The Kid from Left Field (1979 film)

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The Kid from Left Field
The Kid from Left Field 1979 VHS cover.png
Cover of VHS release of movie
Genre Comedy
Written by Katharyn Powers
Jack Sher
Directed by Adell Aldrich
Starring Gary Coleman
Robert Guillaume
Gary Collins
Ed McMahon
Music by David Michael Frank
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
Executive producer(s) Deena Silver-Kramer
Producer(s) David Vreeland
Cinematography Frank Thackery
Editor(s) Robert Hernandez
Peter Kirby
Running time 100 minutes
Production company(s) Gary Coleman Productions
Zephyr Productions
Original network NBC
Picture format Color
Audio format Mono
Original release September 30, 1979 (1979-09-30)

The Kid from Left Field is a 1979 American made-for-television baseball comedy film starring Gary Coleman and Robert Guillaume. Coleman's first film, it is a remake of the 1953 film of the same name.


Jackie Robinson "J.R." Cooper is a kid who loves baseball, and also the son of a former major leaguer now down on his luck (and now a vendor working the stands at games). J.R. parlays his baseball knowledge into becoming manager of the San Diego Padres and leading them to the World Series.[1]

Primary Cast


A vehicle for NBC to try to enhance Coleman's growing stardom from the sitcom Diff'rent Strokes, the television movie first aired on Sunday, September 30, 1979. It was the 15th highest-rated prime time show of the week, with a Nielsen rating of 21.4.[2] Critics, however, did not love the film, which was plainly directed at younger viewers. Tom Shales of the Washington Post wrote "there is no point in listing the credits ... because no credit is due."[3][4] After Coleman died in 2010 and Jeff Pearlman wrote a tribute to the film in Sports Illustrated, director Adell Aldrich commented "we weren't trying to win awards, but we did want to make something people would enjoy."[3] Vince Edwards had originally been picked to direct, but quit after two days because he didn't want to work with children.[3][5]

NBC held a special preview of the film after a San Diego Padres game on September 21, 1979.[6] Oddly enough, the day after the film first aired on television, the Padres hired their announcer Jerry Coleman (who also appeared in the film as the team's announcer) as their new manager.[7] This led to some jokes that the team had meant to hire Gary Coleman.[8][9]


At a dinner ceremony, Sunday evening, December 7, 1980, Gary Coleman, on behalf of the film, accepted the Image Award for "Best Children's Special or Episode in a Series," at the 13th NAACP Image Awards at the Hollywood Palladium.[10]

Home media

The film was released on VHS by Vestron Video in 1984. It has not been released on DVD.


  1. ^ (1 October 1979). Picks and Pans Review: The Kid from Left Field, People
  2. ^ Brown, Les. (3 October 1979). NBC a Close 2d to ABC in TV Ratings, The New York Times
  3. ^ a b c Pearlman, Jeff (11 June 2010). Remembering Gary Coleman as The Kid From Left Field, Sports Illustrated
  4. ^ Shales, Tom (29 September 1979). James Earl Jones, Sizzling in 'Paris', The Washington Post
  5. ^ Erickson, Hal. The Baseball Filmography, 1915 through 2001, 2d ed., pp. 257-59 (2010)
  6. ^ (20 September 1979). Crowd at Ball Game to See Preview of a TV Movie, The New York Times
  7. ^ (2 October 1979). Jerry Coleman to Manage Padres, Lewiston Sun (Associated Press)
  8. ^ Kenney, Kirk & Randy Jones. 100 Things Padres Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die, p. 295 (2016)
  9. ^ Strasberg, Andy. San Diego Baseball Fantography, p. 48 (2014)
  10. ^ "13th Image Awards Named," Los Angeles Times, December 9, 1980 (photo of Gary Coleman accepting award from presenters Danielle Spencer & Kim Fields)
    (accessible via, part 6, p. 1 &, part 6, p. 2; subscription required)

External links

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