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Pikewood Creative wins Emmy for ‘Hot Rod’ documentary

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Pikewood Creative is going to have another piece of hardware to add to its already impressive collection. The Morgantown video production company was awarded a regional Emmy Award for a documentary on West Virginia native, star basketball player and announcer Rodney “Hot Rod” Hundley.

“Hot Rod: The Clown Prince of Basketball,” was directed and edited by Pikewood Creative’s Dan Lohmann and took the top spot in the Ohio Valley Regional Emmy Awards’ nostalgia category.

Production of the movie included interviews with more than 30 basketball and broadcast luminaries, with Pikewood Creative’s managing partner Tony Caridi traveling to six states to conduct them.

After all of the interviews were complete, the most difficult part for Lohmann was trimming down the content collected into one cohesive story about Hot Rod’s life. Hundley passed away in March 2015.

“The most difficult part was whittling down the most relevant aspects and collecting the best sound bites and elements of the story,” he said. “I needed to find the most cohesive and impactful stuff to make this documentary the best it could be.”

The first cut was about 2 1/2 hours long, and Lohmann knew that was too long. Finally, it was dwindled down to an hour and a half.

The first domino to fall in the interview process was with Jim Nantz, who has worked at CBS Sports since the 1980s and was Hundley’s broadcast partner with the Utah Jazz.

After speaking with Nantz, Lohmann knew there was a story to tell, so through other sources, the trickle-down effect began and was a long process, but in the end, Lohmann and Caridi interviewed everyone they wanted to.

Dick Enberg was calling games for the San Diego Padres, so the crew had to wait a year to interview him in Pittsburgh, once the baseball season was over. Enberg and Hundley worked together calling college basketball games. Enberg died in December 2017.

Lohmann said many saw Hundley as the man who could make the hook shot and did a bunch of crazy antics on the court during his playing days at WVU and in the NBA, but once the layers were peeled back, there was much more to Hundley than met the eye.

“Some folks knew about his terrible upbringing as a child, but many didn’t, either,” Lohmann said. “Except for those really close to him, they did not have any idea about his daughters and family life — it was a whole other thing that made the film come alive. His daughters’ insight was unbelievable and once you looked into it, you saw a really complex character.

“As time goes, those stories tend to fade away, so that’s a big reason we wanted to do this.”

Lohmann said most of his time went into the project, and during the last six months, almost all of it went into making it Emmy-worthy. About seven people were the core group who worked on the documentary from start to finish.

“Hot Rod” is Lohmann’s second awarded Emmy and the third for Pikewood Creative. Lohmann’s previous award was a commercial done for United Bank, while Pikewood’s was in the graphics arts and animation category.

“We’re thrilled to receive Emmy recognition for this project,” Caridi said in a news release. “Over a three-year period, this movie became a labor of love. At long last, Hot Rod Hundley’s amazing life story has been told. Rod was truly one-of-a-kind and we’re honored to have had the chance to share the life of an unforgettable Mountaineer.”