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Three years after his death, Hot Rod Hundley documentary set to premiere

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — In just a matter of days the world — and perhaps most importantly, West Virginia — will finally know “The Untold Story of Hot Rod Hundley.”

Director Dan Lohmann and Pikewood Creative will premiere “Hot Rod: The Documentary” Wednesday and Friday nights in Charleston and Morgantown respectively.

“We are done, and we are very happy with it,” Lohmann told WAJR’s Morgantown AM Monday morning.

The film explores the 80-year life of Rodney Clark “Hot Rod” Hundley, the legendary West Virginia University basketball player, former NBA first overall draft pick, and broadcaster.

“If you drill down into the Salt Lake City market with the Utah Jazz fans, he is still a God-like figure out there to this day,” Lohmann said. “Gigantic.”

But Hot Rod’s broadcasting career, which Lohmann believes is an aspect less well-known among his fellow Mountaineers, pales compared to Hundley’s family history. The doc features interviews about Hundley’s troubled youth in Charleston — but places the stories of his daughters center stage.

“What we came away from that period of time with them was really, I think, the core of the story that people just don’t know about Hot Rod Hundley,” Lohmann said. “They do know about the basketball player at West Virginia. They probably know about parts of him as a broadcaster. But him as a family man, I just don’t think people know about that part of him.”

The first interviews were shot Independence Day weekend in 2015, but Lohmann said the concept had gripped him since Hundley passed away on March 27, 2015 — with Tuesday marking the three-year anniversary of Hot Rod’s death

“As an artist, I guess, as you look it as a canvass, it’s almost like a painting,” Lohmann said. “You know, as you look at it, you see little things; I could change this or I could change that. You like to keep working on things, but at some point you say enough is enough on something. You say it’s time to move on, and let’s put this out there and see what people think.”

The Clay Center will host the Charleston premiere Wednesday night. In Morgantown, the film will premiere at The Metropolitan Theatre Friday night.

On television, the film opens Tuesday, April 3 at 7 p.m. on AT&T Sportsnet Pittsburgh, with an encore showing at 11 p.m. It will then re-air 24 times on AT&T Sportsnet. The film will be shown 48 times on West Virginia Public Broadcasting, premiering Monday, April 16.

Online distribution is not yet available, but Lohmann said there eventually will be an online distribution plan.

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