30 for 30 (2009–…): Season 4, Episode 28 - The American Gladiators Documentary - full transcript

A look at the David vs. Goliath game show that captivated audiences from 1989 to 1996. American Gladiators was one of the most popular syndicated programs on TV, as one of the first competition shows to pre-date the reality TV era.

American Gladiators was
the first reality TV sports

competition show and paired
the elite sports competition

in almost like a
game show package.

It was weird,

it was fun and really spoke
to the youth of America.

Johnny Ferraro is one
of our main protagonists

and he helps to lead
us through our story.

In filming Johnny’s interview,
we utilize rear projection.

You can tell there’s definitely
something real in the frame,

and you also question
what might not be real.

The American
Gladiators documentary

tells the history of the show,

but I think in reality it’s
about something much more

meaningful and
much more poignant

and ultimately comes to
question how history itself

comes to be written.

I think people like to go
back to their memories

and think of the
happy times in their life.

They think of the
sad times in their life,

and I think they’re there
reliving their own story in.

Life goes by very, very quickly.

I remember when I was
a small boy, and then

here you are.

And you’re only a blink in time

that you’re here on this earth.

And I think you need to make

the very best of
those few seconds

that you do have on this planet.

You know, and I think that’s
a very, very difficult thing

for people to make a
difference on this planet,

but I think I’ve
been able to do that.

Alright, cool. That was good.

Let’s do one more from the top.

I think you said pre-poll.

Go back?

Yes, please.

Thank you.

I’m Johnny Ferraro,

Creator of "American

Gladiators, ready?!

In the beginning, America was

kind of looking for something.

They just didn’t
know what it was yet.

You know, it was
the days of "Rocky,"

the days of "The
Running Man," "Rambo,"

you know, the one-man
army, this kind of thing,


Good movies.

But these guys
weren’t real people.

So we came in and it was like,

there’s nothing like
"American Gladiators."

♪ Boom ♪

Every day real life heroes.

People watching
at home, it’s no joke.

Take on gladiators
of Herculean ability.

gladiators," part sport,

part game show,
but all American.

Come on!

It’s roughest show on TV.

If pro wrestling is not violent

or colorful enough for you,

maybe you should try
"American Gladiators."

"American Gladiators."

"American Gladiators"
has ordinary folks

fighting against
futuristic warriors.

Long before there
was reality TV shows,

there was "American Gladiators."

A TV sports phenomenon running

eight successful season so far.

It’s a wildly popular
syndicated TV extravaganza

that pits amateur
contestants against the pros.

Professional athletes that
go by the name Gladiators.

The gladiators were...
they were big as fuck.

No kids ever seen
any giants on TV.

That was before
Shaquille O’Neal.

They were just
phenomenal athletes,

and that’s who you had
a chance to go up against.

Contestants who pit
themselves against

the American gladiators can
walk away with big money.

Oh, it’s fantastic.
It’s true competition.

A fireman, somebody who
worked at a supermarket.

It wasn’t the NFL. It was fresh.

It was really, really new.

Can the little guy
beat the Goliath?

Every human being
can relate to that.

Now the men’s joust.

Next up, the assault.

The contenders have 60 seconds

to ascend our 32-foot wall.

We get to throw them
down, dive at them.

Anything goes.

The competition was
a bracketed system.

The first bracket
got a champion,

then we start over
and the second bracket

got a champion.

At the end, the winners of
each bracket played each other

for the championship.

13 million Americans
watch it weekly.

It was Bill Clinton’s
favorite show.

Hillary didn’t like it.

I don’t like it either.

Holds goes the bottom
part of Jones outfit.

If you strip away all of the
pomp and circumstances

and all the
theatrical-ness of it,

at the end of the day, it’s
just you against the odds.

Boy, is that a
metaphor for life?


Right in the face.

What’s up?

My roommate still
kind of sleeping,

so we can just kind of
get in and out though

and be cool.

So, check this out.

So this a bunch
of pictures and stuff

that I’ve done from different

movies or whatever.

All this was on
the set in Thailand

when I filmed "Mortal Kombat."

Really cool stuff.

Am I might looking at you, Ben.
That where you want me to look?


So my father was the
kind of guy that would

kiss me goodnight every night.

He would come to
my baseball games.

Just a superhero to me.
He was larger than life.

He was drafted by the Los
Angeles Dodgers as a pitcher.

I mean, he was an
amazingly talented guy.

My life completely
changed at the age of 11

when he walked out the door

right past me and
never looked at me.

So I, as a young man, I
just started trying to do

anything I could to win my
father back through sports.

I’m going to be the
greatest athlete I can be.

I excelled in this sport
called racquetball.

If you remember the ’80s, I
became one of the best players

in the world at
one point in time,

top 10 in the world and stuff.

After my dad left my mom,

I decided I was going to
join the sheriff’s department

because I thought, you
know, dad loves cops.

Somehow I was thinking maybe
that’ll get Dad to come back.

I mean, magical
thinking of mine.

But anyways, you know,
I became a police officer,

and, yeah, I didn’t sing to
my personality, that’s for sure.

So in 1985, I became
a Chippendale dancer.

I never saw that
as being a stripper.

I was a performer.

I mean, I was in the best
shape of my life at that time.

I was working out
three, four hours a day.

The next thing I
know, I had a friend

sitting next to me
on a life cycle ride,

and he’s got this trade
paper and he says,

"Hey, Deron, you need
to check this thing out.

This new show called
"American Gladiators,"

they need larger than
life guys that are athletes."

I look back, and I go
it’s really fortuitous of me

to be able to be
talking to this guy.

The next day I did
an obstacle course,

and I killed it in
the obstacle course.

And then they had
an interview with me,

and I just walked up to the desk

and I just cleaned
it off of my arm

and I jumped up on top
of the desk and I said,

"Hey, what’s up? I’m Malibu."

They said, "That’s the guy."

And so from that moment,

the door just opened
up wide to me.

This fall, America will face

a new breed of champion.

Men and women
of exceptional power

battling to become the best.

There’s never
been anyone like...

From Universal
Studios Hollywood.

Let the games begin!

When we would
come out to the studio,

I mean, the lights and cameras

and everything was just
so big and so wild, flashing.

You felt like you were doing
something in Hollywood.

I was coming from
an athletic background,

playing football
college of UCLA,

drafted by the New
England Patriots.

But after my Achilles
injury, I was done.

67, Michael Morton
was going for it.

I don’t know if he is the man...

You know, football
was different.

That’s a team sport, and
this became individualized.

I never wanted to
be a television star.

But I had a wife and three kids,
so all work was important to me.

I’m not, you know,
I’m not a Hall of Famer

football player
making... got the money

Larry Csonka got.

I got to go do cartoonish shit.

Taking a tremendous
pounding from Gemini.

Gemini, he’s a
natural born leader.

Just seemed like
he was gravitated

to just kind of like, you
know, Papa Gemini.

