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Atkins' performance as 'The Chief' available on DVD

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By Alice T. Carter
Monday, Oct. 11, 2010

On Oct. 19 "The Chief" makes its DVD debut at Giant Eagle grocery stores.

"The Chief" is a feature film of the one-man stage play that stars Tom Atkins as legendary Steelers owner Art Rooney Sr.

Written by Rob Zellers and Gene Collier, the play had its world premiere at The Pittsburgh Public Theater in 2003 and returned in each of the following seven seasons where it played to sold-out audiences.

It's set in Rooney's office on a March evening in 1976 as Rooney is about to leave for a black-tie dinner at which the Knights of Columbus will honor him with an award. Reluctant to attend, Rooney stalls by reminiscing about his upbringing, the tavern brawls and boxing matches of his early years and how he built a $2,500 football franchise into a beloved, legendary football team.

Filmed in HD in November 2009 at Shady Side Academy, the DVD reproduces the original play and Atkins' performance. It also provides 28 minutes of bonus material that includes outtakes from Steelers Nation tailgating parties, interviews with the Rooney Family including his sons Dan Rooney and Art Rooney Jr., and Steelers players and friends. Also included is a never-before-seen interview with Franco Harris regarding the "Immaculate Reception" and a clip of the iconic football catch.

The DVD retails for $24.99 and will be available exclusively at Giant Eagle stores from Oct. 19 to Nov. 9. Wider release begins on Nov. 9 when "The Chief" DVD will be sold at Steelers stores at Heinz Field, the Pittsburgh Public Theater and other outlets.

Copies of the DVD autographed by former Pittsburgh Steelers running back Franco Harris can be ordered for delivery on Nov. 9 here or 866-930-8242.

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