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View Full Version : First Impressions: The Studebaker Closing: Separating Fact From Fiction DVD



556063
10-03-2014, 08:56 PM
First of all, I regret that I wasn't able to attend this symposium which took place last January due to work conflicts. The discussions and subject matter kept me tuned in for the entire 90 minutes. The DVD is a must have for anyone interested in the Final Months of South Bend Production, and why they ended up being the final months.

Prof. Ebert's section goes in to great detail as to the financial pressures that caused the events of December 1963, in much better detail and with better supporting evidence than any other previous documentary I've viewed. As a business and economics major, I judge his presentation as the Standard explaining what Studebaker Executives and Board Members had staring them head on during the last years. A great job. I loved his explanation that how you viewed the closing depended on your relationship to Studebaker.

Jack Colwell proves that integrity and substance was once a huge part of Journalism. I miss his brand of no nonsense reporting in today's world. His career in large part was launched by covering the Studebaker closing. He shares valuable insight into how the story was broken before Studebaker announced it, some previously unmentioned details of working with sources who gave him information, and he probably did the best job in the symposium of knocking down the currently popular myth that the Studebaker closing was a good thing in the long run for South Bend. As a local, I miss Mr. Colwell's days of being directly involved in daily production of the Tribune. Not saying I agree with him on all he has written, but his integrity is very evident in the symposium.

Bob Palma's discussion laid several possible contributing factors as to the exact timing of the closing out. I have not seen most (if any) of those issues discussed in any previous closing documentary. Bob gave some great insight into the Current Events of Q4 1963, Studebaker's 1963 overproduction, the competitive forces Studebaker faced, and what it was like from the customer's and dealer's viewpoint.

The DVD also includes some former employee interviews done for the 50th Anniversary of the closing. I'd probably have paid the price just for those.

I highly recommend the DVD. It is much more of a discussion of facts and data, than previous documentaries that focused on the impacts of the closing. I will watch it again (and again.........).

BobPalma
10-03-2014, 09:09 PM
:woot: Wow! Thanks, Kevin; 'glad you enjoyed it. Jack Colwell was good, wasn't he? :!:

It will be interesting to see if anyone ever "catches" one mistake I made during my extemporaneous speaking. It doesn't materially affect anything, however, so I bet it will be awhile before anyone realizes what it is, if ever...I didn't even notice it until I watched the DVD! <GGG>

Bob Ebert also made a mistake during the presentation, but I wasn't about to embarrass him as it is something any of us could have done. I knew Ebert didn't mean to say that; it could happen to anyone, even when speaking from notes. ;) :) BP

556063
10-03-2014, 09:36 PM
:woot: Wow! Thanks, Kevin; 'glad you enjoyed it. Jack Colwell was good, wasn't he? :!: BP

Yes Bob, Mr. Colwell is a gem. He calls them as he sees them. You don't see anyone like him anymore.

Back during the turmoil that led up to the current mess the industry is in, I conversed via email with an automotive journalist named Jerry Flint. He worked in Detroit for Forbes before he passed away. He was from the same era as Mr. Colwell. Mr. Flint even used Studebaker in his articles at times as a reference point to some of the things going on then. Mr. Flint said in his articles he should know what he was talking about, because he covered both events! I was struck that he would take the time to reply to me. But, he valued what people who read his articles thought, and took no reader for granted.

I sense Jack Colwell is the same type of reporter. We are lucky to have his experiences on permanent record in this DVD.

556063
10-03-2014, 10:10 PM
It will be interesting to see if anyone ever "catches" one mistake I made during my extemporaneous speaking.

Now, I will be watching it again and again!

BobPalma
10-03-2014, 11:15 PM
Now, I will be watching it again and again!

Good luck, Kevin...but I'm willing to bet Bill Pressler finds it before you do! :woot: <GGG> :cool: BP

ddub
10-03-2014, 11:21 PM
Can someone explain how to buy this? I looked for it at the online store but don't see it.

jclary
10-03-2014, 11:31 PM
Can someone explain how to buy this? I looked for it at the online store but don't see it.

Hey Don, thanks for asking the question. I've been darting in and out of the forum during odd chores and projects. I was wondering the same thing, but was assuming I was the only "clueless" one here. Thanks for the comfort of knowing that there is at least two of us. Come on guys...if you're going to post such glowing reviews, at least provide us with the source.

