A Glimpse At ‘The Joe We Know’
The premise was simple: Gather as many of Joe Paterno’s former lettermen as possible in a limited timeframe, get them in front of a camera to share their memories of playing for—and learning from—the legendary coach, and compile them in a film to be presented to Paterno on his 85th birthday.
The filmmakers’ only disappointment was that they didn’t finish it in time for Joe to see it.
Instead, The Joe We Know is a posthumous tribute, an hour-long collection of remembrances by former Nittany Lion football players. Presented last week as a birthday present for Sue Paterno, The Joe We Know was screened Saturday night in State College for an invitation-only audience, most of them former lettermen and their families. Those of us lucky enough to be in the State Theatre were treated to an hour of terrific, high-pitched Joe impersonations, anecdotes that ranged from hilarious to tear-jerking, and countless variations on a theme we’ve heard so often over the past month: former players who credit Joe Paterno’s role in helping them grow from boys to men.
Beyond this one-hour film, The Joe We Know is an ongoing project; the filmmakers hope to continue filming former player thought next spring, with additional footage compiled at thejoeweknow.org. The site is still a work in progress, but you can go there now to check out a handful of short clips. You can also sign up for email updates on the progress of the project, including when it might be made more widely available.
For those in or near Happy Valley, the film will be shown twice Sunday. As of late Saturday night, tickets were still available.
Ryan Jones, senior editor