Take Me Up To The Ballgame…

Take Me Up To The Ballgame after the break…

Take Me Up To The Ballgame…

There was a time before the Internet, before cable television, when your television viewing options were determined by where you lived and how good your television’s antenna was at reception. Some television channels were received with “fuzzy” pictures, most were just static (or virtually static) and a cherished few were received clear enough to actually be watchable. Back in those days, small independent television stations were forced to rely upon actual content for their continued existence: There were no “infomercials” back then. These were the days of the “late night movie” before such a term became a cliche.

In the era where knowledge wasn’t at one’s fingertips, when computer BBSes were still exotic and uncommon (never mind the Internet), media held more power. Media, quite simply, was more valued. We live in an era where anyone can create a stupid Internet cartoon, a “chiptune,” publish their own e-book, create their own webpage, host their own Internet show… Content has been diluted to such a degree that one can only wonder if even a fraction of that content will ever be saved for future generations to enjoy. It may be argued that a majority of that content is substandard and shouldn’t be saved at all; That the ability to mass produce content has led to a glut of substandard content too massive to wade through. A similar situation occurred during the first video game era, when virtually every company was attempting to create their own video game company or video game console. Too many bad games swamped the market, too many people became disillusioned over the age of the video game and “the video game crash” occurred. Are we headed for an “Internet content crash” someday?

Back when television stations actually had to display quality content to retain viewers, some remarkable gems emerged from some unlikely places.

“Take Me Up to the Ballgame,” a small, independent animated program, was one such gem.

For decades, I had remembered only the faintest of outlines of the program – A band of Earthly misfits are abducted by space aliens and forced to play an intergalactic squad of baseball players far superior to them in every possible facet. I could only remember one moment clearly, that of an intergalactic player literally “laughing it’s head off” and then the body taking a moment to search for it’s head. That moment isn’t as macabre as it sounds.

Only recently, and after many Internet searches, did I finally find the title for this animated program that I and my childhood friends saw so many years ago. That title was “Take Me Up to the Ballgame,” created by “Nelvana Limited” in 1980. The program was created during Nelvana’s early years and they have since gone on to be quite successful in the animation industry.

I was going to attempt to review the program from an older and wiser perspective but I can’t – I’m too biased. Instead, I’ll just mention that anyone who hasn’t seen this and other such early works by Nelvana should do so merely to bear witness that not all animation used to be “anime,” “Disney” or the other powerhouses of modern times. Sometimes, good things emerge from unlikely sources and how fortunate I was to have been able to see such entertainment back when it was meant to be viewed. To be fair, the program is by no means a critical classic and it wears it’s era clearly on it’s sleeve.

Useless trivia that I didn’t know – George Lucas was such a fan of the company during it’s early years that they were the ones to create the animated sequence displayed during the Star Wars Holiday Christmas special (you know, the one where we all saw the bounty hunter Boba Fett first). The company is still held in high regard by Lucasfilms, having been memorialized in Star Wars’ “Clone Wars.”

Anyway, I never got to thank Nelvana for creating the program when it was first viewed but I can do so now – Thank you. Your company entertained I and my friends thoroughly all those years ago and I’m glad that I can finally revive my memory of that program and put a title on it.

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