We gave him these silly
names, but they were real humans

and based on their personality.

Each one had their own brand.

Nitro is the bad guy.

Either you love me or you
hate me, but if you hate me,

you love to hate me.

Malibu, he didn’t want
his hair messed up.

He didn’t want to get her hurt.

Ice, she’s tough as nails.

I’ve got ice in my veins.

Tower was Mr. America.

Zap, she was the Barbie doll,

but she was built to the T.

Laser, a buff Forrest Gump.


Elektra was
graceful, and she had

a crackerjack personality.

Blaze, She was Black
Panther back in 1990.

Thunder was a
soft-spoken Mack truck.

Rage in the cage, Thunder.

And Sabre was the bomb.

He brought some hood with him.

I grew up a gangster, man.

I am not exaggerating.

I’m not playing with you.

I was the baddest dude on earth.

And it was just a
normal thing for me

to walk around with a gun.

I had a gun when
I went to church.

We were a Blood neighborhood,
but everybody around us

was Crip.

So I was fighting for my life.

"Gladiators," hallelujah.

It saved me, man.

Father Yahweh put
that... that to help me.

He said, "Okay, you ready now?"

And Sabre reigns
supreme in the ring.

It was a very unique
group of people.

Where else would
these bodybuilders,

these former athletes?

Where else are you
going to get that job,

especially for women, in sports?

Incredible performance
by the women Gladiators.

Because unless you
played professional tennis

or professional golf, and
those are very elite sports,

these gladiators would
have had nowhere else.

When I was young, I loved
all the superhero comics.

I just thought there must be

some superpowers
that all of us have.

We just don’t know
how to find them yet.

So the "Gladiators"
helped me realize

how powerful we really are.

Chaos giving her
some serious problems.

These gladiators
always felt like they were

never part of something.

You know, they were
always just a cog in a wheel.

Now comes along something
where they could be important.

They could be part
of this fantastic team.

-I got your back.
-Concentrate on the waist.

Alright? Yeah.

No matter what,
just concentrate.

Don’t even look at they
eyes. Shut out on three.

One, two... Let’s
fuck ’em up on three.

Fuck ’em up. One, two, three.

Fuck ’em up!


Everybody has a
competitive fire inside of them.

The "American
Gladiators" brought that out.

Some people just
like the competition.

Some people want
to see people fail.

It’s like, why do people
want to see someone

that’s on top be down below?

There’s something for everybody.

Johnny Ferraro, he said, I’m
going to make this TV show

and I’m going to make
it go all over the world.

But he’s aware that not all
the gladiators love him like I do.

He’s very aware of that.

The heart and
soul of the project

was absolutely Johnny Ferraro.

And Johnny was different
things to different people.

-The sweetest guy.
-Just a controlling person.

-A great visionary.
-A one-trick pony.

You want to kill Johnny
the first time you meet him.

-I very much liked him.
-He is a control freak.

Mastermind of "American
Gladiators," Johnny Ferraro.

-Johnny Ferraro.
-Johnny Ferraro.

-Johnny Ferraro.
-Johnny Ferraro.

-Johnny Ferraro.
-Johnny Ferraro.

♪ I don’t care what they
think about me and ♪

♪ I don’t care what they say ♪

♪ I don’t care if they
start to avoid me ♪

♪ I don’t care what they do ♪

Why would I be at Muscle Beach?

I mean, I’m going
to... my hair’s is going

to be all windblown.

I mean, if you’re going
to have to do makeup

and all this other
stuff and this and that,

I’m just... I’m just kind of...
I just come out of right field

here about going
to Venice Beach.

I mean, it’s just
I hate the beach.


♪ I wanna be with you ♪

♪ I don’t care
if they start... ♪

And, you know, I just
don’t want to film my house

and where I live and stuff. I
mean, I have a nice house,

but I am real private and
stuff like that, you know?


I hear that.

♪ I wanna be with you ♪

♪ I don’t care
if they start... ♪

You can sit down.

Okay, great.

So, Johnny, it seems
that people have

you know, varying
opinions of you,

and some might not
really be all that flattering.

What do you attribute that to?

Well, you talk to different
Gladiators and different people,

they don’t know me.

I don’t care what they say.

I have a small circle,
and very few people

get in that know me.

Once you get to know me,

then you’ll see for yourself
of what I’m all about.

So, are you going
to do that, Ben?

Do what? Are you going
to tell the right story?

Because that’s your vision.

Is your vision my vision?

Am I going to tell
the right story?

Are you going
to tell the vision?

My story? My...
my... what I... my life

and this journey.

You know, okay.

I grew up in Erie, Pennsylvania.

It’s a big little city,

and everybody seems
to know each other.

I had a really loving
mother and father.

We play in the yard,
go to the beach.

Leave it to Beaver."

When I was about eight
years old, my mother

took me to a fortune teller.

The lady says he’s going to
be known all over the world,

and then I search for that.

America is supposed to
be a land of opportunity.

I was looking for something.

to be in the limelight.

Our top story,
Elvis Presley died

late today at the age of 42.

Presley was found unconscious
in his mansion at about 2:30,

was pronounced
dead an hour later.

It’s a tough day.
Let me tell you

from a little boy, Elvis
was just a part of my life.

Elvis is like a religion and
had a lot of die hard fans.

They wanted a little
touch of bringing him back.

Soon as an artist passed away,

watch their record
sales go zooming.

I’m thinking I can do that.

I was known as Johnnie
C, the Prince of Rock & Roll.

I actually owned that
trademark at the time, so...

Johnny was Elvis in Erie.

I mean, he was the
star, and I was always,

oh, you’re Elvis’ brother.

♪ Take me to the VIP ♪

He had a beautiful
stage presence.

He just... he just fit on
that stage, you know?

Girls started liking
him quite a bit,

caressed him a little bit.

It worked pretty good, you know?

It’s being a great salesman.

I had beautiful
home, I was married,

but I was still trying to find
where I was supposed to be.

♪ So, baby, why don’t
you crown me king? ♪

♪ I’m going nowhere ♪

I wanted to build my
own thing, and I went off

and did what I had to do.

My journey began.

When I come out to
L.A., I had this idea.

My friends and family
probably thought I was nuts

and I was told I was crazy.

I said, "This thing
could be a movie."

That’s what
"American Gladiators"

started out to be actually.

It was an amazing movie.

I thought it would
have been a big help.

I had it all laid out. I
had the characters.

I had the script.

I was going to pitch anybody

that had a heartbeat
that would listen to me,

but I did not fit in.

I went into this movie company.

I think it was Orion Pictures.

He says, I have to
read all these scripts

before I even look at yours.

So I says, "Do you have a
cassette deck in your car?"

He says, "Yeah." I
said, "I’ll be back."

And we had it narrated,

and this way I was go
around with my radio

and I would just
chase everybody.

So it was 1984,
in walks this guy.

White boots, white pants,
white shirt, white tie, white jacket.

