Babe Comes Home
Comedy / Silent / Sports
Directed by Ted Wilde
George Herman Babe Ruth as Babe Dugan
Anna Q. Nilsson as Vernie
Louise Fazenda as Laundry Girl
Ethel Shannon as Georgia
Arthur Stone as Laundry Driver
Lou Archer as Peewee, third baseman
Tom McGuire as Angel Team Manager
Mickey Bennett as Mascot
James Bradbury Sr. as Baseball Player
Guinn 'Big Boy' Williams as Baseball Player
James Gordon as Baseball Player
Babe Comes Home, a 60-minute, six-reel silent movie comprised of 5,761 feet of black-and-white film, was released on May 22, 1927. It was sandwiched in between two other First National silent releases, Broadway Nights starring Lois Wilson (May 15) and Lost at the Front with George Sidney (May 29).
Babe Comes Home proved to be a hit at the box office, thrilling both movie and baseball fans alike. One of the film's biggest fans was Babe Ruth himself, who reportedly made more money from this one movie appearance than his yearly baseball salary at the time, which was $70,000 in 1927. An infatuated Ruth later admitted that he had watched the picture at least ten times.
Babe Comes Home is based on the short story "Said With Soap" by Gerald Beaumont, which first appeared in the April 1925 edition of Red Book. Wid Gunning produced the picture for First National Pictures, with Louis Stevens penning the screenplay. Ted Wilde (Battling Orioles, The Kid Brother, Speedy) directed and Karl Struss served as cinematographer.
Babe Comes Home was filmed at Wrigley Field in Los Angeles, formerly located at the intersection of 42nd Place and Avalon Boulevard. Named in honor of William K. Wrigley Jr., the chewing gum tycoon and owner of the Chicago Cubs and minor league Los Angeles Angels, L.A.'s Wrigley Field also played host to a slew of other baseball films, including "Fireman, Save My Child" (1932), "Alibi Ike" (1935), " The Pride of the Yankees " (1942) starring Gary Cooper as Lou Gehrig, "Kill the Umpire" (1950), "The Winning Team" (1952) starring Ronald Reagan and "Damn Yankees" (1958).
Billed as a romantic comedy, Babe Comes Home tells the story of Babe Dugan, a ferocious slugger for the Los Angeles Angels, an actual baseball team at the time who played in the Pacific Coast League. The Babe, however, nurses a bad habit: he chews tobacco when playing, making him the object of scorn for the Snow White Laundry, which has the task of cleaning his dirty, tobacco-stained uniforms.
Snow White laundress Vernie decides to check out an Angels game in order to determine just how messy one ballplayer can be. During the contest, Babe swats a fly ball which happens to connect with Vernie's eye. Babe later phones Vernie, apologizing for the incident. The two then go on a date to an amusement park, where a roller coaster ride throws Vernie into the strong arms of Babe. A romance soon blossoms, with Babe and Vernie becoming engaged.
All is not well with the lovebirds, however, when Babe receives a number of pre-wedding gifts in the form of tobacco cubes and spittoons. A major league rhubarb ensues, with Vernie taking a walk. Distraught at the thought of losing Vernie, Babe swears off tobacco, but soon goes into a horrific slump.
During a key game, Vernie finally arrives at the ballpark. With the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth, a nervous Babe comes to the plate. Vernie then relents, tossing her man a plug of tobacco. A reinvigorated Babe delivers the game winner in the form of a grand slam, but later realizes that it was Vernie's love which helped him overcome his slump and not a plug of tobacco. Much to Vernie's delight, Babe swears off his nasty habit forever.
Babe Ruth posted big numbers for the 1927 baseball season: a .356 batting average, 192 hits, 60 home runs, 164 RBIs, 158 runs scored.