It was 25 years ago July 12 that then-WLUP-FM DJ Steve Dahl helped seal the fate of the disco craze when he staged his notorious “Disco Demolition,” exploding a crate of disco records at Comiskey Park and halting the White Sox-Tigers match when more than 50,000 fans stormed the field and started a bonfire in center field.
Ch. 11 will broadcast TeamWorks Media’s new documentary “Disco Demolition 25th Anniversary: The Real Story,” at 8 p.m. July 12, 25 years to the date and time after the event. “This will explode some myths and substantiate some other claims,” said TeamWorks’ Jay Sharman, VP/production.
“Everyone has a knee-jerk reaction to the Demolition, but there’s been so little footage of it seen that people’s minds don’t necessarily reflect what really happened that night,” said Sharman, the doc’s executive producer along with TeamWorks partners Mike Sear and David Houle.
A week before the broadcast, TeamWorks’ staff of 20 was working around the clock to grab the last few interviews and complete the cut on the hour-long doc. “We’ve pulled on every resource in our company to make this a fantastic documentary,” Sharman said.
Last spring, Sear recognized the impending anniversary and brought the doc concept to Sharman. Just a month ago, they met with Dahl, WCKG-FM general manager Jeff Schwartz, who had organized the Demolition as a WLUP promotion, and Ch. 11’s program executive Randy King.
TeamWorks interviewed more than 30 witnesses and participants, including Dahl, his former broadcasting partner Gary Meier, late Sox owner Bill Veeck’s son Mike Veeck, and Jimmy Pearsall, who announced the aborted game. One married couple interviewed in the doc went to the game on their first date.
“Jeff jokes about the fact that there were 50,000 fans in the ballpark, another ten to 20,000 outside, but half a million people say they were there ? it’s taken on this Woodstock-esque appeal,” Sharman said. “At the time it was kind of a black eye for Chicago, but in retrospect a lot of people look on it as a badge of honor. Chicago stood up and made a statement to New York and Los Angeles about the flashy disco era and wide lapels and bellbottoms.”
Ch. 11 plans to air “Disco Demolition” during its August pledge drive, and offer a limited edition DVD to subscribers. TeamWorks’ own DVD of the doc is for sale through the program web site and will be available in August.
TeamWorks is at 954 W. Washington Blvd. Call 312/829-8326 or see www.discodemolition.com.
? by Ed M. Koziarski, firstname.lastname@example.org