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CALLED UP is a one-hour documentary being produced by the sports filmmaking team of Raymond Bell and Doug Harris to heighten awareness about the untold stories of historical American sports pioneers and legends.


CALLED UP is the story of Major League Baseball’s first African-American umpire who brought a flare and style to the game that had never been seen. Through in-depth interviews with family, former players, umpires, sportswriters and baseball historians, the Bell/Harris team will explore Ashford’s life journey from a unique and entertaining perspective. Throughout his long career in organized baseball (minor leagues), Emmett’s flamboyant umpiring style was popular extremely popular with fans. This characterization included arriving for ball games eloquently dressed in stylish suits, which was uncommon at the time for his umpiring colleagues.  Ashford’s fashionable persona also stood out on the field as well, where he accented his uniform shirt with cuff links and highly polished shoes while calling the action.



CALLED UP is being directed by award-winning documentary filmmaker Doug Harris, who produced OUT: The Glenn Burke Story, a critically acclaimed film about Major League Baseball’s first openly gay player. The nationally televised OUT documentary was nominated for an Emmy and the GLAAD Award.


CALLED UP: The Emmett Ashford Story is a project of Fulcrum Arts’ Emerge fiscal sponsorship program. Fulcrum Arts is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization.

Donations to CALLED UP: The Emmett Ashford Story are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law under Federal ID 95-2540759.

Please make checks payable to Fulcrum Arts. Note CALLED UP: The Emmett Ashford Story on the memo line or voucher.

Mail donation to: Fulcrum Arts 145 N. Raymond Ave, Pasadena, CA 91103