It was about 4 years ago when we featured a short film based on this very subject – “Dock Ellis & The LSD No-No” – which was based on a colorful recording by former baseball pitcher Dock Ellis, describing how he pitched a no-hitter in 1970 while under the influence of LSD.
Ellis, for his part, became an anti-drug crusader before he passed a few years ago.
Skip ahead to the present, as the feature-length documentary on the life of Dock Ellis and that legendary LSD-influenced no-hitter, opens in limited theatrical release today, after a film festival run that began with a world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year.
First some quick back-story…
On June 12, 1970, Dock Ellis threw a no-hitter for the Pittsburgh Pirates. In 136 years of baseball history, only 276 no-hitters have been recorded. Dock is the only pitcher to ever claim he accomplished his while high on LSD. During his 12 years in the major leagues, Dock lived the expression “Black is Beautiful!” He wore curlers on the field. He stepped out of his Cadillac wearing the widest bell bottoms and the broadest collars. When he put on his uniform, he was one of the most intimidating pitchers of the 1970s. Dock was often at the forefront of controversy and has been called the “Muhammad Ali of Baseball.” He was an outspoken leader of a new wave of civil rights in sports, when black athletes were no longer content to accept second-class treatment or keep their mouths shut about indignities. For this, the press labeled him a militant. But that’s only half the story…
For the rest of the story, director Jeffrey Radice, and producers Mike Blizzard and Chris Cortez, made a feature length documentary titled “No No: A Dockumentary,” which explores the legend of Dock Ellis (including the LSD, hair curlers & beaning batters), the man behind the legend and his legacy.
Here’s an official synopsis:
Dock Ellis pitched a no-hitter on LSD, then worked for decades counseling drug abusers. Dock’s soulful style defined 1970s baseball as he kept hitters honest and embarrassed the establishment. An ensemble cast of teammates, friends, and family investigate his life on the field, in the media, and out of the spotlight.
Collected footage incorporated into the film includes a comprehensive library of photos, news clippings, memorabilia and film surrounding Dock’s story, as well as more than 50 hours of interviews with over 35 of Dock’s family members, lifelong friends, former teammates and journalists, his long-time agent Tom Reich, fellow counselors and those he counseled.
“No No: A Dockumentary” will be the first feature-length film to tell the full life story of Dock Ellis.
A trailer for the film is below, immediately after the theatrical opening information that follows:
SEPTEMBER 5thNew York, NY – Village East Cinema
Los Angeles, CA – Laemmle Noho 7
San Diego, CA – Reading Gaslamp 15
Pittsburgh, PA – Harris Theater
Boston, MA – Coolidge Corner Theater
Fort Lauderdale, FL – Carmike Theaters
Seattle, WA – Northwest Film Forum
Spokane, WA – Magic Lantern Theatre
San Francisco, CA – Roxie Theater
Phoenix, AZ – Harkins Shea 14
Dallas, TX – Texas Theatre
Austin, TX – Drafthouse South Lamar
Houston, TX – Vintage Park
Burlington, IA – Capitol Theater
SEPTEMBER 12thChicago, IL – Facets Cinematheque
Hudson, NY – Time & Space Limited
Philadelphia, PA – PFS Roxy
Cleveland, OH – Capitol Theatre
Columbus, OH – Gateway Film Center
Tucson, AZ – The Loft Cinema
Denver, CO – Sie Film Center
Kansas City, MO – Drafthouse Main St.
Bellingham, WA – Pickford Film Center
Amherst, MA – Amherst Cinema Arts Center
Washington, DC – West End Cinema
SEPTEMBER 19thMilwaukee, WI – Union Theatre
Albuquerque, NM – Guild Cinema
Santa Fe, NM – Center for Contemporary Arts
New Orleans, LA – Zeitgeist Arts Center
Omaha, NE – FilmStreams
Tyler, TX – Liberty Hall
SEPTEMBER 26thOakland, CA – New Parkway