"The Dawn of MUni"

This was a labor of love for me! I made it as a tribute to both “The Dawn of Man” opening segment of the film “2001 a Space Odyssey”, and to Kris Holm and George Peck, for pioneering the sport we all love so much!

So I went on a “scavenger hunt” of sorts, to find all the props from the 1970’s that were needed, all of which you should see in the video. The uni is a mint condition 24 dating to the 1960’s, but not sure of the brand. Maybe J. Foss would know. The hub says “Made in Japan”.

Even found a few vintage 70’s cars to ride by! Btw, the uni “throw into space” scene was the most difficult to get right, and took the most time, but it came out better than I had hoped!

I hope you enjoy this as much as I did making it! Would appreciate your comments.

Peace & Love! :slight_smile:

Looks like you had a lot of fun, nice job!

If you are a little older, you will appreciate this flick. Great job. One of your better ones. I have been riding about 7 months, on a Kris Holm 26 inch. Made a trail in my woods, perfect for it. I ride one to two hours a day. Oh not to old. AGE 65 and growing.

Here are some closeups of the uni. The tire is also original and was made by the Swedish tire company, Telleborg. Still don’t know the origin of the uni, but it is about 45 years old. Most of the chrome is still in excellent shape with only minor pitting, and the cottered cranks are in amazingly perfect condition! It is very common for cottered cranks of this vintage to be permanently loose and not even with the opposite side. You can see from the pics that this was a very well made uni for its day! The beautiful bearing caps alone attest to that. It really in in remarkable condition considering when it was made! I would sure like to find out the brand!

Terry, that is such an epic video. I loved it! You had me laughing throughout. One of my favorite parts was seeing the ventriliquist dummy and the trumpet – those were two of my hobbies when I was a kid. Nice job on securing all of the props in addition to those. Not to mention the sweet clothes you were wearing (including the peace medallion). Looks like a lot of work, but – wow – incredible results! And such a great punchline to throw the vintage uni up in the air and have it come down a muni with you in full battle gear. Totally awesome!

Sweet! and here’s guessing John Foss can tell you what it is.

Awesome :smiley:

I liked the uni throw/catch the best :sunglasses:

I loved the hair. The 70s was all about hair! I think you may have been too early with the VHS tapes though. What, no Betamax? :slight_smile: Also too bad you didn’t have a white belt and massive belt buckle to go with your outfit.

In 1979 I was riding a 24" Schwinn on dirt trails. Though George and Kris were the two best known faces of early MUni, I was doing it a few years ahead of them. My Michigan terrain didn’t have much on Seward or Vancouver, but that was a good thing for my primitive hardware of the time. :slight_smile:

Your unicycle is a Columbia, of course. Duh. :wink: Have you had it all these years? Here’s some info about it. Columbia is America’s oldest bike company, and that frame was made in Ashtabula, Ohio at a factory that was well known for making bike forks back in the day (an Ashtabula fork). The seat is from Messenger, which I think was based in MA. That company also made the classic Schwinn seats from 1967-83. The tooling for those was later purchased by Semcycle. But your rectangular seat was the more generic one, of a type found on many unicycles of the 70s. Your saddle is in amazingly good condition. Want to sell it?

I have a similar Columbia, but the hub and tire don’t match yours. I bought mine used, so I don’t know what year it’s from or what modifications may have been made. The seat on mine looks like most of those old Messengers did after somebody learned to ride on it; the metal base is sticking out the front end like a tongue. My Columbia also has a fairly narrow rim and tire. Not sure if that’s original either, but it would be lousy for riding over the rocky trail in your film.

Oddly enough, in 1978 my brother and I had started to film a story that played off the same scene from 2001. It was to be the lead-in to a space battle between Coke bottle spaceships, with a Coke machine space station, choreographed to Holst’s Mars, the Bringer of War. It started with me buying a Coke, in a glass bottle, from a vending machine, sitting down on an old car seat in a junk yard and looking at the sky, then chucking the empty bottle at the stars. It was to have then cut to the space battle, where the ships were coke bottles decorated with bits of old model kits to turn them into spaceships! A Star Warsy thing.

We only filmed that intro scene, with me as the actor. I was wearing bellbottoms. Whereas my early local MUni trail is now part of a parking lot, the old junk yard where we filmed that scene is now a golf course!

