Top of page

Collection By Popular Demand: Jackie Robinson and Other Baseball Highlights, 1860s-1960s

"The Jackie Robinson Story"

Script Excerpt and Additional Lobby Card Images

The screenplay is in the Arthur Mann Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress. (For additional information on the Arthur Mann Papers, you can leave this site and read a summary catalog record for the collection. )

The Motion Picture, Broadcasting, and Recorded Sound Division has a copy of the movie as well as the lobby cards and movie stills reproduced here. The three movie stills (copyright 1950 by RKO Radio Pictures) are part of a set of four photographs available on a local reference laser disc, frames 44364 to 44367. The two lobby cards (copyright 1950 by Pathe) are part of a set of cards in Box C-21, card number 50/330 (1-6).

These movie stills and lobby cards advertised The Jackie Robinson Story, released in 1950 by Eagle-Lion Films. The movie featured Jackie Robinson as himself, Ruby Dee as his wife Rachel, Minor Watson as Dodger manager Branch Rickey, Richard Lane as Montreal Royals manager Clay Hopper, and Billy Wayne as Dodger's scout Clyde Sukeforth. The movie was written for the screen by Lawrence Taylor and Arthur Mann, directed by Alfred E. Green, and produced by Mort Briskin. Although The Jackie Robinson Story was filmed in black and white, the lobby cards feature bright colors, to attract attention when displayed in movie theaters.

Author Gerald Early has described this movie as a typical biographical film that glosses over the more difficult situations its hero faced in real life. He also calls it important for being one of the first films to present a black man as an American hero. ("Jackie Robinson and the Hollywood Integration Film" by Gerald Early, in Jackie Robinson by Glenn Stout and Dick Johnson (San Francisco: Woodford Press, 1997), p. 101.)

The first lobby card shows the initial interview between Branch Rickey and Jackie Robinson. The screenplay says:

RICKEY: You think you've got the guts to play the game? No matter what happens? They'll shout insults at you ... they'll come in to you spikes first ... they'll throw at your head.

JACKIE: They've been throwing at my head for a long time, Mr. Rickey.

RICKEY: Suppose I'm a player ... in the heat of an important game. Suppose I collide with you at 2nd base. When I get up I say, "You dirty, black so-and-so." What'd you do?

JACKIE: (stops and thinks for a moment, then) Mr. Rickey, do you want a ball player who is afraid to fight back?

RICKEY: I want a ball player with guts enough not to fight back. You've got to do this job with base hits and stolen bases and fielding ground balls, Jackie. Nothing else. (whirls on him) Now, I'm playing against you in the World Series and I'm hot-headed. I want to win that game, so I go into you spikes first and you jab the ball in my ribs. The umpire says "Out." I flare -- all I see is your face -- that black face right on top of me. So I haul off and I punch you right in the cheek. What do you do?

[Jackie stops, grinds his right fist into the palm of his left hand, as the camera moves in, then...]

JACKIE (slowly): Mr. Rickey, I've got two cheeks.

Script Cover

script cover for The Jackie Robinson Story

Script written by Arthur Mann and Lawrence Taylor for the movie produced by Eagle-Lion Films, 1950.
(Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Arthur Mann Papers.) For additional information on the Arthur Mann Papers, you can leave this site and read a summary catalog record for the collection.

Arthur Mann collected signatures from Jackie Robinson and other cast members on a copy of the script on which he had sketched profiles of Branch Rickey and Clyde Sukeforth. Mann was an author and journalist who served as Branch Rickey's assistant while Rickey was General Manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers. Mann knew Jackie Robinson personally and wrote a number of articles about him as well as a biography.

The autographs include the following cast and production staff:

Jackie Robinson (Jackie Robinson)
Ruby Dee (Rachel Robinson)
Minor Watson (Branch Rickey)
Louise Beavers (Jackie's mother)
Richard Lane (Clay Hopper)
Harry Shannon (Charlie)
Bill Spaulding (Bill Spaulding)
Joel Fluellen (Mack Robinson)
Lawrence Taylor (co-author)
Mort Briskin (producer)
Alfred E. Green (director)