On June 12, 1970, Dock Ellis threw a no-hitter for the Pittsburgh Pirates. In 136 years of baseball history, only 276 no-hitters have been recorded. Dock is the only pitcher to ever claim he accomplished his while high on LSD.
During his 12 years in the major leagues, Dock lived the expression "Black is Beautiful!" He wore curlers on the field. He stepped out of his Cadillac wearing the widest bell bottoms and the broadest collars. When he put on his uniform, he was one of the most intimidating pitchers of the 1970s.
Dock was often at the forefront of controversy and has been called the “Muhammad Ali of Baseball.” He was an outspoken leader of a new wave of civil rights in sports, when black athletes were no longer content to accept second-class treatment or keep their mouths shut about indignities. For this, the press labeled him a militant.
But that’s only half the story…
After Dock retired from baseball, he was as outspoken about his addictions to alcohol and amphetamines (aka “greenies”) as he had been about racial prejudice during his career. He spent his last decades using that blunt honesty as a counselor helping other addicts, until his death from liver disease in 2008.
Since then, the Internet has fueled the legend of Dock Ellis. This will be the first time his legend - and the story of the man behind it - will be told in a feature film. To do this, we need your help.
First, here’s what we’ve done:
- We’ve built a comprehensive archival library of photos, news clippings, memorabilia and film surrounding Dock’s story. We call it the “Dockupedia.”
- We’ve captured more than 50 hours of interviews with over 35 of Dock's family members, lifelong friends, former teammates and journalists, as well as his long-time agent Tom Reich, fellow counselors and those he counseled. Many of these people have never spoken publicly about Dock and his impact on their lives before. This is material you have never seen, anywhere.
- We’ve put together a team of artists, animators, editors and advisors to create, as Dock would say, "the slickest, hippest, most with it" film that we can – one that is worthy of its subject. Dock was a man of personality and style, and this film is intended to reflect that.
Your support will allow us to further enrich this dynamic material and help finish the film. If you like what you see in the trailer, then please make the most generous contribution you can. Your assistance will allow us to reach that level of excellence over the entire film.
We plan to complete post-production, subject to available funds of course, over the remainder of 2012 and seek a festival debut in 2013. Your contribution will be earmarked towards funding post-production editing, animation, visual effects and sound; and fulfilling obligations incurred in the production of interviews.
We’re also very proud that the film has already received support from The Austin Film Society’s Texas Filmmakers Production Fund, The Center for Independent Documentary and many individuals. Please join them today.
Why we are doing this is relatively simple: Dock was a fascinating and compelling person. His story is wild, almost unbelievable.
As a player, Dock drove fancy cars and wore stylish clothing. He kept his teams loose with his constant chatter. He wore hair curlers on the field and shadow boxed with Muhammad Ali in the clubhouse. At the same time, he bristled against injustice, particularly racial injustice. He stood up and spoke up for the rights of black ballplayers, something Jackie Robinson both publicly and privately acknowledged.
When he hit the field, Dock was as serious as a heart attack. His in-your-face pitching style intimidated many of the batters he faced. He was a master of the mental game of pitching and started in two World Series games and the 1971 All Star Game. He was the ace on the 1971 World Champion Pittsburgh Pirates and won an AL Comeback Player of the Year in 1976 with the New York Yankees.
Dock also participated in two important racial milestones. In 1971, he started the All-Star Game against Vida Blue, marking the first time two black pitchers faced off in the Midsummer Classic. Dock prodded Reds manager Sparky Anderson into selecting him to represent the National League, after claiming they would never start two “brothers” against each other. Dock was also the starting pitcher for the first “all-black” lineup on September 1, 1971, when Pirates manager Danny Murtaugh started nine Hispanic and black ballplayers.
Dock's biography was penned by future United States poet laureate Donald Hall. It was released in 1976 and updated in 1989, but covers only part of Dock’s life story. In 2009, No Mas released a popular animated short about Dock’s LSD-fueled no-hitter. Our film, No No: A Dockumentary will be the first time the full life story of Dock Ellis is told in a feature film.
Your generous support will help us tell Dock’s story, and make it accessible to the widest possible audience.
Produced by Baseball Iconoclasts, LLC
Directed by Jeffrey Radice
Director of Photography: John Fiege
Editing and Effects: Arts+Labor
Creative Guidance: Glen E. Friedman
- (35 days)