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A college student drops out of school to join a famous basketball team.
In their run-down bus, the touring Harlem Globetrotters, the all-black "Magicians of Basketball," arrive for another sold-out game and immediately begin entertaining the audience with their comic warm-up routine. In the bleachers are All-American college basketball star Billy Townsend and his sweetheart, Ann Carpenter. After the game, which the Trotters win handily, Billy visits with Abe Saperstein, the team's coach and manager, and announces that he is available for the upcoming season. Having spoken to Billy's worried coach earlier in the evening, Saperstein thanks the confident young man for his offer but advises him to finish school before embarking on a career in professional basketball. His admonishment does not deter Billy, however, and at the next game, he tells Saperstein that he has just quit school and is determined to play for the Globetrotters because they pay "the highest salaries in the business." Saperstein reluctantly places Billy on the team, and when Billy returns to college to pack up his belongings, both Ann and Prof. Lindley, who considers Billy one of his finest chemistry students, express their disappointment in his decision. During his first day of practice, the veteran players run Billy ragged, but he remains annoyingly confident. Billy plays well in his first game, but in his second, he scores only four points. On the bus ride to the team's first big season game with the New York Celtics, sports reporter Jack Davidson interviews Globetrotter stars Marques Haynes and Reece "Goose" Tatum, then asks Saperstein about the origin of the comic routines. Saperstein explains that in the team's barnstorming days, some twenty-four years earlier, the players became fatigued by their seven-night-per-week schedule and realized that the clowning gave the players time to rest. When Billy tells Davidson that he wants more money, and then announces that he has hurt his leg, an alarmed Saperstein orders Billy to confine such remarks to the team. That night, Davidson raves about the Globetrotters in a radio broadcast, thereby prompting a gambler to bet thirty thousand dollars on the team. The all-white Celtics and the Globetrotters are equally matched, and the contest is close from beginning to end. Billy, sent in near the game's finish, scores several times. During the final thirty seconds, however, while the Globetrotters are trying to hold their one-point lead by running out the clock, he ignores Saperstein's directions and shoots. He scores, but Saperstein is angry and fines him for risking the team's victory. The other players tease Billy, suggesting that perhaps they merely "get in his way." In Duluth, Billy starts the game, and Saperstein doubles his pay. Billy is the top scorer, but the opponents play roughly, and he is slightly injured. After the game, Prof. Turner, a chemistry instructor from an all-black state college in Baltimore, visits Billy, but the arrogant basketball star considers the institution too small, calling it a "jerkwater" school. During the hours before the team's second game against the Celtics, Billy secretly leaves his hotel and marries Ann in a civil service. Afterward, he is followed by one of the gambler's henchmen and crashes into a garbage can, thereby aggravating his knee injury. The gambler passes this news to the Celtics, who shadow Billy throughout the game. During the final seconds, his overworked knee slips, and he misses the critical last shot. Billy's nonchalance about the loss angers the other players, and when Billy shrugs off his coach's admonishments, Saperstein fires him. Later, Billy signs a contract with the New York Rams, on condition that he can rest his knee for several months. During that period, Prof. Turner convinces him to work toward his degree while teaching beginning chemistry at Baltimore State, but as the third and final Globetrotters-Celtics game approaches, Billy becomes distracted. Upon learning that the school's students, teachers and even the dean plan to attend, he complains to Ann, "You'd think it was their team." Ann argues that in a way, the Globetrotters are the black school's team and gently advises her husband to think of other people once in a while. Billy takes the suggestion to heart and when he discovers that a star Globetrotter is in the hospital, he risks losing his New York contract by offering to play for him in the Celtics game. Saperstein and the players gratefully accept his offer, and Billy again plays with the team. During the closing seconds of the agonizingly close game, Billy scores the winning basket but then has to be helped off the court. His knee again weak and his new contract lost, Billy plans to return to Baltimore State, but before he and Ann depart, the Globetrotters present him with a souvenir ball from the memorable game.
Cast & Crew
|MPAA Ratings:||Premiere Info:||not available|
|Release Date:||1951||Production Date:||
|Color/B&W:||Black and White||Distributions Co:||Columbia Pictures Corp.|
|Sound:||Mono (Western Electric Recording)||Production Co:||Columbia Pictures Corp., Sidney Buchman Enterprises, Inc.|
|Duration(mins):||75 or 80||Country:||United States|
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Joanna Williams 2016-12-10
My mother is in this movie. I would like to know how to get a copy of this movie.
Harlem Globetrotters 1951 Film
I would love to buy a copy of this film.Anybody know why it is not available?
1951 harlem globe trotters
james robinson 2016-02-28
I saw this movie when I was a kid, I saw the globr trotters in person several times during school days. they were a great group of guys, & players. I...