Saturday, January 24, 2009

"A Friend Indeed" - Numerous Updates

There are many exciting developments with "A Friend Indeed - The Bill Sackter Story" since the last blog in mid-December. Here are the headlines, read below for the full stories -

1) "Screen the Documentary Yourself"
2) Incredible event: Bill Documentary Screening & 20th Anniv. of Rain Man
3) New Bill Documentary Facebook Fan Site
4) Photo Of Bill Sackter At Age 7 Discovered
5) Upcoming Screenings - Fairfield Film Expo & Omaha Film Festival
6) Sign Up For Bill DVD Notification

Screen the Documentary Yourself!

You may now purchase a Public Screening License for "A Friend Indeed - The Bill Sackter Story" and have an unlimited number of screenings for your organization.

If you are interested in bringing this inspiring new documentary to your area, please read the details here on how you can purchase a Permanent Public Screening Site License for "A Friend Indeed - The Bill Sackter Story".

You may either host the screenings yourself, or encourage local organizations to become screeners of the documentary and bring this heartwarming and inspirational documentary to your town. Or you may also help by encouraging your independent local movie theater to bring the documentary to your town.

Bill Documentary Screening & 20th Anniv. Celebration of Rain Man

On January 17th, I travelled to Salt Lake City to be part of a truly amazing event. Created by a true savant artist Stephen Carnegie, the celebration featured the screening of "A Friend Indeed" and a celebration of the real Rain Man, Kim Peek at the Salt Lake City Library, where Kim spends every day reading book after book.

Fran & Kim Peek, Barry Morrow, Stephen Carnegie, Lane Wyrick

The event had many connections, and everything interrelated. First off, I was introduced by Kelly Rooney (Mickey Rooney's daughter), as she recalled when her father first presented his character portrayal of Bill for her, shortly after he learned he was cast for the lead role in the television movie "Bill" (1981), written by Barry Morrow.

Lane Wyrick & Kelly Rooney (Mickey's daughter)

I came to the stage and introduced the screening of "A Friend Indeed", my documentary about the real Bill Sackter, which played to a very enthusiastic audience.

After the screening, I fielded some questions, and was proud to introduce special guests Barry & Bev Morrow.

Barry of course was Bill Sackter's legal guardian and he and Bev with their very kind and generous spirit, took Bill into their home to keep Bill from going back to the institution. Barry originally wanted to create a documentary, but ended up writing a screenplay of their uncommon friendship that would become the award-winning television drama "Bill" (1981) with Mickey Rooney (I completed the documentary "A Friend Indeed" 35 years after Barry first met Bill and began filming their relationship).

Then after lunch, the celebration of the real Rain Man, Kim Peek, began.

Here's the background: a couple of years after Bill had passed away, Barry Morrow was at an Arc convention when he was met by a man who started to recite phone numbers to him.

To his amazement, Barry realized that this man Kim Peek had some incredible talents, but had been misdiagnosed as just mentally retarded and written off by everyone.

What Barry discovered was that Kim had memorized nearly 14,000 books word for word after reading them just once! When he was 8 years old, Kim Peek read the Bible once, and can recite every passage verbatim!

Kim can read a book with his left eye reading the left page and right eye reading the right page at the same time, and in just a few seconds! And he has full retention of everything that he reads!

Barry was determined to bring Kim's story to light, and so he wrote the screenplay "Rain Man", which turned into the Hollywood film starring Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise. Dustin came to meet Kim and modeled much of his character portrayal on Kim's mannerisms. I had the great fortune to meet Kim and his father Fran for the first time.

Stephen Carnegie, the creator of this event, with Lane Wyrick

The creator of this event, Stephen Carnegie, is a savant himself, who has undergone great tragedy in his life but has brought himself up from mental illness and homelessness over the past 16 years to put together this inspiring event. He can create photo-realistic drawings amazingly fast using both hands at the same time, and is creating a children's book series based on many of the people that were part of this event.

There were many different people who Stephen brought to stage for the celebration. One of them was Nick Scott who was paralyzed from the waist down after a car accident.