And I thought he
was the maitre d’.

He goes, "Can I get you
drink?" And I go, "Sure."

And he walks up with my drink
and he sits down, and he sits...

sits down on the table.

"Hi, my name is Johnny Ferraro.

And listen, I have
this idea for a movie."

He’s got a portable
cassette player.

And he pitched me
the entire concept

of "American Gladiators."

The American Gladiator might be

a hardhat, might drive a truck,

maybe he mines coal,
runs a lane, digs a ditch.

He’s a lumberjack,
steeplejack, boilermaker,

bricklayer, steelworker.

The events, futurized
tests of power and strength.

Ladies and gentlemen,

those about to do
battle, salute you.

He get through his whole pitch.

He was not going
to let me stop him.

I think he thought it was
going to be overnight.

I thought he thought he
was going to come in here

and make that
pitch and off we go.

I was in Hollywood
for six years.

You know, heard,
No, no, no, no, no.

And I just stood on
the edge of my bed.

I just... I was just kind
of end of your rope.

You ever get that way?

You’re just at the end of
your rope on something.

You know, it’s like, I don’t
know how much longer

I can keep doing this.

I turn on the television, and
the movie comes on called

"Oh, God, You Devil"
with George Burns.

It’s about this young,
struggling singer,

who if signs a soul
over to the devil,

he’ll become very successful.

And I said, My God, I
sell my soul right now

if I could... if that
would happen to me.

So the next day I go
meet Ronnie Ziskin

at Four Point Entertainment.

I says, "What do you think?"

He said, "This is fantastic."

He said, "We’ll do
movies, we’ll do tours.

We’ll do posters."

I said, Did you ever
"Oh, God, You Devil?"

He says, Why? I says,
"I think I sold my soul

to the devil last night."

I says, "You want to
do this as a movie?"

He said, "No, this
would be a fantastic strip.

I said, "Great, What’s a strip?"

And he said, "It’s a TV show."

And then the rest
is history after that.

Selected from a
nationwide search.

22 men and women
had come to Hollywood

to challenge our force
of American Gladiators.

Welcome to another edition
of "American Gladiators."

Glad you could
join us. Let’s do it.

And action, Bob.

Hi, my name is Bob Levy,

and I was the director
of "American Gladiators."

I mean, I can’t really
say this, but I think...

In the history of television,

I was... I would be in the
top 10 directors having fun.

-Directors having fun?

So not the top...

Not the top 10
greatest directors of TV,

but the top 10...

But by having fun,
It all happened.

You’re clearly a Jewish man.


Mr. Bob Levy.

Alright, here we go. In
three, two, one, up on four.

Go, Bob. Ready,
Grauer. Take four, Grauer.

Great shot, Joe.
Way to go, Grauer.

Take one. 35.

Sorry, I think your
watch is ringing.

"It looks like you’ve
taken a hard fall."

"I’m okay. I did not fall."

I live the God dang show.

You walk into the
trailer, and all of a sudden

you’re amazed how
in control he was.

Excuse me.

And I have no idea, excuse me.

He’s Bob Levy, the legend.
You know what I mean?

People unbelievably
excited to be there,

and Mike Adamle we made
it feel pretty damn exciting.

I’m wearing this
helmet-mount camera,

so the viewer at home can
see what the contender sees.

And then it’s across this
set of Commando line.

I never believed
that I was, you know,

too short or too small.

I thought like a
contender. You know?

I shouldn’t be here,
but God damn it,

I’m going to be here and I’m
going to make a name for myself.

Pieces of the playing
surface are actually

wheeled into the studio.

It’s what we call the
show behind the show

As the technical
producer that I am,

all I saw was how can I make
this a bigger and better show?

And I work closely
with Steve Graziani,

who I call the genius,

who brought to life
all of these games.

We made the games look
like you were going to die.

Let’s take it to the
edge of what they can do

and then see how it goes.

I don’t want this on
camera, you know that much.

But those were my drinking days.

There were certain games
that were core to the show.

The event, Assault,
and Atlasphere

Like Atlasphere, the big balls,

so much goddamn fun.

They were facets
of games we knew.

Jousting is a
little like boxing,

only with a giant Q-Tip.

My feeling is everything
has to be three dimensional.

Needs to get up in the air.

That’s the reason I
came from Sky Track,

which took a lot to
sell anyone the idea

because it was very expensive

and everybody looked at it
and go, "People are gonna die."

Every time we ran
Sky Track, I thought,

"Please, God, let’s not
lose one of our players."

I would never
have gone up there.

So I kept wondering, why
do they have safety goggles?

It’s so disorienting
that people puke

and it hits them in the face.

And the person’s laying
there like this with the vomit

coming off of them.

First time I did this,
I actually got sick.

Not fun.


Human Cannonball
was a nightmare for me.

The very first day we
filmed, we had this event.

Each contender gets three
swings at the Gladiators.

In this case, it’s is
Malibu who’s warping it up.

And maybe not for long.

And I can’t even tell
you how intimidating

is to be looking 30 feet away.

You got a football
blocking pad, and this guy,

who weighs 200 pounds,
is swinging on a rope

trying to kick you off.

-Oh, holy! Wow. Malibu is down.

My left knee hit my head. I
gave myself a concussion.

I split my head
open. It was bad.

I mean, I literally had
to convince the surgeon

to release me to
go back to work.

And he’d said, No, you can’t,
because you get hurt again,

you could die, your
concussion was that bad.

But as bad as that crash was,

it got me famous and people
talking about that show.

The next thing I knew,
I was on the beach

taking in some cosmic rays,
getting healed by Mother Nature,

take in a little brewski,
pulling on a beautiful babe

and I’m fine today.

It’s a good feeling to know
that you’ve done something

that appeals to everybody.

Finally here this evening,
what some people.

Think and others fear may
be the future of television.

Reviews were dreadful.

The lowest common denominator.

Watch these
"Pictionary" retards bang

their fucking skulls together.

Honey, what time
is "Gladiators" on?

Nobody ever went broke
underestimating the intelligence

or taste of the American people.

Oh, I read the magazines.

You know, you’re just one
schmuck with an opinion.

Doesn’t matter to me.

You want intellect? Look at CNN.

That was not our
job to project intellect.

The idea is based on
the ancient Roman game.

The TV version
is almost as nasty.

Back then, people weren’t
ready for "Gladiators."

They used to call
it crash television.

-Crash TV.
-Crash TV.

Crash TV.

Some criticize it, say it sets

a bad example
because it’s too violent.

And there’s nothing
excessively violent about it at all.

-Sex and violence.
-Flesh and violence.

-Very unusual women.
-plenty of skin.

If they want sex and violence,
they can see that anywhere else.

All they have to do
is turn on the news.

The thing about all these
journalists, you don’t get it.

They were just missing
the value, the juice.

The secret sauce.

The It factor was the contender.

Let’s hear it, guys.

Would you mind reading
the first paragraph?

