Tag Archives: Lou Gehrig

Babe Ruth – Lou Gehrig Film Footage – Identified

An Iowa Family Recognizes Their Family In Recently Discovered Film Footage Of Babe Ruth And Lou Gehrig In 1927.

As this story continues unfolding, the film footage of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig that was recently found was recognized by a family member as being their family with the two Yankee greats.  The New York Times reports the family of one of the men seen in the film has identified the little boy shown in the film. He is Phil Donohue and he was 9-years-old when the film was shot. Donohue is now 92, but he remembers that day very clearly. He is also the only person in the film that is still alive.

The Donohue family also had what they thought was the original copy of the film. But R.C. Raycraft who had purchased the film containing Ruth and Gehrig’s meeting with the Donohue family is sure he has the original.

One thing is certain parts of the film footage have been seen before in two HBO documentaries in the 1990’s.  This means one thing- this new old footage, is not so new.

Babe Ruth (Again) And Lou Gehrig – Recently Discovered Film Footage

Babe Ruth And Lou Gehrig On Film

The New York Times reports more film footage of the mighty Babe Ruth has been unearthed, this time from 1927 showing Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig up close and personal in a barnstorming tour.  The article goes on to say that in the Major League Baseball archives there is less than an hour’s worth of film footage of Ruth!  The majority of film footage that probably still exists resides in attics across the country waiting to be discovered. This film was found in a cellar in Illinois and shows Ruth and Gehrig in or around Sioux City, Iowa on October 18, 1927.

Gehrig and Ruth were good friends, had a presumed falling out (over mysterious circumstances) and eventually made up when Gehrig was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis which ended up taking his life at the age of 37.

The public perception via film of Ruth and Gehrig together is not really when they are together at all.

Hollywood accomplished that trick with The Pride of the Yankees, the 1942 movie depicting the life of Lou Gehrig ,who is played by Gary Cooper. Babe Ruth plays himself in the picture.  No mean feat as Babe was already 46 years old and was significantly heavier than in his playing days.  Ruth would not be embarrassed.  Before the movie started shooting, Babe went on a diet and dropped a significant amount of pounds so he could play the part himself.

While the picture is embellished for the silver screen, it still covers a fair portion of Gehrig’s baseball accomplishments while telling more Lou’s devotion to his family and the love story between Eleanor Twitchell (the future Mrs. Gehrig) and Lou.  The movie almost never got made.  Producer Samuel Goldwyn knew nothing about baseball and knew from experience that baseball movies were never “big box office.” But Goldwyn had been shown a newsreel of Gehrig’s farewell speech at Lou Gehrig Appreciation Day by Niven Busch, a Goldwyn screenwriter. Busch was confident a movie about Gehrig would be a success. By the end of the newsreel Goldwyn was crying and had made up his mind to acquire the rights to Gehrig’s story. The end result was a success, with the picture being nominated for 11 academy awards, including best picture.

Here are some photos of The Babe and Lou together. (click to enlarge)

Gehrig and Ruth in a posed publicity photo

Ruth and Gehrig 1927

Babe Ruth Scores ahead of a Lou Gehrig Home Run

Four Greats- Lou Gehrig, Tris Speaker, Ty Cobb and Babe Ruth 1928

Babe Ruth pays his respects at Lou Gehrig’s funeral June 4, 1941