Kudos to Fox 61 (WTIC-TV) for its recent profile of Aetna Ambulance, which began in 1945 in response to an ambulance shortage during the 1944 Circus Fire. The company, headquartered off Van Block Street, in the Sheldon/Charter Oak neighborhood, also made history as the city’s first African American-owned ambulance service. Here’s the Fox 61 video:
Several Hartford-area executives already have invested in the project, which has a projected budget of $1.5 million, according to the Journal. The investors hope this movie, named “Pep,” will raise Hartford’s profile the way another boxing movie, “Rocky,” did for Philadelphia in the 1970s.
The Hartford Business Journal reports that a New York-based production team is raising money to create a film on the life of Hartford boxer Willie Pep, with shooting to take place in the city.
“We have so many people speaking negatively about the state,” investor Manon Cox told the Journal. “It’s important for Connecticut to start creating some buzz, and whatever we can do to make that happen is good.”
Willie Pep was the professional name of featherweight boxer Guglielmo Papaleo, who was born in Middletown but trained to fight in Hartford. Starting in 1940, he won 63 straight fights. He held the featherweight title for six years, finishing his career with a record of only 11 losses out of 242 bouts. He achieved that record despite having to serve in the U.S. Navy during World War II and suffering serious injuries in a 1947 plane crash. Pep died at a Rocky Hill nursing home in 2006. Read more about him here, here, and here.