Harley and the Davidsons
A Harley-Davidson is more than a motorcycle. It is a symbol of Americana, built from the ground up by founders Walter and Arthur Davidson and their friend Bill Harley. But the road to success was not exactly smooth – filled with innumerable obstacles, ruthless competitors and extraordinary risks. Together these three young men, the sons of blue-collar immigrants, gave everything they had to ensure the survival of the company they founded. But just how far would they go to reach the ultimate American dream?
Discovery’s highly-anticipated miniseries HARLEY AND THE DAVIDSONS will premiere Monday, September 5 at 9 PM ET/PT. Consisting of three two-hour installments, parts two and three will air on Tuesday, September 6, and Wednesday, September 7 at 9 PM ET/PT.
“This is the type of compelling and honest storytelling that fits perfectly for Discovery Channel,” said Rich Ross, Group President of Discovery Channel, Animal Planet and Science Channel. “It is a story about brotherhood, an ironclad will to succeed and going against the conventional wisdom of that time. The founders of Harley-Davidson created more than just a motorcycle. They created modern entrepreneurism.”
Based on a true story, HARLEY AND THE DAVIDSONS charts the birth of this iconic bike during a time of great social and technological change beginning at the turn of the 20th century. Walter, Arthur and Bill risked their entire fortune and livelihood to launch the budding enterprise. Each of these men faced very different challenges, but it was the motorcycle that united their dreams and ambitions. For Walter Davidson, the venture was a chance to escape from the confines of society – to ignore the rules and build a bike that could go anywhere and ride hard. For Arthur Davidson, it was an opportunity to finally make good on his name. And for Bill Harley, the bike gave him hope to break free from his overbearing parents and apply his talent as an engineer.
Built in a shed out of Milwaukee, these motorcycles were able to survive nearly every condition imaginable. And Walter certainly put the bikes to the test. His ferocious ambition propelled him to become a top motorcycle racer while competing in the deadly competitions sweeping the nation. Walter’s daredevil exploits put Harley-Davidson on the map – and while risky – pushed the company to eventually overtake their archrival competitor, Indian, which had a stronghold on the market.
But the founders also faced an underlying moral question – just how much would they risk to become successful? Racing could often have deadly consequences, especially with the rise of the hazardous motordrome competitions sweeping the country.
Fuelled by ingenuity, innovation and design, the founders of Harley-Davidson faced off against their much bigger rivals. If things couldn’t get any more difficult, the Great Depression hit and the motorcycle industry was decimated. But Harley-Davidson continued to defy the odds with their forward-thinking business ideas.
HARLEY AND THE DAVIDSONS looks at how the founders continued to grow its loyal following like no other competitor– whether it was securing the American Army contract and teaching riders how to make repairs on the field to embracing boisterous motorcycle clubs across the nation. They would eventually channel all their resources with their biggest risk yet – creating the world’s first superbike, a state-of-the-art racing machine for the masses.
Walter, Arthur and Bill cemented Harley-Davidson’s reputation as a builder of bikes that goes anywhere, could ride hard and ignored all the rules. It’s a legacy that has endured over 100 years – and at the heart of the brand and its loyal riders.
The series is led by an all-star cast including Michiel Huisman (“Game of Thrones”) as Walter Davidson, Robert Aramayo (“Game of Thrones”) as William (Bill) Harley and Bug Hall (“The Little Rascals”) playing the role of Arthur Davidson. Other cast members include Stephen Rider (“Daredevil”), Jessica Camacho (“Sleepy Hollow”), Daniel Coonan (“EastEnders”), Annie Read (“Awkward”), Wilson Bethel (“Hart of Dixie”), Dougray Scott (in “Mission: Impossible 2”), Gabe Luna (“Matador”), Alex Shaffer (“Win Win”) and newcomers Essa O’Shea and Sean Scully.
HARLEY AND THE DAVIDSONS is penned by Evan Wright, Seth Fisher and Nick Schenk. Dimitri Doganis is the Executive Producer on behalf of Raw Television and John Goldwyn is the Executive Producer on behalf of Discovery. Ciáran Donnelly serves as Executive Producer and Director with Stephen Kay as Director.