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Home Run Derby - Volume 1

4.8 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Swing For The Fence With Baseball's Greatest Legends! Journey back to baseball's Golden Era with Home Run Derby, the sport's ultimate power-hitting contest, featuring hall-of-famers such as Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, and Harmon Killebrew in the prime of their careers, slugging it out of the park for cash prizes and the honor of being named Home Run Derby Champion.

Amazon.com

A fascinating spectacle from baseball history, Home Run Derby: Volume 1 is culled from a weekly, syndicated television program that was produced from 1959 to 1961 and pitted Major League Baseball sluggers against one another in a home-run duel. Essentially, one American League and one National League player would take turns at bat in Wrigley Field, where the Pacific Coast League's Los Angeles Angels regularly played. The hitter who sent the ball most often over the wall (at 340 or so feet) in nine "innings" would win a now-paltry-looking $2,000; the loser would get $1,000. Smaller cash incentives were there for the guys who got on a roll and whacked the ball out of sight three or more consecutive times. The charm of the show is in its simplicity, and the way it seems both relaxed and tense. Competing players such as Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, Ernie Banks, Hank Aaron, and Jim Lemon were far too seasoned and professional to take the program seriously. On the other hand, when they're at bat, you can see something in their eyes: they get down to business and every swing is a mighty one. The best element in the show is player interviews (with host Mark Scott, seated at a desk not far from home plate) that take place while one or another fellow is trying to get some wood on the ball. Thus, it's really a pleasure to see Mantle serenely assess his own performance or admire that of Mays or Banks. The same is true of the latter pair, and also of Aaron and Lemon, who are so gentlemanly in their appreciation of one another and so humble about their own talents that their episode is actually moving. The four segments on Home Run Derby: Volume 1 are minor gems. --Tom Keogh

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Mark Scott, Art Passarella, Hank Aaron, Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dubbed, Full Screen, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Dubbed: French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
  • DVD Release Date: July 10, 2007
  • Run Time: 30 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000PMFRRY
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #79,952 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Home Run Derby - Volume 1" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

"Home Run Derby", a rarely-seen television show which had a short-lived original run from 1959 to 1961, has been on my "DVD Wish List" for several years. I never thought I'd ever be able to scratch this show off of that list.

But lo and behold, on July 10, 2007, MGM Home Entertainment (in conjunction with 20th Century Fox's distribution) released the first of three "Home Run Derby" volumes. What a pleasure it is, indeed, to be able to watch these great old baseball shows once again.

Hosted by Mark Scott, each episode of "Derby" is a half-hour, nine-inning home-run hitting contest, staged at Wrigley Field in Los Angeles (which was, at the time of filming, a minor-league ballpark; but it soon became the home of the American League Los Angeles Angels, when the league expanded in 1961).

Many of the top sluggers from both the N.L. and A.L. competed in the televised "Home Run Derby" contests, including perennial All-Stars like Hank Aaron, Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, and Duke Snider.

The winner of each week's "Derby" received $2,000 for his victory and would be invited to come back the next week to swing for the fences against another big-league opponent.

Some of the "at the desk" chats that Mark Scott has with the players are a bit stiff and awkward, especially some of the small talk with Willie Mays, who has always resembled living cardboard whenever he finds himself in front of a movie or TV camera. But, man, that guy could sure hit a baseball! ~wink~

But I don't really care about the stiffness of the conversations on the sidelines, because it's still great fun just to see (and hear) these legends of the game in their prime....forever frozen in the late 1950s and very early 1960s on DVD.
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Home Run Derby was a 1959-1960 television show where the top longball hitters of that era would compete in head-to-head contests for cash prizes. The rules were similar to today's Home Run Derbys at the All-Star Game. In fact, nine future Hall-of-Famers, including Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Harmon Killebrew and Mickey Mantle would be featured on the show. Tragically, the show's host, Mark Scott, died of a heart attack in 1960 and the show was then cancelled.

I don't know what kind of ratings the program got while it aired, but it's a pretty bland black-and-white show compared to today's TV. I bought it because I love the old flannel uniforms and old neighborhood ballparks (the show was filmed at Wrigley Field in Los Angeles, what was home to the minor-league LA Angels and Hollywod Stars and the first home of the Major League LA Angels). But it occured to me that EVERY SINGLE HOME RUN IS FREE OF STEROIDS, HGH, ANDRO OR ANY OTHER SUBSTANCES. Suddenly, this makes a very unspectacular program pretty spectacular.

And of course, it's great to watch Mickey Mantle at a time when his drinking and carousing were kept out of the media spotlight, and a young Hank Aaron, long before he and his home run record were the targets of racist bigots.

Home Run Derby is a great program, and two more volumes are due out summer 2007. A lot of fun to watch!
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Brass tacks. It's an archaic term, dating back to when wall-to-wall
floor coverings had to be replaced because the used areas had been worn away to the brass tacks that held them down, giving a visual indication that it was time to go to work. Home Run Derby was literally such a show.
Filmed at Wrigley field in Los Angeles with no crowd of spectators, there
were three umpires, three minor league outfielders, a catcher, a batting
practice pitcher, two Major League sluggers and host Mark Scott in attendance to determine who could hit more pitches over the equidistant
walls of the park. The lack of an audience adds to the business-like
atmosphere of the proceedings, as does Scott's old-school generic announcing style. Watch an episode after ESPN's bombastic annual All-Star
presentation with resident windbag Chris Berman and shed a quiet tear for
the passing of subtlety in baseball. I won't tell you who wins the competition, but, if you're more than a weekend fan, you probably already know. Worth the time and money.
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I remember the days of watching this on ESPN and I always wanted the chance to watch it again. You get to see the "true" home run hitters, such as Mantle, Aaron, Wagner...and the list goes on. For any true baseball fan this gives you the chance to relive the good ole' days of baseball, and watch home runs hit in classic Wrigley Field. This is nothing like the home run derby of today at the All Star Game, it's better.
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Verified Purchase
Mantle is really the star of this set, though Killebrew is not exactly a *supporting* star.

this Reviewer has never ascertained the actual shooting dates and that would be facsinating for a mantle fan. It appears that it's business as usual for The Mick, dominating the scene, but another scenario could be at work (at play): these shows were filmed during his only down period in his prime years, 1959 and 1960. Mantle had a good start in '59 but unexpectedly had a terrible second half; conversely, the next season, he had a terrible start...but a great finish (just 3 votes shy of this third MVP). One wonders what he might have accomplished on this show if it was made a few years before or after the presumptive 1959/1960 time.

The above summation really hits home, as the grace and quietude of the players and the times, are wonderfully reflected in the side conversations with the sluggers.

For the unititiated, it should be pointed out that all hitters are right-handed (MM fans should know this, as he was the ultinate switch-hitter and his right-handed stance and style was much different).

Further interest (and fun) is found in watching a guy like Harmon Killebrew, in his Senators uniform; a guy like Ernie banks, who, at the time, would be seen by the nation only as an "All-Star". (Despite two consecutive MVP years).

Players: Mantle, Killebrew, Mays, Jensen, Colavito, Banks, Ken Boyer, Hank Aaron.

Note: watch Aaron dominate the scene - he would go on to be the all-time Homer Run Derby Champion. He once said, a major impetus to win was to build an extension onto his Father's house: 15,000 dollars!

[Black and White print is sperb; audio is excellent).
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