It's where baseball meets race relations...and last summer...both topics came together in Macon for the filming of '42'.
I'm Frank Malloy.
Leah Johnson has the evening off.
Behind me... You're seeing the trailer for '42'...the story of how legend Jackie Robinson broke through barriers to play for the Brooklyn Dodgers...at a time when it was unheard of for a black athlete...to play in major league baseball.
The film's Hollywood premiere was last night.
The Macon premiere...is tonight...at least for a select few.
Judy Le is at the Amstar 16 theater on Zebulon Road....and while she's not one of the lucky few headed inside...she will be around to get their reaction to seeing their city...on the big screen.
- when the screening starts
- who's invited
- run time of the movie
- regular premiere April 12 (friday)
- read Leah's lead
Now watching the movie...will be a treat for many... But imagine what it must have been like...to watch the real thing.
Jackie Robinson...in person, making history at Macon's Luther Williams Field.
Earlier this week, Leah Johnson spent some time there with an author...and eyewitness to history.
<Stand Up Intro:
I'm here at historic Luther Williams field in Macon where Jackie Robinson played in an exhibition game for the Brooklyn Dodgers back in 1949.
This is also where Hollywood film crews shot parts of the Movie "42." I got the chance to spend some time with Carl Wilson who sat in these stands for that game in 1949. I asked him about the day that he watched Jackie Robinson play here and the importance of the movie "42."
Sot: At that time, I don't think I had ever seen anyone quite as quick on the base pass. He was always a threat to run.
Carl Wilson has fond memories of the day he saw Jackie Robinson in action.
He says he's always had a passion for baseball... It led him to write a book about it....titled "Macon Plays at Home Tonight." In that book, Wilson talks about the history of baseball in Macon and includes details of the day he saw Jackie Robinson play.
Sot: (reading from his book) Robinson got three hits, one of them a blooper. Even though he didn't steal a base, he thrilled the crowd when he got on third base in the fourth inning. He had first dashed about three quarters of the way to the plate, then returned to third. It's safe to say that no fan in the park that day had ever seen anything quite like that.
Wilson says he was about 15 years old when he saw the Brooklyn Dodgers beat the Macon Peaches 11-2 at Macon's Luther Williams field.
Sot: It was the first time that I had ever seen a major league baseball team. I got a lot of enjoyment out of it.
He says more than six thousand people showed up for that game... with stands overflowing with spectators.
Sot: Originally, the story was that the Dodgers were going to Atlanta to play the Atlanta Crackers, Atlanta's minor league team, two exhibition games. Then, as kind of an afterthought, they decided to stop here in Macon and play here in Macon, before they went to Atlanta.
Jackie Robinson's talent in baseball and trailblazing courage is portrayed in the Movie 42. Wilson says he's looking forward to seeing a film that focuses on such a great player.
Sot: He was one of the most exciting players that I've ever seen. He was very charismatic and very exciting.
Stand Up Bridge:
The movie 42 puts the spotlight on color barriers within the game of baseball and other racial challenges... The film also takes you inside the segregated stands of baseball stadiums, showing where white spectators sat verses where blacks were allowed.
Sot: The black spectators sat in some seats down the foul line, left field foul line, all the way down to the fence. Then all around the park, all around park inside the outfield fence, there was a wire fence between the old outfield fence and black spectators stood behind that fence all around the outfield. They filled up that area.
Times have changes since then.... But not America's love for baseball. Wilson says it's a sport that brings people together.. transcending barriers of all kinds. He says seeing a pioneer honored on the big screen is a great thing and he's proud that he witnessed part of a legend's journey at his home here in Macon.
Drive, determination, physical ability. He had a lot of natural ability. He was very quick. He was an all around athlete. He played various sports at UCLA. Football, baseball, basket ball and he was on the track team there.
Leah Johnson, Eyewitness News.>
Like we mentioned...the real premiere....on Friday.
So we have all kinds of stories worked up for you this week as we count down.
And tonight on Eyewitness News at 11... I'm going to try to get the skinny...from some of the lucky few who are getting inside tonight.
In other news tonight... Bibb County's coroner has confirmed...the death of 24 year old Aaron Cross was indeed an accidental drowning.
Searchers found Cross's body yesterday after a 9 day effort.
In an autopsy this morning, Coroner Leon Jones confirmed Cross died of asphyxiation.
Cross was last seen April First as he attempted to swim across the Ocmulgee River at Amerson Water Park.
Searchers had been looking for signs of Cross using cadaver dogs, sonar and helicopters for days.
Jones says toxicology results will take weeks to come back.
It's the scariest moment for any parent ... Hearing that your child is missing ... And that's what one Twiggs County mom says happened to her..
Fortunately, her daughter is safe.
Tom George reports it's a problem she says could have been prevented.
< My hear dropped to my knees. My heart was in my hand, I was very scared>
It's every parent's worst nightmare ...
<I thought that my daughter was abducted, kidnapped, raped. I thought that they dropped her off at another bus stop .. Anything could have happened to my daughter at that time. >
Tijwanna Robinson's daughter Tiatianna is a 2nd grader at Jeffersonville Elementary in Twiggs County ... She rides the bus home to Dry Branch every day, but Monday, when her brothers and cousins got off .. She was missing.
< The two boys got off the bus. I was like, and my niece and nephew got off and I was like where's Titatianna?>
Tiatianna went to the bathroom after school and ended up missing her bus ...
But instead of calling her parents...Robinson says a teacher put the child on a different bus.
< Didn't have no courtesy call, didn't no one call us, didn't no one tell us anything about our child.>
Robinson says she was told that the bus driver advised the teacher it was the wrong bus..but they put her on it anyway... Tiatianna is a special needs students so she couldn't tell the driver where she lived.
The bus driver eventually brought Tiatianna home...after her parents contacted the school.
< How did you feel ... Unhappy>
Back at home, Tiatianna's safe and sound....
But it's an experience, Robinson says she never wants for any other parent.
< You shouldn't have to worry about your loved ones coming home from school . I feel that if we send our kids to school one way, they should be brought home the same way we sent them.>
In Twiggs County, Tom George, 13WMAZ Eyewitness News.
Robinson says next school year, she plans on picking her children from school, and no longer wants them riding on the bus.
Again..Twiggs County Schools says they are not commenting.
Still ahead on Eyewitness News at Six...they're a relic from the days before a cell phone in every pocket.