An interview with actor Bug Hall, who plays Arthur Davidson in "HARLEY AND THE DAVIDSONS", a Discovery Channel 3 part mini series which premiered on September 5, 6 & 7. Also available on “Discovery Go” online video portal at https://www.discoverygo.com/harley-and-the-davidsons/ or check your local tv listings to see when it will be available in your area.
Bug Hall is an avid motorcyclist, having ridden about 1,000,000 miles. So, it comes as no surprise that Bug was the perfect choice to play the role of Arthur Davidson, one of the founders of Harley Davidson Motorcycles. He talks to Jim about Discovery Channel's production of a historically authentic show, the making of one of the United States most successful motorcycle companies, that's been around since 1903, well over 100 years. Harley Davidson has almost become a household name, there aren't very many people who won't know what it is when they hear the words.
Arthur Davidson (Played by Bug Hall) - Discovery Channel bio
The youngest of four brothers, Arthur is Harley-Davidson’s sales manager. A natural communicator with a reputation as a practical joker. Arthur deploys his charm to win powerful allies and secure the loyalty of customers and dealers alike. Born in Milwaukee in 1881, Arthur attends the same school as Bill Harley where they become close friends – Arthur’s gregariousness complimenting Bill’s quiet intelligence. Aged 15, Arthur begins his working career, taking a job with a local manufacturing company as an apprentice patternmaker. Before long, Arthur and Bill start tinkering with gasoline engines at home, hoping to attach one to a bicycle. Seeking investment and the skills of a top machinist, Arthur writes to his brother, Walter, enticing him to return to Milwaukee by promising him a ride on their new motorized bicycle which in reality hasn’t yet been built. When their rivals Indian motorcycles and Excelsior found their own factory racing teams, Arthur locks horns with Walter and Bill Harley who want to meet them on the track, because he’s worried about the damage racing accidents could cause their brand. Horrified by the death of his friend, Eddie Hasha, in 1912 at the height of the motordrome craze, Arthur writes passionate editorials against board track racing in the company’s ‘Dealer’ magazine, imploring his salesforce to refuse deals with the promoters. In the 1910s and 1920s, Arthur criss-crosses America and the English-speaking world, with his wife, Clara, establishing a formidable network of Harley-Davidson dealers which will help secure them as the largest motorcycle company in the world. After the death of his brothers, William and Walter, and their friend Bill Harley, between 1937 and 1943, Arthur is the last remaining founder still working at Harley-Davidson until he and Clara are tragically killed in a car crash in 1950.
From the Discovery Channel - Press Release:
A Harley-Davidson is more than a motorcycle. It is a symbol of Americana, built from the ground up by founders Walter and Arthur Davidson and their friend Bill Harley. But the road to success was not exactly smooth – filled with innumerable obstacles, ruthless competitors and extraordinary risks. Together these three young men, the sons of blue-collar immigrants, gave everything they had to ensure the survival of the company they founded. But just how far would
Based on a true story, HARLEY AND THE DAVIDSONS charts the birth of this iconic bike during a time of great social and technological change beginning at the turn of the 20th century. Walter, Arthur and Bill risked their entire fortune and livelihood to launch the budding enterprise. Each of these men faced very different challenges, but it was the motorcycle that united their dreams and ambitions. For Walter Davidson, the venture was a chance to escape from the confines of society – to ignore the rules and build a bike that could go anywhere and ride hard. For Arthur Davidson, it was an opportunity to finally make good on his name. And for Bill Harley, the bike gave him hope to break free from his overbearing parents and apply his talent as an engineer.
Built in a shed out of Milwaukee, these motorcycles were able to survive nearly every condition imaginable. And Walter certainly put the bikes to the test. His ferocious ambition propelled him to become a top motorcycle racer while competing in the deadly competitions sweeping the nation. Walter’s daredevil exploits put Harley-Davidson on the map – and while risky – pushed the company to eventually overtake their archrival competitor, Indian, which had a stronghold on the market.
But the founders also faced an underlying moral question – just how much would they risk to become successful? Racing could often have deadly consequences, especially with the rise of the hazardous motordrome competitions sweeping the country.
Fuelled by ingenuity, innovation and design, the founders of Harley-Davidson faced off against their much bigger rivals. If things couldn’t get any more difficult, the Great Depression hit and the motorcycle industry was decimated. But Harley-Davidson continued to defy the odds with their forward-thinking business ideas.
HARLEY AND THE DAVIDSONS looks at how the founders continued to grow its loyal following like no other competitor– whether it was securing the American Army contract and teaching riders how to make repairs on the field to embracing boisterous motorcycle clubs across the nation. They would eventually channel all their resources with their biggest risk yet – creating the world’s first superbike, a state-of-the-art racing machine for the masses.
Walter, Arthur and Bill cemented Harley-Davidson’s reputation as a builder of bikes that goes anywhere, could ride hard and ignored all the rules. It’s a legacy that has endured over 100 years – and at the heart of the brand and its loyal riders.
Discovery Channel: www.discovery.com
Discovery Go: www.discoverygo.com/harley-and-the-davidsons/
Harley and the Davidsons Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/harleyandthedavidsons/
Bug Hall Twitter: https://twitter.com/Bug_Hall?lang=en
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