ROBERT REDFORD ON TWO WHEELS FINDS HIS PROMISED SUNDANCE LAND

A very cool little insight below about how Robert Redford first stumbled upon his higher calling in life while riding his bike. Further proof that Four wheels move the body– but two wheels move the soul! More on Sundance later…

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ca. 1972 — Robert Redford, looking very Jeremiah Johnson here, on his Yamaha dirt bike — Image by Orlando Globey

Robert Redford stumbled upon what would become Sundance while riding his motorcycle from his home in California to school at the University of Colorado in the 1950s and saw the totemic 12,000 foot Mount Timpanogos. “It reminded me of the Jungfrau in Switzerland,” he says. “It stuck in my head.”

He later met and married a Mormon girl from Provo, came back, and bought two acres of land for $500 in 1961 from the Stewarts, a sheep-herding family who ran the mom-and-pop Timphaven operation. Redford built a cabin and lived the mountain man life here with his young family when he wasn’t on set making his early films.

By the late 1960s, developers were beginning to change the face of Utah. Redford scrambled– using some movie earnings and rounding up investor friends to purchase another 3,000 acres, heading off a development of A-frames that would have been marched up the canyon on quarter-acre lots.

“I was determined to preserve this, but it was not bought with big money. That kind of development was the reason I left Los Angeles. So I bought the land and started the Sundance Institute before there was anything here. I was advised that I was out of my mind. But I wanted the perfect marriage of art and nature.”  

–By Everett Potter for SKI magazine, 2008

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ca. 1972 — Robert Redford, looking very Jeremiah Johnson here, on his Yamaha dirt bike — Image by Orlando Globey

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LONG LIVE THE KINGS | AN ORIGINAL FILM FEATURING BLITZ MOTORCYCLES

Yep. I’m late to the game on this one – but this film is so beautiful and positive that I have to get it out to any of you who may not have had the pleasure of seeing it yet.

“Long Live The Kings” is an original short documentary by Frenchmen Clement Beauvais and Arthur de Kersauson featuring a bevy of beautiful old Beemers courtesy of Blitz Motorcycles. It’s shot on super 16mm film, and is about “relating the hopes and desires of those who go for a motorcycle road trip.” It’s a feel-good flick that’s very well-edited and super-easy on the eyes with breath-taking scenery and badass bikes. Edwin Denim supported the making of this film, and good for them for not jamming product down our throat, and allowing the film to remain pure. Enjoy.

 

LONG LIVE THE KINGS’ BLOG

BLITZ MOTORCYCLES

ALFRED HITCHCOCK AND THE MAKING OF PSYCHO | TSY REQUIRED READING

Hitchcock. Are you kidding me? Oh, hells yes. I will see this. Based on Stephen Rebello’s 1990 classic Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho — a literary deep-dive into Hitch’s low-budget (intentionally budgeted and shot for under $1M because he wanted to one-up the B-movie movement of that time…), black & white (because Hitch knew the film would simply be too damn gory for viewers and censors alike if shot in color…) menacing masterpiece. Scheduled for release on the big screen sometime in 2013 — and starring Sir Anthony Hopkins. You’ve got time, so I recommend that you bone-up now and check out the book beforehand. It’s a great read for Hitchcock (and classic cinema) fans.

Alfred Hitchcock’s classic thriller “Psycho” was covertly referred to as “Production 9401” or “Wimpy” — the name Wimpy coming from cameraman, Rex Wimpy, who appeared on clapboards, production sheets, and studio stills. Cast and crew (Hitch borrowed his same crew from his TV series, “Alfred Hitchcock Presents”) were forced to raise their right hand and sworn not to utter a word about the film. Hitchcock even guardedly withheld the climactic ending from the cast all the way up until it was actually shot. via

Alfred Hitchcock had a vacant cast chair marked “Mrs. Bates” placed eerily on the set of his 1960 “Psycho” throughout shooting, and even falsely reported to the press that he was auditioning for the role of Mrs. Bates to further add to the mystery around the film. — Image by © Sunset Boulevard/Corbis

Actress Janet Leigh and Director Alfred Hitchcock on the set of his chilling 1960 masterpiece, “Psycho.” The much-talked-about Janet Leigh bra scenes had a definite method to their mammory madness. In the film, prior to swiping 40K for her lover, the bra is white– symbolizing innocence. After the dirty deed, the bra is black– symboling her crossing over to the dark side. Same with her purse…

A young Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates, the role that dogged him for the rest of his acting career. When asked decades later if he would have turned down the role in retrospect, he noted that he’d absolutely do it all over again. “Pyscho” had many bird references– for example, Norman Bates was into stuffing birds (taxidermy, people…), Janet Leigh’s character was named Marion Crane, etc. “The Birds” would be Hitchcock’s next film.

