Erskine film to premiere at Paramount Theatre on Aug. 11

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May 26—ANDERSON — The world premiere of the film chronicling the life of one of Anderson's most famous native sons, Carl Erskine, is set for Aug. 11.

The documentary film produced by Ted Green, "The Best We've Got: The Carl Erskine Story" will be shown at the Paramount Theatre.

Tickets go on sale at 7:30 p.m. June 11. The cost ranges from $17 to $40 at www.carlerskinefilm.com and there will be a reception starting at 5:30 p.m. at a cost of $117.

Proceeds go to cover expenses, and the remaining funds will go to the Special Olympics.

Erskine played baseball for the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers and was instrumental in the start of the Special Olympics.

Green's film also will note the role Erskine played in two of the great Civil Rights movements as a teammate and close friend of Jackie Robinson and as a pioneer for people with special needs.

"Without the Carl Erskines of the world, we would never know the real power of sport," Tim Shriver, the son of Eunice Kennedy Shriver and chairman of the Special Olympics International Board of Directors, said.

The Erskine movie will also be shown in several other Indiana cities and on Public Broadcasting System stations around the country.

"In baseball circles and among many in Indiana, Carl has been revered for decades," Green said. "And we'll show that in the most fun, comprehensive light yet. But the true beauty of the film will be what Carl has done, quietly but so powerfully, to integrate society and make all feel accepted and welcome. He is a living testament to the ability a humble, dedicated person has to make a mountain of difference, and the Indiana Historical Society and I are beyond grateful that he's trusting us with his legacy story."

The film includes commentary and perspectives from the Erskine family, Timothy Shriver of Special Olympics International, Hall of Fame broadcasters Vin Scully and Bob Costas, former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, and Hall of Fame basketball player and coach Bob "Slick" Leonard. Daniels inspired the film's title. When presenting Erskine with a Sachem Award, the state's highest honor, he said "He's the best we've got."

On the human rights front, Erskine and his wife, Betty, raised their son, Jimmy, who has Down's syndrome, during a time when there were no schooling or services available to him, Green said.

They started grassroots programs and pushed for legislation that ultimately led to the abolishment of prison-like institutions and steps toward full integration into society.

The project was made possible with the support of the Gaither Charitable Foundation, Avis Foundation, Special Olympics Indiana, Madison County Community Foundation, Ball Brothers Foundation, McMillen Foundation, Peter O'Malley, Mike and Jeannie Dinius, and The Arc of Indiana.

Special Olympics Indiana is contributing an educational component to the project, the Erskine Personal Impact Curriculum, which will be presented by Duke Energy and distributed to schools statewide.

The curriculum's lessons and activities promote social and emotional learning for every age level, using stories and experiences from Erskine's life about friendship, dignity, inclusion, perseverance, appreciation, leadership, empowerment and social change.

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 765-640-4863.