Posts Tagged ‘movie’

Film Footage of Jim Thorpe

May 12, 2009

Recently, a friend and I bemoaned the lack of film footage of Jim Thorpe. We conjectured that footage of the 1912 Stockholm Olympics must exist somewhere. Then I stumbled across an article about an auction of articles related to the great Thorpe. In an article titled “Jim Thorpe Mementoes in Demand at Sports Immortals Sale,” Rosemary McKittrick wrote about an auction conducted jointly by Guernsey and Hunt. Apparently, the auction was held last October in Atlantic, NJ. The source of the memorabilia wasn’t clear from the article. However, she used “Sports Immortals” in the article’s title, so these items may have come from their collection. The item that caught my eye was “Film and footage; Thorpe playing for the Canton Bulldogs; rare, early glimpse of Thorpe in action on football field; $1,155.” I don’t know if these items sold for the amounts listed or if they were just the auctioneer’s projections. As pleased as I was to discover that footage of Jim Thorpe still exists, it wasn’t of the Olympics. Oh well.

IMDB.com list a 1996 made-for-TV documentary, “100 Years of Olympic Glory,” directed by Bud Greenspan. The film includes archive footage of Jim Thorpe with King Gustav at the 1912 Olympics. Now to find a copy of that video.

A further look at IMDB.com uncovered a listing titled “The Giants-White Sox Tour.” The 1913 World Series was filmed. Perhaps that action prompted Jim Thorpe to sell the movie rights to his marriage to Iva Miller in Carlisle. Immediately after their wedding, the Thorpes joined the New York Giants for their around-the-world-tour with the Chicago White Sox. This film documented that tour. Perhaps it includes footage of the wedding. I can hope. Now to find a copy of it this, the first full-length documentary.

IMDB.com also lists archival footage of Jim Thorpe appearing in “Idols of the Game,” a 1995 video hosted by Dabney Coleman. That gives me three films to look for.

Jim Thorpe

Indian School movies

June 27, 2008

Carlisle Indian School has been of interest to Hollywood since the movie industry’s earliest days. In 1901, American Mutoscope and Biograph shot a documentary short at the school. Footage included both male and female students swinging clubs. Still photos of this type of exercise can often be found on ebay. Also included in the documentary were a military-style parade of the students including the renowned school band, girls doing a dumbbell drill, boys demonstrating gymnastics events, boys playing a basketball game, and members of the track team high jumping and pole vaulting. No, Jim Thorpe was not filmed because he was not at Carlisle at that time.

In 1913, Selig Polyscope filmed The Tie of the Blood at the school. Little is known about the film other than its main cast members. In 1915 Pathe Weekly filmed the installation of the first Indian Boy Scouts of America troop at the school. Also participating in the parade, exhibitions and ceremonies were local boy scouts and the Indian School’s Campfire Girls. And other films that I do not know about may have been filmed at the school.

Several alumni worked in motion pictures as actors, stuntmen and in other capacities. Lone Star Dietz even invested in the Washington Motion Picture Company and lost his investment. Jim Thorpe not only worked in pictures but had his life story told on film in the 1951 Warner Brothers release, Jim Thorpe – All-American. Interest in putting the Indian school on film waned but in recent years has grown.

In April 2002, Variety Film reported, “Fox 2000 has snapped up a pitch by Craig Sherman and Bob Jury on legendary football coach Glenn S. “Pop” Warner and his first season at the Carlisle Indian School.” In April 2004, Walden Media announced that John Sayles would be bringing Carlisle School to the big screen. In 2005 Steven Spielberg brought Carlisle Indian School to the little screen as part of his Into the West miniseries. And there’s more, so much more interest that Freddie Wardecker has lost count of how many filmmakers have come into his store to look at artifacts. Barb Landis at the Cumberland County Historical Society thinks that she gets at least a call a month from someone interested in doing a movie about the school or Pop Warner or Jim Thorpe or … I even ran into one of them in the Dickinson College archives last year.

The problem is that a historically-accurate film needs to be made but, despite all the talk, no one has stepped up to make it. Do you have any ideas?