September 29, 2016
Contract, dated July 8, 1947, between Monogram Pictures Corporation and, jointly, Babe Ruth and his wife Claire Ruth. It has been flawlessly signed in black fountain pen by "George Herman Ruth" and "Claire Ruth," with both signatures grading "PSA 10." Also signed in blue fountain pen by Steve Broidy, president of Monogram Pictures. The 8-page agreement grants Monogram Pictures the exclusive rights to produce a motion picture based upon Ruth's life, with much of the material sourced from Ruth's autobiography soon to be published by E. P. Dutton & Co., Inc. (the book was published in 1948 under the title The Babe Ruth Story and was written in conjunction with author Bob Considine). According to the terms of the contract, Babe and Claire would each receive 5% of the film's gross receipts, plus a $20,000 cash advance against the future proceeds. While Ruth's autobiography was well received, the movie version of the same name, which starred a miscast William Bendix in the title role, is considered by many to be the worst sports movie ever made. Ruth, however, had a strong commitment to the project, and on July 26, 1948, sick and dying of cancer, he ventured out to attend the movie premiere for what would be his last public appearance ever. He would pass away from his illness just three weeks later on August 16. It has been been reported that Ruth did, however, leave the theater before the film was over as he reacted to the unintentionally comical film. As a point of reference, the signed contract for the publishing rights to The Babe Ruth Story (between Ruth and E. P. Dutton & Co.) appeared as Lot 700 in REA's May 2007 auction, where it sold for $38,187. All things associated with Ruth have enjoyed an uptick in pricing over the last decade, so we are confident that the auction process will best reveal the true value of this outstanding piece.
Accompanying the movie contract is a separate 2-page agreement, dated April 4, 1947, between Babe Ruth and the Ford Motor Company in which Ruth allows Ford to use his "name and services as consultant and advisor in the conjunction with the Ford Motor Company's American Legion Junior Baseball Programs for the season from April 1, 1947 up to and including October 31, 1947." Although the contract is not signed by either party, each page has been initialed in black fountain pen by Babe Ruth ("GHR") and Claire Ruth ("C. R."), and in blue fountain pen by a Ford representative. (The agreement needed the approval of Monogram Pictures, which is the reason for its attachment here.) Additional documents include a 3-page signed contract, dated July 8, 1947, between Monogram Pictures Corporation and Bob Considine in which Considine agrees to write the screenplay for the film, as well as copies of additional agreements between Monogram Pictures Corporation and Considine, and copies of Ruth's original contract with E. P. Dutton & Co. The Ruth contract (8.5 x 11 inches), which is typed on onion skin, has notebook holes along the top of each page and otherwise remains in Excellent to Mint condition. The other documents, which are identical in size, also bear notebook holes along the top, and are otherwise in Excellent to Mint condition as well. All of the contracts are housed together within a blue-cover legal portfolio (9 x 11.5 inches; Vg-Ex). Full LOA from PSA/DNA.