A Review of "Ernie"
by Brett J Lawrence
I have been looking forward to seeing "Ernie", by Mitch Albom, for some time now. It was always in the back of my mind to see, but as soon as I wanted to go, the fundage just wasn't there. At one point in time, my two teenage sons were planning on getting together, pooling their savings and buying me a ticket for Father's Day. While that never happened, the mere thought of it still warms my heart everytime I think of it. They truly understand how important this guy was in my upbringing with Detroit baseball. Anyways, once I was approached to review this for MOTORCIYBLOG, I couldn't pass up the opportunity.
Anyone who was raised in Detroit knew The Voice of Tiger baseball. It was, and always will be, Ernie Harwell. There is no denying it. While I am a true fan of Dan Dickerson and Jim Price, whose voices remind me of Summer days and nights on the radio, Ernie had something different. Whether it was his southern drawl, his stories, or the signature calls he made, he will always be Tiger baseball to me. And, for anyone who feels the same way, I suggest getting down to The City Theater in Detroit, attached to the Hockeytown Cafe, and spending some time with Peter Carey...the closest thing we still have to Ernie Harwell.
It was hard at first. We know every inch of Ernie's face, every nuance of his speech patterns, and every single signature call he would make. We all have tried to do a poor imitation of them for our kids, who might never have heard him before, and that's acceptable. He was our Friend, and impersonation is the best form of flattery, right? Ernie would probably laugh at them all. But, to be honest, it's hard to see an actor trying to pull it off. The first thing you notice are the errors in his drawl, the not-so-many wrinkles on his face, or the brief moments when he would slip out of voice. It saddened me. I had such high hopes. But before I knew it, as soon as I stopped being so critical and analytical for a moment, and allowed myself to listen to the stories coming from his mouth, and see the minute details of the stage set-up, I found myself hearing The Voice...I would up seeing him...I wound up Believing it was Ernie. It took time, almost into the 2nd inning, but it happened. And, for the remainder of those 7 innings, I was in a room, alone, with Ernie, as if he were telling his stories to me.
I'd love to tell you all the great parts of the play, the revelations that appeared, and the lines that brought outbursts of laughter from the crowd. (I scribbled notes on my program...) The problem is, that would completely ruin the play for you. It would soften the impact should you decide to go see it with your Dad, or your Uncle, or even you Son(s)...and I don't want to do that. You deserve to find out the details of what I feel inspired William Earnest "Ernie" Harwell, a small kid with a speech impediment from Georgia, to become one of the all-time most popular sports announcers in baseball. You deserve to find out what motivated him. I think it's best for you to hear from Ernie how he truly felt about Lulu, and what his philosophy on Love was, or rather, is. I will give you one moment of philosophy from Ernie, though, that i will always carry with me:
"Given the chance to be right or kind, it was always best to be kind." -Ernie Harwell
YOU deserve to spend some time with Ernie. And when you do decide to go, make sure you bring some tissues. You'll need 'em.
Last thing, a big heartfelt "Thank You" to Peter Carey for making me believe Ernie is still with us, if even for only a brief moment in time. Your talent is truly appreciated and your performance will never go forgotten.
Brett J Lawrence | LAWRENCECREATIVE