Seminal Cinema Outfit

Classic, Foreign and Rare Film

Film notes on Once Upon a Wheel

Once Upon a Wheel is a 1971 ABC television documentary on the history of auto racing. It was hosted by Paul Newman and was directed and produced by David Winters.

A racing enthusiast, Newman narrated this hour long documentary on the history of auto racing. Joining Newman was Mario Andretti, Kirk Douglas, Hugh Downs, Dean Martin, Cesar Romero, Dick Smothers and many others.

Winters and Newman on set

TV Guide featured an article on the program as well as Newman on the cover in the April 17, 1971 issue. The film was released to home video by Monterey Media.[1]


Coca-Cola bottlers sponsored the show, and Mr. Newman appeared in magazine ads (wearing a Coke racing jacket). Viewers could order special collectibles related to the show: 8-track cartridges or cassette tapes of music from the show, a Coca-Cola jacket similar to Newman’s, and racing jacket style patches.[2]


The show was released theatrically in Europe, with additional footage. The Italian title was “I Giganti del Brivido”, and “Vertigo Sobre Ruedas” in Spanish. The director, David Winters has stated it was Paul Newman’s impression of the finished product that encouraged the extended version.[3]


Spectacular…Paul Newman and celebs performed for director David Winters with joie de la cause, abetted by extraordinary editing…. A poetic study of man and machines…Incredible effect…Most exciting.” -Hollywood Reporter

Dazzlingly brilliant…Exciting…Moving

— Don Freeman, San Diego Union

Most Exciting show ever … A Special TV Special” -TV Guide

The Woodstock of racing…it is very touching…it is entertaining….it has a balletic sense of it……Incredible….

— Donna Pickrell, Houston Post

(see [1][4])



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