Return To Lions
Drag racing's 1st live TV show Lions Drag Strip KTTV 1961.mov
On September 16, 1961, history was made at Lions Drag Strip (Wilmington/Long Beach, CA), when local Los Angeles television station KTTV (Channel 11) aired the first-ever "live" drag racing TV program. Hosted by Bill Welch, plus the legendary track's first manager and iconic hot rodder, Mickey Thompson. Clip is from Part 1 of the three-disk DVD trilogy "Lions - The Greatest Drag Strip", by Don Gillespie. Early day film clips include Tom McEwen, Dode Martin, Zane Shubert, Bob Muravez and Gary Cagle. TV show was the result of manager Thompson's second job, as a pressman for the Los Angeles Times, and friendship with its owners, the Chandler Family, whom also owned KTTV. Each "Lions - The Greatest Drag Strip" DVD is nearly two hours in length, and chronicles the track's incredible history from its opening in October 1955 thru "The Last Drag Race", held on December 2, 1972.
Return to Lions Drag Strip Long Beach California 2008
This is the third year of featuring restored dragsters that have run the 1320' Lions Drag Strip in its hey day... This video, typical of going to a drag strip, despite John Ewald telling everyone to stand back, you never get to see much when they display cars this way. Typical of the drag strip, all the vehicles require too much support, they stand around the car and block the view, especially when it is running.... At the CHRR in Bakersfield, the Cacklefest is blocked by a bunch of folks standing at the concrete wall on the track blocking the view to the grand stands as if the concrete barrier wasn't enough....I have been going to the drags since I was a youngster and it seems the problem is no one can stay seated for a run and your typical day at the drags to this day takes on a Jack in the Box atmosphere.... I guess that is the way it is.....Anyway, the City of Long Beach Chamber of Commerce puts on a nice event and I hope it continues into the future.