Tuesday, April 14, 2015

When Jackie Robinson Performed at the Apollo

Since we are a day away from MLB's celebration of all things Jackie Robinson I thought I would take just a moment to share an unique Robinson collectible I saw at Goldin's current sports auction.  Check it out above.  It is a 1947 program from the famed Apollo theater featuring a one week engagement of the recently named Rookie of the Year - Jackie Robinson.  Check out the auction here.

From what I understand, Jackie signed a term management contract (via The Billboard Magazine, September 13, 1947) with General Artist Corporation for radio, vaudeville and exhibition Baseball game appearances after his fantastic rookie season.  After all, pro ballplayers at that time did not make the millions they earn today, so finding another revenue stream during the off-season was a must.  Considering his growing popularity, he was easily able to market himself at various events like the one above.   Best yet, it must have been a fun departure from the vitriol he would often hear on the ballfield.

Unfortunately, I couldn't find an actual account of what he did on the stage at the Harlem theater, but from what I understand he appeared as part of a musical comedy routine.  What I did find, though, was the below photo showing the Robinson's reviewing what looks like a script backstage before the show.  If you happen to know what he performed or who he performed with please let me know.
( Photo: FPG / Archive Photos / Getty Images)

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