Bingo Long Traveling All Stars And Motor Kings Stars (1976)
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Let’s go back to 1976 for an in between Rocky movies for Sylvester Stallone
One of the few movies back in the day that was made available on those old ‘laser discs’ in early 1981. This really is a great story, it’s funny, it’s sad and most importantly, it’s a time piece. Great actors are everywhere here with stars including James Earl Jones, Richard Pryor, Billy Dee Williams and more.
The story is about a great bunch of athletes in the ‘negro’ league, back in 1930’s assembled by Billy Dee Williams. Williams, after being unhappy with the owner of his team decides he’s going to take the best of the best from the entire ‘negro’ league and hit the road, playing teams on the road to make money. The movie shows what many of these men had to endure in the form of ignorant racists from then along with other issues of the day.
Some characters and situations are loosely based upon real-life people and incidents. Badham grew up in Birmingham, Alabama, and was familiar with the Birmingham Black Barons, who shared Rickwood Field with the white Birmingham Barons.
Bingo Long is based on former Black Baron Leroy “Satchel” Paige. Early in his career, Paige would call in his outfield while leading in the ninth inning against an amateur or semi-pro team and strike out the side. Bingo did a similar stunt in this movie. Leon Carter is a Josh Gibson-like power hitter, even playing the same position (catcher). “Esquire” Joe Calloway is an amalgam of another Black Baron, Willie Mays (in personality, talent, and fielding position) and Jackie Robinson (as being signed by a white team at the film’s end).
The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings were loosely based on the Indianapolis Clowns and other barnstorming ‘negro’ league baseball teams, who likewise engaged in Harlem Globetrotters-like clowning routines.
The movie was budgeted for 9 million dollars and turned in a handsome rate of return, bringing in over 33 million dollars.
Source: Sal Amato