VIDEO '89: 'Major League' premieres in Cleveland

Posted at 8:18 AM, Apr 10, 2014

The movie “Major League” premiered 25 years ago April 7, 1989 but Cleveland got its own premiere a few days earlier.

It was during the 13th annual Cleveland International Film Festival on April 4, 1989 "Major League" had its local premiere.

Director David S. Ward and actor Corbin Bernsen attended the opening at Playhouse Square’s Ohio Theater.

I’ve divided the video in our player into four clips.

The first clip is video of people going to the movie opening and our movie review from WEWS entertainment reporter David Moss. Moss shows clips from the film and gets reaction from those who saw the film. Moss calls the film “one wild movie”.

David Moss left WEWS for WJW in 1994.

The second clip is the opening of Live On Five with Roy Weissenger and Wilma Smith. Wilma shows footage from the movie being shot in Cleveland the previous July.

Actually, most of the movie was shot at County Stadium in Milwaukee. The July, 1988 shoot was aerials and crowd shots of a jam-packed Municipal Stadium. If memory serves, the Tribe played the Mariners on a fireworks night, hence the big crowd.

Wilma interviews the film’s director David S. Ward. Ward spent some of his youth in Cleveland.

“All my heroes were Indians,” Ward says, listing his favorite players of that era as Al Rosen, Bob Lemon and Bobby Avila.

Ward won an Academy Award early in his career for the screenplay of “The Sting”.

He goes into detail concerning the approval needed from the Indians and Major League Baseball regarding rights and rules involved in securing approval to make the film.

The third clip is an interview with actor Corbin Bernsen. Bernsen was a big TV star from “L.A. Law”, which was in production while “Major League” was filming. There is a gap missing from the interview due to a tape issue.

“Baseball was my fantasy career,” Bernsen tells Wilma. He played baseball through high school and when it looked as if he would have to cut his hair to play college ball, he headed toward a career in philosophy – it was the 70s after all.

Bernsen is no film stranger in northeast Ohio as he’s been here to film Akron’s Soap Box Derby.

Finally we close with a story David Moss did the day of the stadium shoot in July, 1988. The crew is prepping for its aerial shoot that evening.

We put Chopper 5 up to get shots of the film crew’s chopper looking at filming options.

Moss interviews producer Irby Smith and assistant director Jerry Grandey.