Ride Up to Diggers: Beer, Stuntmen, Tacos
Doug O’Dell, Sr. used to ride motorcycles with Steve McQueen on the weekends (yes, we mean legendary cinematic motorcycle chase scene, The Great Escape, Steve McQueen).
Not to be outdone, his son, Doug O’Dell, Jr., broke two vertebrae in his neck on a stunt for the Keanu Reeves supernatural thriller, Constantine. And, John Palfreyman, the John Palfreyman, could drop by at any moment (it’s okay; Google him, add “BMX” to your search; it helps).
The Drink Local Research Department heard these stories over frosty cold beers while seated around an Indy race car tire repurposed as a bar table. Intrigued? Jealous? Listen up—we’re going to clue you in, but you have to be clever about it. If you have one good friend you trust, you might share with them. If word gets out to the masses, well, you’ll have blown it.
When you’re ready to take a break from the film fest scene—weary of lines, tired of hearing, “when I was at Sundance…,” brain reeling from all of the reels—head for Digger’s Goodyear Tavern (southeast corner, 8th and Riverside, Medford). There you can have a beer or two from the 13 taps—Oregon micro or US major—grab five tacos for $5 from Jose’s Mexican parked outside, and relax. Leave your cinephilia back in Ashland.
Doug Sr. will likely be behind the bar. Perhaps you’ll be able to steer the conversation around to what it was like to do stunts in Towering Inferno after you spot the still photo on the wall with Doug standing between Paul Newman and O.J. Simpson, super-wide lapels and ties circa 1974. Or, if you have a knack for open-ended questions, ask what it was like to spend six months filming Sidecar Racers in Australia with Peter Graves and motorcycle racing legend Eddie Mulder. Doug’s racing leathers are hanging from the ceiling, if you need a reminder. Familiar with Bruce Brown? The Bruce Brown? Endless Summer Bruce Brown? On Any Sunday Bruce Brown? Doug Sr. was in that one, too.
If he’s not on a shoot up in Portland, Doug Jr. might be at the tavern, too. He owns it with his dad. “People who are doing stunts are putting their lives on the line for movies,” says Doug Jr.
If you get started on the subject of Triumph motorcycles (because you spotted the one up on the roof of the office), you might not ever get around to Doug Jr.’s part in Wild when he tore is ACL, or how wire stunts work, or even perhaps one of the riskiest moves of all, how he packed up a U-Haul to head for Los Angeles to break into the movies at 18. By 23, he was doing stunts in Minority Report (hello? Tom Cruise? Steven Spielberg?).
Digger’s Goodyear Tavern. 8th and Riverside. Downtown Medford. Be cool.
Great article. Terrific photo and yes, a proud sister!
Thank you for reading the article and your comment. I had a super visit to Digger’s–a great place and two great guys!
Medfords ledgendary horn dogs. Bring a doobie they will tell you true story’s of banging and hanging some of the hottest ass around.