by Jim Amos

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 DVD #018 

This eighty-three minute video takes a look at the various racing activities that have existed in Northeastern Pennsylvania since the 1940's.  In this video you will see a little bit of Oval Track racing in the 1940's, Hill Climb racing in the 1950's, Sports Car Racing in the 1950's and lots of Drag Racing in the 1950's and 60's.  

The video begins with a look at a Jalopy Race at the historic Bone Stadium in Pittston, Pa.  This is the only know footage of a daylight race at the Stadium.

The Giant’s Despair Hill Climb in Wilkes-Barre celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2006.  It is the longest running Hill Climb in the country.  We take a look at it then and now.  You will see and hear classic sports cars take their turn at negotiating the difficult one mile course.  We did an interview with a guy who has been racing the hill every year since 1962.  We have also included some great footage of cars that were running up the hill in the 1950's.  The most difficult part of the hill is called Devil’s Elbow.  The name seems to suggest its level of difficulty.  This footage has never been seen before.  Great stuff!

Our next part of the Bonanza is an SCCA road race held near Harvey’s Lake in the mid 1950's.  The race was called Brynfan Tyddyn which in Welsh means; “Large Farm On The Hilltop.”  There are terrific shots of the Sports Cars racing along the narrow two lane roads near the farm of the late State Senator T. Newell Wood.  Local racer Alan Dukes helped us narrate this segment.  This is the very first time anyone has ever seen footage of this race.

Many of the Sports Car Racers eventually tried their hand at Drag Racing after it was introduced in Northeastern PA in the late 1950's and we follow them in the early days of drag racing at Wind Gap and the Forty Fort Airport.  This is the first time we have ever seen any footage of drag racing at Wind Gap.  The Forty Fort segment shows us how it did double duty as an air strip and drag strip.  Very cool stuff.

Our final stop for Drag Racing is the Pocono Drag Lodge in Bear Creek, Pa.  New footage and new stories from the first purpose built quarter mile drag strip in Northeastern PA.  Joe Scandale raced a J/S ‘57 Chevy called “Tension” back in the 1960's and he recalls his time at Pocono.  Joe also shared his home movies with us and they are great.  Joe filmed a special appearance of the Hurst Hemi Under Glass Wheelstander back in 1966 and you get to see track announcer “Mondo” take a ride in the high flying Cuda.  

Bob Steiner raced three different competition cars at PDL and is famous for his A/Dragster top end roll over crash back in the 1960's.  Bob tells us about the accident in his own words.  Bob returned to PDL as a demolition driver in the late 1960's and he helps us narrate the demolition derby footage segment in this video.  Bob gives us plenty of good inside information about what it took to enter and be successful in demolition type racing. 

We talked to Joe Perugino’s wife Elly Perugino about the role women played in the operation of PDL.  Elly also gives us some insight as to why the track closed in 1972.  Elly has a great sense of humor and I am sure you will enjoy what she has to say.

We also talked with several local racers who competed at PDL on a regular basis.  I am sure you will enjoy hearing the stories of Ed StegenaRich Ottaviani, Joe Scandale and Keith Washer.  

The final segment of the video is dedicated to the activities found at the First Annual PDL Reunion held in August 2009.  Many of the people who raced at Pocono attended the event and several historic race cars were on display.  World Champion Joe Amato was there with his 1940 Chevy gasser.  A great group of cars were lined up all the way down the quarter mile.  I talked to a member of the Glenwood Ford Drag Team and another from the Honesdale Honker Drag Team.  Then I happened on to the husband and wife team that operated Tri-Cities Airport Drags in  Endicott, NY back in the 1960's.  They had the original single lane timing equipment they used when they ran races at the combination air strip/drag strip.  Great story.

This video is a combination of current video footage and original 8 mm movie footage from our Bee On Video library.  The video is fully narrated and we have taken time to dub real car sounds on to the old movie footage.  You are going to love the special sounds of the sports car and drag race cars.  If you love grass roots racing the way it was back in the ‘40's, ‘50's and ‘60's look no further as this video is for you.
The attached YouTube video clip is a low resolution sequence from the Race Week Bonanza video.  Keep in mind the full 83 min video is in broadcast quality digital video.  The full length video is fully narrated unlike this promo clip which only includes car sounds.