Monday, June 21, 2010

The beginning

In November of 2008, I was traveling with a friend to a retreat in the mountains.

We had been discussing my past film projects and were discussing various stories that might lend themselves to a screen play.

Doug asked me if I had ever heard the story of the small school from Oregon that won the Boy's State basketball tournament during the Great Depression. I mentioned I hadn't and he provided me with the name of the town and the approximate year they won.

I love the internet.... did I say I love the internet? I was able to quickly pull information on Bellfountain Oregon and their small high school of 28 students and 8 boys on the basketball team. The years were 1933 - 1937 and this ragtag team of small town wonders battled their way into the hearts of all Oregonians who were struggling through the Great Depression.

I discovered two books written on the topic and a few newspaper articles that provided the majority of research material.

The first was Ralph Friedman's book, "The Other Side of Oregon" where he wrote 20 full pages on the 'Boys of Winter'.

The other was Joe R. Blakely's book, "The Bellfountain Giant Killers" where he wrote a compelling 65 pages on the historic final two years of their school years.

Rachel Bachman from the The Oregonian wrote a two page article entitled "Giant Killers' feat still echoes after 70 years" on Sunday, December 16, 2007

This research prompted a trip down to Bellfountain which is 18.22 miles south or Corvallis off of Hwy 99. It isn't much more than a stop sign now but at one time, it was bustling little farm and timber community.

Much to my delight, the school where the 'Bells' played was still there as was the gymnasium and the church across the street. We met with Greg who is pastor of the church who now owned the school and gym. He took us to the school and gym and it was like stepping back in time. The gym interior had not changed except for a few minor modern updates such as lighting. I could see in my minds' eye the 8 member team blitzing up and down the court with the lightening fast passing Coach Litchfield had taught them.

Flash forward to today where we are currently in development on this wonderful story, "Giant Killers". This blog will highlight our journey and hopefully end with the World Premiere being shown in Portland in 2012. (Before December 21st, just in case) :)

We are developing a team of creative and technical advisers to be a part of this project. We have a few on board now.

We are looking for historians, sports enthusiasts and people interested in Oregon film to be a part. I believe some runners might be interested as well for as team member Harry Wallace provided in the Rachel Bachman interview, "We'd play basketball and then run home," said Wallace, who lived four miles from school. "Kept us in shape."

More to come...

1 comment:

  1. Greg is my dad, I grew up across the street from the Bellfountain school and gym, and didn't even know about this team until the Bellfountain Giant Killers book came out. I had many basketball practices in the Bellfountain gym when I was younger. I coach middle school basketball in Corvallis now, and I think it's so cool that such an amazing basketball story unfolded right across from where I lived! The community is so excited for the movie, know that we're supporting you!