"Tryouts were to
begin at 8:00 A.M.

I arrived at the New York
Coliseum on Columbus Circle

at 6:40, by which time
the line’s six or so across

snaked around the block."

I fear for the future
of the republic.

My name is Austin
Murphy, and in 1991

I wrote a longish story for
Sports Illustrated magazine

on a show called The
"American Gladiators."

Is it "American Gladiators"
or "The American Gladiators?"

Should I try that again?

I tried out for the
"American Gladiators" show.

It was a first person story.

There was a fair
amount to make fun of,

and maybe that was
my purpose going in.

But that goes away when
you talk to some of the people.

They were chasing a dream.

You come to see the Gladiators,

You stay for the underdogs.

You found me on Instagram
on a social media platform.

From that to a Zoom,
from a Zoom to this room.

Here we are, 21,000
percent right here.

We’re filming.

Here come the working
mom, the working dad,

the college student.

"American Gladiators"
gave you hope.

They put the challenge
up on the television screen

and I jumped, grabbed the
phone and dialed the number

and got through
on the first time.

And I kept saying to myself,
If I can ever get on that show,

I believe I can win
the whole thing.

Bam, king me, I’m
royalty. It’s on now.

"American Gladiators" is
looking for men and women to win.

Tryouts will be held in
Los Angeles, Saturday,

May 20th, 9:00 A.M. sharp.

So we would set up in
cities all over the country

and we would do these tryouts.

It was like American
Idol with muscles.

It was an elimination process.

If you’re a guy and you
couldn’t do 24 pull ups

in 30 seconds, you’re gone.

By the time you
got to the interview,

which was the very last,
I mean, you were worth

your salt athletically.

You had to do 25
pull ups in 30 seconds,

run a 40-yard dash,
play Powerball.

It was pretty intense.

It’s not guys in spandex.

"American Gladiators" is
the everyday working guy.

Hi, I’m Andy Kamp,

and I was a contestant on
the "American Gladiators."

Hi, my name’s Erik Betts.
I’m an actor stuntman,

and I was a contender
on "American Gladiators."

I believe we were the
first couple to compete

on "American Gladiators."

I worked for Brea Fire
Department at the time,

and I saw promo, come
to Studio City and try out.

And so I said,
Yeah, I could do that.

"American Gladiators"
was the perfect thing

to happen at the perfect time.

Gym culture became a
thing, Jazzercise was in.

People were getting crazy fit

and were kind of looking
for something to do

with all that fitness
other than just sort of

stand in front of a mirror
and rub oil on yourself.

It’s called running
for your life.

I think you know what I mean.

If a dude like me
can get out there

and do it and do
this well, and like,

maybe I can do this, you know?

Maybe this isn’t a lark.

To give that to them,
absolutely, you felt like

you were representing
something bigger than yourself.

That’s the essence of the
show, is that I can do that, too.

I can do that.

Well, before "Gladiators,"

I was walking by
a car at nighttime

and I was... the lights were on,
didn’t know what was going on.

And then this lady was like,

"Hey, can you help
me jumpstart my car?"

And when I tried it, somehow it
ignited the gas tank and kaboom.

I was born third degree.
Over 50% of my body.

The doctors told
me if you recover,

your body is never
going to be the same.

That’s what they said.

I mean, being burnt,
laying in house,

I thought about my kids and...

lot of stuff went
through my mind.

After that, I just took on a
whole different meaning in life.

I’m like, whatever comes
my way, if I overcome this,

oh, I’m smashing.

Here we go.

2 Scoops one of the most
popular contenders we’ve ever had.

Wesley 2 Scoops Berry,
he was just great TV.

If I keep on winning,
the percentage goes high.

That’s 1,500 percent.


8,000. Oh, baby.
That was so fun.

Whoa, whoa!

2 Scoops and I went to war.

I met Sabre in 1993.

I walked up in this
guy’s face, I said,

"Man, I’ll take you down.

I’ll give you two scoops."

And I’m like, "What
you say, man?

I’ll let ’em have it.

Sabre almost went off.

Wesley got the first
hit, and it was doozy.


I walked in your house

and the people that supposed
love you now love me.

Wesley Barry on deck.
Who could forget 2 Scoops?

Sabre was so
pissed off at me that

he choked up on
the joust stick...

Look at Sabre just
waiting for the shot.

...and hit me behind
the back of the neck.

Sabre got the quick KO.

And he’s like, "Well, man,
you get what you give.

You know, take two
scoops of that. Bam!"

Third time these guys
have met over the years.

Sabre laying the leather.

2 Scoops...

Oh, man.

Oh, look at that.

10 seconds to go.

This is a battle.

Berry has Sabre in trouble.

Both men off balance.

It’s going to a draw. Wow!

One of their best
joust I’ve ever seen.

2 Scoops, he had no fear.

You know, I liked
that spirit. I liked it.

I think that was the
beginning of something great.

A tie in the joust and a
tie in a popularity contest.

Sabre and I would keep in touch.

We laughed, we talk, we chill.

I met his family, he met mine.

I love the guy. Yeah,
you heard it right.

Yeah. I love him.

That gave me hope and
it gave other people hope

that no matter how
close you come to death,

if you can believe
you can, you will.

"Gladiators" is given
the underdog a chance

to go for it, to be somebody.

This idea of everyday working
guys going head to head

is sort of how the whole
"American Gladiators"

thing started.

Well, regarding how
everything got started,

you’re credited alongside
a guy named Dann Carr,

who’s credited as a
co-creator of the show.

How does Dann fit
into the story here?

Dann. Dann Carr.

Danny was... he was a tough guy.

He was known as Apache Dann.

There is one guy in that town

who you know is the toughest
guy you don’t mess with,

and that was Dann.

You know, he’s got a
24-inch arms, it was massive.

And he would probably
just snap anything.

He was feared.

You know, he was like
the Goliath in town here.

You didn’t want to
look him the wrong way.

He was a bigger
than life character.

Feared? Yes. Loved by some? Yes.

You know, he was a big man.

You know, big. I
don’t look good.

The moment I met Dann, I
was entertaining at this club

called Anthony’s Lounge,

and Dann would come in.

Then I’d hear he takes
a guy out back and...

I think the story goes,
Johnny was flirting

with one of the girls
that was in the audience.

And her boyfriend said,
"As soon as Johnny is done,

I’m going to kill him."

Danny stepped in and he
goes, "If you want to kill him,

you got to go through
me to get to him."

My life goes back a
long way with Dann,

who saved my ass a lot.

And Dann was kind of like
the king of the ironworkers.

You know, the ironworkers
legendary among Erie.

They do things you wouldn’t
even dare to dream about.

I mean, climbing the
steel, No rope doing this.

In the late ’70s,
the ironworkers

would have these picnics.

And lot of times they
would start drinking

and get in fights.

So they thought, if
we’re going to fight,

we’re going to make
this a competition.

-Arm wrestling.

