43: The Petty Story (1972)

G | 83 mins | Biography | November 1972

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HISTORY

The working title of the film was The Petty Story , and according to a 30 Sep 1974 Box item, it was re-named Smash-Up Alley , a title which is also mentioned in some modern sources. The Box item also noted that the re-titled film was to be released by Wheeler Films, but no additional about Wheeler's involvement has been located. The numeral in the title, 43: The Petty Story , refers to the number of Richard Petty’s famous race car. Although the name of Richard’s wife is never mentioned in the film, biographical sources confirm that the name is Lynda. The end credits contain acknowledgments to include Petty Enterprises of Randleman, NC, Gus Moody and Caraway Speedway, Corona Speedway, Tarheel Speedway, Daytona Motor Speedway, Charlotte Motor Speedway, Darlington Motor Speedway, Division of Highways of NC, individual members of the Petty family and the people of Randleman, NC.
       The acronym “NASCAR” stands for the National Association of Stock Car Racing, which is the sanctioning body of the sport in America. The Petty family is considered by most racing aficionados to be “the first family” of NASCAR: Lee participated in the first stock car race, won the first Daytona 500 race and was a three-time national champion. Lee’s son Richard won a record of 200 races during his career and, as of 2008 is considered the greatest NASCAR driver of all time. In the film it is suggested that “Ed Koler” might deliberately have caused Lee Petty’s career-ending racing accident, but no mention of a driver by that name is found in modern sources. ... More Less

The working title of the film was The Petty Story , and according to a 30 Sep 1974 Box item, it was re-named Smash-Up Alley , a title which is also mentioned in some modern sources. The Box item also noted that the re-titled film was to be released by Wheeler Films, but no additional about Wheeler's involvement has been located. The numeral in the title, 43: The Petty Story , refers to the number of Richard Petty’s famous race car. Although the name of Richard’s wife is never mentioned in the film, biographical sources confirm that the name is Lynda. The end credits contain acknowledgments to include Petty Enterprises of Randleman, NC, Gus Moody and Caraway Speedway, Corona Speedway, Tarheel Speedway, Daytona Motor Speedway, Charlotte Motor Speedway, Darlington Motor Speedway, Division of Highways of NC, individual members of the Petty family and the people of Randleman, NC.
       The acronym “NASCAR” stands for the National Association of Stock Car Racing, which is the sanctioning body of the sport in America. The Petty family is considered by most racing aficionados to be “the first family” of NASCAR: Lee participated in the first stock car race, won the first Daytona 500 race and was a three-time national champion. Lee’s son Richard won a record of 200 races during his career and, as of 2008 is considered the greatest NASCAR driver of all time. In the film it is suggested that “Ed Koler” might deliberately have caused Lee Petty’s career-ending racing accident, but no mention of a driver by that name is found in modern sources.
       The film’s editor, Pierre Jalbert, played the role of “Curtis Cross,” and production manager Tony Lorea had a small part as “the drunk.” A 17 May 1972 Var news item noted above also reported that filming took place in Randolph County, NC, where Richard Petty was raised. The picture used actual footage from the stock car races that were dramatized and ends with a montage of clips from scenes highlighting the Petty family story and footage of Richard’s wall of trophies. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
2 Oct 1972.
---
Box Office
9 Oct 1972.
---
Box Office
11 Dec 1973
p. 4547.
Box Office
30 Sep 1974.
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Hollywood Reporter
31 Mar 1972.
---
Variety
17 May 1972.
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CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTOR
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
FILM EDITORS
Ed consultant
Ed consultant
MUSIC
Underscoring mus
Underscoring mus
MAKEUP
Makeup
Asst makeup
Asst makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod coord
Prod mgr
Scr girl
SOURCES
SONGS
“Friend” and “Hangdown Road,” words and music by Ed Lakso, sung by Marty Robbins
“I Looked at You,” words and music by Ed Lakso, sung by Lynne Marta and Bobbi Preddy
“A Bend in the Road,” words and music by Ed Lakso, sung by Ed Lakso.
COMPOSER
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
The Petty Story
Smash-Up Alley
Release Date:
November 1972
Production Date:
began May 1972
Copyright Claimant:
Victory Lane Productions, Inc.
Copyright Date:
1972
Copyright Number:
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Pacific Film Industries
Duration(in mins):
83
MPAA Rating:
G
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS


Stock car racer Richard Petty prepares for the prestigious 1972 Charlotte World 600 race, hoping to win and become the first driver in NASCAR history to have won all the major speedway competitions. As the race begins, Richard recalls the words of his father, winner of the first race at Charlotte and three time Grand National champion Lee Petty, “I do not race and I do not watch races:” Two years earlier, Richard lies unconscious from a racing accident and Lee sits in the waiting room remembering his family’s history with the sport: In the 1940s, Lee and seven-year-old Richard are sitting in a stranger’s souped up car admiring it when its owner, Curtis Cross, jumps in and races down the road, pursued by another car. Lee’s wife Elizabeth, brother Julie and younger son Maurice witness what they assume to be their kidnapping, but Lee and Richard enjoy the thrill ride as Curtis evades the law on a moonshine run. When Lee and Richard return home hours later, Elizabeth learns that Lee has bought the car which he intends to race, then turns to see that Julie has accidentally set their house on fire. After losing their home, Lee cheerfully announces to Elizabeth that he now must race out of financial necessity. After his first contest on a country road, Elizabeth points out that Lee’s expenses far outweigh the prize money, but Julie reminds her that “a man’s got to do what a man’s got to do.” After years of racing, Lee is a famous driver and teenagers Richard and Maurice work in his pit crew. When Richard meets a ... +



