Museum hours: Closed For Renovations

Wheels and Reels- Snake and Mongoose

October 08, 2013

Showtime: 7:00pm

Movie: Snake and Mongoose (2013)

Free admission. Johnny Rockets will provide snacks and drinks for purchase. Enjoy $1 milkshakes!

Free to attend. regular parking rates apply.



Synopsis: In nature, the snake and mongoose are the deadliest of enemies—genetically encoded to eternally fight to the death without mercy. Beginning in the 1960's, the nature of that dynamic was strategically and expertly applied to the historic rivalry between Don Prudhomme and Tom McEwen in the most unlikely of venues—a "minor" sport struggling for attention on dusty drag-racing strips at tracks across the country. There, Prudhomme, the Snake, and McEwen, the Mongoo$e, did, in fact, compete aggressively for dominance in the nascent sport of drag racing. Racing aficionados probably know that much of the story by now.

But, what if that rivalry spawned something more than victories and defeats? What if it created a unique and unlikely friendship out of the smoke of battle? What if Snake and Mongoo$e were quietly the closest of friends even as their rivalry intensified? What if they shared the joy and pain of life when they were not busy competing? What if their mutual respect, racing nerve, thirst for fame and compensation, and their desire to advance their thrilling, but extremely dangerous, sport brought them together as something more than mere rivals? What if a perfect storm of conditions transformed their competition into something greater—a blood kinship that enabled them to team up in order to revolutionize an entire industry?

There is no need to wonder "what if"—that's what really happened while the two real-life Southern California drag racing legends were setting tracks on fire during those years. But, until now, few people outside of the racing community knew the true and full story of the Snake and the Mongoo$e. That is about to change with the long overdue release of the independent film, "Snake and Mongoo$e," from British director Wayne Holloway and production partners Entertainment Universe, Rhino Films, and the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA). The film documents the full texture of the real-life relationship in all its colorful permutations—the rivalry, the races, the fights, the victories, their partnership and business success, and their tender support for each.

Before that tragedy struck, they managed to put drag racing on the map for the first time, and changed motor sports forever, starting with the 1970 sponsorship agreement with Mattel's Hot Wheels toys that soon gave birth to the corporate sponsorship and licensing model that continues to dominate motor sports, and many other sports, to this day. But while that was going on, the pain of a failed marriage, the tragic illness of a child, and the loneliness of the road weighed heavily on both men and their families. "Snake & Mongoo$e" probes these many layers of their enduring relationship on a big-stage platform for the first time.

The film also features archival National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) footage and consulting and producing expertise from the real-life Prudhomme and McEwen. It's based on the journalistic work of writer Alan Paradise, who documented the rivalry for years before taking on screenwriting chores.

The movie stunningly chronicles a vintage slice of American culture as it came to life, while simultaneously documenting in compelling and dramatic terms one of the deepest and longest-lasting relationships in the history of sports.

At its core, "Snake & Mongoo$e" is a true and passionate story about the meaning of enduring friendship.