124 of 127 people found the following review helpful
on December 13, 2001
I have been an avid baseball fan since 4 yrs. old. (1951) I am a collector of baseball sports memorabilia going back to late 20's. The series, "When it was a game" was an absolute delight. It finally placed faces to names I have collected for over 50 yrs. The 8 and 16 mm made the viewing even more spellbounding. It made me feel like I actually took the photos. It is refreshing to see my hero's in everyday circumstances; snapshots of the best of the best as ordinary people. The movies were well-done, I was not able to stop viewing until I have watched all three DVD's. This is the best collection of home movies of hall of famers I have ever seen. I would recommend this collection to any baseball fan who truly wants to reward himself with the very best footage of his favorite leaguer. I will cherish the entire set.
55 of 57 people found the following review helpful
"When It Was A Game" was a labor of love, and when it was first televised on HBO the eyes of baseball fans were riveted and amazed. All 3 of these projects consist of "home movies" (usually shot in 8 mm), often shot by the players themselves. But almost all of these films are in vivid color - and to see the names that haunt Cooperstown in lifelike tones is an almost religious experience. It would be similar if it were possible to see color footage from the Civil War or the Constitutional Convention. Okay - I'm stretching it a little, but not by much. Baseball fans have always had a little historian in them, and although you'd be hard-pressed to find, for example, the sports fanatic who could tell you how many touchdown passes Unitas threw or how many points Wilt Chamberlain wound up with, even casual baseball fans knew numbers like 61 (the number of Home Runs Roger Maris hit in 1961), 56 (the number of consecutive games Joe DiMaggio hit safely in during the summer of 1941), 714 (Babe Ruth's lifetime home run total) and zero (the number of Brooklyn Dodgers who got on base during Don Larsen's perfect game of 1956.) If you took only the "named events" of the New York Giants at the famed Polo Grounds you could start with "the shot heard 'round the world" (Bobby Thompson's home run off Ralph Branca winning the 1951 National League pennant) and "the catch" (Willie Mays' amazing over-the-shoulder catch of Vic Wertz' 475 foot drive to deep center field, saving the game and inspiring the Giants to win the 1954 World Series.)
For fans who like their baseball heroic, "When It Was A Game" brings their heroes to full-color life.
Appropriate music and reverent narration add to the historic but vibrant qualities of the works. "When It Was A Game" was eye-catching when it debuted, and so popular that it spawned a sequel that was more or less more of the same. The third volume may be the most interesting of all (especially if you're old enough to remember watching baseball from the 1960s on), but it also adds the historical context that the innovative National League completely dominated the old boy network of the American League because of their willingness to sign Black players like Willie Mays and Hank Aaron and Latinos like Roberto Clemente. The NL won 19 out of 20 All-Star Games starting in 1962, and this little documentary doesn't mind saying that it was the narrow-mindedness of the American League that allowed Morgan, Stargell, Banks, Gibson, Marichal and McCovey to join Mays, Clemente and Aaron on teams that regularly trounced the other, whiter, league.
Like Ken Burns' "Baseball", this set is a video love-song to baseball.
32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on June 28, 2005
Released prior to Ken Burns' wonderful documentary, 'BASEBALL,' this 3-part series offers a priceless collection of color 8mm home movies depicting images of everything to do with major league baseball. You get the superstars, the forgotten, the ballparks - there's a little bit of everything. We see an aged Cy Young and a retired Babe Ruth with a young Ted Williams and Mickey Mantle. The beautiful original musical score sets an attitude of reverence for the entire film. There are interviews with several former players detailing life in the 'big leagues,' and all the reflections are heard amidst the original color film. For those of us in our forties and younger, our mindset of life in America during the first half of the twentieth century exists primarily in black and white images - this series alters all of that. It was fascinating for me to see the original colors of the uniforms and panned sequences of stadiums long since gone. All in all, this is a superlative effort by individuals who truly cared about what they were doing. This is a 'must own' for long time baseball fans. (I own the VHS tapes of this series and have yet to see the DVD; as a result, I am unaware if any additional sequences have been included)
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on March 19, 2007
I have owned the VHS version of WIWaG II for years and rewatched it a few weeks ago. After seeing it, I decided to order the full DVD set. As a boy growing up in the fifties and sixties, baseball was everything for myself and my friends from end of snow to start of snow; it was literally what we lived for. So, this set, especially the volumes II and III, is heaven on earth. The memories it brings back are crystal clear- baseball cards, sitting at Fenway watching Williams, Piersal and Malzone, and Saturday afternoon games on TV with Dizzy Dean and Buddy Blatner.
