Tag Archives: film

Bruce Brown

Documentary filmmaker, Bruce Brown passed away on Sunday. Brown was one of several young filmmakers in the 1960’s who made low budget documentaries on surfing and the beach life style. His classic, was the 1966 movie The Endless Summer. The film cost $50,000 to make, as Brown traveled the globe with two surfers, following summer as it passed from one hemisphere to the other.

There was just something magical about that film. Distributors wanted nothing to do with it, but Brown rented a movie house to show the film for a week. It played for 18 months.

The Endless Summer had a profound effect on me, and my deep seated wanderlust. It wasn’t the surfing that drove my interest, but the world travel, and the idea of following summer from country to country. I saw the film long after its debut, but like the millions before me, I absolutely loved it.

Brown, who surfed and rode a motorcycle most of his life, earned an Academy Award nomination for his 1971 documentary On Any Sunday, a film about the life of motorcycle racers. Steve McQueen was a producer on the film.


Brown, McQueen, and cast/crew On Any Sunday

Brown’s son, Dana, is also a documentary filmmaker, having Dust to Glory in his credits.

Bruce Brown was 80.


The Bronx Bull


Jake LaMotta in 1949 after beating Marcel Cerdan for the World Middleweight title

Giacobbe “Jake” LaMotta, the former middleweight boxing champion, died on Tuesday at the age of 95. LaMotta, was a brawler in the ring (and out), stalking opponents close up, taking blow after blow, in order to deliver an explosion of his own punches.

My father would often mention that he listened to all six of LaMotta’s fights against Sugar Ray Robinson on the radio. One day, my Dad came to my bedroom door, and asked if I’d go see a movie with him. It was slightly out of character, so I was a little surprised. When I asked, “What movie?” He replied, “The one about LaMotta”. The movie, of course, was “Raging Bull” with Robert DeNiro.

The LaMotta/Robinson fights were epic battles. LaMotta only won one of the six meetings, their second fight. In the eighth round of that fight, LaMotta sent Robinson through the ropes and out of the ring. It was Robinson’s first loss of his boxing career. Their fight in Chicago Stadium on 14 February 1951 became known as the Second Valentine’s Day Massacre. The fight was stopped in the 13th Round, with LaMotta a bloody mess.

LaMotta later said about Robinson: “The three toughest fighters I ever fought were Sugar Ray Robinson, Sugar Ray Robinson and Sugar Ray Robinson. I fought Sugar so many times, I’m surprised I’m not diabetic.”


LaMotta vs Robinson 1943

LaMotta had a professional record of 83 wins (30 by KO), 19 losses, and 4 draws.


Wrangell – St Elias


Revisiting Kennecott

At its peak, the five mines of Kennecott: Mother Lode, Glacier, Bonanza, Jumbo & Erie, produced $32.4 million in copper ore in 1916. Between 1909 and 1938, Kennecott produced 4.6 million tons of ore and 1.183 billion pounds of copper.

The Kennecott mine and mill town were named after the Kennicott Glacier, which lies in the valley below the mine, although with a slight misspelling. The change is blamed on a clerical error.

The Alaska Syndicate, headed by Daniel Guggenheim and J.P. Morgan, had bought 40% of the Bonanza Mine from the Alaska Copper and Coal Company in 1906. Eventually, the venture turned public, and the Kennecott Copper Corporation was launched in April of 1915.

At its peak, 300 people worked in the mill town, and up to 300 more in the mines. A self-contained company town, Kennecott contained a hospital, general store, school, skating rink, tennis court, recreation hall, and dairy.

The Great Depression had driven down the price of copper, and by 1938, the quality of ore coming out of the mine had dropped. The final train traveled from Kennecott down the CR&NW rail line in November of 1938.

Deserted for decades, Kennecott was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1986, six years after Wrangell-St Elias National Park & Preserve was established. Much of the old mill town was purchased by the National Park Service in 1998. Since then, NPS has been slowly stabilizing and rehabilitating several of the structures within Kennecott.


Walking the streets of Kennecott


Holy Hole in a Donut, Batman


Adam West in the 1962 film “Geronimo”

Adam West, best known for his role as TV’s “Batman” died on Friday. West received his start in film in the movie “Geronimo” with Chuck Connors in 1962.
TV’s “Batman” came out in 1966, and only lasted 3 seasons, but it became an immediate hit, and was cancelled mainly due to it’s production cost.

West was 88.


Through the Hammock