We’ve seen our share of no-hitters, but not a lot of people know about Dock Ellis’ feat while being high on LSD.
The legend of Dock Ellis and his LSD no-hitter was swirling around in sports circles for years. His story really blew up at the end of 2008 when No Mas released an animated short on YouTube, but we discovered it years earlier through word of mouth.
I became interested when I produced a short documentary, “LSD a Go Go,” and premiered it at Sundance. Audience members always felt compelled to share their own LSD experiences. It jarred something loose in my memory and I tracked down Dock’s biography, written by poet Donald Hall. How many athletes have a biography written by a future United States poet laureate?
What drew us to Dock Ellis is that the story is threaded with all these fascinating episodes and characters. You have a line of American poetry that extends from Robert Frost through Donald Hall to Dock Ellis. Artists and musicians gravitate to his story instinctively. Dock Ellis was rock and roll. He was a bad-ass on the baseball mound. He was a truly beloved individual who surrounded himself with greatness. You can connect him to people like Muhammad Ali, Timothy Leary and Ron Howard.
The story of Dock Ellis is a classic hero’s journey. He was brash and bold, a ballplayer who was legitimately concerned about the treatment of black athletes and later became outspoken about drug and alcohol abuse. He was able to turn his life around and help others do the same. Dock is a flawed hero, but to paraphrase Cornel West, he loved his crooked neighbor with his own crooked heart.
We’re on Kickstarter now raising money to fund the post-production of this film so that we can make a movie worthy of the man and share it with the widest possible audience.
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