New Ron Howard Film 'Rush' Takes a Lap Around the UH Hilton College

Hospitality Industry Archives a Resource for Directors Seeking Historically, Aesthetically Correct Image of Industry

“Rush,” the latest movie from Oscar-winning director Ron Howard, tells the real-life tale of 1970s-era Formula One drivers James Hunt and Nikki Lauda. Included in the story of their racing rivalry and famed 1976 championship season is a history lesson from the University of Houston Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management.  Rush

“The art directors contacted me interested in images of hotel rooms and lobbies, circa the 1970s, in hopes of recreating those in their sets,” said Mark Young, professor and director of the college’s Hospitality Industry Archives. “They were interested in images of the Tokyo Hilton, where James Hunt spent a lot of time, but I also showed them images of the Istanbul and London Hiltons.  I sent them all I had, including brochures from the Nairobi Hilton.”

The movie stars Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Bruhl as the rival racers during their dramatic 1976 Formula One World Championship.

Young and the archives he directs are frequent resources for television and movie writers and directors who want authentic, historic depictions of hotels from specific eras.

“The modern styles of hotels in that time period (1970s) included things like metallic wallpaper, color schemes of aqua-marine and brown, sheer, willowy drapes and glass lobby furniture,” he said. “I also sent them images of the Beverly Hilton, a gorgeous hotel, but in the 70s had its lobby done in red plaid.”

Established in 1989, the Hospitality Industry Archives include more than 3,000 linear feet of material, much of it devoted to the history of Hilton Hotels.  The archives include memorabilia, advertising, publications and reports for other hospitality companies, such as Marriott International, Howard Johnson, Walt Disney and Brinker International, and contain the personal and corporate papers of Conrad, Barron and Eric Hilton.

Young has been a resource for other television productions such as the Emmy award-winning “Mad Men,” which featured a story arc on famed hotelier Conrad N. Hilton, and the short-lived series, “Pan Am.”

“it’s gratifying to me as an historian that Hollywood wants to get it right,” Young said. 

For more information on the UH Hospitality Industry Archives and Professor Mark Young, visit
Hospitality Industry Archives