If you were a kid that grew up in Ellwood City, you were looking to rent one of three movies that were the hottest of childhood commodities: Rad, Thrashin’ and The Dirt Bike Kid.
Who doesn’t want to watch Peter Billingsley go one on one with Stuart Pankin over a magical dirt bike? Having this movie for the night was a near mythic power trip and I still wonder, why didn’t the video store get another copy? Did they not care about the children?
Billingsley — wearing the exact same pair of glasses that he wore as Ralphie in A Christmas Story — is Jack Simmons, Pankin is the town’s banker Mr. Hodgkins and Jack’s mom Janet is played by Anne Bloom, making this a Not Necessarily the News reunion for her, Pankin, Danny Breen (who plays Flaherty) and director Hoite C. Caston, who also made thirty-two episodes of that HBO comedy series. But isn’t the real star the 1985 Yamaha YZ80 that Jack buys for $50 that is filled with occult energy?
The idea for this came from Julie Corman and she has the same carny instincts as her husband, knowing that young kids would need something to rent along with their parents and older brothers and sisters. She made this for $800,000 and it moved 100,000 tapes, back in the day when rental copies cost ninety bucks. Never doubt a Corman when it comes to making money.