Stars, Bikes Come Out for 'Harley and the Davidsons' Premiere

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Categories: News, TV, Motorcycle History, Event, Movies

Stars, Bikes Come Out for 'Harley and the Davidsons' Premiere

Last week I got an email from Discovery Channel inviting me to the party for "Harley and the Davidsons" at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles. They had me at the word "catered", but they kept talking and mentioned celebrities, bikes, and an open bar...

If there is anything L.A. knows how to do it is throw parties, and this one was pretty awesome. Ed Tahaney from HDForums.com was kind enough to let us use his pictures here.

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"Based on a true story," according to Discovery, "Harley and the Davidsons" charts the birth of the world's most iconic motorcycle brand, focusing on the adventures of company founders Bill Harley and brothers Walter and Arthur Davidson.

I will have more on this three-night mini series event, including a review, and an interview with Alex Wheeler – who built all of the bikes for the movie – in the next few weeks. For now, a preview of the movie and a review of the party:

The event was held at the newly renovated Petersen museum, which is about as perfect a place for it as there is because it is already packed with cool cars and bikes.

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When I first arrived, I actually was having a trouble telling the prop movie bikes apart from the bikes that are part of the museum's collection.

The Thor and Brough Superior in the top picture are museum bikes. The two bikes below are replicas made for the movie (not sure if these two were runners).

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We did not have prime enough spots on the red carpet to be able tell you who everyone was, and who they were wearing, but they were all there. Since we are merely moto-journalists and not celebrity/popular media reporters, we honestly didn't even try to elbow our way up to the front of the pack to find out. But the beautiful people did turn out, including some of the stars of this three-episode, six-hour, motorcycle focused mini series.

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From right to left, this is Wilson Bethel in the hat ("Hart of Dixie," "Young and the Restless"), Robert Aramayo behind that head of curly hair (who plays William Harley), Sean Scully (who plays Walt Davidson Jr), Annie Read in the blue dress (who plays Caroline Jachthuber), Essa O'Shea right in the center but behind someone (who plays Clara Beisel), Stephen Rider ("Daredevil," and who plays William Johnson, the motorcycle racer who broke the AMA's color barrier), and just off camera is Rich Ross, the head of the Discovery Channel on the red carpet.

There was another red carpet out front, and, the Petersen being motocentric, this was where the bikes were allowed to park. I suspect most of our readers are more interested in these stars.

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Perhaps the coolest thing about the party was the virtual reality set up they had. If you've ever wanted to use 21st century technology to experience virtual motorcycle racing in the 1900s, while sitting in a life-size museum diorama, this was your chance. If you have a Google Cardboard, or other headset, you can get almost the same result at home on your couch with the VR videos on the official site.

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From the party, the clips I have seen so far, and the props and bike I got to see up close, this looks like it will be worth watching. Plenty of money was spent getting a quality cast and making things looks correct, and, of course, this material is rich with stories that can be dramatized.

Let's hope Discovery sticks more to the real story and less to the type of "reality" we usually see on TV. You can watch a preview here. "Harley and the Davidsons: part 1" is on Monday, 5 September at 9pm ET, the second and third parts follow on the next two nights.

I am waiting to get some detailed behind-the-scenes pictures of the movie bikes (most of which ran!) from the builder and Discovery Channel, so expect an interview next week with more details.

Learn more about Bryan and the rest of RideApart's excellent staff here: The RideApart Team


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