Holdouts Koufax and Drysdale on movie set
March 28, 1966: At a press conference on the set of the Paramount Studios movie “Warning Shot” are, seated from left, Dodger pitcher Sandy Koufax, actor David Janssen and Dodger pitcher Don Drysdale.
In 1966, Dodgers pitching aces Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale, negotiating together, held out for better contracts. After not reporting to spring training, the pair signed a contract with Paramount Studios.
In his March 30, 1966, Los Angeles Times column, Sports Editor Paul Zimmerman wrote:
In some of its greatest motion picture promotions Hollywood hardly has matched the exploitation that went on the other day when a couple of Dodger pitcher holdouts, cast in minor parts, got the big treatment at Paramount Studios.
David Janssen, the only legitimate actor in the joint, was ignored and practically trampled underfoot as television and still cameramen jostled for positions to record the “rehearsals” of Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale for bit parts in “Warning Shot.”
“These are not just ‘profiles,’ ” said a publicity agency representative in a defensive moment. “Sandy and Don have parts that will require two weeks of their time on the set.”
How many scenes featuring the two great hurlers will wind up on the cutting room floor is left to your imagination because they play the part of a TV commentator and a detective sergeant. …
A week ago, when it was suggested that the first appearance of the two recalcitrant hurlers might make an interesting story, the publicity department said it would call back. …
After a week of pondering, and some preparation, the studio recanted and every news media known to man was invited. You could hardly thread your way through the TV cameras without stumbling over their octopus-like tangle of cables. …
Studio officials, obviously pleased with their handiwork, milled around with the reporters and photographers while awaiting the arrival of the two “stars.”
Then an executive detected a flaw.
“We missed a bet by not having them first photographed in the makeup department. You know grease paint, and a pretty girl patting their faces with a powder puff,” he said.
“Yea!” yeses an underling. “Great! We can do that after we get through with them on the set.”
The “set” had a camera that never rolled. In front were a row of officers’ chairs marked “Sandy Koufax.” “David Janssen,” “Don Drysdale.” and “Mr. Kulik” (the director) in that order.
The stage lights were too “hot” for the TV and still cameramen, who asked that they be turned off.
Actors Drysdale and Koufax condescended to sit down with Janssen, and drama coach Jeff Corey tied to make like one.
A dozen microphones were in front of Don, who was saying the same thing about their baseball holdout that had been asked and answered tenfold times before. Then it was Sandy’s turn.
“I agree with Don,” said the shy, diffident Koufax in an almost inaudible tone.
“Now to the dressing room,” ordered the man who previously discovered the omission. …
But they didn’t. Instead they headed for the studio commissary. It was 12:30 and chow time.
Even in Hollywood, you can overdo a good thing.
A headline the next morning’s Los Angeles Times reported “Peace at Last! K&D Return to Fold,” and “Sandy signs for $120,000, Don $105,000.”
Koufax and Drysdale used an escape clause in their Paramount contracts and reported to spring training.
“Warning Shot,” by director Buzz Kolik, was released in 1967.
The photo above by retired staff photographer Art Rogers was published in the March 29, 1966, Los Angeles Times.
March 28, 1966: At a press conference on the set of the movie “Warning Shot” are, seated from left, Dodger pitcher Sandy Koufax, actor David Janssen and Dodger pitcher Don Drysdale. The man in glasses was not identified. Credit: Art Rogers / Los Angeles Times
March 19, 2015, 1:20 pm
In the lower photograph, the man seated at right is actor/coach Jeff Corey.
March 19, 2015, 7:04 pm
I was in fourth grade when this happened and we could not stop talking about it. We were wondering if there was going to even be a baseball season.
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