RAD: Behind the Scenes

September 25, 2014 by  

RAD Behind the Scenes

RAD the movie was released nationally in theaters on March 21, 1986. It’s an underdog story of how a hometown kid goes up against the BMX factory stars and dirty-pool corporate types to finally realize his dream of topping the podium and getting the girl.

A couple dozen BMXers (racers and freestylers alike) were up in Canada in late 1985 riding and doing stunt double parts for the film’s stars, Bill Allen (as Cru Jones), Bart Conner (as Bart Taylor) and others.

Among those BMXers who played a central role in the film was Martin Aparijo. Martin rode as himself in the climatic race scene, and also stunt-doubled for many of the main characters throughout the film. Martin will be inducted into the National BMX Hall Of Fame this Saturday night, along with five other early-BMX headline makers.

RAD did not enjoy much success at the box office (About $2MM against a $3MM budget), however it has been red hot as a cult classic for BMXers ever since, and was reportedly a top-ten video rental for two years after its release. Still, the film was never released on DVD, so VHS and laser-disc copies are all you’ll find in the marketplace (the VHS is selling for a much as $60 on some eBay stores). The good news is that it’s also available on YouTube for your viewing pleasure.

Recently, old school BMX photographer and 80s-era magazine staffer, Tony Donaldson got the RAD band back together to produce an independent audio track that you can listen to with the film, to give you a running-commentary of all the behind-the-scenes goings-on and insider stories.

Tony told News the following about the project:

The genesis of this project was a few conversations I had with Eddie (Fiola) over the years. Then he and Martin sat behind me at the screening at the RAD 25th anniversary at the Armand Hammer Museum in Los Angeles. They were telling me behind-the-scenes stories that surprised, entertained and amazed me. I’m a fan of the movie, BMX rider and former BMX magazine editor, and also have known Eddie and Martin for decades. I thought I knew a lot about my favorite movie. But there was so much more I didn’t know. I was hooked, and I knew we had to bring this experience to the fans.

We didn’t know how to do this, since there was no chance to make it as a special feature for a DVD. Eddie came up with the idea of recording it and selling it on iTunes. I got it right away.

If you’ve ever heard of playing Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” while watching “The Wizard of Oz,” where the film syncs up perfectly to the music, you get how this works.

You buy this track on iTunes, Amazon, etc. and play it back from your phone, music player, computer, tablet, phablet, smartwatch, game system, mp3-enabled hearing aid, digital Victrola, Google Glass, or whatever player the future brings.

I wanted it to be spontaneous. The feature starts out in real-time with the movie–from the first moments, the guys riff on each other with amazing stories–but there are a few times when the guys will want to go into more detail about something. Eddie will tell you to pause, you’ll also hear a tone, then you pause while they expand on something. Eddie describes what is on-screen during the pause and after, so whatever way you’re watching the film, you can sync it up manually and exactly.

I gathered together the stars and players from the film in a room (top photo), sat them on couches, put microphones on them and had them record behind-the-scenes stories of the making of this film. Funny and amazing stories that even the most hardcore of fans never knew. This was the first time in 27 years they had all been together in the same place.

Bart Conner and Bill Allen of RAD the Movie
Most of the guys live in the Los Angeles area, Eddie and Martin still ride together, Jeremy works with Eddie to promote his EF Proformer bikes, Sam still writes movies, Bill still works as an actor and musician. But Bart lives in Norman, Oklahoma with his Olympian wife, Nadia Comaneci. Jose (Yanez) lives in Phoenix, Arizona.

We set up the recording at Eddie’s house (aka Club Ed). He had enough couches for everyone, and a big TV. Recording Engineer Kyle Hoffmann had microphones on everyone and even panned all the mics so in headphones, you get a feel for where everyone is in the room.

To our knowledge, this has never been done before. We may be breaking new ground, and you’re in on it. It’s a great special feature to go with your favorite film (be honest, how many times have you watched it?)!

I’ve sat down with friends and fans with the raw recording. Some who didn’t know anyone involved in the movie. They all said that they will never, ever watch the film the same way again. It gives it a whole new dimension. It makes it more real.

We had a blast producing it, I know you’ll really enjoy this program.

RAD Behind The Scenes Group Shot
The Players (Above, Left to right)
Martin Aparijo (played himself and stunt double for main characters)
Jeremy Moser (played himself and runs
Eddie Fiola (played himself and stunt double for Cru and others)
Bart Conner (played Bart Taylor)
Bill Allen (played Cru Jones)
Sam Bernard (created and wrote the film)
Jose Yanez (inventor of the backflip, and the only person who could do them at the time)

“Behind the Scenes” Crew
Recording Engineer: Kyle Hoffman
Dialogue Editor and Mixer: Hermann Thumann
Craft Services: Mindi Fiola

I would like to give thanks to Recording Engineer Kyle Hoffman and Dialogue Editor and Mixer Hermann Thumann for their incredible talent and hard work on this project. Also to my wonderful girlfriend Shirley Stahl for all her support and help with this. To Mindi and Eddie Fiola for being the gracious hosts for this recording, and to Bill, Bart, Eddie, Martin, Sam, Jeremy and Jose for getting together for this. To my friend Mike Drolet for the help, support and encouragement. To the friends and fans that listened to the early versions with me to shape it into the fun that it is, and to all my fellow fans that love my favorite movie.

At the time, “Helltrack” represented the most extreme, almost “science fictional” version of what an impossibly-tough track might look like. Contrast what you see in the film with the London-replica Supercross track today’s BMX stars will be racing on this weekend. It almost seems tame, by comparison. Trivia: the no-gate starting hill in the movie is about the same height of today’s Supercross start ramp. Coincidence?

With a four-hour flight to Chula Vista tomorrow, we will be listening to the audio track as great prep for Hall Of Fame weekend. Check the links below to get yours today. A big BMX News thanks to Tony and all the people involved in bringing this awesome program to RAD fans of every age.


RAD Behind The Scenes via iTunes

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