Tuesday, May 28, 2013


The sound of heavy, pre-storm wind echos across the screen.



It is eerily empty on these former city blocks.

The borough's dark skies look as if they're about to pour.

Newspapers fly everywhere like tumbleweeds as they pass out-of-business storefronts and late-fifties-style parked cars.

At the intersection stands an empty construction site with wood panel walls around the border.

The panels are bare, with the exception of the one right at the corner, where a poster that reads only "Kennedy for President" is lit up by a turn-of-the-century street lamppost.

The wind blows in a 1930's up-tempo big band jazz song as well as the sounds of a city neighborhood...




JULY 10, 1937

1937 -1957.

Arguably the most important 20 years in Modern American history.

And the story can all be told through one streetcorner of the world...

Brought to you in Technicolor.

My name is Sam Maxwell. I am a screenwriter and baseball connoisseur, and I need your help and support.

I started out on the blogosphere over a year and a half ago (and continue) as the Converted Mets Fan (who Dumped the Navy Pinstripes for the Orange & Blue), as well as a staff writer/podcast producer for Rising Apple, a Mets fan blog.

Now, however, I've toned down on my Metsian writings (well, only to a degree one can who considers baseball and the Metropolitans their religion) and have gotten back to an idea I have been developing for over 9 years now:

I want to make a television series called Bedford & Sullivan, a show about Brooklyn, its Dodgers and how both were affected by the rapid transition into Modern America.

(Bedford Avenue and Sullivan Place was the streetcorner on the other side of the right field wall at Ebbets Field, where home runs would travel out 297 feet down the line.)

The people of Brooklyn always had an inferiority complex living in the shadows of Manhattan, dating back before 1898 when the borough was its own city. This played out in the way they rallied behind their 2nd division ball club. Manhattan had the glitz, the glamour, the skyscrapers and the Champion Giants...

All Brooklyn had was its factories, its churches, its brownstones and its Trolley Dodgers.

The ballclub wasn't just a sports team Brooklyn followed; it was family. The players took the same trains and trolleys, shopped at the same markets, lived on the same streets. They were part of the neighborhood. The trials and tribulations of the Dodgers were the trials and tribulations of the people of Brooklyn.

And every year, no matter what troubles entered people's lives, they still had baseball to comfort their hearts. Every October that the Dodgers failed to win the championship, all was well, because there was always next year.

"Wait 'till Next Year" became a familiar refrain...

Until "next year" didn't arrive.

Off the bat, know this is NOT A DOCUMENTARY. The Brooklyn National League Baseball Club has been romanticized and idolized the world over ever since they left for Southern California almost 60 years ago. Many books have been written and many documentaries have been made, but never has there been a cinematic, atmospheric period-piece on the subject.

The series would be along the lines of shows like Mad MenBoardwalk Empire and Band of Brothers (though not a mini-series as that latter one was.)

In 3-5 seasons spanning the tailend of the depression, American's involvement in World War II, the post-war boom and the early part of the Cold War, themes such as the ones that follow will weave together a tale of who America became in the latter half of the 20th Century and who we are today, all through the point of view of the Dodgers and Brooklyn:
  • Radio and the Infancy of Television
  • The Automobile revolution
  • Highway construction
  • Migration to the Suburbs
  • Eminent Domain and Real Estate Speculation
  • Urban Renewal
  • Manufacturing Decline
  • Racial Integration
  • Southern Black Migration
  • Caribbean Black and Hispanic Migration
The atmosphere will be set through the sounds of Brooklyn (i.e. trolleys, kids playing in the street, the marketplace, baseball on the radio, etc.) and the music of the times, (Jazz and Big Band, Blues and Boogie Woogie, Doo Wop and Soul, and the early sound of Rock 'n' Roll.)

There will of course be plenty a feeling of nostalgia, but I am not aiming specifically for that crowd, though I plan on making it poignant for them as well, creating the feeling that they are reliving those vivid days.

I am aiming for the sacred 18-49 demographic, the one who the tales of Brooklyn and its Dodgers they have only seen in black and white, or in quick color cuts of life in the neighborhood or the Dodgers up at the plate in random docu-shows they have come across. They may only know of the Jackie Robinson part, and might still not know too much about that social juggernaut (which is, of course, why it will be explored plenty as a vital part of the tale.) I want to educate the 18-49 demographic on life in Brooklyn and America in a rapidly changing society with the Golden Age of Brooklyn Baseball as the main throughline. I want them to feel nostalgic when the series is all said and done as if they actually lived during the era.

Yes. We could all just read about it, like you will do on Bedford & Sullivan's social media platforms, or watch a documentary on the period, which we all love to do.

The point is we want to see it in an atmospheric, dramatic narrative form.

Yeah, sure. We want to read about Larry MacPhail (at right w/ Babe Ruth) being brought aboard the front office of the Dodgers when things couldn't get any worse, blazing onto the scene by borrowing hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Brooklyn Trust Company for Ebbets Field Renovations and roster moves when the Dodgers already owed millions to the Trust.

Yeah, sure we want to read about the McKeevers and the Ebbets families (Charlie, Ed and Ed McKeever's wife seen at left in 1913) and the Ebbets heirs in paticular battle for ownership in the late 30's into the mid-40's, a battle whose finality directly affected the eventual Dodger departure.

Or Branch Rickey inventing padded walls and batting helmets to prevent players like "Pistol" Pete Reiser (at right) against themselves.

Sure, you can read about the Mexican League's raid on the Major League's rosters in the latter 40's by offering bigger contracts, something Branch Rickey certainly had to deal with having a nickname like "El Cheapo."

Or Brach Rickey (left) and Walter O'Malley (right) despising one another throughout their time together in the front office.

Sure. Read about how Robert Moses (at right), on his way to completely altering the urban landscape as the head of the Triborough Bridge & Tunnel Authority and later as the city's "Construction Coordinator," played a role in the final decision to exit New York City by both the Dodgers and the Giants.

Or about television bringing people closer together only to eventually isolate them from each other as more people on the block bought sets.

We could read about all kinds of storylines woven throughout 1937-1957 (and I have, and will be reading much much more regarding the era.)

But we want to SEE it.

I aim to be as historically accurate as possible, with potential to take certain creative liberties along the way.

Speaking of which, at this stage, I am working on putting a writing team together to develop the story structure.

All I need from you, the reader and viewer, is your attention.

A few times a week on Facebook and Twitter, I'll either profile potential Bedford & Sullivan characters, post some of my favorite songs from the era, or post more of my favorite Brooklyn photos I have come across, baseball or otherwise. (Probably some "This Date in Brooklyn Dodgers History" as well.) 

And of course, any updates on the progress of the TV show's development will be posted.

I am not asking for any money. I am only looking for exposure. Spread the word about what we are trying to do. The more people who are aware and excited about the prospect of this kind of television show, the shorter the timetable will be for getting it on the air.

So, make sure to follow on twitter @BedfordSullivan and like the page on Facebook for all the latest updates.

Brooklyn and its Dodgers captivated many generations of fans.

Help me make them captivating to an entirely new generation.

Bedford & Sullivan.

The Story of Brooklyn and its Dodgers.

Thanks for reading! Like the Bedford & Sullivan Facebook pagefollow on Twitter here, and listen to the research process on the Bedford & Sullivan Podcast here. You can also follow me on Twitter @convertedmetfan.