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The Joe Louis Story (September 18, 1953)

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The Joe Lewis Story

Released September 18, 1953: The story of boxer Joe Louis, who held the heavyweight championship for 12 years, longer than anyone else, even Mohammed Ali.

Directed by Robert Gordon

The Actors: Corey Wallace (Joe Louis), Hilda Simms (Marva Trotter Louis), Paul Stewart (Tad McGeehan), James Edwards (Jack 'Chappie' Blackburn), John Marley (Mannie Seamon), Dots Johnson (Julian Black), Evelyn Ellis (Mrs. Barrows), Carl 'Rocky' Latimer (Arthur Pine), John Marriott (Sam Langford), Ike Jones (Johnny Kingston), P. Jay Sidney (John Roxborough, handler), Royal Beal (Mike Jacobs), Herbert Ratner (newspaper reporter), Ruby Goldstein (himself), Norman Rose (Lieutenant), David Kurlan (bartender), Ralph Stantley (Nick the announcer), Shorty Linton (himself), Anita Ellis (herself, nightclub singer), Ellis Larkins (himself, musician), Max Baer (himself, archive footage), Jimmy Braddock (himself, archive footage), Primo Carnera (himself, archive footage), Sidney Clute (Lou, reporter), Ossie Davis (Bob), Clark Howat (reporter in locker room), Joe Louis (himself, archive footage), Rocky Marciano (himself, archive footage), Tiger Joe Marsh (himself), Albert Popwell (reporter in locker room), Max Schmeling (himself), William Thourlby (Max Schmeling), Walter Winchell (himself).


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I've gotta tell you, when I was a kid boxing wasn't a big sprts event in our home. Yeah, I remember hearing about Joe Louis, Rocky Marciano, and some of the others, but I never realized how much impact Heavyweight Champion of the World Joe Louis had on American Society in the 1930's and 1940's. I never realized that he was boxing champ for more continuous years than any other boxer. Today Football is the king of sports, with just about every male and plenty of females following their favorite team and players. But in the 1930's and 1940's, it was boxers that were on everyone's lips and talked about at every office water cooler. And Joe Louis was the best of the best.

The Joe Louis Story opens with a young teen that by chance gets into boxing, and discovers that it can be his ticket out of family poverty. His mother sees the passion in his swollen eyes and tells him that if that is what he really wants, she will back him. Soon he is fighting professionally and winning every fight. But one day he fights the German champion Max Schmeling. Max beat Joe fair and square, and that night Joe Louis lost some of the swagger in his attitude - he was not invincible. I believe that this loss was what made Joe a real winner. Not until he lost that fight did he get the REAL passion for winning. From that day onward his focus was on his craft. The over-confident swagger was gone, replaced by a single-minded passion to win and be the best. The rest of the movie is a true telling of the ups and downs of a great man. Joe Louis became the first African-American national hero, becoming a role model to kids of every color and every background. Joe Louis was the World Heavyweight Champion for longer than anyone - including the great Muhammad Ali. International Boxing Research Organization named Joe Louis the greatest heavyweight fighter of all time in 2005.

I am writing this on Tuesday, November 8, 2011. Boxer Joe Frazer died yesterday. Joe Frazer was the first boxer to beat the great Muhammad Ali in 1971, and later lost to him twice in amazing and historic battles. It is a good time to remember boxing champion Joe Louis, who died in 1981 at the age of 66. In this telling of his story, you will see actual fight footage from his greatest fights. Pop a big bowl of popcorn, and especially if you are not a classic boxing fan, take a peek at the life of a real American Hero.