BobPalma
10-04-2014, 06:20 AM
:) 'Here ya' go, Don, John, and others:

https://studebakermuseum.org/store/books-video-and-stationery/historical-videos/studebakers-closing-separating-fact-from-fiction_00717/

(They have it classified under Historical Videos, rather than Studebaker History.:confused:)

Enjoy! :cool: BP

556063
10-04-2014, 09:15 AM
I'm spoiled because I live a half hour away from the Museum. If you have any issues ordering, the phone numbers to reach the nice ladies that helped me in the Gift Shop are posted at the bottom of the Museum's website.

BobPalma
10-04-2014, 09:54 AM
Kevin, I had not seen the DVD for several months, so I just watched it again last evening. I thought they had edited Prof. Ebert's mistake from the finished product, but I see they did not....and I knew my mistake would likely remain (and does) because it isn't all that dramatic, but is nonetheless a legitimate error of fact I probably wouldn't have made had I been speaking from notes.

These are not opinions or generalities, since there are necessarily many of them in the DVD, but simple errors of fact that were wrong when spoken, and still are. It will be interesting to see if anyone picks up on them and posts them here.

One thing they did edit out was an unusual question directed to me during the Q&A session that followed. Someone in the audience asked me if an appeal had been made to President Kennedy for assistance to South Bend after the December 9, 1963 announcement. I had to gently remind the questioner that President Kennedy had been assassinated almost three weeks before the December 9 announcement! :oops:

You'll note Andy Beckman citing the weather that day, which explains my somewhat -ahem- "rugged" attire. The trip from my home to South Bend normally takes a little over three hours, but it had taken a full five hours to get there that day due to the terrible snow on top of existing snow in central Indiana that week. I had loaded the car with a shovel, food and water, a blanket and extra clothing, and "bundled up" in warm clothes and heavy work boots for the trip in the event of a slide-off or other mishap.

The new U.S. 31 by-pass around Kokomo had just opened and I had never used it, so 'thought that would help reduce travel time, and it did. In fact, without the promise of that new by-pass, I probably would have had to call Andy that morning and beg off making an appearance; it was that bad. Fortunately, I arrived in plenty of time and was able to enjoy the Jimmy Johns sandwich lunch the museum provided the three of us before the Symposium took place.

An enjoyable day after all, and I was home by 8 PM. :D

Again, 'glad you enjoyed the video, Kevin (and others). :cool: BP

Ron Cee
10-04-2014, 10:02 AM
A note to also endorse this program. This DVD is a must for any Studebaker-Packard enthusiast. Bob Palma and the panel discussion is wonderful.

I personally found the former employee interview segment to be a tug at the heart. I had an uncle who was a career tenured welder at the South Bend Main. As a kid I'll never forget his personal excitement about the new Avanti. He was personally convinced Avanti, and it's production would save the company. He bragged it was going to be the car of the century.

Call the museum and order your copy today. You won't regret the purchase !

jclary
10-04-2014, 10:20 AM
...The new U.S. 31 by-pass around Kokomo had just opened and I had never used it, so 'thought that would help reduce travel time, and it did. In fact, without the promise of that new by-pass, I probably would have had to call Andy that morning and beg off making an appearance;...
An enjoyable day after all, and I was home by 8 PM. :D

BP

Hey, that little bit of information is great news to those of us who have made rare pilgrimages to South Bend.:D If I live long enough, and stay in good health, knowing that knot of closed lanes, traffic cones, temporary concrete barriers, and shifting traffic, is finally complete:!:...one less obstacle to face when making the decision to attempt the trip.

There is one other part of the trek that could use attention (if I'm recalling correctly), and that is the stretch of potholes (I-74) west of Cincinnati to Indianapolis.:(
However, could be that the "shovel-ready" jobs program has taken care of that since I last made the trip.:rolleyes::yeahright:

Sorry for taking the thread "off-topic," but I couldn't ignore this bit of valuable info.:cheers:

BobPalma
10-04-2014, 10:49 AM
Hey, that little bit of information is great news to those of us who have made rare pilgrimages to South Bend.:D If I live long enough, and stay in good health, knowing that knot of closed lanes, traffic cones, temporary concrete barriers, and shifting traffic, is finally complete:!:...one less obstacle to face when making the decision to attempt the trip.

