SI Vault
Edited by Craig Neff
June 04, 1990
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June 04, 1990


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The ailing Tinling had arranged his 80th birthday celebration—now, alas, to be a memorial service—for this year's Wimbledon. Seemingly sensing that he might not be around to see the event, he insisted that there be no birthday cake. "We shall have petit fours only...with the initials TT on each and every one," Tinling instructed. "You can be sure I shall not go out with a whimp-ah!"

This year's LPGA media guide includes a list of the select few women to have won the USGA's annual Bob Jones Award for sportsmanship. The names on the list are Babe Zaharias, Margaret Curtis, Patty Berg, Glenna Collett Vare, JoAnne Carner, Maureen Garrett, Peggy Kirk Bell and Chi Chi Rodriguez.


Two years ago, after former LSU and NBA star Pete Maravich died at age 40 of a heart seizure during a pickup basketball game, Hollywood's major studios were eager to film his life story. But the LA Production Group, a tiny movie company based in Baton Rouge, already owned the rights and refused to sell. It had been working with Maravich on a film that, at Maravich's request, focused on only one year of his childhood and was full of wholesome messages.

Now The Pistol: The Birth of a Legend is complete and ready for national distribution, but no big studio will touch it, in part because it's too clean. The movie has a G rating, which is almost a kiss of death. Last year, fewer than 2% of new films were rated G, and nearly all of those were animated. "Hollywood just doesn't know what to do with a squeaky-clean movie," says Frank Schroeder, director and executive producer of The Pistol. "They say there's no audience."

While The Pistol may not win any Academy Awards, it's better than many films that have been nationally distributed. It shows Maravich as a scrawny but determined eighth-grader (played by Adam Guier) trying to fulfill his coach-father's dream that he become the best player ever. In showings in five Louisiana cities—friendly ground, of course, for a Maravich movie—The Pistol has drawn well and received a 99% positive response from viewers surveyed. Foreign distribution rights have been sold in more than 30 countries, including Japan, Spain and Greece.

Still, studio executives aren't biting. "We didn't think that the picture was all that commercial," says James Spitz, president of domestic distribution for Columbia Pictures. "With the cost of marketing today, we didn't feel we'd see a return on our investment." Adds Warner Distribution president Barry Rear-don, "It has a very limited appeal. His NBA career would be a lot more interesting."

Schroeder remains undaunted. If the major studios continue to shun The Pistol, he says, he will try to get an independent financial group to distribute the movie.


While the hottest issue in thoroughbred racing these days is whether or not the diuretic Lasix ought to be banned—the answer is yes, because it's been shown to give horses who use it a competitive advantage—both Illinois and Ohio harness-racing authorities have forbidden a more obscure performance-enhancing practice known as milk shaking. Milk shaking consists of force-feeding a horse a mixture made primarily of water, baking soda and confectioners' sugar about three hours before a race. This "milk shake" is said to give the horse a boost of energy and neutralize the lactic acid that builds up in its muscles while racing. Some trainers believe that milk shaking can help certain horses run three or four seconds faster over the course of a mile.

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