MADISON – Am I The Last Person To Know About This Cool Film?


What the? That’s not Forensic Files?

I was flopped in front of the TV yesterday morning, working on Woody Boater and looked up and thought. Mmm, that looks like a Hydro? On HBO. So I looked and the film is called MADISON. Okay, ya.. But I saw Hydro in the info about the story so I watched more and low and behold, a real film about a story about Jim McCormick and Miss Madison. A 1:45 ish film. not one minute, around two hours. And it’s great.

Jim, and Gogo boots

Miss Madison is a thing for sure

We even did some stories on the races. But not the film… WHAT?

What? Where has this been? And it was made in 2001.. WHAT? Why hasn’t anyone brought this up? Maybe its the reviews? ya its a kinda formula film. But who cares, its our universe and has emotion and very cool 70’s props and bell bottoms and halter tops. HALTER TOPS! Okay, not sure about that, but my memory sure recalls halter tops, hiphuggers and braided belts. Hold on.. I am having a flash back…

So of course I want to watch it again, and its on HBO GO, so that’s cool for me, and HULU. And of course it got me sniffing around for more info, and you know it, we had some here on WoodyBoater. With close to 5000 stories stuff gets a little lost. But so happy to have found stuff.

great footage

The poster – Look at your left.. See that banner? Thats the Hydro Museum.

For example here is a link to The Jim McCormick Story from the Hydro Racing Museum.

Great set design

Thats a River Queen. Dang, details

LOVE the SEARS row boat. Very cool.

And of course here is a story on a group of folks trying to rebuild Miss Madison. Is that our Randy Mueller in the story?

Wreck! it’s got it all

Now here is a cool deal. You know how we do a countdown to Dora.. Like in 35ish days. Well the week BEFORE the big event, is another big event. March 13,14, 15 – SPRING THUNDER VINTAGE. BOAT  RACING ON LAKE DORA. Yup, and it’s fantastic. All these boats are there doing there thing. Racing, stalling, flipping, and sadly. hurting. But that is racing and its still exciting as hell. You can find out more about the races HERE at the Florida Vintage Race boat Club, which appears to be taking over the CRA events in Florida.

At the ramp on Lake Dora


31 replies
  1. Bilge Rat
    Bilge Rat says:

    Well now you’ve reawakened that classic conundrum…Mary Ann or Ginger? And now you’ve thrown Mrs. Howell into it too.

  2. First53Resorter
    First53Resorter says:

    Born and raised in Madison, IN., I was a Boy Scout selling race programs at the regatta for our troop that day and witnessed the final heat unfold. Still remember the electricity in the shore crowd as the impossible happened. Great memory! Love those old unlimiteds.

  3. Matt
    Matt says:

    By the way, just to mess all of us up in the Maryann Ginger thing. Raquel Welch was up for the Maryann Gig.. YUP. But was deemed way to hot, and Maryann was more girl next door.

  4. Jamie T
    Jamie T says:

    I really enjoyed that movie. It’s been some time since I’ve seen it. I got a kick out of them drilling out the nitrous jets. Haha

    Lawd, Raquel Welch!

  5. Bob Kays
    Bob Kays says:

    Lake Hopatcong’s Ernie King drove “Miss Atlas” in the move. He was nice enough to sign this for me with a note. Great guy who knew his boats!

  6. Jim G
    Jim G says:

    If you watch past the credits. It has the original ABC Wide World of Sports footage of him winning the race and and the crowd scene afterwards.

  7. floyd r turbo
    floyd r turbo says:

    I don’t know where you guys have been. When I found out about the movie I started a “watch party” for our local ACBS chapter informing them about it waiting for its release nationwide but it never happened. It was released regionally in what I’d call heavy wood boat regions like NW and Detroit area and central midwest Ohio Valley for obvious reasons. I kept waiting for it to open in SE but never happened. I bought the DVD and just about wore it out. ACBS member and hydroplane expert Ike Kielgas, if I’m not mistaken either provided a or some hydroplanes or expertise/driving duties?? for this movie and I thought was even in the credits. Ron Stevenson can address that as he introduced me to him at Mount Dora one year as we had lunch with him. I don’t remember too much of the conversation but I could have picked his brain for days but he is too modest to overwhelm the conversation. One of the best things about the movie besides Mary McCormack and Cavielzel’s acting was the music, especially Spirit’s “I’ve got a line on you”. How appropriate of a song title is that but they weren’t even credited in the IMDB soundtrack for some reason.

  8. Shep on Lake Shafer IN.
    Shep on Lake Shafer IN. says:

    I forgot about boat races on Dora the week before. We will be in Tavares late on the 15th. So we will miss all of the races. That would be great to see!
    We plan to pull Mom’s Mink down there for the show.
    Looking forward to seeing everyone there!