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49 YEAR RIDE – GENERATIONS ON THE ROAD | A FILM BY MARC BENCIVENGA

“Steve Leandro has been building and riding bikes since the late ’60s and has inspired many over the decades dedicated to his passion.  I was able to uncover some Super 8 footage from 1974 of the ‘Run To the Redwoods”, which he was a part of, and some 1972 Super 8 footage of the influences in Steve’s life to create a piece that I believe acknowledges Steve’s humble beginings and honors his current impact on those who love an old Harley.”  –Marc Bencivenga, filmmaker

1969, Santa Rosa– Tony Aeillo and Austin Hall (a still from– 49 Year Ride – Generations on the Road)

Another great short film by Marc Bencivenga called 49 Year Ride – Generations on the Road.  Steve Leandro of S&J Motorcycles opens up about coming up in the motorcycle scene when he was young, his shop and love of bikes, and passing the torch on to his grandson Zak who he’s able to share his love of bikes and builbing with. Marc also shot another great short– A Prayer For Cool which we featured on TSY a while back. Enjoy.

Steve Leandro’s grandson Zak who clearly already has been bitten by the bike bug.

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GET OUT AND SEE SOMETHING COOL | IT’S BETTER IN THE WIND & 21 HELMETS

A couple of quick announcements for two cool, upcoming happenings– 

Photographer and friend Scott Toepfer is screening his epic short “It’s Better in the Wind”, yes!

Wednesday, 11/30 @ 9pm at The Mandrake Bar – 2692 S La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90034 (between Venice Blvd. &  Washington Blvd).

TSY BFF East Side Moto Babes will be in attendance, and there will even be a screening of SHUTTER SPEED. Come on, come all!

See See Motorcycles (Portland, Oregon) is unveiling 21 Helmets. Huh? 21 white Bell helmets that were custom-designed by noted weirdo artists, including photographer Ray Gordon of Throttled fame.

21 Helmets: Dec. 9th – 10th, 5pm – 10pm, See See Motorcycles, 1642 NE Sandy Blvd., Portland, OR

Plenty of PBR will also be on-hand… so shit– get there.

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AMERICAN GRAFFITI | THE EPIC FILM THAT REIGNITED HOT ROD CULTURE

I was chatting with my friend Don about epic car films, and Two-Lane Blacktop quickly came up. He’s a major car and quickly segued to American Graffiti– correctly stating that it was the same ’55 Chevy (built by Richard Ruth of Competition Engineering of Sunland, CA) for Blacktop that Falfa drove in George Lucas’ classic American Graffiti. Well there were actually two ’55 Chevy hot rods from Two-Lane Blacktop (1971) that were used in American Graffiti (1973). Both were built using Richard Ruth’s own ’55 Chevy as the blueprint. Producer Gary Kurtz (Two-Lane Blacktop & American Graffiti) had visited Ruth who took him for a pulse-quickening ride in his big-block hot rod. That same evening Kurtz promptly ordered three cars from Richard Ruth– two exactly like Ruth’s, and one stunt car.

Two original cars would survive to live another day in George Lucas’ American Graffiti: 

Main Car 1– Equipped with a 427 crate motor, M-22 Muncie, 4.88 Olds rear, fiberglass front end, doors, and trunk lid, straight axle front suspension when built and later modified and used in American Graffiti.

Stunt Car– All steel-bodied car equipped with a 454 crate motor, TH 400 automatic, Olds rear of unknown gearing, modified for American Graffiti. It was used for interior shots as it was equipped with an auto tranny and drove smoother than a stick.

Shot of Mel’s drive-in from the 1973 classic, “American Graffiti” — Image by © Sunset Boulevard/Corbis Mel’s drive-in was actually out of business, and was reopened just for the filming of American Graffiti– then promptly demolished after filming was finished. American Graffiti was George Lucas’ semi-autobiographical teenage tale (Lucas grew up in Modesto, CA during the heyday of cruising and hot rods) that starred a treasure trove of young talent– Harrison Ford, Richard Dreyfuss, Ron Howard, Cindy Williams, Mackenzie Phillips, and the list goes on. It also created a huge resurgence in American 1950’s & 1960’s culture–  inspiring a long string of films and TV shows, most notably “Happy Days.” Hot Rod magazine even listed the ’55 Chevy and ’32 Ford deuce coupe (the true stars of the film) at the top of their list of most influential hot rods of all time.        

