Production shifted east in the month of May, when I journeyed to Manhattan to interview a stellar collection of individuals with unique takes on Arnold Hano.
The leadoff hitter was world-class sportswriter George Vecsey of the New York Times. George expressed his admiration and respect for Arnold, and listed him as one of the top sportswriters of the 20th and 21st century.
The Bronx was well represented by Alex Belth, the man behind the pen of the excellent blog, “Bronx Banter”. Now in his mid-forties, Alex talked about discovering Hano’s writing for Sport magazine in the 60s during a research project. He also shared a hilarious story about Arnold’s reaction to a journalist who referred to the nonagenarian as “spry”.
After a fine Kosher lunch prepared by our hostess, Jane Paznik-Bondarin, we were visited by Arnold’s son, Stephen Hano. When Arnold took young Steve to his very first baseball game (Giants vs. Dodgers at the Polo Grounds), he witnessed a triple play.
Batting clean-up the first day of shooting was author and blogger Ron Kaplan, whose book, “501 Baseball Books Fans Must Read Before They Die”, is a treasure. “A Day in the Bleachers” is one of Ron’s favorite baseball books, particularly because it was the first book to offer a story on the game from a fan’s perspective.
The following day, my DP Bobby and I met up at the home of Al and Rosa Silverman in the heart of Manhattan. Al is a highly respected author in his own right, and was editor of Sport magazine from 1951-1963. Al talked about Sport magazine wanting to give the black athlete a better deal than most of the media was offering. Al and Arnold saw that Latins were being treated like caricatures by the media, and decided to feature and praise Latin ballplayers like Roberto Clemente, Orlando Cepeda and Felipe Alou, to give them their due. Al shared an introduction about Arnold for an article of Hano’s that appeared in an anthology of sports stories with this description of his friend of 60 years: “Arnold Hano, a satanic west coast baseball buff…”.
The plan was to also interview another longtime friend and associate with Al Silverman, Ray Robinson. Ray had to bow out due to personal matters, but he will be interviewed in July to share his thoughts on Arnold Hano, and I am very much looking forward to sitting down with him.
A milestone was recently met when I completed the first rough cut of the film, which included all of the NY interviews. Both Arnold and I are pleased and continue our march towards the next milestone, rough cut number two in mid-July.
With George Vecsey, Alex Belth, Stephen Hano, Ron Kaplan, Al and Rosa Silverman, and the Chrysler Building.