Slush driven to left field

Tallulah Bankhead’s Wikipedia page devotes less than one paragraph to her enthusiasm for baseball in general and the then-New York Giants in particular.

There is, of course, more to be seen in her 1952 autobiography, from which Sheila O’Malley has excerpted a few bits:

Though I remain serene when confronted with royalty, I get downright hysterical when looking at a champion in action. About to fly to England to start my radio season in The Big Show in the fall of ’51, my enthusiasm was chilled because I would miss the “Sugar Ray” Robinson-Randy Turpin fight, would be out of touch with the Giants, panting, when I left, on the heels of the Dodgers.

Attending a Giants game with me, say my cronies, is an experience comparable to shooting the Snake River rapids in a canoe. When they lose I taste wormwood. When they win I want to do a tarantella on top of the dugout. A Giants rally brings out the roman candle in me. The garments of adjoining box-holders start to smolder.

And this disclosure surprised me:

It’s true I run a temperature when watching the Giants trying to come from behind in the late innings, either at the Polo Grounds or on my TV screen. I was hysterical for hours after Bobby Thomson belted Ralph Branca for that ninth inning homer in the final game of the Dodgers-Giants playoff in ’51. The Giants had to score four runs in the ninth to win. Remember? There was blood on the moon that night in Bedford Village. But I don’t know nearly as much about baseball as Ethel Barrymore. Ethel is a real fan, can give you batting averages, the text of the infield fly rule and comment on an umpire’s vision.

Ethel Barrymore? Then again, why the hell not?

The downside of this, of course, is every time from here on out I hear “THE GIANTS WIN THE PENNANT!” I’m going to hear it in Tallulah’s voice.





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