Tom Hanks made his name first TV buffoonery before becoming a Serious Dramatic actor and then producer and documentary producer.
His eldest son Colin appears to be following in those exact footsteps. Except, where Hanks Sr.'s documentary interest has leaned toward conventional Americana (World War 2, NASA), Hanks junior's is a different element of American culture.
Colin Hanks is looking to tell (and sell) the story of the rise and fall of Tower Records, the music retailer that closed its doors in 2006. And you can own a piece of it.
The doc is titled All Things Must Pass: The Rise and Fall of Tower Records. It's hard to argue that the title alone makes the brand's role in history sound more epic and worth watching.
The doc's promotional copy, in part, below:
"The Tower Records story is about a man, his company and the unprecedented economic and cultural impact it had on the music industry and people around the world. Tower Records begins with the man who created it… Russ Solomon.
From an early age, Solomon had a special love of music, a dynamic personality and the inventiveness of a crafty entrepreneur. His first job was sweeping floors in his father’s drug store, located in the Tower Theater building, in the sleepy northern California town of Sacramento. Still a teenager, Solomon had the idea to sell discarded record singles from the counter-top jukeboxes for 5 cents a piece. His father gave him a shelf in the back of the drug store and this became the training ground for Russ Solomon, the young man, who would one day create a Billion dollar a year music empire...
From a cultural standpoint, Tower Records had a monumental impact on millions of people, worldwide. It was “the place” to escape for a few hours; a sanctuary, a haven. Tower Records was a place to meet your friends, your co-workers or a place to meet new friends who shared a common love of music, literature and all things cultural.
Yet, in 2004 the company filed for bankruptcy and by the end of 2006, Russ Solomon's Tower Records had shut the doors to nearly every one of its worldwide outlets.
So here is the 'What, Why and How'…"
Hanks is also using Kickstarter, "the largest funding platform for creative projects in the world." The growing web-based pass-the-hat helps independents raise funds for worthwhile endeavors that maybe are not quite such commercial sure-things that they can raise conventional funding.
Those who pledge certain amounts receive different "rewards." Two thousand dollars or more will get you "2 Tickets to a private screening in Los Angeles (travel and accommodations not included)." For a project like this, Kickstarter allows interested parties to donate as little as $45 and be able to brag, without lying, at cocktail parties about being "a producer of a Hanks documentary."
Hanks' Tower Records project has raised more than half ($23,917) of its $50,000 goal with 43 days to go. As Kickstarter notes, "This project will only be funded if at least $50,000 is pledged by Friday Jul 15, 12:07am EDT." Thanks to Hanks high profile, the funding drive will likely get a lot more attention and publicity than most.
For example, popular film blog Slashfilm received an email from Hanks, requesting assistance in making the flick:
How goes it? So, here is the project I was mentioned. It is something very near and dear to my heart. I’ve been working on it, off and on, for the past few years.
I am writing you because my producing partner Sean Stuart and I have been making a documentary about the Rise and Fall of Tower Records. The story of Tower is of particular interest and pride for both of us as the company was founded and based in Sacramento, California, which happens to be our hometown..."
Read the rest at Slashfilm. The doc-to-be, meanwhile, already has a Facebook page and a Twitter feed.
For the curious, Tower Records still exists as an international franchise and an online music store. And here's a bit of bizarre brand trivia. Until March 2010, Tower Records Japan is the majority stakeholder in Napster Japan, an extension of the very company that is credited with speeding Tower Records' downfall. Hope the documentary mentions that.
Below: A glimpse at the old Tower Records near New York's Lincoln Center in Woody Allen's Hannah and her Sisters.