Harley and the Davidsons
The Discovery Channel began airing its docu-drama last night with the first of a three-part mini-series that delves into the roots of one of America’s most iconic brands; the Harley-Davidson Motor Company. Produced by Raw Television and directed by Ciaran Donnelly, the six-hour show is shot entirely in Bucharest, Romania where Castel Film recreated turn-of-the-century America for this little opus.
Alex Wheeler produced the various bikes for the project at his South Africa-based, Apocalypse Production studio, and I gotta’ say I’m impressed with the finished products. Far from just being lick-and-stick stage props, these machines look and ride much like the originals, and to those who bemoan the lack of absolute authenticity or even complain that genuine antiques weren’t used (read: destroyed) in the process of filming some of the not-always-intentional crash scenes, I say get a grip, take a breath and enjoy the story for what it is.
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A Ride Through History
Centered around the motorcycles, this is actually a human story that covers the personal lives of those involved, and even touches on topics that are still relevant today. For instance, the character William B. Johnson portrayed by Stephen Rider was the first Black man to own an authorized H-D dealership, and also the first Black man licensed to race motorcycles. Bear in mind that this was in a period where Black folks weren’t even allowed to vote, and you start to see the importance of this character in the grand scheme of things.
The show also features stars such as Michiel Huisman, Bug Hall, Robert Aramayo, Gabriel Luna and Daniel Coonan for some faces most will recognize from other current works, and performances that I expect will at least garner some Emmy nods. That said, I look forward to watching the rest of it, and you should too. If you missed the first episode, go to the Discovery website to watch it streaming.