Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Once Upon a Wheel|
Actors: Mario Andretti, Stephen Boyd, Wilt Chamberlain, Chuck Connors, Kirk Douglas
Director: David Winters
Genres: Sports, Documentary
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Racing w/ the Woodstock generation; NOT what I expected
Brent A. Anthonisen | Alpharetta, GA, USA | 10/18/2004
(1 out of 5 stars)
"The cover of this DVD features, along with some photos of some vintage racing machines (heretofore locked away in the memories of the model kits I worked on with my father at a very young age), the promise that you will "See many of the sports' legendary drivers in their prime: Mario Andretti, Parnelli Jones, Jackie Stewart, Al and Bobby Unser, and NASCAR legends Bobby Isaac and 'The King' Richard Petty as they join guest stars Kirk Douglas, Dick Smothers and James Garner to bring this thriling sport vibrantly to life."
Sorry, but that's a gross exaggeration. Any Sunday evening edition of ESPN's "SportsCenter" will show more actual racing highlights than this entire DVD. I should have been suspicious of the running time (51 minutes) when I first saw this on display; a feature this short would be hard-pressed to contain the amount of action that one would expect from a "documentary" that suggests coverage of action from Indy, Formula One, and NASCAR. In fact the one race that provides the most action in this presentation is a celebrity pro/am race for charity organized by Kirk Douglas.
NASCAR fans will probably be the most disappointed, hoping to get an idea from whence today's technologically sophisticated and mass-marketed, multi-media driven sport originated, but as the sport was nowhere near as widely covered in 1970 as it is now, it gets scant coverage on this DVD. Indeed, NASCAR's biggest stars at the time, the aforementioned Isaac and Petty, have perhaps three or four quotes between them. Confusingly for the non-NASCAR initiated, Petty states that the biggest event for the circuit (then as now) is the Daytona 500...and from there we have an abbreviated, in-car view of what it's like to drive...at Charlotte Motor Speedway (the Lowe's Motor Speedway of today). Huh? Explain that again to me, please? You do get some glimpses of what even today are considered the most exotic stock cars ever to run (the 426 cubic-inch, Hemi-powered Dodge Daytona Charger and Plymouth SuperBird), but that's a scant consolation.
As for the Formula One series, once a far more competitive circuit than nowadays and at the time led by one of its most endearing (and enduring) personalities in Scottish champion Jackie Stewart, we get even less coverage, despite both the implied and the obvious level of superiority over the other forms of racing covered. Then-Governor Ronald Reagan gets more face time handing off the trophy from the innaugural California 500 to an Indy journeyman who himself isn't even interviewed by the producers of the documentary.
This DVD is probably more enjoyable to people who actually attended races during that era (I believe I'll hand it off to my dad the next time I see him), as it does seem to document accurately the racing experience, certainly from the fan's point of view as I heard it from both my mom and dad when I was growing up. But I can't honestly recommend this to anyone under the age of at least 45 or so."
Once Upon A Wheel
R. Murphy | Big Bear Lake, CA. | 07/23/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"If you like the glory days of racing in documetories and movies your gonna love this one. Lots of great shots of arguably the finest oval ever made, Ontario Motor Speedway. Unfortunatly this track like most other great southern california tracks is long gone. I was fortunate enough to go to many great races at this track and I can relive them when watching this movie, along with seeing many other great tracks, cars, racers and celebrities from around the world. This film may seem alittle cheesy by todays standards but, remember, this documentory was made in about 1970 and is quite good and quite a rare format for its time."