#TBT: Wilbur Shaw, Tony Hulman and Hollywood royalty

Published On November 12, 2015 » 1531 Views» By John Schwarb » #TBT, Blogs, IMS, IMS History

For more trips down Memory Lane, visit the #TBT archives here.

Wilbur Shaw, Tony Hulman, Clark Gable and Jack Benny at a 1950 practice day for the Indianapolis 500.

Wilbur Shaw, Tony Hulman, Clark Gable and Jack Benny at a 1950 practice day for the Indianapolis 500.

This week marks the 70-year anniversary of a momentous day in Indianapolis Motor Speedway history – arguably the most important since the famed 2.5-mile oval first took shape.

On Nov. 14, 1945, businessman Tony Hulman of Terre Haute, Indiana, purchased IMS from Eddie Rickenbacker for $750,000 (about $9.7 million today) and began rehabilitating the facility from its years of disrepair during World War II. (Read IMS historian Donald Davidson’s account of the transaction here.)

Hulman appointed three-time Indianapolis 500 champion Wilbur Shaw to be IMS president and general manager, and together they lifted the “500” into the worldwide spectacle we all know today.

Today’s #TBT features Shaw, Hulman and entertainers Clark Gable and Jack Benny at a qualifying day in May 1950. Gable was in town to film “To Please a Lady” while Benny had performed at the Indianapolis Coliseum. A great photo of Indiana and Hollywood royalty.

For more photos of Hulman and other dignitaries, check out tomorrow’s Friday Five on The Blog.

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About The Author

John Schwarb

I joined the Indianapolis Motor Speedway communications team in July 2014 and love sharing stories from the World Capital of Racing, particularly its rich history. Most of my professional career has been in racing or golf, so if I'm not in the IMS media center, the office at 16th and Georgetown or milling around Gasoline Alley, maybe I'll be standing over a birdie putt at Brickyard Crossing. Follow us at @IMS or drop me a line at @JohnSchwarb and come back to the blog often for more stories.
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