Movie-History Day Trip No. 1: Evansville, Indiana

 
Sonja Driving Kentucky Roads

Bosse Field, Side View

Gerst Restaurant

Frog Follies

Entrance to Bosse Field, Evansville, Indiana

Welcome! Are you a big movie fan? Me, too. Like you, I have loved movies all my life.

 I also love history. It’s filled with so many fascinating real-life characters and stories. As a novelist (www.tinamurrayauthor.com), I love stories, and when they’re true stories, all the better

So why not combine my love of movies with my love of history and blog about it? That’s the idea I had when I took a road trip recently to Evansville, Indiana. It’s how this new blog of mine came to be.

 What does Evansville have to do with movie-history, you ask? Well, that’s what I found out—and it’s what I’m going to share with you now.

As it turns out, Evansville is the home of Bosse Field, a vintage baseball stadium that was used for location scenes in the popular movie A League of Their Own. According to my friend Sonja—who was the driver on this car trip from Nashville and who’s an Evansville native–a number of lucky townspeople participated in the filming back in 1991. (No doubt they have stories of their own to share.)

In case you don’t recall the details of the movie, I’ll fill you in.

Set in the World War II era, A League of Their Own is comedy-drama about a women’s professional baseball team in the 1940’s. Directed by Penny Marshall, the film stars Tom Hanks, Geena Davis, Rosie O’Donnell, Madonna, and Lori Petty. The cast includes Bill Pullman, Gerry Marshall, Tea Leoni, and Jon Lovitz, among talented others.

Because I’m a writer—and because I believe writers should be given more credit—I must mention that the screenplay was written by Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel. Their work was based on a story by Kim Wilson and Kelly Candaele, The film itself was produced by Elliot Abbot and Robert Greenhut and released by Columbia Pictures.

According to Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_League_of_Their_Own), the main baseball field used in the production of the film was actually League Stadium in Huntingburg, Indiana. Other scenes were shot at well-known Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. In the movie, the fictional team heroes/heroines were called the Rockford Peaches, and  League Stadium served as their home field. However, a rival team, the Racine Bells, called Evansville’s Bosse Field home.

 Two other local landmarks were used in the film: the Soaper-Essex House, an historic home in the adjacent town of Henderson, Kentucky; and the Hornville Tavern in Evansville. I hope to visit both in a future trip.

Visiting Bosse Field, which is located in Evansville’s historic Garvin Park, I found a dignified, circular structure of red-brick  a broad, one still very much in use. It occupies a place of prominence in the park, a peaceful expanse of land set aside for the enjoyment of local citizens. I’m including  pictures of the stadium and the park, as well as pictures of the restaurant in which we ate lunch. 

If you make the trip to Evansville, you might wish to dine at this local favorite, the Gerst House restaurant in Evansville. This long-standing establishment serves freshly prepared German-American food, such as sauerbraten and apple streudel, in an authentic atmosphere.

 If that’s not to your liking, I’m sure you can find a meal to your taste in one of Evansville’s many eateries or on the road. If you find a place you enjoy, please post it here so readers can benefit.

As it so happens, we visited Evansville on the weekend of the The Frog Follies, an annual gathering of cars buffs and their antique automobiles. These vehicles have been lovingly restored and are well-maintained. Painted in bright colors, such as scarlet-red and sunburst-yellow, they present a gleaming spectacle when assembled outdoors by the hundreds.

Of course, to movie-history lovers, they bring to mind everything early-20th century, from A League of Their Own to Bonnie and Clyde to Public Enemies. It’s easy to envision John Dillinger–machine gun blasting from beneath one arm–hopping onto the running board of one of these babies as it careens, tires screeching, around the corner of teeming, back-lot city streets.

But that’s just in my imagination. Back in the reality of the heartland, the atmosphere is tranquil, tame, and orderly. Driving home in late summer, we traversed bridges spanning the Green and Ohio Rivers.

Evidence of the industrial heartland, past and present, can be glimpsed. Crossed by the occasional train, the countryside of western Kentucky is mostly green and rolling fields dotted by tall, stately trees. Every now and then a white fence appeared in my passenger-side window. Cows and horses grazed idly. I pondered which movie-trivia site to visit next.

The pleasantness of the air-conditioned drive home lulled me into reverie. I thought of question for you:  If you could have coffee or tea with any movie celebrity in the world–living or dead–anywhere in the world, who and where would that be–and why?

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s