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Indy 500 : 1911-1958 Highlight Films
Indy : 1911-1958 Highlights
1-DVD (146 minutes)
1911 Indy 500 Highlights (8 min – b&w )
The very first “500” was held on May 30th, 1911, and the participants vehicles were limited to 600-cubic-inch
maximum engine size. There were 40 cars in the field, 80,000 fans in attendance. Ray Harroun, the eventual
winner of the race, was considered reckless as he was the only driver in the field without a riding mechanic in
the passenger seat. In this era, the mechanic’s duty was to constantly check oil pressure and inform the
driver when traffic was coming up from behind. However, Harroun had something no one else had; a
rearview mirror! This is a silent b&w film with piano accompaniment.
1920 Indy 500 Highlights (2 min – b&w)
Short reel on the 1920 Indy 500, with Gaston Chevrolet taking the win!
1934 Indy 500 Highlights (13 min – b&w )
This was originally a Firestone Tires promotional film, so the emphasis is on the
tires, but we end up seeing all the highlights of the 1934 Indy 500. Bill Cummings
would take the win with a diesel powered Miller.
1935 Indy 500 Highlights (2 min – b&w)
Very sharp (though short) newsreel describes the 1935 Indy 500.
1941 Indy 500 Highlights (30 min – color)
Color film of the 1941 Indy 500. There is no commentary. The Indy 500 would
be put on hold for the next few years due to the outbreak of WWII.
1946 Indy 500 Highlights (19 min – color/b&w)
A 14-minute color Firestone promotional film is followed by a couple short b&w newsreel
spots. The color film is very good quality. This was the first race post-WWII.
1952 Indy 500 Highlights (24 min – color)
Another Firestone promotional film (Firestone was the prime sponsor at Indy for several
decades, and a Firestone tire-equipped car won every Indy 500 from 1920-1966). This
color film is not up to the quality standards we’d like, but very watchable.
1955 Indy 500 Highlights (25 min – color)
Very nice promotional film from Perfect Circle. The winner of the race was Bob Sweikert, who
would go on to capture the 1955 Championship as well as the Midwest Sprint Car Championship,
the only driver to sweep all three titles in a single season. Sadly, the 1955 Indy 500 was most
remembered for the tragic, horrific crash that took the life of 2-time Indy 500 champ Bill Vukovich.
1957 Indy 500 Highlights (15 min – color)
Another great promotional film from Perfect Circle. Sam Hanks won the race and announced in the
winner’s circle that would retire from competition (he did end up racing again in 1957 in the USAC
Stock Car events). Hanks would be the first driver to receive a $100,000 single-race payday. The
car used was unique in that it had an Offenhauser engine mounted on its side and shifted
off-center to lower the center of gravity and reduce frontal area. The car was so effective that the
exact same chassis/engine would win the Indy 500 again in 1958 with a different driver.
1958 Indy 500 Highlights (6 min – color)
Short highlight film, this one is not as clear as we would like, but has a fantastic in-car lap around
the speedway. Sadly, this race would be remembered for yet another tragic accident, this one a
15-car pileup on Lap 1, and driver Pat O’Connor lost his life, The eventual winner was Jimmy Bryan
driving the exact same car that won the 1957 Indy 500 (driven by Sam Hanks).