"A Last Hurrah" - documentary film
UPDATE: please visit our website at:
The website contains updates on production, galleries, a treatment "flipbook" and other information on this documentary film.
This documentary focuses on the golden age of high school football in Southern California, highlighted by the most memorable high school football game ever played in the region (please view the 5-minute promo video).
Although the game is what drives this story forward, this film is about much more – an economic, social, and cultural transformation of an entire region, when all eyes of the nation were on California. This documentary would appeal to all persons interested in American history in the 1950s.
The football game was the 1956 CIF championship between two powerhouse teams – the Anaheim Colonists and the Downey Vikings. The media buzz was unprecedented. Each team had a star player of almost mythical status – Anaheim's Mickey Flynn, and Downey's Randy Meadows.
Anaheim and Downey – still considered small towns in the 1950s – were truly represented by these teams, with businesses often closing early to attend games. The two 12-0 teams clashed in the L.A. Memorial Coliseum on a foggy December night. It was a game for the ages.
Yet in the aftermath of the game, the economic landscape and infrastructure of southern California was changing so rapidly that a game of such magnitude could not – and would not – ever happen again. And if we look back at that period from afar, perhaps we can also reflect on how we sometimes treat our heroes, and what that says about us.
Most importantly, this film will allow the men and women interviewed to tell their stories – which will make us all richer by reflecting upon their experiences, and ours.
Your donation will help preserve this important piece of history. Any amount is appreciated, but there will be thank you gifts for specific amounts donated. Those details – plus information for those who wish to make a tax-deductible donation by check – are available at our website:
Thank you so very much for your consideration.
Paul Molina earned a B.A. degree from the UCLA Dept. of Theater, Film, and Television. For the past 25 years he has produced and written documentaries and news programming, some of which have aired nationally on PBS, The Learning Channel, E! Entertainment, NBC affiliates, and via Netflix. He has also produced and written corporate media productions for clients that include Time-Warner, the U.S. Postal Service, 3M, Pearson Education, McGraw-Hill, Allina Health in Minneapolis, and numerous veterans groups and health care organizations in the upper Midwest.
Paul was born in Anaheim and attended Katella High School, where he played football and was selected All-Empire League as a defensive lineman.
UPDATE: interviews with Flynn and twelve other former players and students (members of the '57, '58, and '59 Anaheim and Downey classes) were filmed in October, 2016. My sincere thanks to those who have already contributed, which has made this initial filming possible.
UPDATE: interviews with three historians, two former students, and several former football players were filmed in May/June 2017. Again, thanks to those whose contributions helped make this filming possible. More interviews and filming are planned for October 2017, so please consider a donation toward this phase of production.
UPDATE: more interviews were filmed with former players, students, and historians in October 2017 and June 2018. We have almost completed filming all necessary interviews, and we've moved into post-production, including the acquisition of more stock footage. Thanks again to those who have helped us thus far!
The two people interviewed were historian Bill Lacey, Downey H.S. '57 (pictured), and Jack Trumbo, Downey '57, who was the star QB for the Downey team that battled Anaheim High for the CIF Championship in December 1956. Bill Lacey was the sports editor for the Downey High school paper, The Norseman.
We're approaching $20,000 in donations and just need a few more bucks to reach our initial production goal of $24,000, after which we'll move into post-production and target a 2019 release date aimed at a PBS audience. Please consider a donation toward this documentary about an important time in Southern California history. Of course, many thanks to those of you who have already helped us get this far. Your generosity is very much appreciated!
I know it's been a while since I last posted, but a lot has happened since then.
I'm currently editing a rough cut of the documentary, which I hope to have finished by spring. There will still be more filming to follow, but this rough cut is to pinpoint the information still needed to build the narrative through on-camera interviews.
I anticipate one more production trip to Los Angeles this summer (2018) to finish up the remaining interviews for A Last Hurrah. Our last production trip was in October of 2017, and we gathered many good interviews and footage on that trip, not to mention a treasure trove of other media such as archival photos, game films, and game programs from the 1950s.
All of the interviews to date will be described and highlighted on our website in March, and I'll send out another email when that is ready to view.
We have exceeded $17,000 in donations toward our initial production goal of $24,000, and I anticipate that $7,000 shortfall is about what we'll need to finish our principal photography. So, please spread the news to friends and invite them to help support this documentary. Every contribution counts, no matter how small, and it the generosity of people like you that have enabled us to film as much as we have.
There will be more money needed for post-production, but that will be another fundraising campaign largely aimed at different funding sources.
My goal was to have this documentary finished in 2018, and that is still possible. I have had a personal setback; I had a recent accident and injury that required knee surgery, which has set me back several weeks in terms of mobility. But it hasn't disabled me from editing, so I'm continuing to work on the documentary, will provide more updates on upcoming production, and keep everyone informed about additions to the websites.
Thanks so much for your patience with this project. It WILL be a great show when it's finished. We have acquired great stories from those who lived during that era, along with colorful media and archival footage that will greatly enhance A Last Hurrah.
If you wish to contact me personally with any questions or comments, please feel free. Thanks again for your generosity and your patience, and stay tuned!
PRODUCTION UPDATE: In June I conducted more interviews in California with several people, including former Anaheim player Bill Mauerhan '57, former Downey played Fred Gallagher ('58), former San Diego H.S. players Pete Gumina ('56) and Jim Sieg ('56), Anaheim H.S. graduates Beth Flynn ('58) and Jean Mauerhan ('58), and historians D.J. Waldie and Art Hansen. It was a great group, and their interviews will add richness to this production.
I will be back in California in October to do more filming, hopefully finishing up the remaining interviews necessary for this documentary, so more donations are needed! Again, please help spread the word about this project to anyone who would be willing to help preserve an important part of our California history.
And don't forget to visit our website: