Comment from the Mayor of New York
On behalf of all eight million New Yorkers… it is always gratifying to recognize those who have truly made a difference in our great City and in the lives of others.
Your varied careers are a wonderful demonstration of the distinctive energy and character that makes New York a magnet for the best and brightest from around the world.
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Mayor, New York City
Comments from the press
A captivating portrait of Jack Beers, the nonagenarian who has packed more into his extraordinary life than the most prolific fictional character. An inspiration to anyone who thinks 'enough' will do. This is a riveting piece of work that deserves a wider audience.
David Parkinson, Empire Online - UK's leading movie magazine
I loved it… a beautiful love poem to New York and all her indefatigable energy.
Eben Harrell - Time Magazine
I was both moved and inspired by Jack’s mental attitude of not being hindered by the obstacles placed before him.
Kevin Young - World, Olympic & American record holder 400-meter Hurdles
A unique cinematic portrait of a man who feasts at life’s banquet. Jack Beers is as legendary a New York landmark as the Empire State Building, and no less dynamic a force.
Jake Jacobson - Westwood One/CBS Radio
This one’s definitely a feel-gooder.
Fairfield Weekly - Connecticut
Comments from the public in 2013
I watched Holes In My Shoes for the first time a few weeks ago and I can honestly tell you that it changed my life and how I view the world. My younger 24 yr old brother died tragically in a car accident last year and Jack's letter to Bertha has been an inspiration and that has answered many questions in my family's grieving hearts. He was an extraordinary man. He hit the nail on the head when he said that LOVE was what it is all about. Long live Jack Beers. My 12 yr old son is obsessed with him now. It's amazing. God bless David Wachs, as well. It is this type of filmmaking that should be shown much more often on national TV as well as in classrooms across the country. Thank you very much for making this film. The world needed it.
Jack!! I am 44 years old. A lady. I laughed and cried throughout your experiences. I can only hope to take a piece of you and live my life a little fuller. I have yet to experience love...true love of another…but your message of the purpose of life is much greater than what I’ve hoped for. If I don’t meet you on this side I hope to get at least a glimpse on the other side! Blessings beautiful man!! And you’ve still got it mister Jack!!
Thank you God & the Internet for letting me see this film! Truly had tears in my eyes when Jack sang at the top of the Empire State Bldg at the end! What a guy and what a colorful and complete life! He thrust himself into the fray that is life and never retreated or gave up! How I wish I could spend just a few minutes in his presence. Everything about him speaks total human being right down to his period of recovery from a broken heart and recovering his love and zest for life after his true love, Bertha left him behind. His broken heart and recovery parallels that of someone very close to me! Losing loved ones is way beyond what someone who has never truly loved another can understand. Jack ~ if you're still alive and reading this ~ Love you Man ~ your life is amazing! They should put a statue up somewhere in NYC where everyone can read a plaque that would reveal the details of someone who lived life beyond measure!
5 Stars: Watched this documentary three times. I joined my husband, who watched it twice!!! Great story, and told so beautifully by the man himself. He did live a Wonderful Life, overcoming all obstacles he met along the way. Watch this, you won't be sorry!!!
Truly inspiring! He is the quintessential American!
I teach in a very small alternative high school and would love to get this DVD for my students. This could be so inspirational for those who think they have a tough life. Please send along the information to acquire the DVD about this amazing man.
The great thing about this movie is that without seeing the corroboration, who would believe one person could do all this in a lifetime? I have already begun sharing the stories. Tonight, I will discuss Jack Beers and your movie in my law school class.
Jack you are truly amazing and such an inspiration to people of all ages. I'm in school for Occupational Therapy and am currently taking a class on aging and the elderly. I came across 'Holes in my shoes' and have much appreciation for your persistence and determination through life. Thank you for sharing your story.
Watched it twice. I enjoy learning about people. You don’t find the quality of individual like Jack in my generation. It was a great film.
5 Stars: I have never written a review, ever. I am a 46-year-old heterosexual male. But I fell in love with Jack Beers while watching this! An amazing, amazing man! WATCH THIS!!!!
4 Stars: He lived a good life. Maybe to live to 94, you have to be a little over the top. It was great to see a man’s life unfold and weave time and history. We can all be better humans by taking a page from people like Beers book of life!
My 92-year husband and I were deeply moved by this beautiful story of life's struggles and what determination can do to reach one's dreams. The secret is the power of love and the knowledge that our creator gives it to us all to reach out and take as his gift to us.
I was blown away by this man and his enthusiasm for life. After viewing the documentary, I was ashamed of my self. I'm 51 and I haven't done a tenth of what this man has accomplished. This guy lived a FULL life. How many of us can say that? Different professions. A never say no attitude. Unarguably an American Institution. If more people were like Jack, the world would be an easier place to tolerate. Rest well. You deserve it. "Top of the woild!"
I just finished watching Holes in my Shoes....What a great film!! Stories like these are what life is about!! I was saddened when I saw that Mr. Beers had passed away, I wished I could have met him.
I just finished watching this and it was WONDERFUL! What an inspiration Jack Beers was (and is). One of the most uplifting documentaries I've ever seen. Thank you so much!
I just watched the Holes in my Shoes documentary for the first time. I had seen Mr. Beers in movies, but didn˙t know who he was--- or his past. What a great man, and a great life. What a blessing it would have been to know Mr. Beers. He is such an inspiring person. I feel blessed this evening to have learned about his life and accomplishments. A truly bright star in the universe of souls!
I watched this tribute to Mr. Beers this evening. Remarkable is the only apt word I can find to describe this man. His sense of optimism is a true gift. I feel better having watched this tribute.
What a man, what a well-told story! Thank you very much for preserving this very important piece of history so that generations may be inspired by his walk through life. I will follow your suggestion in Jack's eulogy and tell his stories. Peace, Love and Understanding, Chris Flohr Severna Park, Maryland USA
Thank you for the movie and most thanks for sharing and showing me Jack Beers story...People as him are sent to us to learn from.....and I did
Awesome. Thanks for a great night at home. Joseph
My mother is 85. She was a model in NY. Her brothers, my uncles, worked on the Manhattan Project. She had boxers. Her brother just died this year at 101 yrs. I would love for her to see this film.
I loved this film and I'm still feeling the emotions that I felt while watching it last night. I'd love to share this film with family and friends. Please send me information. Thank you so much.
I watched holes in my shoes and it made me smile, laugh out loud, and cry. What a great documentary about Mr. Beers! He was an outstanding man! I was wondering..is he still living? I know this would make him around 102,but then again he seemed to be doing so good at the time it was filmed... Thank you,,,, MaryJo
What a marvelous, uplifting documentary. I will order several copies to share with loved ones.
A touching and inspirational tribute to a wonderful human being. Thank you for telling his story and sharing his wisdom, vitality, and experiences with us all
Saw this great film. Wow. My mother just passed at 93, and my father would have been the same age as Jack. My mom was born in a tenement apartment like the one shown in New York in 1919, 7 people living there. My dad worked construction on the Manhattan project. Maybe he even met Jack. How great to see all this and imagine. I appreciate this very much!
Just watched the film. What a Great story. What an Amazing person. The piece was filled with a lot of emotion and character. Was sad to learn of Jacks passing. He lives forever on screen. Excellent Film Making.
A beautiful film about a man who radiates a joy for life, love, passion, curiosity, and happiness. Jack shows us that every moment in our lives really do count; watching him in this film, makes us appreciate our todays, tomorrows, and yesterdays. **Thank you for sharing Mr. Jack Beers and this film with us.**
Very awesome film! What an inspiration. Keep on smiling:)
I want to thank you, to thank you so much for making this film. I took care of my father, who in many ways, reminds me of Jack. It wasn't just a film about a wonderful man full of life, but I saw it also as a cautionary warning for our elderly loved ones, to watch what that doctor(s) are doing. I thank God for the doctor that came in to the psych ward, and told him to get his clothes and got him out. This is happening way, way too often, and I can attest to this. I've only seen one comment regarding how close Jack came to losing his life at the hands of those ignorant and arrogant in medicine. Bless that doctor that saved this wonderful man, and bless Jack for bringing joy to so many, myself included. He reminds me of my father that passed away in 2009.
5 Stars: The movie, the character, the story is unparalled on so many levels. The accomplishments of this man are epic. It was more then inspirational, more then a loosely told biography about an ordinary man doing extraordinary things. He is not being honored for his longevity but for the endless energy and love of life this man and his actions so clearly depict. Just another man in a shrinking generation of many unsung doers and heroes who left an indelible etching of his path in life through the people who knew and respected the man. Rest in Peace Jack Beers. You earned it.
5 Stars: I can't believe I've never heard of this guy because, according to this documentary, he's been famous or nearly so, for decades. What a life! Jack is the appropriate name for a "jack of all trades". I was impressed after I saw that he was a fighter then a self-taught engineer, whose work on famous building still stands, then a dog trainer. Then the film goes on to say how many decades he was an actor! Good golly, is there anything at which this man did not excel? Well, yes, there was love. He did not seem to have a very happy personal life for many, many years, finding love later in life but then, once found, he never let go until she passed. And that's the only time he isn't perky, smiley, happy, when he tells of losing the love of his life. I see online that he passed on two years after this film was made. From terrible poverty to success in many walks of life that afforded him a comfortable life and enabled him to care for his family, this was a life very well lived. I may have to watch this again because I probably missed an occupation or two that he mastered.
Public responses following airing on PBS WNET 13 (NY), July 2010
If you’re a real died-in–the-wool-NY’er … this is a must see. If not, it’s still a must see.
I am in my 50’s and this was one of the most inpirational documentries that I have ever seen. Should be seen by everyone. What a great life!
My 12 year old son was mesmerized by Jack Beer’s spirit and enthusiasm. I want the rest of my family ot see this film as well as sharing it with my children’s history teachers so that they may share it with their students…
WOW… nothing has left me as inspired to share with others as this!! THANK YOU.
Sara Di Grazia
Unbelievable….how one person can be so inspirational to every child, woman, and man. No such thing as a roadblock; given a situation make the most out of it!
What a wonderful film about a unique person! We enjoyed it tremendously and cried at the end.
Thank you for making this wonderful film. It deeply moved me. I just ordered the DVD to share with family and friends.
Very inspiring movie
C N Steinberg
Truly an extraordinary life captured in an extraordinary documentary. What comes through the most is the wisdom, humanity and genuineness of this remarkable man.
I just happened to turn the channel to see this man pulling a car with his teeth!…I was hooked from then on! I now have to see it from the beginning! GREAT STORY!
Amazing, touching, inspiring, saw it last night, want to see it again. Thanks
I absolutely loved the documentary but only happened upon it last night on TV…I missed some parts of it. When will it be shown again? I also loved the part about Jack with his Boxers!
Thank you so much for bringing this story into our lives! Jack was and is truly an inspiration. He reminds us to never take anything for granted and to give life all you've got! Thank you again!
Jack Beers was an incredible true inspiration… sadly he didn't have any children, because he would have been an amazing father!
Guess though, we are all his children… because he taught us all. Only wish I had the chance to meet him, I would have loved to have had the chance to sit down and chat with him.
Thank you for this beautiful heartwarming film.
I chanced upon the show tonight. My life is better! I am a better person for watching this show!
Everyone needs to see this! To be inspired! To learn what is important!
Thank you for making it! Thank you Mr. Beers! Rest in peace.
I am absolutely humbled by the life that man lived. I very much doubt that there are many people who achieved or experienced as much as Jack Beers. An amazing example of the human spirit of giving and reinvention.
As Bobby the Shoe would say “super”
Facebook entries (Holes in my Shoes / Jack Beers page)
My partner John and I saw it Tuesday on PBS/13 and it was simply stunning. To see what one man accomplished in his life and the joy he lived it was so powerful and inspiring. I wouldn't have wanted to arm wrestle him EVEN at 94. The man was a freak of nature (and I say that as a compliment). I don't know what water he drank, but I'd drink it. Thanks, Jack. U were THE MAN!!
William J. Vila
I live in Greenwich and heard stories about this amazing man from friends and neighbors...very sorry I never had the chance to meet him. Your film is wonderful ... the scene of him singing “When You’re Smiling”, on top of the Empire State Building is a classic.
Watched your movie last night on PBS… what a wonderful man with such a wonderful life story!! Thanks for sharing it!!!
Sharon Mancino Dirzis
Amazing!!!!!!! Great NY Story - Great story period.
What a life, what a guy, what a mensch!!!
Most amazing film .. i love it
I love this man! I am sorry I never had the pleasure of meeting him. (My loss)
I just saw “Holes in My Shoes” and Jack Beers’ story is incredible.
I laughed with him and cried for him. His story is for everybody.
Steven John Bosch
I saw Holes in My Shoes last night. Dad & I came upon it by accident.
What an accident! I am forever changed for the better!
Dad & I laughed and cried and were in awe of this man and his accomplishments. Everyone must see this film!
Just watched “Hole In My Shoes” it made my daughter cry. Such a moving film.
What a life. What a Man. This film must be shown in schools.
January 2, 2010 email – after PBS airing
I stumbled upon the show on WNET and watched for 30 minutes or so and then rewound it (DVR cable box) so to speak so my wife could watch it with me from the beginning.
I lost my job on 11/20 and the story is truly inspirational for me. When I get down in spirit due to this terrible job market, I think of Jack and his struggles and triumphs and I hope to emulate his everyman likeable spirit and his determination in the face of adversity.
Thanks for making the documentary.
Amazon.com movie reviews
This is probably the most wonderful documentary I have ever seen! Jack Beers is truly a treasure! What a wonderful man on so many levels!! This is wonderful to watch as a family, by yourself or with someone special.
Mr. Beers had such a loving spirit. He seemed to live his life so matter of factly with wonderful things happening to him on a continual basis, with the exception of losing his beautiful wife, Bertha…his heart was so broken but he triumphed!! I love the way he just did everything he wanted to in life and shared it with so many. He was successful on so many levels.
I promise at the end you will have the biggest smile on your face with bittersweet tears. Every second of this documentary is a gift. For those of you who were lucky to know Mr. Beers, I applaud you and I can only imagine the positive impact he had on your lives and the beautiful love you have for him. It was such a great documentary that I didn't want it to end.
Buy this DVD, you will not be sorry. In fact, you will probably want to buy a few copies as gifts for loved ones.
L. Garcia “Lu”
This is a wonderful movie for all ages. Jack Beers was a remarkable man - great heart and humor. I plan on buying this for my mother for the holidays. I can't imagine anybody not enjoying it.
This movie has tremendous heart and is absolutely fabulous on a couple of different levels. First and foremost it's about a wonderful and fascinating character -- what a life this man has had!
And what a man Mr. Beers is. He has character, heart, intelligence, and a wonderful sense of authentic humanity. This very human story deserves to be seen by everyone who values the human spirit and I think it's a wonderful movie for young and old as a role model.
I think it's an absolutely great movie as well, the director has crafted the story in a captivating way that held my attention from beginning to end. I can't think of a greater gift to give someone than to give them this movie. I hope it gets the audience that it deserves.
Facebook postings after PBS airing
Just watched it and I can't even comprehend how awesome it would have been to meet the man. Truly amazing. I miss you Mr. Beers…
I watched “Holes In My Shoes” last night, and I really was inspired by Mr. Beers. It made me cry when he talked about the loss of his wife Bertha because he still loved her so much, and it made me happy to see that a 94 year YOUNG man still had all the love in the world for his parents. He took advantage of all opportunity and made it, in such hard times too!
By the end of the documentary, I almost felt like I knew him - I wish I did.
I watched “Holes In My Shoes” last night, and although I have never heard of Jack Beers previously, I feel so blesssed and inspired that such an amazing man coexisted in my lifetime. I wish I would have met him in person.
Amazing testament to how we should all be living.
Rebecca Walsh Westall
What an absolutely amazing and loveable guy Mr. Beers was. He did more in one life then 10 of us do in ours. I would have loved the opportunity to have given him a huge hug.
Wow…I'm inspired by this Great American hero!
Yves Roney Jean-Philippe
…I'm compelled to say, I can't imagine a life more fully lived, a better attempt at realizing one's potential than what I know of Jack here. Stepping back a moment from wishing I had met him, or wanting more from the man, if I just see him as a soul from birth to death, as I do looking at his youthful picture on this profile right now, than his whole arc of a life through the sky seems immensly beautiful.
The fact that he died a whisper before 100 is only cause and reminder of humility in my own aspirations in seeing this noble man.
On Dec 20, 2009 – 5 days after PBS WNET 13 airing – Premier
On December 15th, 2009, I fell asleep in bed with the TV on, and tuned to Channel 13. I woke up to find my friend, Jack Beers on TV, talking about his amazing life! I was thrilled, and well pleased to see Jack, and to know that everyone now has a chance to meet this most incredible man.
I Love your film "Holes in my shoes"! I met Jack over 35 years ago. When I was in my 20's, and Jack was in his 60's. I fixed his Cadillac Eldorado, and his Ford Pinto, which he always drove. From the moment I met Jack, it was like finding a long lost relative that you loved dearly! I visited him at his home, and he visited me. Jack Beers was the most down to earth, give you the shirt off his back, kind of guy, that I ever met in my life!
Your film captures the true spirit of the man, always an inspiration to me, and now the world! Jack Beers makes you feel happy to be part of the human race! Thank you for a beautiful film, which is truly a work of art!
I randomly caught Holes In My Shoes on PBS last week. I was blown away by Jack Beers and his story. What an amazing person with such depth and warmth. I would like to have an ounce of what Jack Beers has had in his life.
Thank you to everyone involved in this beautiful portrayal.
On Dec 19, 2009 – 4 days after PBS WNET 13 airing – Premier
I saw the film last week on PBS & it was fantastic. What an interesting fella! Thank god somebody was able to document his life story--he put Forrest Gump to shame! Everyone should see this film!
On Dec 18, 2009 – 3 days after PBS WNET 13 airing – Premier
This was a beautiful documentary about an incredible man. It was both sad and warming for me. BRAVO!
I watched the documentary on PBS this past Tuesday, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Jack Beers is (was) truely an inspirational character -- at 94, still filled with a sense of awe and wonder. Simple and unspoiled, yet wise and knowing.
I just read his letter again (after his 2nd wife passed) -- he got it! Sad to hear that he passed on this summer but he lived a long and successful life. He will stay with me.
Dec 17, 2009 - 2 Days after PBS WNET 13 airing – Premier
Jack, You are truly an inspiration to us all. This is the greatest film that I have ever seen in my life!!
Great man, he had awonderful life. Great American & Great New Yorker. An inspiration for all to follow- challenges, successes and accomplishments. Wonderful story.
Truly outstanding and inspirational. A feel good film that makes you cry with joy as well as sadness.
I saw “HOLES” several years ago at a special screening in NYC. My family loved it - even small kids! I know everyone who worked on this did an incredible job. Can't wait to buy the DVD for Hanukkah presents!
Dec 16, 2009 - 1 Day after PBS WNET 13 airing – Premier
Just fantastic, truly enjoyed it.
Last night, quite by accident, I stumbled upon HOLES IN MY SHOES. Within five minutes I was completely captivated by Jack Beers.
One look at his face told me he was quite elderly, but his recollections, his obvious love of life and of this City were impish and infectious. I was enthralled by the magnitude of things this man had accomplished. At the age when I was in second grade, he was out in the streets of New York earning a living. What most touched my heart was discovering how he had a hand in building, improving or designing so many of the treasurers of my beloved New York. This boy and strongman was a genuine American hero, an American Renaissance Man who might be compared to the illustrious da Vinci.
Wanting to know more about him, I Googled him this morning and was rather shocked to find only a few sites, mostly about your documentary, dedicated to this one man dynamo. Very disappointing. I was sorry to hear that Mr. Beers passed away this summer, but with his life, with all he accomplished, with all that he loved, his was a life well lived and shared. What a kind, delicious, brilliant man. Jack Beers deserves a place in New York City history and the history of our Country.
If you are a native New Yorker, or someone who has had a fascination with this marvelous City you must watch HOLES IN MY SHOES. Jack Beers who died this past July just shy of his 99th birthday is an unknown New York institution whose life in interwoven not only with the City, but with history and the nation. Why this man’s life has been unknown up until now is truly a mystery.
In a City that loves to promote itself and its native children, Jack Beers is a name that should be known and loved in all her five boroughs. To watch HOLES IN MY SHOES is to watch what is great about this City and to understand the capacity we all have to be great, truly great and still maintain a child like enthusiasm for life despite the trial, tribulations and losses we must face. It reminds us that to suffer loss is inevitable, but to live in misery is a choice. A choice Jack Beers never once thought of taking. Watch this movie and fall in love with life and with Jack.
Jack Beers is one of the most fascinating and inspirational characters I've seen. Its a story of joy, tears courage and fortitude that encompasses the human spirit.
I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Beers briefly and he was an inspiration to me. He had such a great out look on life. I had not seen him in a very long time nor did I know that he had passed on. I watch Holes In My Shoes and I was amazed about his life.
He brought a tear to my eyes when he read the letter he wrote about his 2nd wife. I hope all young and old see this to realize what life is about and how one can leave life to its fullest. Well done documentary
One of the great American biographies of recent times as well as a tremendous movie about New York. I was absolutely stunned after the PBS screening last night and there are still tears in my eyes this morning.
I think I may have emptied Amazon's stock, ordering holiday presents for my friends (and a copy for myself). Thanks very much.
Tom in NY
Coming from the Eastside East 5th St between B&C, just around the corner from you. It was just great. Will tell all my family to watch. God bless you, Jack. I know the ruff side. Hunger, dark halls, no gas, playing in the streets.
What an amazing story, what a life! I was glued for all 90 minutes. Jack Beers literally built New York City, beyond it's remarkable physical structures. Jack Beers is more a part of the fabric of NYC than the so- called “developers” who post their name on buildings. The film was just riveting.
What an amazing man. He truly was a inspirational. Would love to shake his hand.
“I laughed, I cried…” I was so moved by the Jack Beers story. He was a true hero of New York. My father, Max Witkin, was a glazier, and also worked on the construction of the Empire State Building.
It was like seeing my father if he had lived past the age of fifty eight. Is there a book about Jack I can get?
Sara Jane Berman
Just wanted to let you know how much my family enjoyed "Holes". Incredibly inspiring and you are a remarkable storyteller. Congratulations and thank you for sharing this touching human portrait.
I love the whole being of the portrait of Jack Beers life. It brings out empathy in my own life. How I would like my own life to be like, my family’s life was, with overcoming life spiritually.
Totally wonderful story of this giant of a human being. It makes you really think what is REALLY important. May he rest in peace.
I loved your film - loved the story of such an amazing man - had been watching a news show earlier re: the same era of people growing up in America knowing that whatever was going to “be” in their lives was because they made it happen. I am looking forward to watching it again with my kids when we get to relax for the holidays!
I watched this documentary on PBS last night and was in awe of Jack Beers. I have always wondered who was behind the making of Radio City or the Empire State Building while inside these beautiful buildings! He was a remarkable man.
Incredible film. Obviously made with tremendous love and admiration. Congratulations.
Missed the first 15 mins. of the film, however I found of what I saw it was totally charming, and informative. Moving experience that celebrates the American dream.
Really enjoyed it! I started watching during the Empire State Building segment and would love to see the beginning that I missed…will it air again? Thanks.
Robin K. Blum
Dec 15, 2009 – Night of PBS WNET 13 airing
Wonderful movie… from one New Yorker to another.
I am in tears and bliss. Jack Beers, what a life. Thanks for telling his story.
Hello. Just wanting to thank you for making this film. I just saw it on PBS and did not know anything about it when it first came on, or that it would even be on, but was very pleased I kept it on as it got better and better and then, even better.
The fact that Mr. Beers reminded me of my father who passed in March at 101 I'm sure had something to do with that. Hearing him talk about growing up on the lower east side at the turn of the century was like listening to my father tell his stories and it was nice to hear someone else who was actually there confirm the things my father told me. Then, to hear Mr. Beers' story was remarkable. All that he had accomplished, on so many levels, in such meaningful ways, simply because he loved what he was doing… a blessed man, and a wonderful film depicting that.
Thank you for doing what YOU love, as you too have affected many people in the best of ways. Thank you, thank you, and thank you. All the best,
I am from Greenwich, CT and read of this documentary today in my local paper. Having been in this town most of my 52 years I doubt if I ever crossed paths with Jack because after seeing this documentary I can say with confidence that I would have remembered a person like him.
