On this day in comedy on October 1, 1993 Cool Runnings was released by Walt Disney Pictures.
This last film John Candy appeared in while still alive also stars Doug E. Doug, Malik Yoba, Leon and Rawle D. Lewis. The story is loosely based on the historic inclusion of Jamaicans into the sport of bobsledding at the 1988 Winter Olympics. Prior to that all bobsledding teams had hailed from locations with snow (which made it easier for them to practice), but when an 100 meter runner doesn’t make the Summer Olympic games due to an on track mishap, he seeks out a former two time Gold Medalist to help him attain his dream. The difference is now the dream consists of using runners to make a bobsled go faster and possibly win a medal.
The newly formed Jamaican bobsled team find the old timer and an uneasy alliance is formed. The assembled motley crew discover their new coach was once a bigtime cheat. Other revelations dot the film as movies mixing sports, comedy and sentimentality are known to do, but they all end up gaining a greater understanding of each other as it becomes the Jamaicans and their non-Jamaican coach against all the other bobsled teams who feel superior.
With the authenticity of actual footage and fueled by a popular sound track featuring Jimmy Cliff’s version of “I Can See Clearly”, Cool Runnings was a box office hit and critical success. It debuted at #3 domestically and earned $68,856,263 in the US and Canada. In Jamaica the film made $416,771 and its total worldwide take came to $154,856,263. Not bad for a film made on a $14 million dollar budget.
By Darryl “D’Militant” Littleton