KENTUCKY DERBY STORY 1949 (1949 Short Subject Film featuring PONDER, OLYMPIA and CAPOT)
This 1949 short subject film by RKO Radio Pictures details the 75th anniversary of the Kentucky Derby in 1949 in which PONDER won; other notable horses in the race were OLYMPIA and CAPOT.
A chronological list of events shown in this feature starts with scenes of Churchill Downs (:42) in Louisville, Kentucky, hosts this Diamond Jubilee (1:02) for three-year old thoroughbreds. The names of each, “Run for the Roses, winner are displayed (1:05), beginning with ARISTIDES from May 17, 1875. Colonel Martin “Matt” Winn (1:11), president of Churchill Downs, has witnessed every Kentucky Derby. Footage of Derby winners is shown: 1918 EXTERMINATOR (1:44); 1930 GALLANT FOX, jockey Earl Sande’s third win (1:54); the disputed 1933 BROKERS TIP (2:13); and 1941 WHIRLAWAY's record time (2:24). Colonel Winn meets with his staff (2:41) to choose 20 horses from 113 nominations who paid entry fees: a $50 subscription fee and $1000. There are only 40,000 reserved seat tickets (3:32). The Publicity department bustles (3:34) and the superintendent supervises workers (3:52). The gold Derby cup studded with diamonds is displayed at Lemon & Son (4:23). A Western Union telegram is stamped “No Reservations” (4:41). The pre-race favorite horse, OLYMPIA, arrives by charter plane (4:44). PONDER, lesser known, eats grass (5:05). Horses run on the track during early morning workouts (5:17), timed by onlookers. A jockey falls off (5:43) as sportswriters interview trainers (5:54). The train blackboard shows on-time arrivals (6:13) as the Texas & Pacific RY (6:20) arrives and passengers disembark. Special Greyhound busses (6:35) and a Trans World airplane (6:41) arrive. Hotel lobbies are full of luggage (6:51) as maids make beds in a dormitory-style room (6:55). Men, women, and servants read about the Derby (7:11). A betting pool draws names from a hat (7:28). The Pendennis Club’s (7:40) guests arrive. On Derby eve, there are hotel dinner parties (7:48). Sportswriters attend the annual Churchill Downs press party (7:59). Kingsley Walker florists make the winner’s red rose blanket and jockey’s bouquet (8:32). The Kentucky Colonels, a philanthropic organization, dine (8:42). A jug band plays (9:41). Neon signs light the night (9:58). Security checks on the dark stables (10:08) as workers sing acapella (10:20). Dawn arrives on May 7, 1949 (10:37). The Kentucky National Guard (10:49) arrives. H M Stevens food trucks are unloaded (11:02). Mint juleps are served in glasses Imprinted with Colonel Winn’s face (11:14). A horse-drawn wagon (11:26) leaves for the Derby. The gates open (11:47) and boys offer infield stools. Special firemen and policemen go to their posts (12:00) as waiters check in (12:19). A Fort Knox army unit marches (12:24) while outside traffic jams (12:40). Motion picture and TV camera crews set up (13:19). Clem McCarthy now provides the voiceover (13:32). The official brochure (13:36), the 100,000+ crowd, and the jockeys (13:45) getting ready in the jockeys' room; famous jockey Ted Atkinson is shown. The bugle call for rider’s up is sounded (14:18) and “My Old Kentucky Home” plays as the horses are loaded into the starting gate. And they’re off! (16:09). OLYMPIA with Eddie Arcaro on board are the early leaders with CAPOT until the last turn as PONDER unexpectedly moves from last place to first, winning by three lengths. PONDER and jockey, Steve Brooks are congratulated and PONDER’s nameboard is added to Churchill Downs' Kentucky Derby winners (17:28).
Often overlooked or neglected today, the one and two-reel short subjects were useful to the studios as important training grounds for new or burgeoning talents, both in front and behind the camera. The dynamics for creating a successful short subject was completely different from that of a feature length film, something like writing a top-notch short story rather than a novel. Economical to produce in terms of both budget and schedule and capable of portraying a wide range of material, short subjects were the perfect complement to the studios' feature films.
The visual and audio quality of this feature may be variable in parts due to the inconsistency of source material which reflects the technology of its era. Most short subject films were originally on 16mm or Super 8 film and then converted to video or dvd so there may be an inconsistency/clash when two technologies come together in the conversion process, which is understandably normal.
|Format(s) Available:||DVD And VHS|
|Category:||U.S. & Canadian Flat Racing|