I haven't written it up yet (keep meaning to), but last year I made a pilgrimage to Longview to see if I could connect with anyone from the film. I'm a huge fan of HOAHB and had always wondered about the contestants myself. Unfortunately, Benny Perkins was nowhere to be found (no local or internet phone books listed him), but I DID manage to make phone contact with Janis/Don Curtis and Ronald McGowan. You will probably not believe me when I say it, but none of those three had EVER seen the film that they star in! They were vaguely aware that a film was made, but apparently SR Bindler never came back around to share the fruits of their labor, and since it was never a major Hollywood release, it seems that it's not even very well known in Longview! I could not believe it, it seems unfathomable. I'd really, really wanted to meet up with Janis and/or Ronald, but scheduling and mistrust (of a stranger out of the blue wanting to talk about a thing in their past that left somewhat of a bad taste in their mouth) prevented it from happening. I asked around 4-5 local bars to see if anyone knew Benny Perkins, (people about his age; I figured he'd be a local celebrity of sorts), but no luck there either.
If you want to see some of my photos from in/around Longview, click here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/pjchmiel/tags/longview
Was Ronald McGowan the young guy who drove the VW bug? I could swear I just saw him competing on Wipeout on ABC, but maybe I am just too obsessed with HOAHB. That is so cool that you went to Longview to talk to those people...and not cool that they didn't get compensated by the filmmakers. Maybe I should rip my copy and put it online for dl; people seem to have a hard time finding it these days.