What an amazing story about an amazing man.
Robert Harris, Greenwich, CT
Very touching film. We should all have a life half as fulfilling as Jack Beers.
I watched this in utter fascination. It was charming, encouraging, and touching. It opens your eyes to the possibilities that life holds if you open your heart and your eyes!
I just finished watching the Jack Beers documentary 'Holes in My Shoes' on PBS. It was very interesting learning about life in the Lower East Side in the early part of the 1900s.
Most importantly, I must say that I was truly touched and I really appreciated the opportunity to have been introduced to this worldly individual that was Jack Beers. He really inspired me to continue to live my life completely with the idea that if my life can be half as fulfilling as his was then I will have succeeded.
Again, thank you Mr. Wachs for sharing your friend with me.
I am living in Brooklyn since 1996 when I immigrated from the Ukraine. Every time when I am visiting Manhattan I am asking myself the question, who were the giants that created this magnificent city? Whom I should be thankful for that.
Now I get real touch with the amazing character as powerful as this great city. The hard work, sincerity and integrity of people like Jack made the USA the greatest country in the world history. Unfortunately, a lack of this featuring in our day hurts me the most. I feel that with Jack departure we all lost a great human being.
R.I.P. Jack. I will always remember you.
What a great life. This man should be in some history book in public schools as an inspiration in strength endurance and the will to survive, Jack rose above it all, has had careers and the skill of ten men.
Only sad part is he never had an offspring, but he did find true love. Love u Jack
Earlier viewer comments
I recently had the great honor of seeing "Holes In My Shoes" and the even greater honor of meeting you in person at a screening in Brooklyn. Your kindness, intelligence and indomitable spirit are an inspiration to us all! I was deeply moved and changed by the film, as I'm sure is true of many others who have had the distinct pleasure of seeing it. Like tossing a pebble into a pond, the ripples of influence your story creates will resonate with people for many generations to come (as well they should).
If you ever feel depressed or down, remember how much, by simply living, you have altered profoundly the lives of total strangers for the better. Alistair Cooke once said, "[Even] in the best of times, our days are numbered anyway." None of us can escape that truth, yet you have shown that living one's life fully is what counts, regardless of setbacks or circumstances--good or bad times.
I teach at a high school in Brooklyn. If I had one wish, it would be that, instead of a diploma at graduation, my students could be handed a copy of your film and enjoined to watch it so they could see first hand how someone could do so much for so many even though starting out with so little.
On the occasion of your 97th birthday, I wish you good health, laughter and every happiness. I understand you're shooting for 100. I think that's far too modest an estimate for someone so obviously larger than life. Do us all a favor, Jack: keep on living and showing us all how to do it.
God bless you, Jack Beers!
John Leporati, Brooklyn, NY
I recently had the special opportunity to see Holes in My Shoes and was so inspired and moved by both Jack's miraculous life story and the high quality of story telling in this film.
Thank you for sharing a part of your extraordinary life and for your contributions to so many important facets of our history.
What a film! This made so many emotions come out, happy, sad… watching your film made me feel like I knew Jack. This is a must see film, very touching, real life - a pleasure to have watched.
It is with great pleasure that I send sincere & heart-felt congratulations to you on your most moving film. My husband & I recently saw "Holes In My Shoes" for a second time & do not remember a film that demonstrated the passion & compassion that you so beautifully captured on the remarkable Jack Beers. His early hardships, the cruel betrayals & heartbreaking losses he endured & the triumphs & recognition that came to him cover the gamut of emotions. We feel privileged that you were able to take us on the glorious ride that has been his life.
“Holes In My Shoes” is truly a remarkable, poignant documentary worthy of wide distribution. It is by any standard both educational & inspirational. We have shared this film with friends of ours who were equally moved & impressed.
Sincerely, Rita Kaufman Mager
Wonderful documentary about an incredible, inspiring and indefatigable man.
Daniel Goldsmith, Cinequest Film Festival audience member
This has got to be THE most heart touching, inspirational and completely fantastic documentary I’ve seen.
I couldn’t get my mom to make it (to the Cinequest festival), and can’t wait to get the DVD to give to her. She grew up in NY and this will bring her H.O.M.E.
Thank you so much for making this great piece of work.
They don’t come any more colourful than Jack Beers, a 94-year-old New Yorker who looks like a Drew Friedman caricature of Popeye.
The son of Jewish immigrants, Beers was a bodybuilder (he can still tear a phone book in half with his bare hands), a steelworker on some of Gotham’s most famous landmarks (including Radio City Music Hall), a dog whisperer before the term became popular and a character actor in scores of movies (often as a Hassidic Jew).
Beers’ reminiscences, interspersed with old-time stills and movie reels, are priceless.
Michael S. Gant, MetroActive, Silicon Valley’s #1 Newspaper
Jack Beers has had an astonishing life, but most people have never heard of him.
This hardy nonagenarian was born into severe poverty in Manhattan, found work as a strongman in his teens and was known as New York City’s Strongest Boy, helped build Radio City Music Hall and the Empire State Building spire, invented a machine that shortened the second world war, and was a character actor in more than 200 films.
