Wednesday, October 8, 2014

How Did I Not Know About the Original Angels in the Outfield?

TV is slow this time a year, especially if you're like me and you pretty much watch only sports. With the MLB Division Series all refusing to go the distance, I was at a loss for something to watch on Wednesday night. As I channel-surfed, though, I became intrigued by the title of a film on Turner Classic Movies, my dear old grandma's favorite station. The channel guide read "Angels in the Outfield (1951)".

I couldn't believe that one of my favorite movies from growing up could have been a remake of a decades-old film. After all, the California/Anaheim/Los Angeles/Orange County Angels have only existed as a franchise since 1966. How could a film called Angels in the Outfield predate the team by more than a decade?

Anyways, I watched TCM for about 10 minutes before the old-timey accents started to give me a headache. Here are some of the similarities and differences between the two versions of the film:

  • As in the newer version, the old film stars a grumpy, gruff baseball manager who receives assistance from angels.
  • That manager is leading a formerly sad-sack team to a run at the pennant.
  • The manager is assisted by a young child who has some sort of bond with the angels.
  • The manager is painted by the media as having Ned Yost-level incompetence, a sort of borderline lunacy. 
  • The manager ends up adopting the kid/good-luck charm at the end of the movie. Heartwarming.
  • The manager in the black-and-white version is a white guy instead of Danny Glover, who is pretty decidedly black.
  • The original film focuses on the Pittsburgh Pirates. I guess the script for Pirates in the Outfield didn't make the cut. 
  • The manager in the original film is called Guffy McGovern, a much better name for a baseball manager and movie character than George Knox.
  • The kid in the older film is a girl orphan instead of a nerdy foster kid with a white trash dad.
  • Before the climactic adoption, nuns care for the orphan girl in the 1951 movie. In the 1994 version, the Bird Lady from Home Alone 2 takes care of the foster kid.
Like I said, it was a slow TV night. But after that impromptu viewing, I'm looking forward to flapping my imaginary wings with my kids when the third version of the movie comes out in 20 years.


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