I remember watching the O.J. Simpson chase on television. I was at a friend’s house, chilling in the basement, and we were glued to the screen. Well aware of the apparent suicide note and the fact that he allegedly had a gun to his head in the backseat of that white Bronco, we couldn’t help but wonder if we were seeing the last moments of the Hall of Famer’s life.
Brett Morgen’s 30 for 30: June 17th, 1994 documentary about that day is a fantastic reminder of the excitement I felt. The focus is on the Simpson chase, of course, but several other big stories were unfolding in the sports world at the same time. Arnold Palmer was playing his last U.S. Open; the New York Rangers were welcomed home after winning the Stanley Cup; the New York Knicks and Houston Rockets were in the middle of the NBA Finals. Once the Bronco was spotted on the freeway, though, no one cared about any of that.
This documentary is interesting because there is no after-the-fact commentary on the events. Morgen doesn’t interview experts or witnesses or anyone else; in fact, other than a brief introduction and a few words after the credits at the end, Morgen doesn’t even enter the picture at all. Rather, he cobbles together news reports from both local stations and national networks, along with sports broadcasts, to present the story. It is an interesting approach, and one that will keep the viewer’s attention focused.