Stock car racer Richard Petty prepares for the prestigious 1972 Charlotte World 600 race, hoping to win and become the first driver in NASCAR history to have won all the major speedway competitions. As the race begins, Richard recalls the words of his father, winner of the first race at Charlotte and three time Grand National champion Lee Petty, “I do not race and I do not watch races:” Two years earlier, Richard lies unconscious from a racing accident and Lee sits in the waiting room remembering his family’s history with the sport: In the 1940s, Lee and seven-year-old Richard are sitting in a stranger’s souped up car admiring it when its owner, Curtis Cross, jumps in and races down the road, pursued by another car. Lee’s wife Elizabeth, brother Julie and younger son Maurice witness what they assume to be their kidnapping, but Lee and Richard enjoy the thrill ride as Curtis evades the law on a moonshine run. When Lee and Richard return home hours later, Elizabeth learns that Lee has bought the car which he intends to race, then turns to see that Julie has accidentally set their house on fire. After losing their home, Lee cheerfully announces to Elizabeth that he now must race out of financial necessity. After his first contest on a country road, Elizabeth points out that Lee’s expenses far outweigh the prize money, but Julie reminds her that “a man’s got to do what a man’s got to do.” After years of racing, Lee is a famous driver and teenagers Richard and Maurice work in his pit crew. When Richard meets a girl in high school named Lynda, she becomes his girl friend despite warnings from friends that he only cares about cars. Lee and Richard later attend a driver’s meeting at which Curtis attempts to organize his colleagues to benefit mutually in their dealings with NASCAR, but driver Ed Koler angrily rejects the notion of an alliance, declaring that racing is not a team sport, but the last place where “a man with guts can take it all.” The Pettys have two cars in a race the next day and after the meeting, Lynda and Elizabeth urge Richard and Lee not to compete against each other, but the men refuse to take them seriously. Elizabeth confronts Lee, reminding him that neither he nor Richard will be satisfied with second place and after she leaves, Lee admits that she is right. When Richard is pronounced the winner of the historic race of father against son, Lee contests the outcome, resulting in Lee being awarded first place. Although Lee and Richard are happy with this, Lynda leaves in disgust, and the depth of her feelings for Richard impresses Lee so much that he advises him to marry her. On their wedding day, Lynda has to insist that Richard stop adjusting a carburetor in order to attend the ceremony and pulls him out of the garage again that night. Years later, at the Daytona 500 race, three generations of Pettys are present as Lee and Richard battle each other on the track and Richard’s young son Kyle watches from the stands. Lee and Koler are competing for second position when Richard’s car spins out and he leaves the race. Then, Koler hits Lee’s car from the side, causing it to crash and burst into flames. While waiting at the hospital for news of Lee, Elizabeth rejects Lynda’s accusation that Koler caused the accident and retorts that Lee alone is responsible for his fate. Maintaining that racing is what keeps Lee alive, Elizabeth warns Lynda to accept that Richard is the same and while considering this, Lynda announces that she is pregnant. At the same time, Koler sits irritably in a bar where a woman taunts him for causing Lee’s accident. Richard and Maurice come looking for Koler and when they enter the bar, Curtis tells them that Koler is responsible for having him removed from the NASCAR racing circuit by reporting his efforts to organize the drivers. Richard, Maurice and Curtis confront Koler, pour beer on his head and throw him onto the floor, remarking on his “accident” as they leave. After this, Richard goes on to win race after race, while at home, Lynda’s pregnancy advances and Lee, now walking with a cane, begins to tinker with his car again. After returning home to his wife and new baby, Richard runs into Curtis and asks him to persuade Lee to give up racing because of his health. Curtis agrees and joins the family for breakfast, but when he and Lee disappear for hours after the meal, the family finds them racing on an empty track. Lee is ecstatic, but after beating Curtis one last time, declares that he is done with racing. Back in the present, Richard regains consciousness, joins his family and leaves the hospital. Then at home, Richard asks Lee to attend the Charlotte race for what he hopes will be his first win there, but Lee adamantly repeats “I do not race and I do not watch races.” Elizabeth later reprimands her husband, reminding him that his sons were at Charlotte for him in 1948 and that he must give up the need to be first and go to the race for Richard. When Richard makes a pit stop on the Charlotte track, he finds Lee with the crew, offering him a cold drink and encouragement and Richard happily returns to the race. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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