At the age of 94 he could still rip a phone book in half the hard way with his bare hands, in spite of having just barely survived congestive heart failure in his 80s.
This documentary takes us on a tour through Jack’s life, guided by the old fellow himself. He has the chipper attitude and lifestyle of someone half his age, and tells his stories with enthusiasm.
This is a film that lovers of cinema, New York, and history must not miss.
Ealasaid A. Haas, Milpitas Post, California
Here is a story of a truly remarkable American man. A man who must be quite unique. Such a fascinating life, full of interest, a man who could turn his hand to so many facets of life and work.
It is amazing that this is the first time we have heard of Jack Beers. If he had said “take that hill” everyone would have followed - a great talent in many areas. A must see film takes leaves you with a wonderful glow.
Well done Hot Wachs Productions we wish you well. We really did enjoy it.
Carole & Derick Petter
With fine films, the audience at Cinequest is always very quiet, attentive and respectful… there was much applause at the end!
Jason Shultz, Cinequest audience member
Twice yesterday, as I was waiting for other films to start (at Cinequest Film Festival), I overheard conversations about “what film have you seen that you liked best” leading into Holes In My Shoes!
One woman went on for a full ten minutes about it - referring to Jack as the embodiment of the American Dream! And she wasn’t just talking about what a great character Jack is, she spoke intelligently about what a well-made film it was, too!
I didn’t interrupt or tell her I knew you because I wanted unsolicited opinion…I was just eavesdropping! It was so exciting to hear it.
I didn’t attend the screening, but my mom did. She loved it, and said the audience was terrific..when it comes to just hearing what folks are saying, they are talking about Holes!
Jean, Cinequest visitor
Excellent film; great story, brilliant life… would like to meet him here in northern California… everyone loved him!!!
Comment from Cinequest film festival 2007
Dayna and I just finished watching Holes In My Shoes - we loved it. It’s a winner of a movie - a fascinating character, the Zelig-like march through the years, a charming style you chose to tell the story…whatever path Holes takes over the next years, it’ll surely be seen by legions - and will be enjoyed.
-“Ballet Ruses” Directors - Dan and Dayna Geller
Firstly let me say that all of us here in the Revolver enjoyed screening “Holes In My Shoes” finding it to be funny, moving and in parts really quite amazing…
Revolver Entertainment (UK)
I just finished seeing Holes In My Shoes…I must tell you that you did an ABSOLUTELY SUPERB job…I didn’t want the movie to end that’s how much I enjoyed it. OSCAR MATERIAL without a doubt !!!!
It really is fantastic - I so enjoyed it, but I did cry a lot! He certainly is an amazing man.
Bea Sanis (UK)
I very much enjoyed watching it, Jack Beers is an incredible man, and I found this to be a very insightful and original piece of documentary making.
You had already told me the stories, but what an incredibly fascinating man! And to see a 94 year old rip a phone book into 4 pieces - amazing. I think this is a great story well told. Congratulations.
Charlie Goldberg, lawyer -Harbottle & Lewis (UK)
Hi David. I’ve received a copy of your film about Jack Beers. Thank you very much. I have to tell you that I haven’t had so much pleasure from watching a movie for a long time. It’s done with love and talent. It’s should inspire all of us to enjoy every minute of our lives….
David Goldvug, Minuteman Press
What a wonderful tribute to your subject, and to living life to the absolute fullest! Very inspirational.
Vice President, Tapestry International, Ltd.
Dear David - I’ve been waiting to watch the film so that I could do so UNINTERRUPTED and finally got to see it yesterday on the train down from Scotland. What an act of love it is both for you and from him, and no surprise that it has walked off with those festival prizes. It’s beautiful about New York and reminded me of its magic - encapsulated, of course, in this remarkable man’s many lives. Can’t imagine how you pulled it off with everything else on your plate but – mazel tov.
Hi David, I have watched your DVD over and over, and I must say it is a work of art. You guys should be so proud of what you have achieved and the real story you are telling through his life is so moving and touching, there are really not the words to describe it.
I have just finished watching Holes In My Shoes…and I believe you have something great on your hands…You’re blessed with great subject material – Jack Beers is a striking character with more than his fair share of interesting anecdotes. His personality really shines through – he’s almost always interesting to listen to – and this is the film’s greatest asset. His tale was handled sensitively, and rarely did I feel that the portrayal of his plight did a disservice to the man – he wasn’t patronised, and generally not over-glorified…I thought the film was thoroughly entertaining as well as interesting and insightful. Considering the story and its protagonist are very much rooted in New York tradition and culture, I thought that the film translated well to my cynical English mind and that any of its cultural limitations didn’t get in the way of the story. Thanks very much for lending us the DVD.
See you soon hopefully,
Alex, student (17)
I wanted to tell you that I have now viewed Holes In My Shoes twice (once with my friend Richard) and on both occasions, it brought me to tears…I found this documentary of Jack Beers phenomenal life truly awe inspiring.