Climbing steel 200
feet in the air on a beam,

they feared nothing.

I never went to an
ironworker picnic

because I wasn’t an ironworker.

But I met Dann, and we
developed a friendship.

So we’re from opposite
ends, two different people

that come together.


Everything’s fate.

God’s got will. You
know God has a plan.

Things have been planned
out for millions of years

already of exactly what’s
going to happen and when.

And there’s nothing you can do.

Now it’s like 1982,
and Danny says,

"Listen, I got something. I
want to talk to you about it."

He says, We’ve been doing
these these certain games

and things at picnics.

And he said, I want to hold this
event and raise money for kids.

I said, It needs production.
I said, okay, let’s do it.

I’m Brent Doolittle. I
was born in Erie, P.A.

Okay. And I was one of
the first original gladiators.

I was at work, Dann
Carr pulled in and said,

I want to put on an event.

Howdy Doody’s fighting.

He called me Howdy Doody.

When he first told
me about the event,

he said, you know, you guys
are like modern day gladiators.

We’re going to call it
American Gladiators.

WJET sponsoring American
Gladiators Olympics.

You know, all these guys
had their own followings.

And now you’re going to
see them battle head to head

in a local high school gym...

-Saturday, March 27th.
-...for $500 prize money.

The toughest guys in Erie.

Tickets on sale now.

Hello, ladies and gentlemen.

Those about to do
combat, salute you.

From a newspaper point
of view, we were all stunned.

That anything could
draw 4,000 or 5,000 people

to a high school auditorium

and about beating people up.

♪ You have to
heart to understand ♪

♪ You have to get
by the best you can ♪

Danny’s on the floor.

He’s actually emceeing
the whole show.

You know, and I think he
added 90% of the excitement.

♪ Or the reason why
you have to hurt ♪

Dann Carr was like the
mastermind of the games.

He came up with which
games to do, how to do it fairly.

And we started out
pugil stick boxing,

and then the pugil stick broke,

so we went to regular boxing.

He said American
Gladiator. What’s that?

What they do there?

They was capable
to fight a tiger or lions.

♪ You have to hurt ♪

I remember a guy sitting back
saying, man, give me a beer.

I go watch this all night long.

And I stood back at
that point and I thought,

we got something here.

I saw the burning bush.

"American Gladiators"
was born that night, and...

How did you
decide to call it that?

I don’t want to
talk about that one.


Yeah. Yeah, because it’s a...

It’s a difficult story.

No, no, it’s just...

-That’s okay.

Is there a sound bite
that we can get of like...

I want to say
"American Gladiators"

was born March 27, 1882,
and that settles everything.

So one night in September 1991,

me and my nephew,
we were sitting

by the swimming pool.

And I said, "You want a
brew?" He said, "Nah, I’m cool."

I said, "You want a
seven and seven?"

He said, "Nah, I’m cool."

I said, "You want
to hit the joint?"

He said, "Nah, I’m cool.

I just want to kick back and
listen to the Dodger game, man."

Like, I was bothering him.

And in my mind, I said, "Whoa."

He has changed."

He wasn’t the same guy
that I knew from the hood.

You know what I mean?

I’m about to cry now because
six days later he was dead.

President Bush this past
week made a startling

but painfully true observation

that an American soldier
on duty in the Persian Gulf

may have been safer there than
on the streets of his hometown,

especially if his
hometown is Los Angeles.

Living in South
Central Los Angeles,

Black people were in turmoil.

Latasha Harlins got shot
in the back of the head

by a grocery store owner.

And that same year,
a Black guy got shot

in Magic Johnson
Park by the police.

It was a lot of
stuff building up.

So I was the world’s
worst nightmare.


In the thick of all of that,

my nephew got
murdered by the police.

He got shot 29 times in his back

while he was asleep in
his bed in West Covina.

They didn’t find a weapon
or anything, so I was on fire.

Ain’t gonna lose twice in a row.

You hear that? You
heard it right now.

I’m never gonna lose
twice in a row, I promise.

Today on "American
Gladiators," it’s a battle to find out

who’s cops are tops.

L.A.’s finest versus
the Big Apple’s finest.

So I’m competing against
this police officer in the Joust.

First up, Arthur
Tom from the LAPD.

I’m locked in, and one
of the cameramen said

this should be interesting.

I said I’m a bust this boy up.

They blew the whistle.

And I said, "There
you go, boys and girls."

For all the people in the hood
that always wanted to hit a cop.

I was going to do
it for ’em on TV.

But legally. You got
to do it legally, kids.

And you see, no matter
where you come from,

you can make
something out of yourself

and then get a chance to do
something you really want to do,

like beat a cop.


And so I used my platform

to give the people
something to believe in.

So the show resonated
with a lot of people,

and I was like,
"Gladiator: mania had hit.

The impact of that
show was just awesome.

It was insane.

We’ve never seen
success at that level.

"American Gladiators."

-"American Gladiators."
-"American Gladiators."

"American Gladiators."
Where’s Nitro?

And work had become
the number one

syndicated show on television.

I loved that show like nobody
has ever loved that show.

One of the reasons why
used to work out so much

was because I wanted to
be on "American Gladiators."

An athletic club is now offering

a gladiator fitness course.

It became if you’re
in Hollywood,

stop by the "Gladiator"
set and check it out.

Kevin Costner came. John
Travolta came one time.

Oliver Stone would
pop into the set.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
said, "Hey, man, you’re

my favorite Gladiator.

When something’s
successful, the first thing

you do is merchandising.

The merchandising took
it to a whole ’nother level.

They had action figure toys,

they had electronic
handheld games.

They had lunch buckets.

People like buying
stuff like that.

Then I get a call
from Johnny to do

a National American
Gladiators tour.

To be at Madison Square Garden
coming from Sherman Oaks,

California, and
Austin, 20,000 people

are screaming my name.

You can’t even comprehend
what that feels like.

And here’s the people
waiting for the tour bus.

The tour was massive,

and I thought we got to do Erie.

You know, it has
to go back home.

So I told Dann, and he got
some of the original Gladiators

back in Erie from 1982.

We sold out, I
think, 7,000 seats,

and we had probably 3,000
people waiting to get in.

You know, Dann was
proud. I was proud.

It was absolutely
the best, you know?

That is the ultimate high.

That is something that
people dream about, I believe.

When you’re on a first
name basis with the world,

you know, that’s
pretty powerful.

You’re the hero
for millions of kids,

not just not just 100 or
1,000, millions of kids.

Well, they got paid shit.

I think the way the production
company looked at it

was it’s only three
weeks, what the fuck?

You know, somebody does
a great movie in three weeks,

they get a lot of money.

It worked.

And sometimes when things
work, it’s not always good.

Because they told us
once we get out of the red,

everybody’s going
make more money.

They always threw
that bone out there to us.

You told us this
shit three years ago.

You are the gladiator.
Each sold separately.

