How Brown Saw the Baseball Game
How Brown Saw the Baseball Game, also known as How Jones Saw the Baseball Game, is an American short silent comedy film produced in 1907 and distributed by the Lubin Manufacturing Company. The film follows a baseball fan, named Mr. Brown, who drinks large quantities of alcohol before a baseball game and becomes so intoxicated that the game appears to him in reverse motion. During production, trick photography was used to achieve this effect.
The film was released in November 1907. It received positive reviews in a 1908 issue of The Moving Picture World, a film journal, that reported the film was successful and "truly funny." As of 2015[update] it is unclear whether a print of the film has survived. The identities of the film's cast and production crew are not known. Film historians have noted similarities between the plot of How Brown Saw the Baseball Game and the Edwin S. Porter-directed comedy film How the Office Boy Saw the Ball Game released the previous year.
Before heading out to a baseball game at a nearby ballpark, sports fan Mr. Brown drinks several highball cocktails. He arrives at the ballpark to watch the game, but has become so inebriated that the game appears to him in reverse, with the players running the bases backwards and the baseball flying back into the pitcher's hand. After the game is over, Mr. Brown is escorted home by one of his friends. When they arrive at Brown's house, they encounter his wife who becomes furious with the friend and proceeds to physically assault him, believing he is responsible for her husband's severe intoxication.
How Brown Saw the Baseball Game was produced by Lubin Manufacturing Company, a company founded by German-American film pioneer Siegmund Lubin. At the time How Brown Saw the Baseball Game was made, the company was creating and distributing up to three films a week. The identities of How Brown Saw the Baseball Game's director and cast are not known.
It is a silent film shot in black and white, and the finished product comprised 350 feet (110 m) of film. For the scenes which took place at the ballpark, the filmmakers used a form of trick photography in order to show the baseball players running backwards. Siegmund Lubin filed a copyright for the film, under the alternate title How Jones Saw the Baseball Game, on October 26, 1907.
Release and receptionEdit
How Brown Saw the Baseball Game was released into theaters by Lubin Manufacturing Company on November 16, 1907, and was still being shown as late as August 1908. During this time, the film sometimes was presented as part of a double feature with the 1907 film Neighbors Who Borrow, a short comedy film about a man who lends nearly everything he owns to his neighbors until his wife returns home and berates him for doing so.
Advertisements for the film touted it as "such fun", and Lubin himself promoted the film as a "screamingly funny farce". It received a positive review in the June 1908 issue of The Moving Picture World which described the film as "truly funny" and that it proved to be "a veritable success".
Modern writings have often suggested that How Brown Saw the Baseball Game was produced as Lubin Manufacturing Company's alternative to the Edwin S. Porter-directed comedy How the Office Boy Saw the Ball Game, a film released by Edison Studios in 1906 about an office employee sneaking out of his workplace to watch a baseball game only to discover his employer in a nearby seat. Lubin Manufacturing Company was known for creating films similar to competing motion pictures made by other studios. Lubin had previously created films resembling Edison Studios' releases Uncle Tom's Cabin and The Great Train Robbery.
Author Jack Spears wrote in his book Hollywood: The Golden Era that How Brown Saw the Baseball Game and How the Office Boy Saw the Ball Game "used practically the same plot"; Rob Elderman's article "The Baseball Film: to 1920" in the journal Base Ball likewise notes the similarities of their plotlines.
As of August 2015[update], it was unclear whether there is a surviving print of How Brown Saw the Baseball Game; it has likely become a lost film. If rediscovered, the film would be in the public domain.
- Erickson 1992, p. 324; "How Brown Saw the Baseball Game". American Film Institute. Retrieved November 13, 2013.
- "How Brown Saw the Baseball Game". British Film Institute. Retrieved November 13, 2013.
- Seiler & Seiler 2013, p. 34
- "How Brown Saw the Baseball Game". Silent Era. Retrieved November 13, 2013.
- "How Brown Saw the Baseball Game". American Film Institute. Retrieved November 13, 2013.
- Elderman, Rob (Spring 2007). "The Baseball Film to 1920". Base Ball. 1 (1): 24.
- "Berlin Electrical Theater". The Ocala Evening Star. August 13, 1908. p. 3a. Retrieved November 29, 2013.
- "Neighbors Who Borrow". Billboard. 19: 21. December 14, 1907.
- Erickson 1992, p. 324
- "How Brown Saw the Baseball Game". Billboard. 19: 21. December 14, 1907.
- "The Moving Picture World (June 1908)". The Moving Picture World. Internet Archive. Retrieved November 14, 2013.
- Wood & Pincus 2003, p. 12
- Spears 1971, p. 258
- Erickson, Hal (1 August 1992). Baseball in the movies: a comprehensive reference, 1915–1991. McFarland.
- Seiler, Robert Morris; Seiler, Tamara Palmer (2013). Reel Time: Movie Exhibitors and Movie Audiences in Prairie Canada, 1896 to 1986. Athabasca University Press. ISBN 978-1-926836-99-7.
- Spears, Jack (1971). Hollywood: the Golden Era. A. S. Barnes.
- Wood, Stephen C.; Pincus, J. David (January 1, 2003). Reel Baseball: Essays and Interviews on the National Pastime, Hollywood, American Culture. McFarland. ISBN 978-0-7864-1389-8.