It has been a long 53 years since the beloved home of the Brooklyn Dodgers was demolished in Brooklyn, but that does not mean that Ebbets Field can’t entertain us once again.
Richard Hoover, production designer for the film “42” is attempting to do just that. Using cutting-edge computer imaging technology and an old stadium located in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Hoover succeeds to bring Ebbets Field back into the hearts and minds of those that still remember as well as those who never gazed at the historic baseball field.
“The stadium is definitely a character in the film” says Hoover, who worked on the films “Dead Man Walking” and “Girl, Interrupted” as well as theTV series “Twin Peaks” “The Newsroom”.
“We had a lot of photographs to work from of course. We gathered a wealth of books – and we searched online, which is where we found a lot of stuff” he says.
The director of “42” Brian Helgeland also worked with Hoover to research the archive of the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York to find drawings as well as blueprints of Ebbets Field. Ebbets Field was legend- built in 1913 in the heart of Brooklyn, the diamond played home to the Dodgers until they betrayed Brooklyn and fled to Los Angeles before the 1958 baseball season began. In 1960 the stadium was painfully, but completely, torn down.
“We got the old blueprints, so we could have the dimensions of the field and the stadium for the movie” Helgeland says. “With those, we could make computer models we knew were accurate.”
“Someone found the original drawings for the stadium rolled up in a basement somewhere a few years ago and gave them to the Brooklyn Historical Society. They have digital copies of all of them in Cooperstown.”
Stadium interiors were shot in Chattanooga, at the old Engel Stadium, former home to the Chattanooga Lookouts a minor league ballclub; and the present home of Temple University’s baseball team. This stadium was built in 1930 and is smaller than Ebbets was, but it serves well for the inside shots.