In 1971, Al Kean watched a drag race featuring the infamous Don Prudhomme, as his car caught fire during a wheelie. As the cars roared down the track, the 14-year-old Kean snapped photos with his camera.
He didn't know what he got until he had the film developed at his local hobby store. When he held the colour slides to the light, he knew he had something great.
"Back in those days, it was film and you couldn't check to see what you got until it was in your hand a week later," said Kean, who has lived in Prince George since 1972. "When I saw the photo I just thought 'wow'."
Fast forward to 2013 and Kean's now-famous photo that has been featured in the National Hot Rod Association's (NHRA) Hot Rod magazine and used for television ads for the Seattle International Raceway, where Prudhomme's car caught fire. It can now be seen in a new movie, Snake and Mongoo$e, coming out on Friday. The movie is about the on-the-track rivalry and off-the-track friendship between two drag racing superstars, Don Prudhomme, the Snake, and Tom McEwen, the Mongoo$e.
Phil Burgess, editorial director of Hot Rod, who has kept in contact with Kean through the years after the magazine published the photo, told the movie producers about Kean's picture.
"After they first contacted me, they weren't sure if they were even going to use it," said Kean.
"One day last year I got an e-mail asking me to send the photo and anything else I might have. I had the local newspaper articles and local magazines' stories that covered the event and so I sent it all along to them."
One of the more thrilling moments was when Prudhomme phoned Kean at home. Kean had met Prudhomme at races over the years, even getting him to autograph a copy of the famous photo, but the personal phone call was a surprise.
"He said 'I just called to tell you it was really cool we're using the photo in the movie'. And I said 'ya, I can't believe it's over 40 years ago that I took that photo and it's bigger now than it was then'. He said 'it's been that long?'"
They had a good laugh over that one.
Kean, who was hooked on drag racing since he was 10 years old and tried his hand at bracket racing for a few years as an adult in Prince George, was invited to the premieres and after-parties of the movie in either Hollywood or Indianapolis, where the last scene of the movie was shot.
Choosing "Indie" was a no brainer for Kean, now 57, and his 29-year-old son, Warren.
Kean, a process operator at a local pulp mill, didn't know if his photo was going to make it into the movie or end up on the cutting room floor, especially after he heard the movie was edited five times. Right up until he stopped in at the theatre a little early to check it out, it was a mystery.
As he and Warren stepped out of their car, producer Robin Broidy walked out of the theatre and she thanked him for letting her use the picture in the movie.
"It was only up on screen for about three seconds but it sure was a thrill to see it on the big screen," said Kean, who watched the movie with racing legends Prudhomme and McEwen ten feet away. "It was really cool that not one person stood up as the credits started to roll. We all sat and watched as our names came up and it really meant something to us."