THAT OLD GLINT

marilyn monroe ebbets field3 (1)

Soon to be forsaken by her first and only real love, Ebbets Field had descended into a state of terminal melancholy by 1957.

The grieving colossus at the corner of Bedford and Sullivan Avenues now loomed over Flatbush like a gravestone. While never known for its innovations and luxuries, the old stadium had once radiated with communal unity, loyalty and warmth.

But now, with the Dodgers having signaled their departure out west, Ebbets stood in a state of naked abandonment, teetering atop the ruins of entombed joy.

 

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Immobile and hulking amidst the humiliation, there was nowhere for her to hide. If she could have vanished forever along an infinite Prospect Park curve or slipped unnoticed into a Times Square throng,  she would have.

The fallen cathedral was forced to announce its own painful obsolescence each and every morning as the neighborhood she once held to her bosom roused itself for another day in the quarry.

But in the midst of this senescent fade, on May 12, 1957, a burst of color returned to the old ballpark’s pallid brick visage.

Knowing that their primary tenant was set to bolt, Ebbets Field brass began to host other sporting events in order to clear a few more dollars before the inevitable swing of the wrecking ball.

In order to rouse interest in an international soccer match between Israel and the United States, organizers had Marilyn Monroe and Sammy Davis Jr. brighten the otherwise obscure event with some celebrity wattage.

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At least for a day, Ebbets was Ebbets again. Some pomaded 20,000 spectators – likely drawn more by Monroe’s allure than the match itself – settled into the stands and craned their necks for a glimpse of the blonde siren.

Photos from that day  depict the star in all of her coquettish glory – ceremonially booting soccer balls and waving voluptuously to the awestruck Flatbush crowd.

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Davis Jr., who enjoyed spectacular popularity at the time as well as membership in the Rat Pack, traipsed across the field and took a moment to pose with a rifle belonging to a military man who took part in some pregame military ritual.

USA. Brooklyn, NY. 1959. Sammy Davis Jr. during the opening of the USA-Israel Football International at Ebbets Field.

Less than two weeks later, Major League Baseball owners voted to allow the Dodgers to move to Los Angeles.

Three years later, old Ebbets would finally buckle and collapse under repeated shelling from a wrecking ball.

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Just three years after that, not far from where the Dodgers now played ball in Los Angeles,  Monroe succumbed to her own personal siege and died in her home at age 36.

-Flatbushed

One Comment

  • BUSH BABY
    7.16.2017

    Flatbushed reappears!

    A poignant, lovely snapshot. Hard to fathom what took place at Ebbets all these years later.

    Love the retro stuff, really do, but how about some more current material as well!

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