Movie will share Dayton Triangles ‘with the world’

The past and the future of the Dayton Triangles came together Tuesday morning at Carillon Historical Park when local filmmaker Allen Farst stood in front of the original dressing room used by the city’s pioneering National Football League team 100 years ago and announced he would be writing and directing “Triangle Park,” a film based on the story of the NFL’s first football game.

Saturday is the centennial anniversary of that October 3, 1920 contest in which the Dayton Triangles topped the Columbus Panhandles, 14-0, at Triangle Park.

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“I think this is the right time for us to come together and make something that has a positive impact on our community,” said Farst, the former Vandalia Butler High School quarterback who has gone on to become a nationally-recognized filmmaker and documentarian and runs the Centerville-based Niche Productions.

“It’s an opportunity to tell something our community is really proud of and share it with the world.” Farst wants the film to have at least a $14 million budget and is hoping to raise the money through corporate support, as well as individual people who want to be part of the project and can do so by joining the Kickstarter platform that will launch by the end of the week.

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Film Dayton executive director Lisa Grigsby introduced Farst on Tuesday. Also there was a trio of Triangles aficionados with family tree connections to the original team – Kevin O’Donell, Doug Spatz and Mark Fenner, who are part of the Triangles Research Project, an offshoot of the Dayton Area Sports History Group.

The great uncle of O’Donell and Spatz was Norb Sacksteder, the Triangles' celebrated starting halfback. Fenner’s great grandfather was Lee Fenner Sr., who played left end for the Triangles all 14 years they existed.

Fenner thought it was especially appropriate that the movie announcement was held in front of the Triangles' dressing room, which was saved from destruction and moved to Carillon Park thanks to a community effort in 2012. The dressing room is slated to become the centerpiece of a permanent sports exhibit at the Park

“This is probably the most unique NFL artifact existing today,” Fenner said

He recalled the day the dressing room was moved to the Park and a conversation he had with the late Skip Ordeman, the founder of DASH, which made preserving and celebrating the Triangles' history its prime objective.

“The building was in the parking lot, up on one blocks, and after everybody had left, Skip and I were standing there,” Fenner said. "And I said to Skip, ‘You know, if these four walls could talk…’

“And I’ll never forget it. He said, ‘One day they will!’”

Now, thanks to Farst, it appears that day is about to come.

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