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Houk Joins Production of "Safe at Home" to the Amusement of Yankee Players

Feb. 14, 1962 - The Yankees went Hollywood today, and for more than four hours Manager Ralph Houk’s well-regulated training camp became a merry shambles. The occasion was the first shooting of scenes in Columbia Pictures’ forthcoming film, “Safe at Home,” featuring Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle, and with William Frawley (right) playing the role of a Yankee coach. In an unguarded moment, Houk (left) allowed himself to get involved in the act. “Well,” agreed the Yankees’ skipper, “okay, if it’s only a small part.” But first Houk had to be prepared by the make-up artist. This took some doing. The Major is still the rugged military man, and the rouge and powder made him squirm — especially when he found himself in the center of the astonished stares of his players. From the back of the locker room, a voice piped: “Please don’t call our manager madam.” Then came the walk-on and the few lines with Frawley on the field. “Excellent,” said the director, “now we will do it again.” Eight more times they did it again, by which time Houk’s patience began to wear thin. “Ordinarily, I wouldn’t care how many times we had to do this over again,” said Houk, “but look at my players grinning over there. I bet they’re saying, ‘How can our manager be so dumb?’” Actually, Houk gave an excellent performance and the retakes weren’t his fault. Once they forgot to put film in the camera. “Gosh,” asked Houk, “what goes in this business? That’s like sending up a pinch-hitter without a bat.” After filming was completed, the skipper drove his players through another two-and-a-half-hour practice session. But the rookies who had appeared in the picture didn’t mind a bit. Each had received $100 for romping on the field.

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