"ON THE POLE"
With Eddie Sachs
a fascinating and unique look at one of the most popular drivers
in the history of the Indianapolis 500, Eddie Sachs. Almost 40 years
ago, CBS Television broadcast a 1-hour B & W special on the 1960
Indianapolis 500-mile race titled, "On The Pole". A documentary
on 1960 pole-winning driver Eddie Sachs, the show is a behind-the-scenes
look at the race from his perspective, starting from a week before
the race through the day after the big event. Rare Sportsfilms Inc.
has recently restored the original kinescope and is now making it
available on DVD for the first time ever! The presentation is shown
in its entirety, even including the original TV commercials for
Schlitz Beer, Vitalis Hair Tonic (not that greasy kid stuff!) and
a special announcement by Rod Serling about a brand new upcoming
TV show: "Twilight Zone"!
The show begins with Sachs' frightening skid in the 1959 race, then focuses on Sachs, who is driving his new '59 Buick out on the highway. During this cruise (with the CBS camera in the back seat) Sachs talks about a variety of racing subjects, including the '59 skid. He explains what it means to an Indy driver to have the pole position, how he steers, brakes and accelerates his race car around the track, what it's like coming out of four and hitting the bricks on the old main straightaway, and how he reacts when he sees an accident ahead. You'll even take a trip around the track with Eddie in his family car, as Sachs talks about the course and his feelings for the facility.
Throughout the show, you'll see many informal shots of track happenings, such as Sachs accepting the pole-winning trophy, he and wife Nancy aboard a float in the festival parade, and a special pre-race drivers meeting held by Harlan Fengler with Rodger Ward, Jim Rathman, Sachs and their mechanics. In an interview at the nearby motel pool, Nancy Sachs explains the thoughts of a race driver's wife, and mentions his worst wreck (at the 16th street speedway nearby). At breakfast the day before the race, fellow driver Jim Rathman (who eventually wins) is shown quizzing Eddie on the colors and numbers of the cars in tomorrow's race! Then, the CBS cameras take you into Gasoline Alley where you'll see car owner Al Dean and master mechanic Clint Brawner working on the white #6 Dean Van Lines Special. After pit stop practice, Eddie talks about the fans, his pre-race excitement, and his plans to retire from racing, once he wins at Indianapolis.
On raceday, the show concentrates on Eddie's individual pre-race preparation, views of his wife and his emotional reaction to the traditional playing of "Taps" and the singing of "Back Home Again In Indiana". This kinescope features live sound throughout, and during the ceremonies and the race itself, you'll recognize the voices of Sid Collins and track announcer Tom Carnegie. The parade lap is shown in detail, and this coverage actually shows the infamous crash of a makeshift scaffold that sent 125 spectators smashing to the ground in turn three! There are scenes of the race from all over the track, with emphasis of course on Brawner in Sachs' pit and Eddie on the track. (The turn two Eddie Russo crash on lap 84 is shown.) Eddie leads most of the early laps, and his first pit stop is perfect. Soon after, he's shown battling Jim Rathman for second, while Rodger Ward is leading. Eddie's second stop is early because of a steering problem, and the adjustments and makeshift repairs cost Eddie 2 minutes and 11 seconds, dropping him to ninth place. He battles back to fifth before a faulty magneto ruins his day. Sachs' third stop after 132 laps is his last, and Eddie heads directly to his wife after climbing from the car. He explains to reporters the steering problem, but that the magneto/piston is what ended his day. Friend Jim Rathman wins the race, and the interviews and drama in Victory Lane are covered.
The next evening, part of the victory banquet is shown, with speedway owner Tony Hulman presenting Rathman his winnings. The following morning, the Sachs' again have breakfast with winner Rathman, before both leave Indy for the next race on the championship trail - Milwaukee!
Now you can get your own DVD of this
vintage TV show for only $29.95 + $4.00 shipping (Illinois residents
must add $2.00 tax).
"RARE SPORTSFILMS N",
1126 Tennyson Lane,
Naperville, IL 60540