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The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings (1976)

Billy Dee Williams had one of his best roles as the organizer of a maverick team hoping to break into Major League Baseball in the 1930s. As Bingo Long, a character inspired by Leroy “Satchel” Paige, he defies his tyrannical Negro League manager (Ted Ross) to poach Black players for a barnstorming tour of the Midwest. Among his teammates are James Earl Jones, Richard Pryor and Stan Shaw, whose character combines elements of Willie Mays and Jackie Robinson. The team’s comic antics on the diamond were based on the work of an actual team, the Indianapolis Clowns, some of whose members came out of retirement to appear in the film and re-create their routines.

d. John Badham, 110m, DCP