"Golden Festival Of Speed"
to the expertise of Rare Sportsfilms Inc, a new presentation of
the 1961 500-mile race at Indianapolis is now available to racing
fans and historians! Now on DVD, "Golden Festival Of Speed", is
actually a complete blending of all three different full color films
made by Craig Stewart and Fred Bailey of Championship Racefilm Productions
over 40 years ago, and therefore has an extended running time of
over an hour! Narrated by Dick Tufeld and Charlie Brockman, this
new production contains never-before-seen shots of practice and
qualifications at the speedway during the month of May 1961, along
with new footage of the downtown parade and golf tournament, as
well as the race itself on Memorial Day!
The year 1961 marked the 50th anniversary of the Indianapolis 500, so we begin by showing original B & W scenes from the very first race in 1911! You'll see the first flying start, action in the pits during the race and even a three-car crash on the main straightaway before Ray Harroun becomes immortal by winning this first 500-mile race! Fittingly enough, Harroun is on hand at the speedway 50 years later, taking another lap in the old Marmon Wasp! But the talk of the day around Gasoline Alley is "can anyone beat Jim Hurtubise's pole speed of last year and run a lap at 150 MPH"? First shown are many cars and drivers in practice, as well as several spins and crashes, starting with Russ Congdon's spin in turn four and Bud Tingelstad's crash at the head of the main straightaway. In another incident, Duane Carter's #61 loses a wheel, and Don Freeland spins out trying to avoid Carter! Rookie Roger McCluskey crashes #22 in practice near turn two and later Cotton Farmer spins the #43 Bardahl Special. Throughout the video, you'll see nice closeups of many of the drivers and racing personalities of the day: Tony Bettenhausen in the #5 Autolite Special, Jim Rathmann in the #97 Jim Robbins Spl, Jack Turner in the #45 Bardahl car, owner John Cooper and Jack Brabham in the tiny #17 Cooper Climax, plus Clint Brawner, Smokey Yunick, Bill Vandewater, Harlan Fengler, Paul Johnson, A.J. Watson, Len Sutton, George Bignotti, Frank Catinia, and celebrities like Sebastian Cabot of TV's "Checkmate"! But all this is overshadowed by the tragic crash of two-time National Champion Tony Bettenhausen. While testing Paul Russo's #24 Stearly Motor Freight special in practice, a mechanical failure causes the steering to fail and Bettenhausen smashes into the catch fence and outside wall along the main straightaway, just across from Gasoline Alley. The car catches fire upside down and is shown burning furiously as workers try to extinguish the blaze.
Soon after qualifications open, Bill Cheesbourg puts the #14 Dan Van Lines Spl in the field as first qualifier. Also shown in qualifying attempts are A.J. Foyt, Jack Brabham, Rodger Ward, Shorty Templeman, Jim Hurtubise, Jack Turner, Don Freeland and Jim Rathmann. Eddie Sachs, for the second year in a row, is on the pole (147.481) in the primary Dean Van Lines #12 car! Don Davis in #85 spins out during his attempt and Chuck Arnold is shown crashing his #62. At this point, a plug for Mobil shows what it's like to ride with Jimmy Daywalt in the #55 Schulz Fueling Equipment Special! Owner-mechanic Ollie Prather is shown with Mobil engineers discussing fine-tuning the car. We've also added the Bardahl commercial, showing the adding of this product in the garage area to Jack Turner's #45. During the second week of qualifying, Al Keller is shown putting # 19 in the show. Lloyd Ruby, now in the car Bettenhausen was to drive, qualifies the Autolite #5 at 146.9 MPH. An interesting feature is also included of Len Sutton in his blue #8 Bryant Heating Special.
Charlie Brockman narrates scenes of the annual Festival Parade in downtown Indianapolis and the climactic ending to the second annual Speedway Pro Golf Tournament!
On raceday Eddie Sachs, Don Branson and Jim Hurtubise make up the front row! In turn two, Herk passes Sachs to take the lead and stays there until his first pit stop. But Branson, comes into the pits after only two laps with burned valves and becomes the first car out of the race. Jimmy Daywalt loses his brakes and is out after only 68 miles. When Hurtubise pits, Jim Rathmann goes into first place, then rookie Parnelli Jones leads briefly when Rathmann pits. Nice shots of pit stops by Rodger Ward, Bill Cheesbourg, Sachs, and Parnelli Jones! A spectacular accident occurs on the main straightaway when Don Davis spins in front of the paddock. This sets up one of the most spectacular chain-reaction smash-ups in speedway history, with A.J. Shepherd, Roger McCluskey, Bill Cheesbourg, Lloyd Ruby and Jack Turner all involved. Turner's car becomes airborne and flips down the main straightaway, throwing wheels in two directions! Oil on the track also causes Len Sutton to spin out during the caution! After the race resumes, Jim Hurtubise's yellow Demler Spl catches fire! His crew extinguishes the blaze and Jim goes back out racing - but only for a little while. Just past the halfway point in the race, Jim's engine blows in turn one, and mechanical failure has halted a brilliant effort! The end of the race is a frantic duel between Sachs and Foyt, and both are shown making their last two pit stops. Shots from behind the pit wall in this original film help tell the story of the dramatic chain of events that lead to young A.J. Foyt's surprising win over Sachs, who with only three laps to go, apparently had the race won himself! A more exciting ending could not have been scripted for the 1961 Golden Anniversary 500!
Now you can get your own copy of these rare
COLOR films, now available for the first time all on one DVD for
$29.95 plus $4.00 S&H. (Illinois residents must add $2.00 sales
"RARE SPORTSFILMS N",
1126 Tennyson Lane,
Naperville, IL 60540