emerald City. Morgan received two Oscar nominations: one as Best Actor for The Affairs of Cellini (1934), and one for Best Supporting Actor (Tortilla Flat, 1942). AGNES MOOREHEAD (1900-1974), cast here as Stratton's mother, debuted onscreen as Charles Foster Kane's mother in Orson Welles' Citizen Kane. She received Best Supporting Actress Academy Award nominations for her roles in The Magnificent Ambersons, Mrs. Parkington, Johnny Belinda and Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte. She was Elizabeth Montgomery's mother, Endora in Bewitched. BILL WILLIAMS (1916-1992, born Herman Katt) got his first major film role as a returning GI in Till the End of Time (1946). Seen in many second leads and B-movies, Williams found success on the small screen in the 1950s with the title role in The Adventures of Kit Carson and as Betty White's husband in Date with the Angels. Williams and his wife Barbara Hale (of Perry Mason fame) were the parents of actor William Katt. JACK CUMMINGS (1900-1989), although a nephew of Louis B. Mayer, worked his way up from office boy to producer. Cummings was especially known for his movie musicals, including Three Little Words, Kiss Me Kate, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and Viva, Las Vegas. DAVE FRIEDMANN was production manager of The Stratton Story and of a long line of MGM hits, including Ben-Hur (1925 and 1959 versions), The Good Earth (1937), Meet Me in St Louis (1944) and Forbidden Planet (1956). CARL MAJOR ROUP (1915-2002) was second assistant manager on this production and on many others, including Show Boat, Raintree County and Mutiny on the Bounty (1962 version). He was even more successful on television as assistant producer of multiple episodes of such hits as Twilight Zone, Hogan's Heroes, The Patty Duke Show, High Chaparral and Trapper John, M.D. The film career of SID SIDMAN (1908-1975) closely paralleled Roup's. Beginning as assistant director of Two Smart People and The Courage of Lassie in 1946, he worked steadily at MGM, including that role on The Stratton Story, before moving to TV in the mid-1950s. There he contributed to such series as Wyatt Earp, The Millionaire, and finally of My Three Sons (360 episodes). HAROLD ROSSON (1895-1988) was cinematographer on a long string of films, beginning in the silent era (1915). His greatest accomplishment must have been The Wizard of Oz (1939), which became the first Technicolor film when Dorothy arrived in Oz. Besides The Stratton Story Rosson's cinematography included Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo (1944). Singin' in the Rain and No Time for Sergeants (1958). Supporting actor ROBERT GIST (1917-1998), cast as "Earnie" in this picture, had moved from Chicago radio to Broadway stages, where he appeared in Harvey and The Caine Mutiny Court Martial. He also seen in Miracle on 34th Street (1947) and Strangers on a Train (1951). He later became a TV director, credited with episodes of Peter Gunn, Naked City, Twilight Zone, Route 66 and Gunsmoke. He was briefly married to Agnes Moorehead (1953, separated 1954 and divorced 1958). DENNNIS STRATTON (1940-1964), the younger of Monty Stratton's two sons, was on the lot during the filming of The Stratton Story, and must have been popular with the movie cast and crew, who presented him with the souvenir album offered here. Stratton remained in Greenville, Texas (his father's home), married and had two daughters, and worked for the conglomerate Ling - Temco - Vought. At age 23 he killed himself with a shotgun blast to the chest. CLAUDE JARMAN, JR. (b. 1934) was a child star, winning a "Juvenile Oscar" for his lead role in the multi-Oscar winning MGM film The Yearling (1947). He had no credited role in The Stratton Story, but was under contract with MGM at the time, working on the studio's Intruder in the Dust. Jarman left the film industry when he outgrew juvenile roles, but returned for the TV movie Centennial (1968), and later became Director of Cultural Affairs for the City of San Francisco. DOUGLAS MORROW (1913-1994) wrote the screenplay for The Stratton Story. This was his first feature length film; Jim Thorpe - All-American would follow two years later. After that he became a prolific scriptwriter for television, contributing to such popular series as The Millionaire, 77 Sunset Strip, Mr. Roberts, The Lucy Show and The Virginian into the early 1970s. MACEY HODGES is something of a mystery. He does not appear on cast and crew listings for The Stratton Story, or for any film work in the Internet Movie Database. He was probably Gus Macey Hodges (1908-1992), who grew up in Stratton's home town of Greenville, Texas, and practiced personal injury law during the 1930s. He later became a highly honored law professor at the University of Texas.
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