LOU GEHRIG: AN AMERICAN ICON
When baseball was America’s favorite pastime, Lou Gehrig was one of the nation’s greatest heroes. Popularly known as the “Iron Horse”, his life’s story weaves a bittersweet tale of strength, dynamism and transcendent grace. The only surviving child of German immigrants Christina and Heinrich Gehrig, Lou grew up in New York City and received a scholarship to attend Columbia University. In 1923 while working to pay his way through school in addition to being an active member of his fraternity and Columbia’s sports teams, Gehrig was drafted by the New York Yankees. His 14-year career, which included playing in 2,130 consecutive games, ended after the Iron Horse benched himself because of his diminishing health. Soon after, on his 36th birthday, Lou Gehrig was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a mysterious and degenerative neuromuscular disease. He died two years later. In his short life, Lou Gehrig became much more than a major-league icon with an impressive batting average. Still very much part of the American lexicon today, Lou Gehrig is a hero in the classic sense; remembered as much for his greatness as he is for his vulnerability. With grace, humor and humility, Gehrig gave one of the most famous speeches in sports history noting that despite his illness, he considered himself to be “the luckiest man on the face of the earth.”
AN OPPORTUNITY FOR ADVOCACY
Today, someone is diagnosed with ALS every 90 minutes. Commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis still has no cure. Though Gehrig’s life was immortalized by the Academy Award winning film The Pride of the Yankees, his battle with ALS has never been cinematically explored. A film that addresses the life of Lou Gehrig by documenting his battle with ALS will be important for raising public awareness about Lou Gehrig’s Disease. By celebrating the life of this American hero, and in addressing his death, Lou Gehrig’s story can provide an important medium for increasing funding in the quest to cure this tragic disease that continues to affect thousands of Americans.
Longshot Productions has assembled an outstanding production and post-production crew (whose credits include Oscar, Emmy, Peabody, Grammy, and CINE Golden Eagle award-winning documentaries), including long-time Ken Burns cinematographer Allen Moore and composer Jacqueline Schwab. With the support of the Rip Van Winkle Foundation, a benefactor of the Lou Gehrig estate, two noted Gehrig biographers, and the ALS Association, IRON HORSE: The Legend of Lou Gehrig will deliver the definitive portrait of an American icon and baseball hero, and raise much-needed awareness of the medical condition that bears his name.
Longshot Productions will use funds generated through this page to fund the development of the script and pay the licensing fee to use Gehrig’s name and image in our film. The script will be written by Ken Chowder, aka Kage Glantz (kenchowder.com), who has scripted over 20 documentary films (and one feature film) broadcast on PBS, NBC, TBS, Discovery, A & E, and BBC, and has published three novels to glittering reviews. His credits include seven films for PBS' The American Experience, one American Masters, and seven National Geographic films. His films have been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary, won the Columbia/DuPont Prize, and been named Best Documentary or Best History Film at many festivals, including the American Film Festival. He's written (in part or whole) fifteen proposals that succeeded in getting scripting or production funding, or both, from the N.E.H. His articles have seen the light of print in Smithsonian, Audubon, Travel & Leisure, The New York Times Sophisticated Traveler, American Heritage, Modern Maturity, The New York Times, Geo, The [London] Sunday Times Travel Magazine, Geographical magazine, and even Reader's Digest. His three novels were all published by Harper & Row — one is in Penguins, another was given the Harper-Saxton Prize, and a third was an Editors' Choice book at the New York Times and Washington Post. Extravagant reviews can be glimpsed on the Fiction page of his site.
Having a quality script in hand will help us attract investors to fund the remainder of production and post-production for an HD feature-length documentary that will be broadcast nationwide.
Thank you for supporting this film and this cause. Please help us to spread the word among Yankees, Gehrig, and baseball fans, and people whose lives have been touched by Lou Gehrig's Disease.