Mel Anthony is an 87 year old man who races the same sort of race-car that he drove as a younger man: a ¾ size “midget” race-car. They're called that because they were originally configured to replicate, albeit on a different scale, the roadsters that dominated the Indianapolis 500, from the time that racing at Indy returned, in the aftermath of the Second World War until the advent of rear-engined race-cars piloted by the likes of Jack Brabham and Jimmy Clark.
Mel is a member of Golden Wheels, the vintage racing fraternity; which works to keep those vintage racing midgets running. Call it history on wheels.
John Nelson, a fellow member of Golden Wheels, got Mel back into a racecar that he owns, at the "Miracle Mile" track in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, a few years back. Mel said that, "I hadn't driven (a racecar) in 47 years." But like they say swimming does with the rest of us, it all came back to Mel.
Mel does this based on enthusiasm and having lived right: doing what he loves and keeping in good shape. Indeed, a few years ago, after a physical, a doctor told Mel, “You have the body of a 25 year old man.”
Mel responded, “Yes, in all areas but one.”
Mel's story is now the subject of a new documentary entitled “Smoke, Sand and Rubber” by Greg Brotherton. You can share the action as Mel gets behind the wheel of a midget race-car for the first time in 54 years and takes car #12, out on an oval track in the pacific northwest region of the U.S.
Filled with footage of Mel's racing today, as well as vintage racing footage from the 1940s and '50s, this is a record of racing as it once was, and sometimes still is, in America. Mel's passion for racing, and life, comes through in the stories he tells. Indeed, he demonstrates that racing is a fatal disease, in a different sense than we might first think. Racing might not kill you, but it will take over your life, until you die.
The free, world premiere of this movie (30 minutes) will be at 7:30 pm on Tuesday, May 31, at the Shoreline Community College Theater -- 16101 Greenwood North, Shoreline, Waashington (98133, USA) together with two other documentaries about racing in the Pacific Northwest; total time of program set at 60 minutes; seating starts at 7 pm.
There's also a question-and-answer session with director Greg Brotherton, Mel Anthony himself and his son, Dennis Anthony. (Look at www.freneticproductions.com for more information on this film and DVDs of same.)
The next scheduled screening, as part of the Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF) is on June fifth, at the Jewel-box Theater, at 6:15 pm.
Mark Twain once said that, “Age is a matter of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter.” Mel Anthony shows the truth of that. – Terry Parkhurst
for complete information on “Smoke, Sand and Rubber” plus DVDs of it, www.freneticproductions.com
Tickets for the SIFF screening: http://siff.strangertickets.com/film/3201735/smoke-sand-and-rubber