A Piece of the Past - September 2005
The 110- by 15-foot fabric mural – still one of the largest fabric indoor photographic murals in the world - wraps around the first base and third base lines of a Little League diamond and gives people entering the lobby of the museum the illusion that they are part of an important game.
“I had a minute and a half to do it,” Kaufman recalled during a recent telephone interview from his New York City studio.
“I was using an 8x10 camera. I was trying to do the biggest mural I’ve ever done in the least amount of time that I ever had,” he continued, remembering that the ABC Television film crew was “screaming at me to get off the field before I even started. I had to complete my task and stayed out there until I finished!”
Kaufman worked with Robert Denby, president of Denby Associates, Princeton, N.J., on the project. He built a platform on the roof of his station wagon and mounted the special camera atop it. He took 10 images to complete the effect.
Just as the television coverage went (live), I drove off the field and hurried to process the film to make sure I had the images I wanted,” Kaufman explained. “It was very exciting. I am very proud of it. The 1:1 proportion gives the illusion of being in a stadium.”
The images Kaufman took have immortalized the game in which the Kirkland, Wash., team won the series title against Pu-Tzu, Chinese Taipei, by a score of 6-0. It was the first time in six years that a Far East team lost in a bid for the world title.
Visitors to the museum who were seated in the grandstand at Lamade Stadium at the time may see their image in the mural. Others may have fun looking for someone they know, while others may be amused by the fashions of the day. Skeptics can view the 1982 World Series Highlights on a nearby video monitor and see some of the fans included in the photograph.
The mural, prepared through a computer-generated painting process for mural reproduction, came in 28 panels, each 15 feet in height. The photo itself is printed on a canvas-like material using the Scanamural process of the 3M Company. The cottonized fabric is affixed directly to a specially primed wall surface in the museum by means of a custom-prepared adhesive, according to the July 1983 issue of Photographic Processing.
Kaufman and Denby planned every step before the photo was taken. “Kaufman coolly caught the vitality and excitement of the assembled fans within the few minutes provided,” according to Photographic Processing.
R. W. Frits, project manager of Architectural Murals and Commercial Displays for 3M at the time, explained in the article that the Scanamural is not a paper photo-mural, but a photo-realistic replication of a color print or transparency electronically painted to huge scale. The process uses cyan, magenta, yellow and black pigments, he wrote. Because it is formed with non-fading pigments on strong, durable substrates, the mural has longer life.
Nowadays, building-size graphics can be made digitally, Tom Black, a spokesman for 3M’s graphics department said.
Kaufman, now a noted architectural photographer, also took a photograph for a mural on the Holland Tunnel for the Port Authority in New Jersey. That mural was painted to look like a photograph.
The Little League mural may be among the largest fabric murals, but it is not the largest mural made using transparencies. That honor belongs to the 150-foot long “The Grand Canyon: Minolta’s Laserscape, The View of a Lifetime,” a 360-degree mural made from within the canyon. The canyon mural is housed in the International Photography Hall of Fame and Museum in Oklahoma City, Okla.
The World Series mural is a colorful backdrop to the museum lobby which is home to a diamond that is two-thirds the size of an actual Little League field.
Dr. Creighton Hale, president of Little League Baseball and Softball when the museum opened in 1982, was quoted as saying the reproduction “beautifully captures the spirit of Little League Baseball.”
The field where the championship game is played each year is behind the museum, at 525 Route 15 Highway, South Williamsport.
The museum is open from from Labor Day through Memorial Day, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Thursday and Friday; noon to 5 p.m. Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday. The hours change from Memorial Day through Labor Day to 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 7 p.m. Sunday. The facility is accessible to people with disabilities.
Rates are $5 for adults; $3 for those 62 and older; $1.50 for children from ages 5 through 13. There is no fee for children 4 or younger. Group rates and tours are available by contacting the museum in advance. For more information, call the museum at 570-326-3607, or click here for more information.
The large photo mural from the 1982 Little League Baseball World Series championship game can be seen during a recent event at the Peter J. McGovern Little League Museum.