|(7-16-10) Mike Savin's Obituary
for Don Hulette:
"Donald was a race driver, producer,
director, composer and writer -and a talented pianist ( a child prodigy,
actually, to begin with).
I was attending a Santa Barbara road
race in 1955 - I would have been 12 at the time - and Don had a connection
to dad's team. I was taking a jr high photography class at the time
and took his portrait. To me, he was an adult, a man - and he towered
over me. (It wasn't until some 40 years later, he told me he was
only 19 at the time (he'd lied about his age to get his competition license.)
(and, 40 years later, I was taller than he was). We became instant
friends. He was racing a Triumph at that time. I learned that
he was a talented pianist - and I teased him that he needed to be careful
of his hands.
Some time later, my dad's mechanics were
preparing a gorgeous Morgan trike to be entered in a car show. Don
happened to drop in and dad asked him to drive the trike to Hollywood for
the show. I rode passenger - and Don fell in love with the car (I
already loved it).
Don showed up wtih a new Arnolt-Bristol
for a race at Paramount Ranch. He bought the Pickford Jaguar
and raced it with a Chevy V8. He was fairly successful with that
car. The last race meet at Paramount Ranch, he was banging (literally)
on Bob Oker's Aston Martin's rearend. He told me Oker never forgave
him for that.
One of Don's memorable drives was in
a Lister-Chevy at Riverside. He didn't make qualifying - so he was
entered in the consolation race - which he won. (He was quite a sight
- I watched him hanging out the rear end going through turn 9.) Since
he won the consolation race, he was moved up into the main event where
he slid on some oil, the Lister rolled and burned.
At some point, Don quit racing and went
back to USC, studying film. He became a successful director/producer
of films - and was also known in the industry as a script doctor.
I know from talking with him that one accomplishment he was very proud
of was that he supplied the music for the World Of Harold Lloyd TV
series. He had told me that an aunt, Frances Hulette, was an early
silent screen actress.
I had not seen him in about 40
years, when I decided to look him up. He was residing in Solvang,
California. My wife Tina and I visited with him and his wife.
Donald and I discussed making a motion picture together about sports car
racing in the 50s. Don was very involved with his church where
he played for them every Sunday. He also had a great number of students
who took piano lessons from him. Don was a licensed pilot and flew
In doing a Google search on him, I pulled
this from a Facebook page dedicated to Donald Hulette:
"As a piano teacher, film director and
composer, Donald Hulette
touched the lives of many. Those of
us fortunate enough to have known him as a teacher also knew him as a friend
and mentor who always supported us in school, music, and most importantly,
He directed, produced and composed the
music for the first ever Chuck Norris film shown in the US, Breaker Breaker.
His love of music was integral to his
personality - he strove to give
this gift to each and every student
he taught. As a teacher, he held the works of Muzio Clementi in especially
high regard, often assigning his students pieces from the Gradus ad Parnasium,
the Sonatinas, and the Sonata for Two Pianos op 12. A few other composers
whose works he taught include: Chopin, Beethoven, Bach, Mozart, Debussy,
Haydn, Satie, Bartok and Rachmaninoff.
In January 2006, Donald Hulette was a
recipient of the United States Department of Education's "Teacher of the
Year Award" by the recommendation of a student, Steven Wilson. This award
speaks for his strong character and influence he left on his students,
his friends and his family.
One man truly does make a difference."