Saturday, June 13, 2009

Art vs. Life

TCM's Essential for this week is The Fortune Cookie, airing at 8:00 PM ET tonight. Jack Lemmon plays a television cameraman who gets slightly injured filming an NFL game when the game action comes his way. He'd recover just fine, if it weren't for the fact that his brother-in-law (Walter Matthau) is an ambulance-chasing lawyer who encourages Lemmon to sue for as much as he can get. It's typically biting farce from director Billy Wilder, and Lemmon and Matthau are as good in their roles as they ever were together.

What might be more interesting, however, is the real-life case of a photographer who gets hit by an NFL player. At a San Francisco 49er game in 2000, photographer Mickey Pfleger was on the sidelines taking photos when he got hit by Kansas City tight end Tony Gonzalez. The story has a much happier ending, though, with no lawsuit involved. Pfleger was taken to the hospital, and when they ran the tests to see if he was OK, it turned out that he wasn't: Gonzalez hadn't hurt him, but he had a brain tumor that would never have been discovered if it hadn't been for Gonzalez' hit forcing him to go to the emergency room.

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