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Steady Wins The Underdog Race — How Avildsen Used The Steadicam

One of the key scenes in director John G. Avildsen’s Rocky is also a groundbreaking chapter in movie history. Rocky’s (Sylvester Stallone) street jogging/training “Gonna Fly Now” montage — which includes his famous run up the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum — utilized the new technology called Steadicam. This innovation showed Hollywood that the […]

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Bill Conti: Music For Underdogs

Most people know it as the “Theme From Rocky,” but the official title of the original Rocky soundtrack title song is called “Gonna Fly Now.” It was scored by Bill Conti, with lyrics (only 30 words long!) by Carol Connors and Ayn Robbins. The vocals were performed by DeEtta West and Nelson Pigford, in a […]

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Avildsen’s Underdogs Live On in an Original Karate Kid Reboot

A reason to live: a 21st century update on one of director John G. Avildsen’s most famous underdogs. YouTube Red will present Cobra Kai, a ten-episode sequel to the original 1984 film, The Karate Kid. The Hollywood Reporter exclusively broke the news of the straight-to-series sequel, with stars Ralph Macchio (Daniel LaRusso) and William Zabka (Johnny Lawrence) […]

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Avildsen’s Underdogs: Rocky

Rocky reveals this back story to Adrian on their first date, at a vacant ice-skating rink: “Yeah – My ol’ man, who was never the sharpest, told me – I weren’t born with much brain, so I better use my body.” This small detail starts the underdog engine of the first Rocky flick, directed by […]

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We Mourn The Death of John G. Avildsen, King of the Underdogs

Upon the June 16th death of director John G. Avildsen, 81, The Director’s Guild released this statement: “We were greatly saddened to learn of the passing of beloved director John Avildsen. His iconic ‘Rocky,’ which won the DGA Feature Film Award in 1976, has been lionized throughout our culture as the quintessential underdog story – […]

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VW Takes The Wheel With These Classic TV Commercials

As shown in our documentary The Bug, Volkswagen was super serious about its American print and TV marketing (although it never took itself seriously in the ads). In its first year in the States, VW sold exactly two cars (check out the entire VW history timeline here). By the time these ingenious commercials became part […]

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Newman’s Own, Up For Auction: His Daytona Rolex Watch

Just by watching our doc, Winning,  you can get a real sense of Paul Newman’s sense of style and love of competition. That spirit lives on as his beloved Daytona watch goes up for auction later this year. The sale may result in the item being classified as the world’s most expensive Rolex watch. On October […]

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The Big Three Try To Swat The Bug

By 1960, the Big Three American automakers — GM, Ford and Chrysler — were on top of the world, responsible for nearly 100% of car sales in the United States and almost half of all sales abroad. Gasoline averaged 31 cents per gallon, and a typical car price hovered around $2800. The American product was […]

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The 2017 Ford GT is Making Everybody Feel Sexy

In the mood for a good rerun? How about a good rematch? The 2017 Ford GT is everything that was amazing about its ’60s ancestor, with the added benefit of fifty years of technology. And it’s back in circulation, turning heads and ready to race. As seen in the Chassy film, The 24 Hour War, the […]

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Too Beautiful To Live: The Chrysler Turbine Car

Summer 1962 (think American Graffiti): At last, Chrysler is ready to test drive its turbine-powered vehicles for a car-obsessed public, or as the brochure put it, the “man-on-the-street.” The Chrysler Turbine Car synched up perfectly with the Jet Age and the the zeitgeist of the time, captured by Sinatra singing “Fly Me To The Moon.” Paraphrasing […]

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A.J. Foyt Honored With The Spirit of Ford Award

Congratulations to our 24-Hour War talking head and beloved racing legend A.J. Foyt. On April 6, he was honored with the prestigious Spirit of Ford award at the Road Racing Drivers’ Club dinner in Long Beach, California. The award, sponsored by the Ford Motor Company, recognizes the most influential and skillful racing champions in the sport’s history. […]

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The Need For Speed: Here Comes Speed Racer, So You’d Better Look Alive

Speed Racer’s name matches his occupation, which goes it one better than any dentist named Dr. Stanley Smiley. The puzzlement, of course, is that he wears a “G” on his never-changed shirt and an “M” on his crash helmet, which we’ll owe to cultural confusion and lazy translation. He’s as competent, loyal and true as a […]

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