NEWS    PRESS    HISTORY    ABOUT US

THE LEGENDARY COBO

50 YEARS OF AN AMERICAN ICON

 
 

I’ve been writing, producing and directing films for 6 years. My first feature film was a right of passage that seemingly all Michigan film makers go through, a zombie movie. While still in the post production phase of that film, I began a foray into the world of documentaries. After producing two music related short documentaries for CURRENT TV (see my profile) and one event profile piece, I was looking for another project.

I am a collector of vintage cameras. Specifically, vintage cameras that are still able to be used. I started photography as a member of my high school yearbook staff and have not been without a film camera since.

My pursuit of cameras has led me to seek out flea markets and antique stores across the mid west. In the fall of 2007 while in an antique store in Ypsilanti Michigan, I spotted a unique item that spurred this project.

Albert Eugene Cobo was mayor of Detroit from 1950 until he died in office in September 1957. The small, tattered metal button from a bygone era was an election campaign item that was apparently used in his gubernatorial election bid.

When I saw that button, I immediately knew what my next project would be.

A friend of mine works as a historic preservationist and holds a masters degree in the field. We often had conversation about what exactly make a structure historic.

CBGBs is an example that I would often cite as a structure with no inherent artistic or aesthetic value but the cultural significance of the events that happened there are arguably equally if not more important. Was it worthy of some form of preservation? I think so.

Progress and change are inevitable. Some structures, no matter how important, have to be changed or risk losing them altogether.

The first ever public event that I have memory of attending is when my father took me to see Big Time wrestling at “the beautiful air-conditioned Cobo arena”. Seeing the Sheik, Bo Bo Brazil and Dick the Bruiser in person was an overwhelming thrill, but what really stuck in my memory was the atmosphere of the arena and of course, that big american flag hanging on the wall.

Throughout the years I have attended many events there, the last of which being a Stone Temple Pilots concert in 1995.(update: KISS, September 2009).

At the time of my discovery of the LET’S GO COBO button, there was a lot of local press regarding the needed expansion of Cobo Center as a host of the North American International Auto Show.

As I began to research Cobo, it became apparent that the arena would be undergoing a significant change from its current state as a concert venue. Knowing the incredible history of music, athletic and political events that Cobo had hosted, I realized the importance of documenting this historic structure.

Executive Producer Jake Hall and I have been partners in numerous music and creative projects since we were teenagers. Jake, more than anyone, understood the significance of a Cobo film from the time I first mentioned it to him in late 2007.

His participation in this project is the reason it has grown to be one of the most important historical documentaries produced in Detroit.

As we continue production, I know our hard work and passion will create a film for the ages with appeal to all whom Cobo has touched.


Douglas Akers - Writer/Director


 

History of this film

Left; photo of the campaign button that sparked this film.