Detroit Film Theatre

FREEP FILM FESTIVAL: Plimpton! Starring George Plimpton as Himself

Sunday, March 23, 2014

6:00 PM Detroit Film Theatre

(2012—Directed by Tom Bean, Luke Poling)

Detroiters will always remember George Plimpton for Paper Lion, the 1966 bestseller in which the journalist spent a season as a third string quarterback with the Detroit Lions. In Plimpton! Starring George Plimpton as Himself, viewers will learn about his other accomplishments, which include co-founding The Paris Review literary magazine and taking on a series of other professions as a pioneering participatory journalist. Plimpton was a Playboy magazine photographer, professional baseball player (he got Willie Mays to pop up at Yankee Stadium) and character actor opposite John Wayne. We also learn about his less-than-stellar career at college and his close ties to the Kennedy family, which include being just feet away from Robert Kennedy when he was assassinated. Ken Burns, Gay Talese, Hugh Hefner and local sports historian (and Free Press freelance contributor) Bill Dow all weigh on his legacy, but it's Plimpton himself, his career well-documented in TV appearances and interviews before his death in 2003, who remains this film's unforgettable star, including in moving return to Detroit for a final appearance with the Lions. Entertainment Weekly called the film a “remarkable doc about a life well lived.” (89 min.)

After the film: Plimpton’s Paper Lion will be celebrated with readings by people influenced by the book and others who were involved with the film. Among those participating are several people who were with the Lions when Plimpton was there, including Tom Nowatzke, who played fullback from 1965-69, Bud Erickson, who was publicity director and assistant general manager. Local sports historian Bill Dow, who appears in the movie, will also read.