Rare Sports Films


At Darlington

     One of the rarest films of NASCAR racing is the actual TV broadcast of the 1962 Southern 500 originally shown on ABC’s “Wide World Of Sports”! The nearly 1 hour television broadcast is the OLDEST known TV broadcast that exists of any American auto race! What’s more, it’s an original B & W kinescope of the controversial 1962 Southern 500 at Darlington, in which Junior Johnson was originally declared the winner, only to have a scoring re-check show that Larry Frank had actually won! What a treat for race fans and racing historians to once again see how NASCAR racing was covered on TV over 40 years ago! Jim McKay of ABC handles the play-by-play broadcast from the control tower, with only one other commentator (Chris Economaki) working the pits! The original kinescope has been restored by Rare Sportsfilms, Inc. and is now available on DVD! Also included in chapter two of this new DVD is the original COLOR highlight film of the 1962 Southern 500 (see details below)! This makes a total of over an hour and 20 minutes of solid footage on the first DVD ever released of vintage NASCAR racing!

     The broadcast of the beginning of the race starts immediately after nice closeups are shown of several of the drivers: Fireball Roberts, Johnny Allen, Bobby Johns, Lil’ Joe Weatherly, David Pearson and Larry Frank. Junior Johnson and Fireball are on the front row as 44 cars (13 Fords, 13 Pontiacs, eight Chevys, three Plymouths, three Mercurys and two Dodges) take the green flag! After only a couple of laps H.G. Rosier in the #5 spins out his Pontiac! Roscoe Thompson’s #81 Mercury spins out twice early in the race and eventually crashes after 39 laps. Fireball leads the first 58 laps until Bobby Johns passes him on the backstretch. Herman Beam, in his #19 Ford is shown soldiering around the track and McKay informs the audience that Beam never races to win, but only to keep his car in one piece and finish! Suddenly Fireball Roberts smashes the guardrail in turn three and comes limping into the pits! As his pit crew tries to inspect the right front end damage, Fireball climbs out of the car and immediately Economaki is right on the spot with the TV microphone! Roberts explains to both his crew chief and the TV viewers together what caused his mishap! Throughout the race, pit stops are shown of other cars, such as Jim Pardue, Bobby Johns and Richard Petty! This is also one of the few films showing Ralph Earnhardt racing in NASCAR Grand National! Driving Jack Smith’s #47 Pontiac, he and Red Foote crash between turns one and two. He climbs out, surveys the smoking car, and in typical Earnhardt fashion, climbs back in the car and drives it around to the pits! A flat tire sends Bobby Johns to the pits and Fred Lorenzen takes over the lead. Past the half-way point, veteran Joe Weatherly and young David Pearson tangle between turns one and two. Each car suffers damage, with Weatherly’s #8 getting the worst of it. It’s amazing to watch Chris Economaki dragging his microphone wires all around Weatherly’s car in the pits as he describes crew chief Bud Moore swinging a sledgehammer to straighten out the bent sheet metal! Economaki leans right into the car (no window nets in those days – ironically!) and Joe explains to the TV audience that Pearson was driving over his head and put him in the wall! “He oughtta be in the hospital right now, ‘cause his brain’s hurtin’” says Lil’ Joe!

     During the race you’ll of course see other cars on the track, such as those of T.C. Hunt, Bob Welborn and Emanuel Zervakis. With less than 100 laps to go, the most frightening crash of the day occurs. Johnny Allen’s car smashes off the backstretch guardrail and flips upside down, skidding to a stop and on fire! Johnny manages to scramble out just before the car is totally engulfed in flames! Larry Frank bunches up right behind Petty for the restart and passes him on the backstretch when the race again goes green. The last pit stops of the leaders Frank, Junior Johnson and Petty are shown, as the scoreboard erroneously shows Petty leading, with Johnson second and Frank third. Economaki interviews both car owner Lee Petty, Richard’s crew chief, and Ratus Walters, owner of Larry Frank’s #66 Café Burgundy Ford. Of course, both of them say that their cars are leading the race. Then, Richard blows a tire only four laps from the checkered flag and decides to try to finish as high as possible without stopping! Now Junior Johnson is leading, say the officials, and Junior is given the checkered flag, while the actual winner breaks a wheel on what is really his cool-down lap. Frank simply coasts into the infield and parks his car. After a commercial break, Junior Johnson is interviewed by ABC as he climbs out of his car! Before the broadcast ends however, word comes down that Larry Frank has officially won the race, and ABC has the correct finishing order on the screen to close out the telecast: Frank, Johnson, Panch, Pearson and Richard Petty!

     The second chapter on this DVD is the original highlight film of the race – in COLOR!! In addition to the race, much of the film shows work in the garage area, practice and qualifications! Four of the top five qualifiers are driving ’62 wide track Pontiacs! Petty, Johns, Buck Baker and Fireball are shown qualifying, with pole-sitter Roberts choosing the outside pole to start the race! Included are nice color closeup shots of the those great drivers of a bygone era: Roberts, Petty, Johns, Joe Weatherly, Pearson, Marvin Panch, Tiny Lund, Junior Johnson, Nelson Stacy and young Buddy Baker! Also shown are mechanics and car builders such as Bud Moore, Lee Petty, Ray Fox, Cotton Owens, Shorty Johns and Banjo Matthews. Many cars are shown, such as those of drivers Fred Lorenzen, Petty, Johnson, Weatherly, Gary Sain, Johnny Allen, and winner Larry Frank. Most of the above on-track race incidents and wrecks are shown in this color film from different angles, plus Bunkie Blackburn and Darel Dieringer getting together in turn three, with Jim Paschal and Bobby Johns also involved. After the race, while Johnson is getting all the accolades in Victory Lane, Richard Petty eases the disappointment of his 5th place finish (on three wheels) by taking a slug from a glass bottle of milk!

     Now you can get both of these vintage films on one DVD for only $29.95 plus $4.00 First Class shipping! (Illinois residents must add $2.00 state sales tax).

1126 Tennyson Lane
Naperville IL 60540
(630) 527-8890

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1126 Tennyson Lane Naperville, Illinois 60540
(630) 527-8890