When I signed the
contract, I noticed that

the Gladiators had signed

zero merchandising
for a TV show for kids.

Isn’t that funny?
Nobody paid me.

Didn’t get a residual
for any of that.

Not even a dime.

Listen, you’re young.
you’re in your early 20s.

You know, you take a gladiator
name, and next thing you know,

he’s all over the world.

And they felt like, Well, jeez,

I should be getting
part of merchandising.

I should be
getting part of this.

But if they made the
deal, live up to the deal.

If you didn’t get it, you’re
always welcome to go.

If you don’t like
it, then why stay?

Game over.

You know, I always say, listen,
you want part of the profits?

Then take part of the loss.

For the business part of
it, okay, switch goes off.

Now it’s a different Johnny.


Is this different, Johnny

the reason that so
many of the Gladiators

refused to be in
this documentary.

I don’t know what went
wrong, but a lot of the Gladiators

didn’t want to be
involved in this project.

What do you think happened?

Well, in their minds,
they may have an issue

with some of Johnny’s
business back in the day.

As you see, we’re friends now.

When it comes to
competition, I don’t like this guy.

Do you have Laser?

We do not have a Laser.

How about Zap?

We do not have Zap..

Because they probably
would go with Nitro.

Is that it?

I’m sorry, if you’re going
to make a documentary

about the Gladiators,
you probably want to have

the most popular Gladiators
in your documentary.

We don’t have Nitro.
We don’t have Ice.

Why wouldn’t you have
her? She was a main p...

She was... Well, probably
because of all the outside...


When you get a
project that gets this big,

there’s a lot of different
controversies that may evolve.

You don’t need Nitro.

Last thing you need
is negative guys

who is all they do
is fucking complain.

Ice, all she does is
bitch and complain.

Between Lori and Johnny,
that was just friction there.

So she’s doing this
to spite Johnny, period.

Johnny wanted to push the
image that Gladiators where

all American, hot apple pie.

That was the image he
wanted to put out there.

And when I was first on
the show and they found out

that I was gay, I
was pulled to the side

and told that I couldn’t
bring my girlfriend

to different functions

because it would make
the brand look bad.

Basically, they
put the fear in me

that I was going to lose my job.

So that’s why you
feel this weird energy

when it comes
to the "Gladiators"

and Johnny Ferraro.

He’s not God, but man,

he walks around
like he wants to be.

Control to Johnny
means do not do anything

unless you run it past me.

It’s his baby.

Would you let anybody
come and play with your baby

the way they want to
play with your baby?

Or would you
supervise and monitor

how they play with your baby?

I’m very protective
of the brand, I am.

You know, you don’t
want to hurt anybody,

but you still have
to protect your brand

because I don’t know what
this guy’s going to do or girl.

They go out and screw it up.

Because if anything goes
wrong and they find out

you’re Gladiator,
it’s like all American

Gladiator did this wrong.

And that’s the problem.

♪ I guess you’d say ♪

♪ What can make
me feel this way ♪

The Gladiators were just wild.

This was their
time, they felt good

and they felt like
anything went.

So it was a Roman orgy.

I Feel like you
handle that bottle.


There was all kinds
of screwing going on.

Gladiator, Gladiator.

And there was
Gladiator, contender.

They got a new
drink called out Bang,

so they were trying to bang.

I would imagine
some things went off.

You know, shit happens.

You know, we’re trying
to be larger than life,

the moral superhero
type characters,

and everybody’s just
behaving like Wild West,

just having sex, sleep around

and, you know, some
drugs were being used.

What we doing tonight?
We’re getting fucked up.

We were at this height
of fame and stardom,

and some of us got a little
bit too big for our breeches.

It was horrible.
It got to the point

where you got a
bunch of people in there

acting like they
were superstars.

You know, everything
became kind of chaotic.

I remember on tour,
Chicago was totally sold out

and we’re the Gladiators.

Well, they didn’t like the
way their chicken was,

so they went out of the building
and they went to a restaurant

and we have 18,000 people,
but they were having dinner.

This is Michael Horton.

Don’t bother him
when he’s eating.

Our attitudes changed.

We got beyond ourselves.

We started doing
things that you typically

or normally wouldn’t do.

But then again, they pushed
the Gladiators to the edge.

I’m out of here.

We did two shows a day. I
did... I think was like 90 episodes.

Going to trade shows, car shows.

What we were doing
consumed us so much,

you lose communication
with the world.

You lose some private time.

You lose some family time.

I remember one
Saturday I was obligated

to stay later and
sign autographs.

You can’t even see
the end of the line,

and I stood out
there for hours signing

as many autographs as I could.

But after 8 hours, I just
couldn’t do it anymore.

This is when I told Johnny
Ferraro I’m just ready

to be with my kids
and be done with this.

When he sat me down,
said, "Mike, no one cares

who Michael Horton is.

You know, you
Gemini to these people.

Stop trying to be
Michael Horton out here."

Those moments let me know
that I had to become Gemini,

and I was no longer
Michael Horton.

Everyone has to make
a sacrifice at some point.

So I’m in a limo,

and I start thinking like,
okay, I’m doing great.

We’re selling out arenas,
shows the success.

But what did it
cost me to get here?

And you start thinking about

your kids, your
ex-wife, your home,

all these things.

It’s sort of like a motorboat.

You could be in a
motorboat and see all this real

clear water ahead,

but you don’t see the wake
you’re leaving behind you.

It’s pretty devastating.

I don’t know. Johnny
doesn’t really talk much

about the years
married to Florida

because I just think
he has a lot of regrets.

He just was not home very often.

When Johnny went
out to Hollywood,

he slept, ate, drank,
never thought of anything

other than gladiators.

So he was kind of an
absentee dad for a while there.

I mean, you know, I’m
getting divorced, you know,

and you lose your wife,
you lose your home,

you lose your, you know,
everything, you lose your kids.

And I can’t fix it.

You can’t fix that.

But did everything
I work on happen?


Was Dann happy? Yes.

Was Erie, Pennsylvania, the
home of the "Gladiators" happy?


Now I just have this show.

What is that saying?

You don’t put all your
eggs in one basket.

I put all my eggs in one
basket, and I watch my basket.

So that’s what I did.

But I don’t like regrets.

I don’t like regrets.

Whoa, I made it.

What are you
doing? Gonna say hi?

Gonna say hi to everybody?

Gonna say hi?

No? Praise Jesus.

Come on. Come on.

Praise Jesus.

This is the underground.

You can see my entire
career on one wall.

I have no feeling in my right
hand, no power in my left.

I have almost complete
paralysis in my left arm

and complete atrophy.

Every day it makes me
raging angry to the point

where I can do a box of nails.

My name is William Smith,

and I played Thunder
on "American Gladiators."

Contenders prepare to challenge,

Thunder, Nitro and Gemini
in our game of Power Ball.

45 seconds of nonstop action.


Quickly, Craig
Branum goes to work

for the goal.

