On a completely personal level, I'm hoping that Part Two mentions, at least in passing, Milton Kayle, who was Jackie Robinson's lawyer in certain business ventures later in Robinson's career. Milt was a wonderful guy who I got to know when he lived at the same Independent Living residence my folks moved to, and I loved having dinner and talking with him. I've written about him briefly here on the Huffington Post, and perhaps most notably, he was an adviser and speechwriter for Harry Truman. I don't expect that he'll be brought up in the documentary, though it's possible, even if just in a photo.)
I also liked hearing about how important the sportswriter Wendell Smith was to Jackie Robinson's career. At the time, he wrote for a Pittsburgh newspaper, though later moved to Chicago. I read his column occasionally, and he also did some TV sports reporting for the local news.
Anyway, the point here is to mention one of my favorite moments in the first part of the documentary. The film uses a lot of "talking heads," most notably Robinson's widow Rachel who is as eloquent and terrific as one could hope for. There's also Carl Erskine, one of Jackie Robinson's teammates on the Brooklyn Dodgers, and Burns even is able to include footage he previously filmed (no doubt for his Baseball documentary series) of the great Buck O'Neill, who played with Robinson on the Kansas City Monarchs in the old Negro League, and was later a coach and scout for the Chicago Cubs. And also among the periodic talking heads is President Barack Obama.
There is a sequence with First Lady Michelle Obama, and then later one in particular when the husband and wife are filmed together. And that's the segment in question that stands out.
Michelle Obama is commenting on a notable point in the documentary about how Jackie and Rachel Robinson worked as a team, and their mutual support was critical to his success. In referencing that, the First Lady discusses Jackie Robinson's "judgement to find a partner" as wonderful as Rachel speaks so loudly to his own character. (Interestingly, a similar point that a Dodgers scout makes to the team's general manager Branch Rickey in recommending that the ballplayer is ready to be called up to the majors.) And when Mrs. Obama makes her statement about Robin's great judgement in finding a partner...the president breaks into the warmest and happiest broad smile I have ever seen from him. It is an utterly human and incredibly endearing moment.
What's interesting beyond this is that his wife only can see this from the corner of her eye, and it probably seems like just a normal smile from that angle, so you get the sense that she probably thinks he's chiding her, and she gets momentarily defensive, to which he quickly agrees with her, to make clear his support of her comment. I suspect that later he told her what he was smiling about, or at the very least she'll see it when they watch the documentary. Because it as clear as anything that his is a man overjoyed with having his own character praised for having the judgement in finding such a wonderful partner.
I was going to leave it at that, sorry that the best I could do was describe the moment. But happily -- I found the video of it.
Here 'tis --