THE LONG COOL SUMMER – That’s what they called it, and wrote on the round metal container that the film has been kept in for the past forty some years. They don’t even try to play it, as the fragile, deteriating celluloid will crumble apart if wound through a machine today. Stored in a remote, temperature controlled storage area by Urban Archives at
With all the reminiscences of the Summer of Love 1967, there are some people are having flashbacks to the summer of 1965, an even more pivitol summer between the old fashioned, traditional lifestyle was being infringed upon by the first ripples of a social revolution that in a way, is still going on.
In 1965 Life Magazine portrayed
The boardwalk and the beaches from
David Brenner, who later became popular as a standup comic, and now does casino showrooms, was a producer for KYW TV back then, and won some awards for his documentary films. Another South Philly guy who wasn’t famous yet, Brenner talked his boss into letting him come down to the
At the time,
The summer reaches a crescendo as it nears end, so it was appropriate that David Brenner talked his executive producers at KYW into letting him take a crew down the Shore to Ocean City and Somers Point and film the scenes at the beach, on the boardwalk and at the bars, and put on a special one hour TV feature program on Monday, Labor Day evening.
Unknown to Brenner and his crew, there was a drama playing out behind the scenes, as
The Hells Angels had come to
Waldman, who went eyeball to eyeball with the leader of the gang when they came to town in the spring, took the threat seriously. He called the governor for assistance, the National Guard were placed on alert, and 500 young police recruits from the State Police Academy were bussed in to beef up security.
The crew heading down the shore with Brenner included Gary Shenfield, the cameraman, and rookie TV reporter Tom Snyder, whose later TV talk show would be humorously spoofed by Dan Akroyd on Saturday Night Live. Snyder was young, goofy and something of a numskull whose real life persona didn’t need spoofing, though Shenfield later recalled that Brenner’s sense of humor was budding over into the dramatic documentaries they were making.
When they arrived in
After the sun went down, Brenner, Shenfield and Snyder kept the cameras rolling as they crossed the causeway to Somers Point, where they continued to film and document the nightclub scene on
Brenner was a serious documentary producer however, and got wind of a local scam, where the all night court run by Judge Helfant quickly convicted and fined the drunk and disorderly and kept local taxes down. They would arrest young people on various charges, underage drinking, urinating in public, etc. and Helfant would fine them whatever cash they had on hand. No records were kept of this local legal procedure and nobody complained until Brenner made a stink about it.
Years later, after becoming a popular standup comedian, David Brenner often sat in for Johnny Carson on the Tonight Show, and one time on national TV he recalled the KYW TV3 documentary he did that Labor Day. Brenner said that they broke into Helfant’s court and called him from his office, and was then arrested for it. But they got the story, the story of the collegate scene at
The one hour documentary on KYW ran that Labor Day night 1965, and then was filed away. When I tried to locate the show, I learned that the old KYW TV3 documentaries, including the ones produced by David Brenner, were donated to the Urban Archives at
The old 16 mm film is fragle and has deteriated in the past 40 years, and would be difficult to run through a projector without breaking, but it can be digitalized and saved on the most modern DVD format.
Brenner’s KYW TV documentary could be a time capsule for us to view