Great film Terry, keep it up! Someday I hope to get some of that old film digitized so I can be embarrassed by all of you watching it online. Dan Heaton has some of my early MUni footage (1980 or 81), but I don’t know if his “latest” film will ever be released…

Thanks for the replie! :slight_smile:

Wow, thanks John for all that great info! I bought the uni from ebay less than 2 weeks ago. I had been looking for a vintage uni at least from the mid 70’s or older, but everything I saw was pretty beat up, understandably, given the age. But then I found this one and was blown away at how new it still looked, saddle and all! So I grabbed it. And at $39, I figured I couldn’t go wrong, and it’s a great collector’s piece as well.

The first VHS tape players came out in 1976, (we got ours in '77) and I would have preferred beta max anyway, just for fun, but it wasn’t as much of a priority. I also would have liked to have 70’s era TV with a giant remote, and maybe some food or snacks from that period too! I was lucky to find those 70’s cars to ride by, and they even looked pretty new! If you look closely at where I stop and say, “that’s the end of the road”, you can see “modern” trash receptacles in the background, and in the first shot where I stop, the electric gate in the background is closed, but when it cuts to the long shot, it’s open.

The “uni throws into space” I did where you see them alone in the air were shot separately in my backyard, just prior to going to the trail, and took LOTS of takes to get right! I had to put sofa cushions down so I could let the unis fall without me in the shot to catch them, and not get damaged, especially the vintage uni! It was hard throwing the unis up and not have my arms be seen letting the uni go. The old uni is really heavy too, so that was harder to throw high than my MUni!

Hey John, any idea if the original frame decals are available anywhere? I found another uni just like mine on ebay for more than I paid for mine, and the pics of it are below. Yes, this is probably a lot closer to what a 45 year old uni looks like! :astonished:

You need the giant mechanical tv remotes that clicked. Remember those? And what great memories of the saddles with holes in the front with sharp metal sticking out. I think saddle improvements and wheel size make longer distance unicycling much more doable now a days.

Nice Job! It looks like you had a great time! :slight_smile:

Awesome video, Terry. Fantastic!:slight_smile:

Probably a pretty obscure find, though there are bike nerds out there that probably collect such things. Maybe you could find them (or a collector that’s interested) at a bike parts swap meet or something. My Columbia is in a condition that’s about equally between the two you’ve shown. Your first one has been repainted. This other one looks like a 20"? The rat trap pedals were definitely added by a previous owner; I’m sure it came with regular block pedals.

That seat is also the same type as the one on mine, but it much worse condition. While mine has about 1/2" of metal base sticking out one end, that one looks like it’s taking a massive poop, with spinach and corn in it! :astonished: Yeah, I would not want to sit on that.

That seat has also been pounded into a flatter shape than the way it started out. Probably not on purpose.

Re mis-aligned cottered cranks, often this is because the pins are installed parallel. That is, if both cotter pins have their bolts facing up at the same time, it’s not the intended fit. Causes the cranks to be a little off. If one faces up and the other faces down, they will probably line up. But that amount of misalignment is not really noticeable when riding around.

Your story of throwing the uni up in the air reminded me of how hard it was with our little Coke bottle also. Not hard to throw or catch, but really hard to get a tight shot of it up in the sky…

Thanks again guys for the comments. And thanks John for the additional info on the Columbia uni!

Here’s an “alternate” ending I made for the the “Dawn of MUni” video. I had fun with the some of the more memorable scenes from the Kubrick film, “2001 a Space Odyssey”. :smiley:

See what I used as the “Monolith” (at the end) haha!!! :stuck_out_tongue:

Ha, loved the hair.

Also liked the new slogan, “Over 50 and… yeah we know.” :smiley:

Terry, the alternate ending was great. I especially liked the disco version of Also sprach Zarathustra. Do you know which artist performed it? I’d love to listen to the whole thing.

Here’s another Columbia on ebay right now.

Haha, thanks. I sure wish I still had that much hair! :o

Thanks. The version of the prelude to “also sprach zarathustra” (By R. Strauss) that I used in this video was arranged by an artist called “Deodado”. It was released in 1972, about 4 years after the release of the film, “2001 a space odyssey”.