September 28, 2010

A picture perfect trip to the Polo Grounds in 1957

By Frank Barning

If you asked the guys in the class of 1960 which girl was the most well endowed at Division Avenue High in Levittown, New York most would give the same answer. Observant boys in the following couple of classes might have agreed. Her name will not be mentioned here. All that I will report is that my buddy Mal Karman labeled her "Miss Boulders." You get the picture.

It was 1957, the last season before the New York Giants moved to San Francisco, that Mal suggested that a few of his buddies make a road trip to see the Giants play at the Polo Grounds, across the Harlem River from Yankee Stadium. We agreed to go and in addition, Mal invited a handful of others, including Miss B, who consented to join our ranks.

While we were riding the Long Island Rail Road to Pennsylvania Station in Manhattan, Mal pulled an eight-mm movie camera out of the canvas bag he was carrying. Frankly, I thought he had brought his lunch.

In Penn Station, where my dad worked for about 30 years as a ticket seller for the Pennsylvania Railroad, we found the uptown subway line to the Polo Grounds. It was a beautiful day and we soon were in our seats in the historic old ballpark. It had been a fun trip, some of which Mal filmed. The camera whirred as he took shots of his friends and the ballgame.

About a week later, he invited friends to the premier of his Polo Grounds-excursion film. We couldn't wait.

What Mal had filmed was a surprise. There was precious little of his pals. Mostly, it was grainy 8-mm shots of Miss Boulders, primarily closeups of her from the neck down. How he had accomplished this without any of his companions figuring out what he was filming is still a mystery. Obviously, Miss B was not invited to the premier.

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