Thirty years ago last January, the 1985 Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka was carried off the New Orleans Superdome turf after the Bears demolished the New England Patriots, 46-10, in Super Bowl XX on Jan. 26, 1986.
Now a feature-length doc brings that memorable victory back to life. “’85 Bears: The Greatest Team in Pro Football History” will premiere in for Chicago audiences Wednesday, Sept. 7 on WTTW/11 at 8 p.m.
“The ’85 Bears were one of the most colorful and talented teams of all time,” notes Rich Lenkov, of Chila Productions, the doc’s initiator and producer and “a huge lifelong Chicago Bears fan,” although he grew up in Montreal, Canada where he says “I had a poster of Walter Payton on my bedroom wall.”
“The ’85 Bears” Bears had the first-ranked defense and shut out both of their playoff opponents. In their Super Bowl XX victory in New Orleans, they set records for both total points scored and margin of victory,” Lenkov says.
“That team remains indelibly stamped on the hearts of all Chicagoans and is firmly entrenched as one of the most successful teams in sports history.”
No doc had produced before about the Superbowl Bears when Loop attorney Lenkov and his partner, writer / co-producer / director and fellow lawyer, Scott Prestin, now in LA, launched the project in 2014.
“’85 Bears” features Bears’ legends coach Ditka, players Mike Singletary, Jim McMahon, Dan Hampton and Steve McMichael and exclusive interviews with superfans President Barack Obama, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, actors Bill Murray, Jeremy Piven, George Wendt and Joe Mantegna and Chicago ESPN sports show host Michael Wilbon.
It was Wilborn who arranged for President Obama’s interview. “It took awhile after we made the cold call to the White House until we heard back, but they had a window of time in which we could interview him,” Lenkov says.
Matt Walsh, the Chicago native who co-stars as Mike McClintock in HBO’s “Veep,” narrated the 120-minute doc in LA and LA-based Charley Rivkin edited. Interviews were shot by DP Marc Menet in Chicago, LA, Dallas, Miami and New York.
EPs were former Bears linebacker Otis Wilson, attorneys Joe Klest and Joe Siprut and Chris Meyers, Fox Sports’ NFL broadcaster.
Prestin’s most recent project is a documentary of the best-selling book “John Wayne Gacy: Defending a Monster,” written by retired judge and lawyer Sam L. Amirante, whose first case was the public defender for Gacy. The doc is slated for release in late 2016.