The stepson of Clark Gable and heir to a Hawaiian sugar empire, Bunker Spreckels inherited a multi-million dollar fortune in his mid 20s and, to the ire of his family, blew it on Hollywood nights, cars, art films, drugs, nunchucks and surfing the beaches of the world. Shortly after, he overdosed and joined the 27 club. A pretty cool coffee table book came out last year featuring a lush array of photos and a lengthy interview before his death, but reading it, I couldn’t help imagining a feature film on the guy.
Directed by Takuji Masuda, Bunker 77 is not a feature, but rather a documentary with privy footage, nice graphics and untold number of bigfish superlatives dished from friends. Example: “One day [Bunker] just showed up and had bills you’d never seen the numbers that high for.” And yep, Tony Alva is here with a lot on his mind. Granted, Spreckels is said to have played a pivotal role in short board shaping, but the trailer agreeably dives into the ’70s flash and excess. The Stooges and Q Lazzarus’s “Goodbye Horses” set the tone.
Rather than a typical surf doc, Bunker 77 seems like an suitable companion piece to Helen Stickler’s highly recommended, grim skateboarder tale, Stoked: The Rise and Fall of Gator. It’s set for release sometime this year.