Dennis Morgan and Two Strike Park
Do you ever have a film star that you so enjoy that you will watch anything he or she is in? I’ve got a lot of them. Bette Davis, Barbara Stanwyck, Judy Garland, William Powell, Humphrey Bogart…I could go on and on. As I delve into the world of classic film I find more and more stars whose movies I’ll watch no matter how bad they may be. One of my most recent adds is Dennis Morgan.
After first discovering him in Christmas and Connecticut I’ve gone more and more down the rabbit hole of his filmography. Often relegated to “nice guy” roles he nevertheless starred in a number of films during the 1940’s and 50’s including several collaborations with his best friend (and another one of my favorites) Jack Carson.
Eager to know more about the friendly star I delved a bit into his backstory and discovered something quite interesting. In 1949 he founded Two Strike Park in the city of La Crescenta and a quick google search led me to discover the park still exists today. Recently, I visited the park to see it in person.
Two Strike Park was dedicated July 4, 1949 by Morgan, La Crescenta’s “honorary mayor.” Morgan felt that a child playing in the street already had two strikes against him and the third strike could be getting hit by a car. Wanting to ensure that children did have a safe place to play he started a series of celebrity baseball games to raise funds for a park and was eventually able to donate 5 acres of land to create one. The county added another 31/2 acres and Two Strike Park was born.
Today it’s a lovely area in the heart of a La Crescenta neighborhood and includes a war memorial dedicated to those we’ve lost in various conflicts around the world.
While the memorial is a lovely tribute the remainder of the park is very much kid focused. There’s not one but three different playgrounds. On my visit there were several children having a grand time playing. And, of course, there’s a baseball diamond.
Two Strike Park is a wonderful testimony to Dennis Morgan. I’m so happy it remains a vital part of the community to this day.