Nick bounced back from the tragedy and became a weightlifter, and has become so strong that he is now able to squeeze his abdominal muscles so tight that he is able to get up off his wheelchair and walk across stage with great effort! He did this to the tune of Josh Grobin's "Lift Me Up" to a thunderous standing ovation.

Faith Ecklund was also paralyzed and was told she may not ever speak again, and she came out and sang beautifully!

Then Kelly Rooney took the stage and surprised everyone with a phone call from her father Mickey Rooney who congratulated Barry Morrow and Kim Peek on this wonderful day. I introduced Barry Morrow, and he brought Kim & Fran Peek to the stage.

Kim Peek, Barry Morrow, and Fran Peek (Kim's father)

This whole event was very inspiring for me, and it was a real testament to people overcoming incredible odds in their lives to strive to great heights. I received a lot of praise for the Bill Sackter documentary, and it was amazing how the whole event was interconnected, and ultimately honored the real people behind Barry's "Bill" and "Rain Man" screenplays.

I'm hoping to see the footage of the celebration that was videotaped in High-Definition by Michael Wunsch and the great group at Outpost Worldwide, and hopefully will get a chance to post it at, because it really was a life-changing event for me.

New Facebook Fan Site for Bill Documentary

If you enjoy Facebook like millions of us out there, you now can join the Facebook Fan Site for "A Friend Indeed - The Bill Sackter Story".

Please go to this site and click on "Become a Fan". Be sure to check out the Discussion Board, as there are topics that you can post to, like "I met the real Bill Sackter" or "I saw the Bill tv movie", etc. Or you can post a Review if you have seen the documentary.

I will be working on this site more, and add more fun postings as I learn more about Facebook, so please become a fan today!

Photo Of Bill Sackter At Age 7 Discovered

Last summer, there was a remarkable discovery by a woman named Karen Leff. She was doing her geneology, and knew that her grandmother Alice Leff had a brother named Bill Sackter, but she had been told that he died when he was 7 years old. She put Bill Sackter into a search engine and up came my website

She emailed me and told me that she was very excited at this new discovery, but sad that she never knew that Bill was alive and missed the opportunity to meet him. She even saw the "Bill" tv movie with Mickey Rooney and was deeply moved, but had no idea it was about her great uncle!

Anyway, I told her that seeing "A Friend Indeed" will give her the next best opportunity to get to really know Bill Sackter, and she and other family members are excited to see the documentary.

A week ago she emailed me this photo of Bill Sackter when he was about 7 years old! I was amazed at how similar he looked to the actor, Mason DeGrazia, that we had portray him in the opening of the documentary! I'm looking forward to screening the documentary for Karen and the rest of her family.

Upcoming Screenings

"A Friend Indeed" will be screened 3 times at the Fairfield Film Expo in Fairfield, Iowa. Friday February 6 at 7 p.m., Saturday February 7 at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. Lane Wyrick will attend all the screenings, and will speak at 2:30 p.m. Saturday after the 1 p.m. screening.

It will also be playing at the Omaha Film Festival in Nebraska on Friday February 27 at 6:30 p.m. and Saturday February 28 at 5:30 p.m. Lane Wyrick will also attend these two screenings.

For more details and to see what future screenings are coming, please go to Upcoming Screenings at the website.

Sign Up For Bill DVD Notification

The creation of the Bill documentary "Home Use" DVD is underway, and will feature the award-winning documentary, plus tons of extra footage, photos, interviews, director's commentary, and much more.

The release date is not set yet, and depends on a number of factors, but if you would like to know when it is ready for purchase, please go to the Buy The DVD link and sign up for DVD release notification, so you will be the first to know by email that it is available.

If you are not already receiving these blog entries in your email, please sign up for the Email List.

"Take care and I hope you get a chance to see "A Friend Indeed - The Bill Sackter Story" soon." - Lane Wyrick

1 comment:

  1. Layne,

    You do an incredible job blogging about your work. I felt like I was there when I read your post.

    I enjoyed being intorduced to you through Stephen and look forward to meeting you in person.

    Here's a link with a great write up about Artistic Savant Stephen Carnegie and his work and relationship with Mega Savant Kim Peek.

    Feel post and/or use it as a link where he is mentioned.

    All the best, Jeri porcaro


Please feel free to leave comments! Thanks, Lane Wyrick