"THE BIG WHEEL"
A United Artists Release
"Rare Sportsfilms" has obtained the rights to a well-known Hollywood motion picture and is pleased to offer it to our customers, movie buffs and racing historians! Copyrighted initially in 1949, this film stars Mickey Rooney as "Billy Coy", a young racer whose determination to follow in his famous father’s footsteps leads to tragedy and lessons learned the hard way. Co-starring with Rooney are Thomas Mitchell, Mary Hatcher, Hattie McDaniel and Michael O’Shea. Mitchell is Mickey’s top mechanic who marries Rooney’s widowed mother.
Rooney starts out racing midgets on dirt in California and after hitting rock bottom without a ride and after seeing his best friend die in a wreck he gets blamed for, Mickey goes east to Indianapolis and gets a ride in the 1949 Indy 500! The 500 (won by Bill Holland) serves as the backdrop for the climax of the story, in which Holland wins the race, but "awards" the Borg-Warner trophy to Mickey Rooney for his courageous effort to win! (Yeah, Shuurrre!)
The final half hour of the film however, is what real racing historians will enjoy the most! The story line aside, shots taken at Indianapolis during the month of May 1949 show how the track and grounds around the speedway looked more than 40 years ago! You’ll see qualifying, Gasoline Alley, shots from the old bridge on the backstretch, shots from inside the old pagoda, aerial views of the speedway, people pouring into the grounds on race morning and great shots of the start of the race with the Olds 88 pace car and Duke Nalon on the pole!
Astute Indy racing historians will not only recognize the Nalon crash in the north chute, but also George Lynch crashing in turn one on lap two! For dramatic effect, the Hollywood producers ‘cheat’ a little bit, and add some other famous crashes from prior years to spice up the action, such as the Floyd Roberts wreck in 1939 and the Charles Van Acker crash of 1947, among others! The Nalon crash actually happened on lap 24, but Hollywood moves it to the crucial part of the story, which is the last lap!
Whether you enjoy watching Hollywood
movies of 50 years ago, or just want to see some of the best scenes
ever shot of the 1949 Indianapolis 500, this film, now on DVD from
"Rare Sportsfilms" is for you!
This 1 ½ - hour B & W film has been
carefully restored to its original beauty and picture sharpness
by Rare Sportsfilms. To get your own copy of this historic racing
classic, send only $29.95 plus $4.00 for FIRST CLASS PRIORITY SHIPPING
(Illinois residents must add $2.00 for sales tax) to:
"RARE SPORTSFILMS N",
1126 Tennyson Lane,
Naperville, IL 60540