California school boy and Stanford University student Bob Mathias was the first man to win two Olympic Gold Medals in the Decathlon in the 1948 and 1952 Olympics. The film begins with him ...
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California school boy and Stanford University student Bob Mathias was the first man to win two Olympic Gold Medals in the Decathlon in the 1948 and 1952 Olympics. The film begins with him as a 17-year-old schoolboy in Tulare, California where his high school track coach, played by Ward Bond, encourages him to train for the Olympics, with the Dacathlon in mind. His story, far from over, ends here with his victory in the 1952 Olympics and with Mathias in the U.S. Marine Corps. He and his wife, Melba, play themselves in one of the few movie bios that doesn't play fast and loose with the facts, especially in a bio with the subject playing himself.Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
Completed on a budget of only $180,000, in part by extensive use of newsreel and Olympic Games footage. According to contemporary news article in the New York Times, 45 residents of Mathias' home town of Tulare, California raised about 40% of the funding for the picture. See more »
Bob Matthias was certainly a hero for his times. And as a sports hero he got the chance to star on film in the story of his own life up to the point he won that second Olympic Decathlon the only man ever to do it twice. And I'll say this for him at least he was a better actor than Jackie Robinson who played himself in The Jackie Robinson Story.
Of course playing himself at the age of 24 he looks all of 24 and not quite the 18 year old who won the 1948 Decathlon. But also being himself the footage of the Olympics and other track events was easily able to be integrated into the finished film.
The romance and courtship of his wife Melba is in keeping with the times. It could have been an episode on the Donna Reed Show. Melba Matthias also plays herself.
Ward Bond plays Matthias's track coach and Ann Doran his mom. There professionalism certainly was in contrast to Mr.&Mrs. Matthias.
After the action of this film is concluded, Bob Matthias did do a TV series with Keenan Wynn called The Troubleshooters, did 2 1/2 years in the Marines after the 1952 Olympics and got elected to Congress in 1966 and served four terms. All in all a worthy life.
It's a low budget film with not too much in the way of production values. Still it's a decent enough tribute to an American hero.
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