"The Express"

Hollywood Will Never Be The Same
….. after Helmet Hut assists a major motion picture production

If you happen to hear about a current article in the Hollywood Reporter or Variety that mentioned Helmet Hut’s people recently took a power breakfast meeting with Dennis Quaid’s people at Hugo’s in West Hollywood -- do not be misled. The truth is that your friendly (and humble) vintage helmet website simply answered a call on its rotary phone a few months ago from Ed Hanley. Ed is a prominent Hollywood movie producer who wanted to know if we could help provide vintage football helmets for an upcoming movie “The Express” starring Mr. Quaid and Mr. Rob Brown. The movie depicts the life story of the former Syracuse star running back and Heisman Trophy winner Ernie Davis who died tragically young from leukemia and before he could start a promising professional career with the Cleveland Browns. No, we do not have a commercial agent or rep in LA-LA land, Mr. Hanley was simply surfing the web for a vintage helmet source and our website address popped up. We understand by Hollywood standards that the story of how we were “discovered” may not rival those of glamorous stars like Marilyn Monroe or Rita Hayworth but may have been just as excited as those future starlets must have been.

Please click above to view movie trailer

Initially, Mr. Hanley asked us to produce a sample vintage Ernie Davis era / Syracuse helmet for his review. We were dismayed to hear back from him that although he found our helmet itself to be “wonderfully authentic” in its structure, it was “inaccurately detailed” because the helmet numerals were incorrectly positioned towards the rear sides rather than the center sides of the helmet. After we quickly provided Ed with actual 1960 Syracuse game photos showing the identical and unconventional numeral placement he replied that “we were his guys.” We further explained to him the essence or important features of the vintage suspension helmet that should be captured on film including the exterior rivets, vintage facemasks and chinstraps, leather jaw pads and shell size. Ed was amazed to learn about a suspension helmet’s distinct character. We were just happy knowing that a vintage football movie would finally use the correct vintage helmet style. Soon we had orders to produce over several hundred vintage helmet styles that were worn by Syracuse and their opponents when Ernie Davis played.

Although Helmet Hut vintage helmets were used for most camera shots, modern air inflated Riddell VSR-4 helmets were used for actual game action sequences because they obviously provided maximum protection to the actors. An interesting related tidbit was that after Mr. Hanley learned about the unique characteristics of the vintage suspension helmet he was savvy enough to ask us to modify the modern air inflated variety to simulate the vintage models. To do this we developed our own little bit of special effect magic. The modern helmets were retrofitted with leather jaw pads, vintage facemasks, painted versus impregnated shells and some real and some artificial rivets placed in the appropriate positions of the shell. Also, the ominous front and rear Riddell labeled sweatband pads were replaced with the old minimal style gray rubber snubber. The result was that on film it is difficult (except for our Helmet Hut readers, of course) to distinguish the vintage helmets from the modern ones.

As the projected October 2008 movie release for “The Express” nears look for additional updates on the Helmet Hut website. In the meantime please enjoy the following on set photos including sequences filmed at Northwestern’s Ryan field where we were proud invited guests.

Also please visit our new web store department where you can purchase the identical style helmets and other related items as used in the filming of “The Express.” That’s all for now or as we now say at Helmet Hut, “cut, that’s a wrap – print it"




If interested in any of these Syracuse helmets please click on the photos below.