images from Thinking GrandeMexican immigrant Jose Luis Bonilla, dishwasher turned businessman, spent over 20 years building his colossal, hand-made Mexican Disneyland in the heart of California, only to abandon it after permit problems. Filmmakers Kevin Bender and Julio Fons capture Bonilla’s story in the documentary Thinking Grande.” The film will have its television premier on San Diego’s public television station KPBS on Tuesday, May 26th, at 9:30 pm.

Vin ScullyApropos of Bender, 20 years ago, the filmmaker produced and directed “Ball Talk: Baseball’s Voices of Summer,” about six Hall of Fame baseball announcers: Mel Allen, Red Barber, Jack Brickhouse, Jack Buck, Curt Gowdy and Ernie Harwell. (The film, called “a gem” by the L.A. Times is available for the first time on DVD.) Now Bender has turned his attention to Vin Scully, the longtime announcer of the L.A. Dodgers in his new blog Scully’s Scorebook: Hits, Runs & Humanities.

Bender, a former English teacher, started listening to Scully while studying English and education at UC Santa Barbara in the late 1970s. “Vin’s broadcasts were nightly seminars in hits, runs and the humanities,” Bender remembers. “Steve Garvey’s forearms reminded him of Longfellow’s “Village Blacksmith,” a late-game comeback has the Dodgers not going “gentle into that good night,” a bad shortstop conjured up Coleridge’s “Ancient Mariner,” because when fielding ground balls, the infielder also “stoppeth one of three.”

Bender has long wanted to honor and celebrate Scully. “Vin didn’t want to be in ‘Ball Talk,’ so this is a way I can show my appreciation for him.”

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