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While Thousands Cheer

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While Thousands Cheer is an American film released in 1940.[1] Leo C. Popkin directed.[2] The film featured a mostly African American cast including football star from UCLA Kenny Washington, who was denied entry to the segregated NFL for several years.[3][4] The Oakland Museum of California has several lobby cards and a poster for the film in its collection.[5] It is a lost film. It was the only football themed film film with an African American lead character for decades.[6]

Produced by Clifford Sanforth it is a Million Dollar Productions film.[7]


  • Kenny Washington as Kenny Harrington
  • Mantan Moreland as Nash
  • Pete Webster as Downey
  • Jeni Le Gon as Myra
  • Reginald Fenderson as Phil Harrington
  • Lawrence Criner as Green
  • Monte Hawley as Johnson
  • Florence O'Brien as Daisy
  • Ida Belle Kauffin as Rose
  • Bud Harris as Coach Harding
  • Earl Hall as Jerry Stevens
  • John Thomas as Jack Saunders/Spike
  • Reginald Anderson as Umpire
  • Jack Spears as Referee
  • Alfred Grant as Radio announcer
  • Edward Thompson as Ransom[2]


  1. https://newspapers.library.in.gov/?a=d&d=INR19401102-01.1.12&e=-------en-20--1--txt-txIN-------
  2. 2.0 2.1 "While Thousands Cheer (1940) - Full Credits - TCM.com". Turner Classic Movies.
  3. "Lobby card from the Hollywood film While Thousands Cheer | Picture This". picturethis.museumca.org.
  4. https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/kidspost/kenny-washington-paved-way-for-black-players-in-nfl/2014/02/19/063ad55e-98c2-11e3-80ac-63a8ba7f7942_story.html#:~:text=But%20Kenny%20Washington%20was%20the,played%20in%20the%20new%20league.
  5. "kenny washington | OMCA COLLECTIONS". collections.museumca.org.
  6. Zhang, James J.; Pitts, Brenda G. (April 5, 2019). Globalized Sport Management in Diverse Cultural Contexts. Routledge. ISBN 9780429559372 – via Google Books. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  7. http://collections.museumca.org/?q=collection-item/2000218-0

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