Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Casey at the Bat 125 -- June 5, 2013

June 3 was the 125th anniversary of the publication of Ernest Lawrence Thayer's poem "Casey at the Bat" in the San Francisco Examiner on 03-June-1888. The poem was published under the pseudonym Phin, so the issue of who wrote it was debated for years.

Actor DeWolf Hopper made a long vaudeville career out of reciting the poem, starting on 14-August-1888.  Hopper estimated that he performed it 10,000 times. In 1916, Hopper appeared in a feature film called Casey at the Bat.  The ad and the story below are from the 06-July-1916 Seattle Star. In 1923, Hopper appeared in a DeForest PhonoFilm that recorded him reciting the poem. 


Film Shows Why "Casey" Fanned


"Casey at the Bat," the De Wolf Hopper comedy at the Liberty until Saturday night, tells in picture form the story of the famous baseball poem which Hopper recited from countless stages and at innumerable social gatherings since it first appeared more than a quarter of a century ago. It will be recalled that Casey, the invincible slugger of the Mudvllle baseball team came to bat one afternoon in the ninth inning of a close game with a rival nine and, when a hit was needed to win, ingloriously struck out. leaving the entire populace of Mudvllle gasping with amazement and drenched in gloom.  The poem does not reveal what untoward circumstance it was that caused Casey to fall down so grievously at the crucial moment. This mystery the picture promises to clear up Marguerite Marsh is De Wolf Hopper's leading woman in this picturization.

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