Monday, August 31, 2009

DVD Review: Echoes Awakened

Echoes Awakened is the companion DVD to Jim Dent's new title Resurrection, about Ara Parsegian's first season at Notre Dame. The DVD is a great concept: Dent had already interviewed many key figures for his book, so why not put them in front of a camera and let them tell the story of 1964 themselves?

The DVD starts with an introduction by Lou Holtz. If you could only say two truths about Coach Holtz, they're these: he loves Our Lady's University and he can sell anything to anyone. Holtz's excitement is tangible as he explains why the 1964 season was one of the greatest moments in Notre Dame football history.

Player, coach, and media interviews are intertwined with narration by Brent Musberger. Say what you will about Musberger, but his voice has become one of the iconic sounds of college football, and that voice helps make this DVD.

Together, the likes of Nick Rassas, Tony Carey, Ara Parseghian, and others guide the viewer through the 1964 season, from the reorganization process that began with Parseghian's hiring to the heartbreaking loss to USC at the end of the year.

For those who have read Resurrection, it was nice to put current faces and voices to the names featured in the book, like Rassas, Carey, John Huarte, and Ken Maglicic. Huarte's forehead may be a little longer than it was 45 years ago, but the quarterback is still as handsome as his college days, with a golden voice to match. It's a wonder why he isn't a broadcaster these days.

Echoes also gives viewers a chance to hear from a few people who were perhaps overlooked in Resurrection, like center Norm Nicola and offensive coordinator Tom Pagna.

The DVD ends, like the 1964 season, on a bit of a sour note. Several players are still bitter over the shoddy refereeing in the USC game that they feel cost the Irish a National Championship. It's hard not to get caught up in their emotions, even all of these years later.

Echoes Awakened is the perfect companion DVD to Resurrection, and a great look at the 1964 for any fan of the Era of Ara.

Echoes Awakened is due out on DVD September 1 and is available in the Notre Dame Bookstore. Thank you to Thomas Dunne Books and St. Martin's Press for sending a review copy.