Flick & Bonfire  Information
A clip from the film can be seen further down this page

Tommy Groesbeck and Roger Lawhead

Don Kirk's
A Bonfire Flick is now available. Click here to purchase it or read more about the film below. There is also a clip from the film and hyperlinks to other websites.

You can also e-mail Don directly for more information:


(Don't click if you use a 28k or 56k modem, or have less than a 400 MHz computer)

Notes on  A Bonfire Flick By Don Kirk

The smell of diesel fuel, sawdust, and sweat permeated the air and a call to report to the Como van blasted from the loud speakers as commands of  “push three, pull back one,” were heard around the Stack. It had to go up in a week’s time, thousands of man-hours and thousands of logs stacked vertically to build the greatest of all Aggie Bonfires. It was 1969, and the Corps of Cadets and volunteers from the civilian dorms worked around the clock to get it ready to burn before the football game between A&M and the University of Texas on Thanksgiving Day. If the Stack stood past midnight, the Aggies were sure to “beat the everlovin’ Hell out of t.u.”

This rare footage of the building of the 1969 Aggie Bonfire was shot by Don Kirk on a Bolex Super-8mm camera and the sound was recorded on a Phillips tape cassette recorder. Don had worked on the 1966 Bonfire while in the Corps—and several years after that—but in 1969 he figured it was time to put down the tattered gloves and take up a camera to record for posterity the enormous undertaking that was the building of the Texas Aggie Bonfire. But, until recently, the film and audio tape had been lost, but now finally found, it was time to convert this 8mm footage of the bonfire to something everyone could enjoy: this digital DVD you now hold in your hands.

Using civilians on the Bonfire was a new thing in the 1960’s, as the Corps cadets had been the only ones allowed to work on it before that, but when allowed, they turned out with enthusiasm. Legett Hall was no exception; working around the clock and wearing the same “groadies” until Bonfire was finished, they heaved log after log onto the Stack. Crews cut, hauled, loaded, unloaded, sorted, and lifted logs day in and day out until just before the day of burning. The 1969 Bonfire used a teepee design (logs resting against each other in a conical shape) that began as a prop in1942 for the movie “We’ve Never Been Licked.” The design lasted for 25 years, passed on from one Redpot to the next, until 1978 when it was replaced by the wedding cake design where logs were stacked and tied more vertically, with each tier of logs wedged into those below. The logs were stacked around a large oak centerpole, or later, two telephone poles spliced together and held upright by guy ropes from four perimeter poles.

In the ‘60’s, there was a concerted effort to make each year’s bonfire taller than the last, until it reached the world record height of 109 feet 10 inches. The flames could be seen at least 30 miles away.

Produced by Don Kirk. Engineered by Michael J. Smith. Cover Design and Photos by Don Kirk. Commentary by Roger Lawhead and Don Kirk.

Copyright 2009 Don Kirk. All Rights Reserved. This production is not associated in any way with Texas A&M University.


Jodie Stick Crew
The crew chief issues commands to each of the three forking teams, "Put out one, easy three, pull out two...", until the log is eased into place.

Hyperlinks to Offsite Bonfire Information:


Wikipedia History:

Official Aggie Bonfire Website:


Remembrance Video:

Youtube Bonfire Videos:

Memorial at Construction site:

The 35 foot stack in 2012:


Book: Texas Aggie Bonfire: Tradition & Tragedy at Texas A&M:

Movie:We've Never Been Licked (unfortunately, limited availability, and a high price):

The tallest stack at 109 feet DVD of its construction:

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