The Boys on the Tube

pic-1-527 February 2017

Tim Koch has found nine semi-naked men on the Internet:

If Daniel James Brown, author of the bestselling book, The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, were teen heartthrob Justin Bieber, then we at Hear The Boat Sing would all be ‘Beliebers’, hopelessly infected with ‘Bieber Fever’. Amazon is a fan of Brown as well. It holds that:

The Boys in the Boat is narrative non-fiction of the first order; a personal story full of lyricism and unexpected beauty that rises above the grand sweep of history, and captures instead the purest essence of what it means to be alive.

I think Amazon means to say that The Boys in the Boat is a good read – and the HTBS review agrees. It is a word-of-mouth success that appeals to rowers and non-rowers alike. That a book about rowing should sell more than a million copies and spend over two years on the New York Times Best Sellers List is a strange and wonderful thing. For the benefit of any young people, I should explain that ‘books’ are like the Internet, but are made out of trees. Of course, they will never replace televisions and computers, and perhaps for this reason, in August 2016 the US Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) released a documentary inspired by Brown’s book as part of their well-regarded American Experience series: The Boys of ’36. Hopes were high for the production, not least because PBS is regarded as the nearest thing that America has to the BBC (and possibly also because five HTBS contributors were included in the credits). True to expectations, on the documentary’s release, the only disappointment suffered was by those around the world who could not access whatever local television channel it was broadcast on. Now however, the full 53 minutes of The Boys of ’36 is freely available on YouTube – so put aside an hour and enjoy.

What of the proposed feature film based on Brown’s book? The Weinstein Company bought the film rights in 2011. Kenneth Branagh was allegedly originally down to direct but he dropped out of the project in 2014. A post on in April 2016 says:

According to (the Internet Movie Database), the film is currently ‘In Development,’ which very broadly means it is either being planned, filmed, or edited and still does not have a release date. Since no announcements have been made about casting, we can safely assume that this project is still in the ‘planning’ stage.

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