The Joe Louis Story (1953)





Director:    Robert Gordon.

Starring:   Coley Wallace (Joe Louis), Paul Stewart (Tad McGeehan), Hilda Simms (Marva Louis), James Edwards (Chappie Blackburn), John Marley (Mannie Seamon), Dotts Johnson (Julian Black), Evelyn Ellis (Mrs. Barrow), Carl Rocky Latimer (Arthur Pine) John Marriott (Sam Langford), P. Jay Sidney (Handler), Isaac Jones (Johnny Kingston), Royal Beal (Mike Jacobs), Buddy Thorpe (Max Schmeling).

Life and times of black heavyweight champion, Joe Louis.



Spoiler Warning:




Historical Background:


1914  -- born Joseph Louis Barrow in LaFayette, Alabama the seventh of eight children born to poor tenant farmers.

1915  --  boxer Jack Johnson loses his heavyweight title, after which white promoters and fighters deny blacks the opportunity to fight for the heavyweight title.

1916  -- his father committed to the Searcy State Hospital for the Colored Insane, only to die a few years later.  His mother remarries to a man with his own large family.

1926 --  the family heads north to settle in Detroit. He had a tough time in school because of a speech impediment and because he was placed in classes with younger children due to his poor education.  He winds up in Bronson Vocational School.

He begins boxing early and starts an amateur boxing career. He is sponsored by shady characters in Detroit.  They send him to Chicago to train with Jack Blackburn, a noted trainer. The emphasis in the training was on the left jab, counterpunching, and combination punches in rapid sequence.

1935  --  by this time he had won 18 professional fights, but finds that he is limited by the color bar.  To the rescue came Jewish immigrant Mike Jacobs.  He brings Louis to New York City to fight former heavyweight champion Primo Carnera. He defeats the former champ in six rounds.  

1935 September 12   -- after Louis marries Marva Trotter in a private ceremony he fights Max Baer in Yankee Stadium.  Louis won in four rounds. Sportswriters makes up such nicknames as the Brown Bomber and the Dark Destroyer. Louis becomes the supreme black hero of his times. In many movies of famous African-Americans, Joe Louis is often mentioned.  

1936 June 11  --  Louis loses to Max Schmeling of Germany.  Hitler embraces Schmeling's victory as proof of Aryan racial superiority.

1937 June 22  --  Louis knocks out the heavyweight champion, James J. Braddock, in Chicago's Comiskey Park in the eighth round.

1938 June 22  --  in his rematch in Yankee Stadium with Max Schmeling.  Louis was quite angry because of the racial overtones of the fight and it soon became a symbol of the fight between Nazism and American values.  In the very first round, Louis lands an overhand right that leaves Schmeling out on his feet.  Louis follows up with a roundhouse right that broke two of his opponent's vertebrae. Schmeling was down three times and his trainer threw in the towel.

1939 -1941  -- Louis successfully defends his title 15 times.

1941 June 18  --  light-heavyweight champion Billy Conn is winning on points until the thirteenth round when Louis finally connects and then finishes Conn off.

1942   --  Louis enlists in the U.S. Army and makes on morale-boosting tours giving boxing exhibitions.  In this year trainer Blackburn dies.

1945   --  Louis is out of the army, but also bankrupt. He spent too much and then also was hurt by the raised income taxes following the war. His wife , Marva, divorces him.

1946  June 19  --  knocks out Billy Conn in eight rounds. Also in this year his ex-wife, Marva, remarries him.  

1949  -- retires from the ring.  His wife, Marva, divorces him again.

1950 --  financial problems force Louis back into the ring, this time against black champion Ezzard Charles who wins a 15-round decision.

1951 October 26  --  in his last fight, Louis is knocked out by future champion Rocky Marciano. His final record was 68 wins, 54 by knockout, and three losses. Louis had opened professional athletics to blacks and desegregation followed in other sports.

mid-1950s  -- Louis had a tax bill of over $1 million dollars.

1955  -- marries beauty shop operator Rose Morgan.

1958  -- divorces from Rose Morgan.

1959  --  marries attorney Martha Malone Jefferson, moving into her home in Los Angeles.

1970  -- voluntarily admits him into a Colorado mental hospital. Then Caesars Palace in Las Vegas gives him a  job as a greeter in its casino.

1981  -- dies of a massive heart attack.

Source: A&E's


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