Larger Than Life

Larger Than Life

By Los Angeles Times

In 1960s Los Angeles, after the catastrophic Watts riots, an outsized character emerged — one who found an unexpected way to unite people across race and class. Odds are you’ve never heard of him. From L.A. Times Studios, the team behind “Dirty John” and “Man in the Window,” comes “Larger Than Life,” a docu-series about Big Willie Robinson, a 6-foot-6, muscle-bound street racer who preached peace a quarter-mile at a time. Cops and criminals, movie stars and miscreants, even Crips and Bloods — out at the drag strip, Big Willie could get them all to see eye to eye, easing tensions and making L.A. a safer and more unified place. For a time, he was a celebrated figure in L.A. — but today his legend has faded. What caused him to fall into obscurity? Reported, written and hosted by Daniel Miller from the L.A. Times. Produced by L.A. Times Studios and Neon Hum Media.

Episodes

Introducing 'Foretold'

"Foretold" is the newest podcast from the L.A. Times, and we're sharing a preview of the first episode with you here today. In the fall of 2019, reporter Faith E. Pinho received a tip from a woman named Paulina Stevens. Paulina claimed she had grown up in an insular Romani community in California, where she was raised to be a wife, mother and fortuneteller — until she decided to break away. That first call unraveled a story spanning multiple continents, hundreds of years, and complex metaphysical realities.  Follow "Foretold" to hear new episodes every Tuesday. 
18/05/23·8m 34s

L.A. Times presents The Trials of Frank Carson

One lawyer saw a broken system. But the system saw a vigilante killer. From Christopher Goffard, the Los Angeles Times reporter and host behind the hit podcasts Dirty John and Detective Trapp, comes a new eight-episode true crime podcast, The Trials of Frank Carson. This story of power, politics and the law centers around Carson, the famously caustic defense attorney, who dedicated his life’s work to the very thing that has turned against him — the justice system. The first two episodes premiere Tuesday May 25, available wherever you listen to podcasts. http://link.chtbl.com/FrankCarson. Special bonus episodes are available exclusively to L.A. Times subscribers. https://www.latimes.com/frank-carson-podcast.
25/05/21·6m 11s

The Last Race | 7

Episode 7: Big Willie Robinson’s decision to make himself into a myth ends in tragedy. An effort to understand his legacy leads to a harrowing street race in Compton, and, ultimately, a question: What does it really mean to be larger than life?Learn more about the story, sign up for new episode alerts and go behind the scenes at latimes.com/LTL
06/08/19·36m 0s

Shut Down | 6

Episode 6: As the drug trade and gang violence of the 1980s engulf South Los Angeles, Big Willie Robinson finds himself without a racetrack and sees his influence waning. But after the city burns again, he seizes a chance to start anew. Learn more about the story, sign up for new episode alerts and go behind the scenes at latimes.com/LTL
30/07/19·38m 18s

The Lie | 5

Episode 5: A startling revelation about Big Willie Robinson leads to a reappraisal of the street racer and his mission. As members of the Brotherhood of Street Racers try to make sense of his secret, a new truth emerges. Learn more about the story, sign up for new episode alerts and go behind the scenes at latimes.com/LTL
23/07/19·35m 12s

Fast and Famous | 4

Episode 4: Big Willie Robinson has a surprising career turn in the entertainment industry, working as an actor, rubbing shoulders with A-listers and appearing in some iconic 1970s films. He even has connections to the “The Fast and the Furious” and “Star Wars” film franchises. Learn more about the story, sign up for new episode alerts and go behind the scenes at latimes.com/LTL
16/07/19·33m 42s

Run Whatcha Brung | 3

Episode 3: Banned from street racing in L.A. in the early 1970s, Big Willie Robinson becomes fixated with building a racetrack for the Brotherhood of Street Racers. He wants a place where all are welcome — even cops and criminals — but can he pull it off? Learn more about the story, sign up for new episode alerts and go behind the scenes at latimes.com/LTL
11/07/19·30m 48s

Becoming Big Willie | 2

Episode 2: In the five years after the 1965 Watts riots, Big Willie Robinson meets the love of his life, gets the car of his dreams, forges ties with the LAPD and starts the Brotherhood of Street Racers. Learn more about the story, sign up for new episode alerts and go behind the scenes at latimes.com/LTL
09/07/19·31m 5s

King of the Street | 1

Episode 1: L.A. street racing legend Big Willie Robinson uses cars to heal a city torn apart by racial violence. His larger-than-life exploits touch Hollywood, the Southland’s most notorious gangs and even the Los Angeles Times. Learn more about the story, sign up for new episode alerts and go behind the scenes at latimes.com/LTL
09/07/19·29m 2s

Introducing Larger Than Life

This is the true story of a street racer who united Los Angeles — but left behind a tangle of questions. Reported, written and hosted by Daniel Miller from the Los Angeles Times. Premieres July 9.
01/07/19·3m 6s
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