Award Winning Film and Its Maker to be Featured in Museum

Larry Foley, veteran broadcast journalist, educator and documentary filmmaker will introduce the showing of (two of his films) his film ”The First Boys of Spring in the Old Independence Regional Museum on Sunday, June 3 at 1:30.

His films have earned seven Mid America Emmys from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, and 19 Emmy nominations in writing, journalist enterprise, history, cultural history, special program and community service. He has also received four Best of Festival of Media Arts awards from the international Broadcast Education Association for his films.His most recent award was for his short film about Frank Broyles, which received a Best of Festival Award from Broadcast Education in Las Vegas last April.

His “The First Boys of Spring” is an hour-long documentary film, narrated by Arkansas native Billy Bob Thornton. It shows the close connections between Hot Springs, Arkansas, and early professional baseball payers and teams. Despite its somewhat remote location, the town was the pre-season training site of choice for decades before many teams began going to Florida or Arizona sites for Spring Training.

Using vintage photos, interviews, anecdotes, re-enactments and historic locations in Hot Springs the film tells the interesting and often overlooked story of the important role the Spa City played in helping baseball become the national pastime.

Between the 1880s and the 1920s early spring found many teams from big-league baseball, the minor leagues and the Negro Leagues in Hot Springs, AR, preparing for the upcoming season. The film shows Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner, Satchel Paige, Cool Papa Bell, and Cy Young and others as they trained there. They were just a few of the many players on dozens of well-known teams who regularly spent pre-season time there.  

In 1939 about half of the first class of inductees into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY, had spent time training in Hot Springs.  Many teams and players attributed their on-field success to the time they spent conditioning, training and playing exhibition games in the hills and valleys of Hot Springs.

Players loved to begin conditioning and training there, believing the famed mineral waters helped them condition their bodies and shed extra winter pounds.  They also appreciated other Hot Springs diversions such as horse racing, gambling, and the generally free and easy lifestyle of that era in Hot Springs.

Filmmaker Foley is professor and chair of the School of Journalism and Strategic Media at the University of Arkansas. In 2017, he was inducted into the Mid America Emmy Silver Circle for a distinguished career invested in teaching, reporting, writing, producing and directing stories, mostly about his beloved home state of Arkansas. He was honored because he personified the spirit of innovation, passion, creativity and commitment that are hallmarks of excellence in television arts and sciences.

His PBS credits include The Buffalo Flows, Saving the Eagles, The Lost Squadron and When Lightning Struck: Sago of an American Warplane. Foley’s scripts have been narrated by President Bill Clinton, Academy Aware winners Billy Bob Thornton, Mary Steenburgen and Ray McKinnon, county music star Joe Nichols, ABC reporter T.J. Holmes, and NFL Hall of Fame broadcaster Charlie Jones.

This program is open and free to the public……..