  9. Kelly Wittenauer
    Kelly Wittenauer says:

    Great movie! Like Matt, we stumbled across it on TV. That was about 10 years ago, before we left IL. I tracked down the DVD, so we could see the whole movie. We now live about 30 miles upstream, on the opposite shore, from Madison. They still race the hydros there each summer & the vintage boats sometimes run too. Went to see them a few years ago. During a day trip to Madison, a friend & I went looking for the little museum that’s in the film. Were told that doesn’t exist, but given directions to the Miss Madison race shop. The garage door was open & the crew working on the boat invited us in to look & take photos. Spent a few minutes showing us around, answering questions & talking about the film. Then we went on our way, so they could get back to work.

    • Kelly Wittenauer
      Kelly Wittenauer says:

      If you enjoy movies that do an excellent job of evoking that era and don’t already know of it, be sure to look up one called “The Dish”. Not a boat film, but an Australian piece about the Parkes radio telescope & the Moon landing. NOT a documentary, it’s one of our all time favorite films!

      • Matt
        Matt says:

        Seen it and yes for sure. I love that film. I love all sorts of films and minored in film history in collage. But how did I miss this?

  10. Randy
    Randy says:

    Hey Matt — thanks for the coverage on the historic Miss Madison!

    Miss M will be arriving at the Hydroplane Museum within a month to begin her restoration. Expect it to take 3-years to complete. The museum is open Tuesday-Saturday and visitors are welcome to tour the raceboat history on display and examine the restoration projects underway.

    And, of course, if you are a fan of these old historic craft you are welcome to join the museum to help support everything we do to keep them running. And as a bonus — if you live in the area (or are visiting for an extended period) and are a member you are welcome to join in on helping with boat or engine restorations. Knowledge not necessary — those in charge of these ‘fun’ projects will teach you what you need to know.

  11. Mark in Ohio ( sometimes da U P)
    Mark in Ohio ( sometimes da U P) says:

    Great movie. I have it on DVD. We used to watch it with the kids. Have not seen it in awhile. I think you can buy it on Amazon. I saw a picture of Raquel on line. She is 80 now, still looking good!

  12. Kentucky Wonder
    Kentucky Wonder says:

    Hydroplane racing is big all along the Ohio River, with Madison, IN, Evansville, IN and Owensboro, KY having Regattas over the years. Owensboro is reviving their Regatta series this year, but it will not include the Unlimited class. Still darn fast boats.

    That said, there are lots of dangers in racing of any sort. We lost a family friend, and a very successful racer named Bill Sterett, Jr. while he was out testing a boat. Here is the link to the Madison newspaper’s coverage of the loss:

  13. Ron Stevenson - Seattle
    Ron Stevenson - Seattle says:

    Yes, Ike Kielgas was very much part of the movie. Besides being a driver of the miss Thriftway, I think he is in the credits as a consultant, and a few other things. We haven’t talked about the movie lately, but I I think I remember him telling me they only had five hydroplanes, and they would use vinyl wrap to create the look of a bunch of different hydroplanes. Ike is on the Board of Directors at the Hydroplane and Raceboat Museum (HARM). The guy should win the WoodyBoater medal of honor for all he does for our hobby.
    Woody Boater, please consider attending the Mahogany and Merlot event the first weekend in October at Lake Chelan in Washington state. Texx hopped on his bike one year and made it out here. Not only does the PNW ACBS chapter have one of its boat shows, but we get to enjoy watching the hydroplanes run!

  14. tom
    tom says:

    Never heard of the movie either,looks cool. I watched vintage hydro racing on Lake George one year,awesome boats.One with a blown hemi,and direct drive.The photo of Raquel,she looks to have a belly button piercing?

  15. Kent Volmerding
    Kent Volmerding says:

    Family favorite movie. We watch it at least once a summer when we are all together at the lake. Still go to Madison every year for the Hydroplane Races and Vintage 5 to the 5. Great little city to visit.

  16. Pete DeVito
    Pete DeVito says:

    I can say I was there the 4th of July 1971 part of the 110,000 watching Miss Madison take home the trophy in front of the hometown crowd. I was sitting on the bank drinking Sterling Beer and can almost remember it like it was yesterday. Of course I was under age to be drinking but in that crowd everyone was celebrating. I still have the news paper headlines I kept all these years.

  17. Mark Edmonson
    Mark Edmonson says:

    We have it on DVD when my son Connor was young, 5ish, ( now 16yrs old) I must have watched it a 100 times. Great job by John Melloncamp to narrate it. Nice story of a town that supported the sport. Here a photo of my racing days in the Vintage circuit

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