There is one other part of the trek that could use attention (if I'm recalling correctly), and that is the stretch of potholes (I-74) west of Cincinnati to Indianapolis.:( :rolleyes: :yeahright: :cheers:

Actually, John, if you return to South Bend via I-74 from Cincinnati to Indianapolis and then North on U.S.31 to South Bend, you'll hardly recognize the roads by the time you return.

Much of I-74 in that area was rebuilt for the new Honda Civic Assembly Plant in Greensburg several years ago.

Not only is the U. S. 31 by-pass around Kokomo now complete and open, but massive stretches of new U.S. 31 from Indianapolis north to South Bend are being completed and opened every month, eliminating a good deal more of the traffic patterns that may have irritated you in the past. :D BP

556063
10-04-2014, 12:18 PM
The New US 31 between Plymouth and South Bend is open, with a temporary 2 lane bottleneck for construction only where the new section joins the old section at Plymouth, and at the US20 junction in the Gilmer Park area of South Bend (Kern Road Area). Lapaz and Lakeville are bypassed, and its now 65 MPH to South Bend! People coming from the south will not recognize anything, as the new road lies east of the old Michigan Road route. It now only takes about 15 minutes to get from Plymouth to South Bend.

BobPalma
10-04-2014, 02:16 PM
Cool beans, Kevin; I'm looking forward to my next northern migration. :cool: BP

Bill Pressler
10-04-2014, 05:59 PM
Good luck, Kevin...but I'm willing to bet Bill Pressler finds it before you do! :woot: <GGG> :cool: BP

I was anxious to see this DVD anyway, but now you got me goin'!

BobPalma
10-04-2014, 08:34 PM
I was anxious to see this DVD anyway, but now you got me goin'!

Actually, Bill; I made two errors :ohmy: when talking about the same car, but at different times. I'm betting you will pick them out before anyone else, and I will not be upset at your citing them because they are legitimate errors of fact, a hazard of extemporaneous speaking! ;) :cool: BP

BobPalma
10-05-2014, 07:04 AM
"Upon further review," I would hope others will post comments about this Studebaker's Closing DVD in this thread as soon as people begin receiving and reviewing them. :)

One thing that struck me that day and continues to fascinate me is the enormity of young reporter Jack Colwell's then-assignment at The South Bend Tribune. In the DVD, he says he, "had been working on the story [of Studebaker's closing] all weekend...and, actually, even before that..." He said they were "so confident they had the story" that they really didn't care if Studebaker officials would confirm it before the Official Announcement in New York on Tuesday Morning, December 10.

We know reporters live and die by their sources, and here was a young man who might have been 25 or 26 years old with sources so well-developed in the business community that he could confidently write this story, one of the biggest stories ever in South Bend IN. Further, Jack says in the DVD that The SB Tribune's publisher had sent him to Washington DC to cover the negotiations settling Studebaker's early 1962 strike, so Jack would have been even younger at that time. So much responsibility for, and trust in, such a young reporter!

(For the record, I tried to coax Jack into telling me his age, but he would not. During lunch, I had asked him when he graduated from high school and he said, "Oh, no, Bob; if I told you that, you'd be able to figure out about how old I am!" True, of course, so I'm guessing that if he was even 26 in 1963, he would have been about 77 the day of the Symposium. I could never make a living guessing age and weight at the county fair, but I'd say that could be about right. What do you who folks who have seen the video think?)

Indianapolis Motor Speedway Historian Donald Davidson was equally coy about his age, but he volunteered that he was, IIRC, 18 or 19 when he visited from England and attended his first Indianapolis 500 mile race in 1964, so his age could be easily determined within a year. ;) Weird. You can kind of understand why women are sensitive to age discussions, I suppose, but I haven't known very men who are. :cool: BP

Guido
10-05-2014, 07:53 AM
A quick side note about age, I am from an era when it was considered improper to a ask a woman's age. Back when I was dating I would ask where they were when Kennedy was shot, if they were old enough to remember they invariably provided the grade they were in leaving a simple math calculation.

556063
10-05-2014, 01:41 PM
http://indianajournalismhof.org/2000/01/jack-colwell/