Behind the Scenes at Skateboard, the Movie


Alright, we’ve got special behind the scenes access to Skateboard, the movie, courtesy of this July, 1977 edition of Wild World of Skateboarding magazine.  The article seems hastily written, and does not really offer much behind the scenes action outside of some photos from the set. However, it’s got lots of  poorly written press release action. It also offers an interesting glimpse of the state of skateboarding at the time, such as the lack of “established rules of Downhill in organized competition due to the infancy of skateboarding as a spectator sport.” Apparently, all the competitions in the film were staged. I haven’t seen it in a very long time, but I recall as a kid I thought this was a sort of hybrid of documentary and drama. The tone of the article is amusing in retrospect, as it treats the movie as, well, a film and not the kitsch time capsule it turned out to be.  Pics and full article text after the jump.








Here’s the full text of the article, including captions, with selected individual pictures enlarged.


Photos by Barry Shapiro. courtesy Skateboard Productions. Inc. By Tiger Warren

Hollywood, like the rest of the nation. has finally discovered skateboarding, and in Hollywood, presently in production for a national July release, is a film entitled “Skateboard.” which is the first full-length feature motion picture to utilize the ever-growing world of skateboarding as its main sublect. A motion picture which deals only in action footage of skateboarding was thought to be too limited in its appeal for a major Hollywood release. Therefore. “Skateboard” was made as a narrative film that would stand on its own as a feature. Yet remain flexible enough to capture the thrills and excitement–the pure juice of skateboarding.

[Caption: Some of the best real-world skateboarders appear in the film. Tony Alva (left) and Bob “Chuy” Madrigal talk about it between takes.]


[Caption: One of the film’s events is a downhill and freestyle competition in the hills near Burbank, California. Tony Alva demonstrates his jumping technique.]

The story relates how a down-and-out promoter (Allen Garfield) achieves fame and notoriety by gathering together a talented group of suburban skateboarders to form a team called “the Los Angeles Wheels.” Although the team begins in a somewhat disorganized fashlon’ it finally gathers momentum and wins the great downhill race event. In this climactic scene, over 5000 extras witness on eight-man race where the skateboarders attain speeds ln excess of 50 miles per hour.


[Caption: The superstars are what Hollywood is all about. Craig Chaquico, the Jefferson Starship’s lead guitarist, has a cameo role in the new flick.]

The producers of “Skateboard” were faced with many production problems, the first of which was who to use as skaters. After realizing the lack of “Juice” on wheels in professional actors and actresses (sorry. T.V. fans. Farrah Fawcett-Malors wasn’t available), they went on a talent hunt through the wide world of skateboarding, going as for north as San Francisco, where they found skater par excellence Craig Chaqulco, cleverly disguised as a superstar lead guitarist in the Jefferson Starship, and south to San Diego, where they found female super ace Ellen O’Neal. Finally, the makers of “Skateboard” assembled a team with the needed combination of talent and ability.


[Caption: For riders’ “eye” views of what skateboarding is all about, this expensive camera was mounted on Tony Alva’s skateboard.]

Tony Alva, well known as the hottest pool and bank rider of our time, welcomed the challenge to “open some eyes” by worklng in a film, which will go outside the skateboarding world. Rich Van Der Wyk, a veteran of skateboard documentaries such as “Groundswell” and “Five Summer Stories” makes his dramatic debut in “Skateboard.” Rich, a world class surfer as well as skateboarder, rips up the screen with his natural ease. Also from the Santa Barbara area comes the youngest member of the cast: tow-headed. ten-year-old David Hyde, who seemingly has a skateboard grafted to his feet. From Ventura, 17-year-old pro Steve Monahan was contacted and proceeded to really tear up the whole scene by jumping over everything in sight, both on and off camera. Tom Inyove, [sic. – should be Tom “Wally” Inouye] also known for some amazing jumps, will really blow minds In some of the radical pipe skating footage filmed of him, Bob Blnlac and Gary Caccaro in the opening sequence of “Skateboard.”


[Caption: Ellen O’Neil is one of the real-life freestyle stars. She’s doing her nose-stand durning one of the indoor “competition” events.]

[Caption: Rich VanDerWyk, one of the co-stars that performed his own skateboarding routines. He’s a surf film star but this is his first dramatic role.]

From the ranks of Hollywood, the producers were able to sign teenage stars Leif Garrett and Pammle Kenneally to their fictional skateboard team, the L.A. Wheels. Leif and Pammie, aside from being accomplished in film and television, also demonstrated, to the luck otthe producers (who had planned to use seconds or look-alikes for all the action footage), remarkable prowess on skateboards. Because the movie could not rely solely upon the talents of the super skateboarders, they contracted the vast dramatic skills of Allen Garfield, a veteran of productions such as “Nashville.” “The Conversation.” and “Gable and Lombard.” to play the character of Manny Bloom, the L.A. Wheels’ team manager and coach.


[Caption: The teenage star of “Skateboard,” Leif Garrett, did most of his own skateboarding – few stars are willing to serve as their own stuntman.]

In addition to Allen. Kathleen Lloyd came to the production fresh from Arthur Penn’s “Missouri Breaks,” where she starred with Marlon Brando and Jack Nicholson. Kathleen portrays Millicent, the team nurse who patches up the skaters and Manny when the going gets tough for the Los Angeies Wheels.


[Caption: Jumps were an important part of the film’s competition sequences. “The L.A. Wheels” is the name of the fictitious skateboarding team.]

Director George Gage and producers Dick Well and Harry Blum faced their largest cinematic task when they filmed a high speed mile-long downhill sequence at Stow Park in Burbank. There are no established rules of Downhill in organized competition due to the infancy of skateboarding as a spectator sport, and they had to design an event that would not only appear realistic to the general publlc but would be a precedent in serious skateboarding. Leif Garrett, Brad Logan, Tommy Sims, Mike Williams, Bob Madrigal, John Hughes, Russ Gosneil and Craig Chaquico went the distance time and again through the necessary takes. In what Dick Wolf described as “physically. one of the most dangerous film sequences shot In recent film. I mean there’s lust no way to fake eight guys following camera trucks down a paved hill at plus 45 miles per hour; once is enough, but a dozen times is Insanity.”


[Caption: A special upswept ramp with a window for below-the-board action was assembled for the film. Steve Monahan is trying out the upper levels.]

Yes. the moviemakers, In their constant search for new material, have finally, like the rest of the world, realized that skateboarding is not just another fad, but is instead a viable sport that is rapidly consuming the United States if not the world. What with 40 million skateboarders in the U.S. alone, and all the manufacturers swamped with orders, all we can say Is: It’s about time.

1 Comment

  1. Gabe SoLame on July 14, 2016 - Reply

    T.A with the go pro board attachment

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