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.
Robert Pirsig, the author of the mid-1970’s cultural phenom “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance”, has passed away at his home in Maine.
Part road trip novel, the book is based on a motorcycle trip Pirsig took with his son, Christopher in 1968. The two Pirsigs rode from their home in Minnesota to the Pacific Coast over the course of 17 days.
Pirsig often said that 121 publishing houses passed on “Zen” until William Morrow agreed to publish it. “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” would sell over 50,000 copies in the first month of publication, and over 1 million the first year.
This was mainly a service run, as we dropped off materials to the National Motorcycle Museum on our way to Madison.
A modular Shell Gas Station, circa 1920. Restored and now displayed in the museum.
I was offered a quick walk through, and happily accepted, especially since I was given strict orders to spend some time in the museum, even if I had to steal the car keys in order to manufacture the time.
Board track exhibit at NMM.
What a phenomenal museum! Well worth the trek over to Anamosa. This place is loaded, and I really do mean loaded, with bikes. This is one extensive collection. I will come back through, and allow myself a full day to explore.