Announced at the beginning of 2016, Discovery have released the trailer for the three part television event on July 18th. To the beat of the amazing rock track Wicked One from Dorothy, we see Harley complain their motorcycles are too loud and too dangerous for people wanting to buy one.
“People will want to buy one, trust me,” comes the reply from Arthur Davidson covered in mud and oil.
Promising to take viewers back to Milwaukee during the early 1900’s, an era of innovation where young William S. Harley and Arthur Davidson engineered the motorcycles and later the company. During a time of great social and technological change the series tells an epic story of crashes, family feuds, and American legends.
Of course this story is the beginning of legendary American Motorcycle manufacturer Harley-Davidson, a brand that has become synonymous with the motorcycle.
For those who need a reminder, Harley-Davidson’s ride into motorcycle history started in 1901, when 20-year-old William S. Harley drew up plans for a small engine with a displacement of 7.07 cubic inches (116 cc) and four-inch (102 mm) flywheels. The engine was designed for use in a regular pedal-bicycle frame.
Over the next two years, Harley and his childhood friend Arthur Davidson worked on their motor-bicycle using the northside Milwaukee machine shop at the home of their friend, Henry Melk. It was finished in 1903 with the help of Arthur's brother, Walter Davidson.
This first "real" Harley-Davidson motorcycle had a bigger engine of 24.74 cubic inches (405 cc) with 9.75 inches (25 cm) flywheels weighing 28 lb (13 kg). The machine's advanced loop-frame pattern was similar to the 1903 Milwaukee Merkel motorcycle, designed by Joseph Merkel, later of Flying Merkel fame.
The bigger engine and loop-frame design took it out of the motorized bicycle category and marked the path to future motorcycle designs. The boys also received help with their bigger engine from outboard motor pioneer Ole Evinrude, who was then building gas engines of his own design for automotive use on Milwaukee's Lake Street.
The quick history lesson helps understand which roles have been cast and why.
William Harley is played by Robert Aramayo last seen as the young Ned Stark in HBO’s huge hit Game of Thrones. Actor Bug Hall portrays Arthur Davidson and has enjoyed any notable TV guest appearances, appearing on Charmed, Strong Medicine, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Cold Case, Justice, Providence, Criminal Minds, and 90210.
With many of the scenes in the trailer recalling the track racing Harley-Davidson cut its teeth on, Gabe Luna, seen in Wicked City and True Detective, has been cast in the role of Eddie Hasha, nicknamed the "Texas Cyclone," a notable American motorcycle racer.
Alex Shaffer, previously seen in We Are Your Friends has been cast as Shrimp Burns, one of the top dirt and board track motorcycle racers in the early 20th century.
William "Big Bill" Davidson, brother to Arthur and Walter Davidson is played by Daniel Coonan, whose credits include NBC's Law & Order and BBC's EastEnders, has a background in theater with stage experience in the National Theatre in London and the West End.
The story’s love interest comes in the form of the romance between Caroline Jacthuber and William S. Harley. Jacthuber, played by Annie Read eventually becomes the motorcycle pioneer’s wife.
Other well-known names, Wilson Bethel and Dougray Scott. Bethel will play Ray Weishaar, a member of the Harley-Davidson “Wrecking Crew” who helped popularize the slang term “hog” in reference to Harley, Wilson Bethel 2 taking victory laps with the team’s pig mascot.
Scott is set as Randall James, CEO of Indian Motorcycles, Harley’s chief competitor.
Bethel has starred in ABC’s The Astronaut Wives Club and Scott recently finished shooting AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead with additional credits including Mission: Impossible 2 Dougray Scott 2and Enigma.
Harley and the Davidsons is set to premiere on Monday, Sept. 5, with its first two-hour installment. Two additional two-hour installments will air over the next two nights, Tuesday, Sept. 6, and Wednesday, Sept. 7.