However, in that "idyllic" youth, there were obviously some things that I missed as well. All three of the DVDs, but especially #III, provide some outstanding social commentary about the people and the times, The players were essentially serfs for the owners and the racial injustices and inequities were horrific. In many ways, I'm not sure that things today are much better, but they certainly are different.
This set is a wonderful remembrance of a time that, for many of us, was almost mythical in its enjoyment. In addition it provides a healthy dose of reality for those of us who, even today, might remain somewhat jaded by the past. I heartily recommend it to baseball fans of all generations!
40 of 49 people found the following review helpful
on April 23, 2001
The when it was a game series is one of the best baseball documenturies that I have ever seen. The extreamly rare footage of baseball's greats with commentation is a very good mix. You'll love to relive the history and remember those great days "when it was a game."
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on February 14, 2007
There are some terrific clips in these three videos. I liked the third one best, probably because I recognized most of the players. The first two videos have shorter clips and obviously are older, and I would have liked to see some sub-titling identifying some of these players. Definitely a nice watch for fans who like baseball from decades past.
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on June 28, 2011
I just watched the new Blu ray version of this expecting the video to pop somewhat. I say somewhat because the footage of course is quite old. What you get is no better than the When It Was A Game Triple Play Collection pack. In fact, if you have the 3-pack TPCollection, you have the best version of this. I was thinking of giving mine away. Not now! The Blu ray version could have included a nice 30 -50 page booklet or something worth while. But, nothing. Just one disc and this is suppose to be the 20th Anniversary Collector's Edition? Pretty darn weak if you ask me. The TPCollection included a nice box that included all the three cases and discs. This includes a sleeve case but nothing spectacular. I'm a little disappointed here. The video quality is of no difference what so ever. I have a 60" Sony Bravia 1080p LED LCD. This is the best of the best out there. Every other Blu ray disc looks amazing on this. But this is not a true blu ray disc. At least the quality isn't. That's for sure. Save your money if you have the TPCollection. And if you can get your hands on that, go for it! I highly recommend that over this Blu ray edition.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on January 13, 2010
I ordered this set because I bought the first two videos years ago and really enjoyed them. Since then, I've lost my hearing and rely on captions to enjoy television. When I rewatched the videos (I had the first two) after losing my hearing, I discovered that only the second video was captioned. I ordered the DVD set, which is labeled as captioned/subtitled, assuming that this applied to all of the DVDs in the set. Imagine my disappointment when I discovered that, just like the video version, the first DVD in the series has neither captions nor subtitles. I'm very surprised, in this day and age, that a reissued version on DVD would not have either captions or subtitles.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on April 17, 2007
You'll be amazed at some of the footage here..a nearly ivy-less Wrigley, a ad-filled monster at Fenway, infielders tossing their gloves onto the outfield grass after the 3rd out, and on and on and on. Legends you've only read about or seen still photographs of in living color, many in the prime of their careers. Some of the commentary is a little syruppy, but that's baseball...a must for any fan, regardless of age.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on July 3, 2007
An engrossing three pack of DVDs that shows color film of stars from the Thirties thru the Sixties - there were a few too many "odes to baseball" for me and not enuff ID of the players in the first two DVDs, which made the last disc the most enjoyable for me because more players were identified (and I guess I recognized them better, too) - it would've been even better if HBO had taken the time to identify the other players in the film - sure, we all know Babe and Mickey and Ted, etc. when we see them but it would've been great to see identification of "lesser" players (by "lesser" I mean players whose faces we dont recognize). But still, plaudits to HBO for doing this series when they did - much better than anything that Burns series did for baseball, which had far too many "odes to New York" for my tastes.