Recently one of the steely-eyed researchers in our group – Bill Foss – noticed that the movie “Johnny Dark” had been digitized and released – but with a twist. It was a hi-def version on DVD but only available in Europe. Why or why do things present themselves so often in a fashion that requires a bit more effort to acquire and share.
I confirmed that it had been released in France with French subtitles, but I crossed my fingers and ordered a copy and voila….it arrived safe in sound in Tampa, Florida. I am lucky to have a great video service close to my house and asked them if they could change the format from PAL to NTSC (European format to American digital format) and turn the subtitles off – keeping the audio on.
And so….with just a few hurdles to clear we now have a wonderful hi-def version (hi-res for the 50s) of the movie for all to enjoy. To see the improvement in quality, check out the 12 second video clip below:
But wait! There’s more!
Spurred on by a recent visit to see the Johnny Dark movie car – the Bohman Special – better known in the movie as the “Tiger Special” (more about that in a future story), I edited the new hi-res movie down to 36 minutes focusing on the featured cars of the second race.
As a reminder before you view the 36 minute video, here are the eight sports cars featured in the movie Johnny Dark:
So without delay, have at it gang…here’s the 36 minute video showing the second race in the movie with the cars above. And since this video is longer than a commercial and shorter than the full 90 minute film, I’d suggest grabbing a drink and some popcorn too.
Just a note – the 3 minute “trailer” for the movie starts this piece and it is not in high definition. The 33 minutes that follow is in much higher quality.
And away we go 🙂 Click on the triangle in the center of the image below to begin the video.
Did I mention that we recently believe we found the real Johnny Dark Wildfire and the supporting Wildfire “in black” too? More about that in a future post. Hope you enjoyed the story, and remember gang…
The adventure continues here at Forgotten Fiberglass.
Saw this movie YEARS AGO in Jr. High (each year we’d have an assembly of all students to see a movie) and “Johnny Dark” was the one just couldn’t forget. Have been looking for it ever since. Found it on eBay but, in registering, somehow “screwed up” and got banned! Does anyone know a place where I can obtain a non-PAL copy, hopefully on Blu Ray or at least DVD? Thanks so much.
What an awesome job you did on this. Thanks very much – I thoroughly enjoyed watching it.
I remember sitting through two showings of Jonny Dark, when it was first released. I loved it!
However, all these years later, watching it with the knowledge of the vehicles themselves – gained from your comprehensive research – makes watching it, today, as enjoyable as I remember it originally.
Thanks, Geoff, for all you effort in chronicling the “Forgotten Fibreglass” and keeping this history alive.
Thanks for your kind words Mel. And…if anyone ones a copy of Johnny Dark – the new hi-res DVD version – let me know. Help me out with shipping and the blank DVD and I’m happy to help 🙂 Geoff
Thanks again for all the time you spent getting the DVD transferred to high definition. It makes a big difference from the copy of the movie I got several years ago.
Great find of foreign film.HA HA
Regards, Dennis Gerdes
In the mid-fifties in Palo Alto, we lived next door to an engineer for Ames Corp. named Roger Sherman. Pop was building a Glasspar at the time and Roger was building a special of his own design. Roger worked at Ames for a fellow named Cloyd Gray who was very active in the newly formed SCCA and was its Chief Steward for several years. Cloyd had a Jag roadster, I remember it being an XK 140, but it could have been 120. It was a medium blue color and it’s number was 34. He had the car at our house many times visiting Dad and Cloyd and looking over their projects. He ran the Jag at a couple of the Pebble Beach races and at other CA tracks and was known to many as not only an SCCA executive but a very competitive racer.
In the Johnny Dark clip, a Jag spins out in a corner. i haven’t seen Cloyd Gray for 50 years or so, but remember how being tall, he sat high in the car. It’s a medium color and number 34. My bet is that was Cloyd Gray. Are there credits you know of that would identify that car and driver?
Hi Steve…The improved quality of this DVD release is remarkable – isn’t it? The race you’re referring to is the Labor Day Race at Goleta Airport in Santa Barbara – 1953. I have a copy of the program for that race and #34 is shown as an entrant named Edward Wilder – who drove the car too. The program lists #34 as a Jaguar XK120M. Could he have lent the car to Wilder?
Thanks, great footage.