Search form

Donate Today
By KCTS 9
July 12, 2016
Inspired by Daniel James Brown’s #1 New York Times Bestseller, The Boys in the Boat, a new documentary from PBS’ American Experience, recounts the thrilling underdog story of the American rowing team that triumphed against all odds in Nazi Germany.   
 
The Boys of ‘36 explores how nine working-class young men from the University of Washington (UW) took the rowing world and the nation by storm when they captured the gold medal at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin. These courageous Americans — the sons of loggers, shipyard workers and farmers — overcame tremendous hardships to beat not only the Ivy-League teams of the East Coast, but Adolf Hitler’s elite German rowers. Their unexpected victory and the obstacles they overcame to achieve it gave hope to a nation struggling to emerge from the depths of the Great Depression.
 
Before this compelling new documentary premieres on Tuesday, Aug. 2 on KCTS 9, we welcome you to meet the team that made history:
 
Bobby Moch (June 20, 1914–Jan. 18, 2005), just five-foot-seven and 119 pounds, was the team’s coxswain. Born and raised in Montesano, Washington, Moch graduated from the University of Washington and signed on as an assistant crew coach for the 1936–37 season. He entered law school and was offered the head coaching position at MIT in 1940. Moch transferred to Harvard Law School and continued to coach. He would go on to a successful legal career, eventually arguing and winning a case before the U.S. Supreme Court.
 

George “Shorty” Hunt (Aug. 1, 1916–Sept. 3, 1999), #6 seat and a standout high school athlete, he became a Seabee in the South Pacific during World War II and co-founded a construction company following the war.
 
Jim “Stub” McMillin (March 8, 1914–August 22, 2005), #5 seat, worked nights as a janitor to make ends meet while at the UW. After college, he took over Bobby Moch’s job at MIT, where he both coached athletes and worked on classified research as a lab engineer for 12 years. He later returned to Seattle and worked for Boeing.
 
Joe Rantz (March 31, 1914–Sept. 10, 2007), #7 seat. Born in Spokane, Joe was only four when his mother died and he was sent east to live with an aunt. He eventually returned to his father and new stepmother but when troubles arose, the family moved away and left the teenager to fend for himself. He eventually moved to Seattle to live with his older brother, and in high school, was recruited by Coach Al Ulbrickson. Rantz graduated from the UW in 1939 with a degree in chemical engineering. He went to work for Boeing in 1941 and later retired from the company.
 
 
John White (May 16, 1916–March 16, 1997), #4 seat, graduated from the UW in 1938 with a degree in metallurgical engineering. He followed his father into the steel business and worked for Bethlehem Steel.
 
Gordon Adam (May 26, 1915–March 27, 1992), #3 seat. Adam worked on a salmon boat while at the UW. He ran out of money before he could graduate and took a part-time night-job with Boeing in his senior year. He remained there for the next 38 years.
 
Don Hume (July 25, 1915Sept. 16, 2001) set the pace as stroke oar for the team, in the #8 seat. As a boy, Hume worked in a pulp mill and fumes damaged his lungs, making him susceptible to respiratory illnesses. He spent the war years serving in the Merchant Marine. Following the war, he built a career in oil and gas exploration and later became president of the West Coast Mining Association.
 

Charles “Chuck” Ward Day (Oct. 19, 1914–May 1962), #2 seat. Born in Colville, Washington, Day earned his medical degree and entered the Navy at the outbreak of World War II. After serving as a naval doctor in the South Pacific, he returned to Seattle and established a successful practice. 
 
Roger Morris (July 16, 1915–July 22, 2009) was the Bowman (#1 seat) on the team. While at the UW, Morris worked for his father on the weekends, moving families out of homes they had lost to the Depression. Morris graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering and spent the war doing military construction in the San Francisco Bay Area. He then returned to Seattle to work for the Manson Construction Company.
 
Though these boys had tremendous strength, passion and drive, they were able to reach their full potential with the help of their coach and his mentor:
 
Al (Alvin) Ulbrickson (19031980) became head coach of the UW’s crew team in 1927. Under his leadership, the Huskies went to the Olympics three times. His varsity crews won six IRA titles; his junior varsity won 10. He was inducted into the National Rowing Hall of Fame in 1956.
 
George Yeoman Pocock (March 23, 1891March 19, 1976). A native of England, Pocock was a leading designer and builder of racing shells. Pocock-built shells began to win U.S. Intercollegiate Rowing Association championships in 1923, and he was appointed Boatman to U.S. Olympic Rowing Teams in 1936, 1948, 1952 and 1956. A mentor to many rowing coaches during that time, Pocock was named "Sports Star of the Year" in 1948 by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. He was inducted into the Helms Rowing Hall of Fame in 1969.
 
American Experience’s The Boys of ‘36 premieres Tuesday, August 2 at 9:00 pm on KCTS 9. 
 
Join KCTS 9 at the Seattle Center for a preview screening of The Boys of ’36 Friday, July 29 at 9 p.m. The event is free and open to the public, but RSVPing is highly encouraged. For more information visit KCTS9.org/events.  
 
This event is in partnership with Seattle Center and SIFF, and is sponsored by Delta Air Lines, MOHAI and KCLS

Watch a preview:


SUPPORTED BY



KCTS 9

KCTS 9 staff consists of experienced journalists and videographers, producing local stories on the issues that shape the greater Seattle area. More stories by KCTS 9

There are 0 comments

Read Comments Hide Comments

Add new comment

Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <xmp><em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd></xmp>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
As a public media organization, KCTS 9 is committed to presenting a diversity of voices and perspectives through the stories we produce. We invite our readers to participate in an active and respectful discourse through our comments feature. All comments are moderated before posting to our website; if we deem a comment to be inappropriate and/or threatening, it will not be published.
To prevent automated spam submissions leave this field empty.