Note: This article was written for Back in the Bronx magazine in Winter 2006. New information came in and some of the details in the story have changed in the years between this article and the publishing of Lost Boys of the Bronx: The Oral History of the Ducky Boys Gang. I chose to leave it the way it was originally published.
By James Hannon of Lantern-Media.com
A native Bronxite’s tale of how Hollywood came to the Bronx, and how the resulting movie influenced his life.
Published in Back in the Bronx Magazine, Winter 2006 issue, Vol XIV, Issue L1
In 1979, a movie by the name of The Wanderers came out. It was based off the book by Richard Price and starred a then-unknown actor named Ken Wahl. It also had a tremendous supporting cast that is too big to list here.
My sister’s boyfriend Louie really sold me on this movie a year or so earlier by telling me they were filming it near the Dollar Savings Bank on the Grand Concourse & Fordham Road, and that they had a bunch of old cars lining the surrounding streets and they were filming. This was a big deal to me, so I was definitely looking forward to it coming out.So, when it finally came out, I was horrified to find out that it had a rating of “R”. I was only 12 years old and five long years away from being eligible to see this movie. Ratings actually meant something back then, and I couldn’t imagine any kid’s parents letting them see “R” movies. I was crushed that I couldn’t see it.
My 19 yr old sister and Louie went to see it and told me that it was great, and that it opened with a shot of the RKO Fordham movie theatre and Alexander’s Department Store, and had aLOT of other Bronx locations! I thought my neighborhood was about as far from Hollywood as you could get, but this movie was filmed in my neighborhood — And I couldn’t see it!