Paul Le Mat in the George Lucas’ 1973 classic car film, “American Graffiti.” George Lucas had  the license plate on the ’32 Ford hot rod read: THX-138. This was a reference to THX-1138, his 1971 sc-fi flick. Later in his Star Wars saga, the yellow airspeeder Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan use to chase bounty hunter Zam Wesell is said to be a tribute to John Milner’s iconic coupe in American Graffiti.

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1965 — THE YEAR RICHARD PETTY “THE KING” OF NASCAR TURNED DRAG RACER

In 1964, Mopar unleashed their 426 Hemi-powered fleet at the Daytona 500 and swept Ford clean off the track– taking 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place. Richard Petty (NASCAR 1959 Rookie of the Year, which was amazingly the same year that his father Lee won the Daytona 500) led for an impressive 184 laps, and handily took the win.

That year an outmatched Chevy did not even compete in NASCAR. Ford attempted to debut their new SOHC 427 just days before Daytona– but not only had they failed to list the engine with NASCAR 45 days prior as required, this was not a stock engine at all. Ford was flatly denienied, but even worse than that– Mopar somehow got drug into the high-performance engine debate (many say Ford was muddying the waters for Mopar behind the scenes) that spiraled into the 426 Hemi (reportedly capable of producing 600 HP in NASCAR trim…), which truly was a stock car engine sold to the public, being banned from future NASCAR races.

This easily could have spelled the end of Mopar’s 426 Hemi– arguably the most legendary and iconic American muscle car engine ever. But what Mopar did next was surprising– they decided to turn the tables and boycott NASCAR. This was potentially a major setback for Richard Petty’s racing career, as he was on pace to win the championship that year.

As fate would have it, drag racing was becoming a huge draw– as fans gathered in fevered hordes to see the new wave of super-powered big-block Motor City madness go head-to-head on the drag strips. Plymouth and the Petty crew announced their abrupt move to drag racing– although Petty had no real serious drag racing experience. It would be an exciting, and short-lived venture that would produce a couple of badass Hemi-powered Barracuda dragsters. Unfortunately it was also a period marred by a tragedy that would affect Richard Petty forever.

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AMERICA’S BONES CALL TO THE RIDER | “GHOST TOWN, U.S.A” — A FILM BY SCOTT TOEPFER

Yep. Back-to-back Scott Toepfer action. It’s that good. Ghost Town, USA is a short film that Toepfer did for the Harley-Davidson RIDEBOOK campaign that brought together folks from different artistic / lifestyle backgrounds to celebrate life on the open road, and the history of American motorcycle culture. Here photographer & filmmaker Scott explores America’s past through the lens of ghost towns and the haunting lessons they hold.

“The visitable ghost towns across the Western U.S. are few and far between today. Most have either decayed beyond recognition, or have turned into gift shop trinket towns selling $10 keychains and fake gold. Thankfully, Bodie, California has a different story. A gold mining town established in the late 19th century, it quickly became one of California’s largest cities – and as any famed mining town would, it was filled with saloons, brothels, and other establishments of ill repute. Much of the town burned in the fires of 1892 and 1932, forcing most of its remaining residents to leave one of the toughest towns in the west. When the last of the residents left in the 50’s, the California Park Service took over in ’64 to preserve the structures and share its history… with us, and a few hundred other tourists daily.”   

–Scott Toepfer

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FINALLY — “IT’S BETTER IN THE WIND” | A FILM BY SCOTT TOEPFER

“For the last two years I have been taking still photographs for a personal project entitled ‘It’s Better In The Wind,’ all the while collecting video footage from each ride as we traveled around the Western United States together.

I have been slowly editing the footage into a visual scrapbook of sorts for those who partook, and those who followed us via the web. No preaching the triumphs and failures of the motorcycle industry, no divisive commentary between manufacturers and styles…just a collection of imagery that will hopefully inspire more people to take to the road and discover what there is outside of our respective communities.

Chuck Ragan was kind enough to collaborate with me to write an original soundtrack for the film, to give me some anthemic tunes to edit with, and I can’t thank him enough for the kind gesture towards a fellow traveler.

Please, enjoy the film, everybody who took part in it is family, we are all grateful for your support these past two years while we tried to build a concept around the positive nature of motorcycling.”

–Scott Toepfer

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THE ART OF THE CLASSIC AMERICAN HAIRCUT | TOMCATS BARBERSHOP

Our friends over at  R E L I C  put together a nice little short on the guys that run Greenpoint, Brooklyn’s own Tomcats Barbershop. It’s a place where you can roll up on your Harley, and step in for a period-perfect ’40s or ’50s barbershop haircut by a guy who not only talks the talk, but walks the walk.

The film was produced in collaboration with the Harley-Davidson Ridebook and pays tribute to the great American brand that, “…impacted the early identity of American culture in everything from the way people began to dress to how they wore their hair…” Amen.

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