HOF Artifact of the Week
This week's featured artifact is the Pacemaker Speed Graphic Camera owned by Mickey Dukich when he was the cinematographer and photographer of the LA Rams in 1956. Duckich studied film at Washington State University and came to Hollywood in the 1950s to work in the movies. He was hired by future Pro Football Hall of Fame head coach Sid Gillman as the first full-time team cameraman. Paul Brown initially pioneered filming games for coaching analysis, but Gillman, who was a great innovator himself, took it a step further. He hired Dukich to not only film games, but practices and scrimmages as well. Duckich would also take practice and game film and break it down by offense, defense, special teams, by play and situation. Today this is quite common in football, but it was ground breaking work in 1956.
Dukich used this camera to take still shots of the Rams in action. Eventually the Rams hired a team of cameraman and photographers for game days to fully analyze the team’s play. Gillman came to rely on Dukich to the point that he began to frustrate the media by answering questions after games by saying, “I have to look at the film.” Dukich, who became known as the Cecil B. DeMille of coaching film, worked for the Rams until 1994 when the team moved St. Louis. Shortly thereafter he donated his camera to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He was invited to move with the team to St. Louis but chose to retire instead telling reporters, “I’m a Los Angeles Ram not a St. Louis Ram."