Clutchsky trying a
little head on action

with Thunder and loses.

Johnny Ferraro, The
Samuel Goldwyn Company.

they always wanted impact.

Got to make it, we
gotta hit the guy.

It’s impact television.

That’s what sells, so they
were pushing for more.

They needed more.

But the suits did not understand
what they were asking for.

They were jamming two
shows a day in six days a week.

The injuries are
bound to happen.

Oh, Laser with a
tackle on Lance.

Appears Lance has
his bell rung on that one.

He stills loose.

I once told the producers

that I’ve had more injuries
on this show in three weeks

than I ever had in a whole
football season at UCLA.

And now it’s time
for Atlasphere.

Cosmic collision coming up.


Well, the metal part broke

and ripped into the
backside of a contender.

It went really deep to the bone.

They had to stitch the
person’s 75 stitches inside

and 75 stitches outside.

And blood everywhere.

We’ve gotten to the
last two competitors

in Hang Tough, and I got her.

And so I had to crawl up
her and peel her hands off.

I remember going...

-Oh, gosh.
-I heard it.

I pulled in and we landed
upside down on back of my head

with my knees
jamming up in my nose

and her weight on my knees.

It appears she feel
directly on top of Elektra.

And there you can see blood
on the bridge of her nose.

I shattered my nose
through the skin.

I had two contracts which were
worth maybe $120,000 as a model.

I knew that that money
had just disappeared.

On live tour, the
machines that they used

to blow the mats up broke.

In a last ditch effort
to correct a problem,

they went to a
little hardware store

and bought leaf blowers and
use those to blow the mats up.

Of course, it blew the
mats up, but not to the point

where they would...
it would cushion a fall.

Certainly not the fall
of 300-pound man.

And so come of that set of rings
with a competitor in my arms,

I go through the mat
with him on top of me.

Land flat on my back and
herniate seven discs in my back.

And today I’m in a lot of pain,

and we’ll be forever.

These games weren’t safe.

Many of them were not
safe for humans to play.

There was no regulation.

You know, we didn’t have,
you know, OSHA coming in

and checking off the
safety of the games.

So the training room
was like a MASH unit.

It was like wartime.

You went up that cargo
net with that finger broke?

Yes, sir.

Go ahead, pull it.

You can’t get glory unless
you go through a little bit of pain,

and you can’t say I’m a champion
without getting black and blue.

The Gladiators, no
matter how hurt they were,

they would come to me
and say, "I got to stay on.

I got to stay on,
no matter what.

I’m going to lose my spot,"

because they knew
they had alternates.

And the alternatives were
fresh, they weren’t all banged up.

I mean, they were
ready to go every day.

I was the first alternate
and I was ready to go.

I could feel it and
I could understand

why they didn’t want me there.

Because I’m a visual
of I’m taking your spot

and I’ll make the
world forget about you.

When I got my concussion,
I was out there that day.

I’m thinking, man,
somebody’s going to pull in.

And what if that guy
kicks so much butt

in that show that they
say, "Thank you, Malibu,

have a great day?"

So nobody wanted
someone coming in

and taking my
bread off my table.

I wanted to be the
one starring out there.

The day I was there,
Zap fell 10 or so feet

and Zap was briefly unconscious.

Should have taken
the rest of the week off.

And instead she’s out there,
you know, for the next shot

because she’d had a
baby eight months earlier

and was afraid that
she’d lose her spot.

I’m Dick Askin,
and I was president

of Samuel Goldwyn Television

during the time of
"American Gladiators."

We knew from day one
that the original Gladiators

would never be enough to
go through an entire season.

So slowly but surely, we
started bringing in other people.

I didn’t know where
the Wizard of Oz

was keeping his second
round of of gladiators,

but there was some magic chute
that they all would slide down.

Here comes Gemini
and Nitro and Viper.

I’m like, "Viper?"
Who the hell is Viper?

We introduce a
new Gladiator, Viper.

The audience, I
think a lot of times

they didn’t like
the second tier.

They held up a sign that
said, "Viper wears a diaper."

And he went bat shit.

At 25 years old, I took
everything personal.

I turned that assault
camera on the fan base

and was shooting at the
sign that was holding up, yeah.

To my knowledge, I came
in to take Malibu’s spot.

Nobody said anything to me.

Just all of a sudden, I
didn’t get a call to go back.

Thank you very much.

Nobody decided to tell
me what’s happening.

"Gladiators" is not built upon

one or two or all of them.

You know, you could
change the whole cast

every year if you have to.

We’ll just put a mask on them,

and they’ll never
know who they are.

So if you’re combining the
concepts of replacement culture

with athletes having
to be exceptional,

that was a lot of pressure.

And so it made sense
that athletes in that area

started to participate

in something that
would keep them going.

My first day on the job,

the set was coming in,
the lighting was going up.

I walked into the Gladiators
locker room, so to speak,

and there were
syringes everywhere.

And that was my introduction
to the world of steroids.

The assertion that
someone was natural

on "American Gladiators"
is completely absurd.

Those people had to perform
day after day, injured, tired.

There’s no way they
would have lived.

It was a given that
they were all on steroids.

It was the steroid age.

Ben Johnson was
stripped of his gold medal.

A banned substance.

Cover up of steroid
use at the WWF.

What percentage of the folks
you play with use steroids?

75 percent.

Holy cow.

It gives you an
ability to heal faster,

to do things that you
normally couldn’t have done.

I can only speak to myself,

and I think that’s probably
the fairest way to do it.

I was taking steroids at
the time I was a Gladiator,

and was able to build
tremendous amounts of muscle.

Am I proud that I did steroids?

No, but it was a
means to a vehicle

that I wanted to be a part of.

But you were never big enough,
you are never strong enough.

It’s a different kind
of body dysmorphia.

I know right away
that steroids are for me.

But somehow I still
don’t feel big enough.

The adrenaline dump
shoots through my veins.

I will kill you, mother
fucker. I will fucking kill you.

I smile because I know
I’m going to hurt you

and I’m going to enjoy it.

Blaze was with
a little aggressive.

You put that amount of stress

and that amount of pressure

on different parts of your body,

and when you’re that
physically maxed out, you snap.

I went into a McDonald’s,

and a mother
with her two kids...

came up to me and one
of the boys was about six.

The other one was about eight.

And the six-year-old
said I saw you and...

and... and you’re
my favorite gladiator,

but you lost.

What do you feel you
take this on so personally?

Because my kids.

As my kids got older,
I was fading faster

and faster from their lives.

There was a lot of
missed time there,

there was a lot of
missed opportunity.

But it’s like Johnny said,

you’re not Michael
Horton anymore.

Your Gemini.

Well, if you listen to that,

it takes you out
of reality... Gemini.

Michael Horton, who are you?

I didn’t know...

it got to the point
where it ruined me.

I kind of wanted to crawl
into a hole for quite a while

because I missed it,
I’ll tell you that for sure.

I definitely miss
not doing that show.

But I realized that there was
a lot of internal brokenness

still inside of me.

You know, a lot of
pain that I was masking

with achievement, basically.

You know, when you’re a kid,

you look at your
father as God, almost.

I mean, you know, he
was up high on a pedestal.

So when he left, my
mom became an alcoholic

and it tore me up
in a lot of ways.

And when these
feelings would bubble up,

I’d shove them right
back down inside

and I’d go do something else.

You know, I started
weightlifting and I said,

okay, I’m going to make my
body look like a comic book guy.

But, you know, I don’t care
how much muscle I put on.

I always saw myself as
that skinny, little broken kid.

And I was masking and numbing
my pain through just excelling.

But now I didn’t have

the "American
Gladiators" to do that.

For injuries I incurred
on the "Gladiators,"

I was prescribed
pain medication.

And being on pain medication
for a long period of time,

you can’t walk, you can’t think,

you can’t... you
can’t get out of bed.

So due to injuries you
sustained on "Gladiators,"

you were prescribed pain pills
and became kind of addicted?

Pain pills... No, not kind
of addicted, addicted.

You take opioids,
you’ll get addicted.

You won’t kind of get addicted

or you won’t might
not get addicted

if you take the
compound, all of a sudden,

you will need it and
can’t function without it.

How did you kick it?

How I kick it? I’ve
never kicked it.

I’ll never kick it.

I still suffer from it.

I have a lot of regrets.

If I had to do things
over again, I would do

most of my life over again.

For what the Gladiators
were enduring and the injuries

that they were getting, I think
a big question to them was,

the money that they
were getting paid,

was it worth the punishment
that their bodies were taking?

This is a daily ritual.

Running out of places to take.

The production
company of the show,

they written the
contracts to read

that when we get hurt,
we pay for our own medical.

Why in the world
would I subject myself

to that kind of a beating
and then have to pay it

out of my own pocket to
make you a rich person?

You know how much money we made?

They ever tell you?

$25,000 a year for 52 shows.

I mean, a secretary makes
more money than that.

We’re the most underpaid
television show on the air.

And they had to make it
to the end of the season,

or they weren’t
going to get paid.

There was bickering.
There was fighting.

No residuals, no
royalties, nothing.

I think there was a sense
of frustration for sure.

It was combustible.
You could feel it in the air.

It’s about fair and unfair.

-I deserve this.
-Too much pressure.

It wasn’t fair.

The Gladiators wanted
to make a statement

that we’re not going to...
we’re not going to do this.

So there were rumors out,
you know, we’re going to strike.

Zap, Gemini, Ice and I
are huddled together in

a trailer at the 11th hour.

In two days, season four
was scheduled to begin.

A rep calls the Samuel Goldwyn
Company to schedule a meeting.

They aren’t interested
until he tells them that

if they don’t have a
meeting to hear our request

we’re not showing up on
the set the following day.

When I heard that the
Gladiators were on strike,

I went to talk to them all.

I said to Dann and a few
of the other Gladiators,

I’m not questioning the fact
that you may be unhappy,

but you guys are adults.

You signed a contract.

You saw the number.

Mike’s phone rings. It’s a
rep. The news isn’t good.

He tells us that
Samuel Goldwyn himself

said they either come to
work tomorrow or they’re fired.

Part of me still believes
this is just tactics,

that Samuel Goldwyn
was going to come back

with a better offer.

"You think we could lose
our jobs over this?", Ice asks.

There’s no possible
way a rep says.

Your faces are on all the
toys, video games and products.

It’d be death for them.

Mike looks at the
group and says,

"We all have to stick together
on this no matter what happens.

That’s where our strength lies."

And Goldwyn called
their bluff and said,

"I hope you enjoyed
your time as a Gladiator.

See ya."

Lori came to me, she
said, "Hey, I got to go back.

I just bought a
house in Sun Valley.

I just bought a house. I
got... I gotta come back."

I said, "I get it. I
understand that."

But when you go in and give
people ultimatums like that,

you gotta stick to your guns.

And they weren’t really
ready to stop the show yet.

At that point, I didn’t
care about anything.

I just wanted out.

I think I missed one
of my kids track meets.

That upset me so much.

I was down.

You know, "Gladiators,"
it’s not about any one person.

The brand is bigger
than any "Gladiator."

It gave them a life. It
gave them a chance.

They were part of something big,

and some of them
even try every min...

milking it every minute
of the day for themselves,

not knowing that it
doesn’t belong to them.

And then they feel I’m wrong,
and I know they don’t like me.

That’s fine.

They’ll pay for
it sooner or later.

You know?

Hasta la vista, baby.

"After all said and done,

at the end of the day,
it’s just Johnny and Dann,

two guys from Erie, PA,

who changed the way
we watch television forever.

After all, we are
all Americans."

Yeah, that’s how I feel.

This whole thing is
about two guys from Erie.

It isn’t about me or...

It’s about two guys
that started something,

and we’ve influenced
the whole world on the way

We watch television today.


It’s a story about two guys,

but there’s only one guy here.

I’m curious why Dann Carr
isn’t in this documentary.

I’m not going to
answer that one.

No? No.

I don’t want to
be on film on this.

Is this mic off?

Make sure it’s off.


Make sure the
mics are off, please?


Do I think that Johnny Ferraro
quite possibly sold his soul

to the devil to get the
Gladiators on the air?

Absolutely, especially
when you look in hindsight

on how Dann Carr
is not a part of it,

especially in the spiritual
realm that I’m dealing with now.

♪ And it’s so good
to see you again ♪

No, never meet with Dann Carr.

Dann Carr? No.

Dann Carr? No, it
doesn’t strike a bell.

I called up Ferraro and
said, "Have you left the guy

who invented these
games out in the dust?"

♪ Do you know how tried? ♪

♪ Have you any idea? ♪

Somebody said that Johnny
stoled Danny Carr’s idea.

Well, Danny Carr did not ever

Gladiators" idea at all.

♪ Do you know, darling,
how much I’ve cried ♪

This is ridiculous.

These are these
games that were done

at these ironworker picnics.

♪ Help you forget about me ♪

Why is Dann Carr
called Apache Dann Carr?

Cause he’s Apache.

He’s Apache Indian.

And Dann, he don’t
celebrate Thanksgiving.

That’s when the white
guy took our property,

and so I’m not going
to celebrate that.

The worst parts of history
will definitely repeat itself

if we don’t remember.

That means the whole story.

♪ What about you and he? ♪

♪ Always only a friend ♪

-Johnny Ferraro.
-Johnny Ferraro.

You know, Danny, in
a lot of people’s mind,

Danny, he created the show.

The creator is Johnny Ferraro.

Psalm 98, "Get to
know who the creator is.

Be happy in your search for him.

Be happier when you find him

and be happiest that
he knows who you are."

♪ You will know how I am ♪

He wants you to find him.

♪ Who I am ♪