New Jim Thorpe Documentary

A new documentary about Jim Thorpe has been released and is playing on some PBS stations. Moira Productions announced that Jim Thorpe: The World’s Greatest Athlete has been finished and is available for viewing. The film appears to largely be the work of Tom Weidlinger (producer, director, writer) and Joesph Bruchac (producer, writer). There were rumors that James McGowan was involved with the film but his name is not listed in its credits on

Bruchac has written books about Jim Thorpe and is thus probably the lead writer on this documentary. He tends to write in the first person as if Thorpe, who he probably never met, is telling the story himself. A brief excerpt from the first chapter of Jim Thorpe: Original All-American states that young Jim was called stupid, something he disliked:

     Stupid. That was what the teacher called me. And not just one teacher, either.

     Stupid. I hated that name. That was one of the worst ones. Not the very worst, but close. It hurt so much because I wondered if it was true.

Stupid is not how Jim’s teacher in the Commercial Course at Carlisle, Marianne Moore, described him. Bill Crawford reported her as saying, “In the classroom he was a little laborious, but dependable; took time—head bent earnestly over the paper; wrote a fine, even clerical hand—every character legible; every terminal curving up—consistent and generous….The commercial students, about thirty, were an ideal group. Among them were James Thorpe, Gus Welch, and Iva Miller…They were my salvation, open-minded, also intelligent.”

 The Balenti brothers, who were among the brightest students at the school, sometimes made fun of Jim. However, being less intelligent than them doesn’t mean he was stupid.

Moira Productions’ website lists the TV schedule for the 1-hour documentary:

The listing implies that it shows at 5:30p.m. Sunday on WITF’s HD channel only, but Comcast’s website lists it as showing on both channels 004 and 240. That implies that it will also be broadcast on the regular WITF channel as well.

Tags: , , ,

4 Responses to “New Jim Thorpe Documentary”

  1. John Lemon Says:

    I am writing a book about Jim Thorpe and his teammates on the 1912 US Olympic team. I am trying to locate the original film footage from the 1912 Olympic Games in Sweden, where Mr. Thorpe wan 2 gold medals, that have been used in film documentaries about his life.
    Can anyone assist?

  2. tombenjey Says:

    That’s great! Do you mind telling me where?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: