May 08, 2013

Hockey's First Movie

No. The following is not a video of me playing hockey. Though it is nothing short of remarkable how similar I skate.

The video is the very first film depicting hockey in action.

The 34 second film was produced by Thomas Edison's Manufacturing Company. They made a second quick film in 1901 called Hockey Match on the Ice at Montreal, Canada. It does not seem that film has made it to YouTube just yet.

Alright. So such a quick clip was ground breaking back then but hardly qualifies as a movie by today's definition. So what was hockey's first movie?

In 1936 Warner Brothers made an "abysmal" movie titled King Of Hockey. It starred Dick Purcell as the show's main character Gabby Dugan. Dugan was a college hockey player who makes it to the pros, only to run into a notorious gambler who gives him grief.

A year later John Wayne - yes, the Duke himself - starred in a hockey movie. Can you believe it?! In the movie Idol of the Crowds, the Duke plays a chicken farmer named Johnny Hansen (great hockey movie name, by the way) who comes out of retirement to earn more money to invest in his farm. But of course, our hero Hansen also runs into problems with gangsters and gamblers. What's up with that?

The entire movie has ended up on YouTube (in six parts): 

Here's a quick listing of all 6 segments on YouTube:

Part One

Part Two
Part Three
Part Four
Part Five
Part Six

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