Skateboard videos don't need plots (they're a little like another Southern Cali VHS product from the '80s in that regard). You watch them, over and over again, for the action, not for the storylines. But given the repeat viewings inherent to the genre, when there is a plot—cheesy, asinine, or otherwise—it tends to have an impact.
In the late 1980s, Powell-Peralta was the preeminent skateboard company in the world: bigger, better, and cooler than any other brand on the block. Led by co-founder and creative visionary Stacy Peralta (himself a skating legend) their team, made up of the core Bones Brigade of Lance Mountain, Steve Caballero, Tony Hawk, Mike McGill, Tommy Guererro, and Rodney Mullen, dominated competitions; the marketing and advertising won design awards and took gleeful shots at their detractors.
Naturally, Peralta and his company were pioneers in the burgeoning world of skate videos as well, beginning in 1984 with The Bones Brigade Video Show. From the start, the videos, directed and produced by Peralta, emphasized the the personalities of the Bones Brigade along with their skating prowess. They also featured original soundtracks and mocked mainstream culture's view of the skateboarding "fad."
Peralta added interstitial skits in the second Powell-Peralta video, Future Primitive, in 1986, but it was with the third Bones Brigade video that Peralta and his team committed to a storyline throughout. The plot—a crew of skaters who embark on a quest to find a mysterious skate master named Animal Chin—was minimal; the acting was amateur (as you'd expect from amateur actors), but the movie struck a chord and is beloved to this day.
The Search for Animal Chin doesn't resonate because of its plot alone; it's remembered because it features five of the greatest skaters of all time, in their prime. But the storyline opened a window into those skaters' personalities, showing that they were as goofy as the kids who idolized them, and the mechanics of the plot, particularly the travel, showed that the core appeal of skateboarding—exploration, experimentation, adventure, fun—went beyond the sport itself.
Twenty-six years after its release the film still stands as a classic of the genre. We tracked down the original team to get the untold stories behind the making of the ultimate skateboard flick, broken bones, bruised feelings, bacterial infections, and all.
Stacy Peralta- Legendary skateboarder in his own right; founder, creative force behind Powell-Peralta
Steve Caballero- Named "Skater of the Century" in 1999 by Thrasher magazine; musician; Bones Brigade team member
Tommy Guererro- Transworld Skateboarding "Legend" award recipient; recording artist; Bones Brigade team member
Tony Hawk - The face of modern, vert skateboarding; ranked the second most influential skater of all time by Transworld Skateboarding magazine; Bones Brigade team member
Mike McGill- Inventor of the McTwist, founder of Chapter Seven skateboard company; Bones Brigade team member
Lance Mountain- Inventor of the finger board; founder of The Firm skateboard company; artist; Bones Brigade team member