Disney’s First TV Movie Was About The Detroit Tigers
It may seem like Disney's first made for TV movie, "Tiger Town," may have been the good luck charm the real team needed when it was released in 1983. Coincidentally the story of the film is about an aging Detroit Tiger who is attempting a Swan Song season and make it to the World Series. This is of course what happened the very next year, as the Tigers would go on to be World Series Champions. The story starts with a father and son at a game in the old Tiger Stadium in Detroit:
Alex and his father are devoted Detroit Tigers fans, even now as they are struggling. Alex's favorite player is aging star Billy Young (played by Jaws' Roy Scheider), who is having a sub-par season, which is also his last. His only remaining wish is to play in the World Series before retiring. Alex's father dies unexpectedly, but not before he tells Alex that he should always believe. Consequently, Alex decides to visit every Tiger home game. Every time Young comes to the plate, Alex closes his eyes and wishes hard, and Young ends up hitting a home run. Thanks to Young's rejuvenated play, the Tigers start winning again.
This is where the main character starts feeling torn, that if he doesn't go to the games, Young will lose his ability to hit bombs. The film also features infamous Tigers greats like Tigers manager Sparky Anderson, Ernie Harwell, the legendary play-by-play radio voice of the Tigers, Detroit sportscaster Ray Lane, as Ernie's partner; and former WDIV sportscaster Al Ackerman. I haven't watched it yet, but I'm totally checking it out this weekend, especially after hearing what one fan had to say about the film:
I loved watching this on the Disney Channel when I was a kid in the early 1980's. I always felt a little bad for the kid. His dad passed away, no siblings, bullied at school. It was a good coming of age movie. I loved the part when his dad takes him to dinner after the game even though mom was waiting and they probably couldn't afford it. I know baseball purists like to get on here and pick everything apart that is wrong or backward or whatever. It's just a Disney movie about a kid and his dad who relate to each other through baseball, that's it. If you are a father or mother, watch it with your kid and just enjoy it.
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