Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Different Drummers Touches Audiences

by Mary Jane Honegger

Different Drummers
by Don Caron & Lyle Hatcher

According to  retired Spokane financial adviser, Lyle Hatcher, there is a market for family-oriented movies that elicit emotion through the telling of true stories that touch the audience without dependence on Hollywood special effects and hype.

After years of retelling a personal story of inspiration, Hatcher decided it was time to share his tale with the world. Teaming up with Don Caron, a former sound supervisor for North by Northwest, the two spent the next ten years creating Different Drummers – first as a screenplay, then as a book, and lastly as a movie. 
“Prepare to have the wind knocked out of a good way!”
John Robideaux - Robideaux Marketing
Different Drummers is based on an unusual true story about events that took pace in 1965 involving two fourth-graders. David, wheelchair-bound by Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, is growing progressively weaker, while his friend, Lyle, has a problem with an ever-increasing energy level.  David informs Lyle that their teacher is about to die and claims that God told him. When their teacher does die, a doubtful and confused Lyle convinces David that he can teach him to run, secretly viewing this as a way to test the existence of God.
Different Drummers is a coming of age story that deals with the issue of hyperactivity, the crippling realities of childhood muscular dystrophy, the medicating of school children as a means of controlling behavior, and an exploration of the existence of God through the eyes of a child. This true story is at once heartbreaking and uplifting - each viewer's journey will be unique...and unforgettable. - Website
Hatcher and Caron wrote the story as creative nonfiction, telling the story the way they wanted.  They did not pay attention to Hollywood insiders who say family-oriented stories are not what American audiences want.  Some of the things that set this film apart:

1. Hatcher and Caron became co-authors, co-directors, and co-producers, retaining total control over the project.  The two also provided much of the financing.

2. The film is not “based” on a true story as are most creative nonfiction projects. According to Hatcher, “It is a true story.” He says nothing was either added or deleted in an effort to increase cinematic impact.

3. The film was not written to appeal to specific movie demographics.

4. Hatcher made the decision to use the real names of the characters in the story, honoring his strong commitment to tell the true story.

5. The movie was filmed where it happened, in Spokane. In fact, some of the scenes were shot in the actual homes and buildings where they originally took place.

6. There is no violence, sex, or profanity in the film.

7. The film questions the existence of God with no apology.

Their hard work paid off. The screenplay won the top award for outstanding screenplay at the Houston Film Festival out of a field of 3,500 and other awards; the book sold by the thousands; and the movie continues to draw capacity crowds and inspire moviegoers wherever it is shown.
Based on a true story, Different Drummers is one of those uplifting films that makes you want to go out and live life with everything you’ve got . . . Misty Layne - Rogue Cinema
Different Drummers touches lives, Hatcher told a film group last week. He says people pass the books from one to another and come back to see the movie time and again. Different Drummers is showing in Kalispell (already sold out) and Salt Lake City soon. After that Hatcher is unsure where the movie is headed, but retains faith the movie will become a blockbuster.

 Visit the website at to learn more about the movie and an upcoming DVD release.

The following is an excerpt from the Different Drummers website:
From It has been forty-plus years in the making, but David’s story is finally being told, thanks to the persistence and faithfulness of his childhood friend, Lyle Hatcher, and the help of David’s mother, Gloria Dahlke. The boys’ friendship is beautifully detailed in Different Drummers, a book that was recently made into a movie and filmed on location in Spokane, the same place where their story originally took place.

The two boys never imagined their lives would become the subject of a book, let alone a movie. They were young and just living ordinary lives in North Spokane in the early 1960s, attending elementary school, collecting bugs and getting into a fair amount of innocent trouble. But their friendship, which included David’s struggle with muscular dystrophy and Lyle’s hyperactive nature, left an extraordinary legacy. There are no drugs or alcohol, no sex, profanity or dysfunction in this story, yet it’s compelling in its simplicity. It’s a true story focusing on David’s intrinsic relationship with God and Lyle’s determination to test the existence of God; it tells the events of the boys’ lives and their time together, including the death of David at age 13.

“Too many people have lost their way and are in despair,” says Gloria Dahlke, David’s now 91-year-old mother, who still lives in Spokane. She is sure that her son’s story will reassure those who are lost and in despair, and will give them hope. That’s why she’s excited that now, more than four decades after her son died, his story is being told. For her, thee book and the upcoming movie fulfill her son’s dying wish.

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