50 years of the Los Angeles Dodgers


Two for the show

Major League Baseball officially became a part of Southern California 50 years ago this Friday, on April 18, 1958, when a crowd of 78,672 came to the Los Angeles Coliseum to watch the new hometown team beat the San Francisco Giants, 6-5.

And before you could say "fuhgeddaboudit," the former Brooklyn Bridegrooms -- nicknamed the "Trolley Dodgers" in the 1890s because of the labyrinth of trolleys that crisscrossed the New York borough -- became as synonymous with this town as the Hollywood sign and the footprints at Grauman's Chinese.

When the Los Angeles franchise moved into its new Dodger Stadium in Chavez Ravine in 1962, it already had begun building a legacy all its own -- on the field as well as in Tinseltown. Jerry Lewis wore the L.A. Dodgers blue in "The Geisha Girl" (1958), for example, and over the years even the ballpark has become a player: Elvis Presley zipped around the parking lot filming "Spinout" (1966), Leslie Nielsen called a hilarious set of balls and strikes in "The Naked Gun" (1988) and an errant space shuttle flew over Shawn Green at bat in "The Core" (2003). Yet perhaps the Dodgers-Hollywood connection has been strongest on television (see opposite page).

The Dodgers and Hollywood. Two for the show indeed.

The voice of generations

You can't talk Dodgers in L.A. without talking about Vin Scully; this season marks the play-by-play man's 59th year with the club, beginning with the Brooklyn team in 1950. That's the longest association between a ballclub and announcer in history. Scully, though, has done more on TV than just baseball.    

--Scully is the youngest announcer (age 25) to call a World Series game (in 1953). He did play-by-play when Sandy Koufax pitched his perfect game in 1965, when Hank Aaron hit his 715th home run that broke Babe Ruth's record in 1974, and when gimpy Kirk Gibson homered in the bottom of the ninth to beat the A's in the 1988 World Series opener ("She is gone!").

--Scully's distinctive voice has been heard on such TV shows as "Mister Ed," "The Joey Bishop Show," "Occasional Wife," "The General Electric Theatre," "Alcoa Premiere" and "Brooklyn Bridge."

--He was the narrator of the 1966 movie "Fireball 500," starring Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello. His voice also can be heard in other '60s films "Experiment in Terror," "Bachelor in Paradise," "Zebra in the Kitchen" and "The Party."

--Scully has appeared as himself in "Toast of the Town" ("The Ed Sullivan Show"), "The Jonathan Winters Show," "Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In," "It Takes Two," "Celebrity Challenge of the Sexes" and "For Love of the Game."

--In tribute to his favorite team's announcer, Dodgers fan Chris Carter named Gillian Anderson's character in "The X-Files" Dana Scully, after Vin.

--Scully served as an NFL announcer at CBS from 1975-82. He called Dwight Clark's last-second touchdown grab from Joe Montana that gave the 49ers a win over the Cowboys in the 1982 NFC title game.

--Scully has worked golf tournaments for CBS, NBC and ABC. From 1975-82, he was on the CBS team that covered the Masters.

--Scully received a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame on June 9, 1982.

--Scully, always the modern man, has his own MySpace page.          

Memorable Dodger's performances

In L.A., the Dodgers always have had a symbiotic relationship with Hollywood, so it's no surprise that a Dodgers player has occasionally taken a break from the national pastime to try his luck on television. But talent on the field doesn't always translate to the screen. In tribute to their efforts, here's The Reporter's lineup of memorable Dodgers TV performances.   

Click here for a PDF of the memorable Dodger performances.