I met Jack several years ago at the cottage when he came up by train to visit with you and the family. He struck me then as a fascinating and gentle man but I had no idea what his previous experiences were except for Rosey and Jonesy.
Jack is truly an inspiration to everyone who will see this film.
Long story short, my friend, Richard came from very humble beginnings and truly was a self-made man working himself up from the bottom. As a result, he has tremendous respect for anyone who has personal strength and ambition. Richard was so touched by the film… he was actually crying with me and kept saying “atta boy”…especially the part about Jack’s Dad saying “Be the Best at Whatever You Do”!!! Richard wanted me to congratulate you on this film and wishes you great success with it.
Leny, Sarasota, FL
Your movie is an important & inspiring documentary.
I finally watched HOLES IN MY SHOES…Beers is truly amazing… you have done a great job recounting the life of this powerhouse of a man… I am sure that there are not many people who packed as much into their lives as Beers.
I loved the film! Sorry I didn’t get a chance to introduce myself to you - I had to run. But I really enjoyed it. Good luck!
Rachel, Publicist - NYC
We just saw the DVD, fantastic! Beautifully edited. Jack shines through out. I’m completely thrilled with the film.
All the best,
Robert Hannah – Cinematographer
I loved the film! I think that man deserves an Oscar for his bravery and strength. I think it was very well executed and professionally put together including direction and cut. Overall felt good and it made me want to meet this guy. Well done!
Paola Idrontino, video and film editor
I just watched it and I really loved it! It’s a great individual story, a great NYC story, a story about aging, and a fascinating story about America too! Well done.
K2 Pictures, Inc.
I was very pleased with the film -- my warmest congratulations! My wife and I watched it last week…David, you have a very special artistic touch that is able to effectively integrate all of the components of this film so that, above all, it remains a biography. But -- it also is a celebration of a life, of an era, and a documentation of history (from a man who lived it) of which most people are unfamiliar.
Again, my heartiest congratulations to a work of art well done. I will be delighted to be at its premiere.
Warmest personal wishes.
Dr. Noel Robin, Stamford Hospital, Conn.
Dear Tom Jones (Manager of M2HD, the film’s post-production facility),
You spoke to Nick Fraser at a recent awards ceremony and sent in this film. I have viewed it now. It is a very engaging film and Jack Beers is an indefatigable and life-enhancing character…Meanwhile, congratulations to David Wachs for a smartly made depiction of this very compelling man.
With every good wish,
Storyville Commissioning Executive, BBC (UK)
I am emailing to remind you to log onto Youtube.com to look into getting the video clip of our friend Jack ripping the phone book in half posted on the youtube site. Google just paid Billions for youtube indicating what a powerful medium it is. There is clearly the potential for worldwide exposure for Jack and your production. I enjoyed yesterday’s widescreen presentation of “Holes In My Shoes” at Hunter College totally and wish you continued good luck with the project.
Paul D’Avanzo, NY
We want to pass along our best wishes for 2007 to Jack Beers and David Wachs. We met them both at the Coney Island Film Festival and had the privilege of speaking and taking pictures with them at the awards ceremonies. Jack is an amazing person and his energy is endless and David’s film about Jack, “Holes in My Shoes” was tremendous. Please remember us for the BIG 100 party! We would love to attend if possible. Congrats to you both and “Keep Going for 100!”
Amanda Jencsik and Chris DePierro IWonderMovie.com
Thanks for the DVD. It was really inspiring; a remarkable achievement -- job well done. You should be proud.
I really really enjoyed the movie tremendously. It was a lot more than I was expecting. The whole sweep of his life…it was absolutely amazing.
Avignon/NY Film Fest viewer, male
It was about living life with joy and freedom.
Coney Island Film Fest audience member, female
It’s a story about persevering and never giving up. His attitude was about never giving up, and that’s the spirit of America. Phenomenal.
Greg T., Conn. Film Fest Audience member, NY
He built buildings, he was a strongman, he was an actor, he was a dog trainer…he was just everything…in the movie he was 94, and he has so much energy…he’s like a force of nature!
Carol F., NJ
It’s quite a passionate film, and my heart is filled with joy and sadness…it’s a combination. Jack Beers is a prize.
Etelle, Avignon/NY Film Fest audience member, Palm Beach County, FL
Jack Beers is an amazing man, and the picture on the whole is inspiring. I hope I’m like that when I’m his age. I thought the photography was unbelievable.
Avignon/NY Film Fest audience member, female
It was the best documentary I’ve ever seen; I have to say, honestly. He’s done so much in his life…so many careers in his life…it’s so inspirational. The director was amazing, and how he put it together…the film moved very well.
Chris DePierro, director – “I Wonder” – Coney Island Film Fest
I’m really really walking away with a wonderful feeling.
Estelle, Avignon/NY Film Fest audience member, NY
I just saw Holes In My Shoes and it’s a tremendous, inspirational story. A great life story and very meaningful. Something everyone can get something from.
George, Avignon/NY Film Fest audience member, NY
It was an amazing film. I cried at different parts. Not because I was sad, he was just such a touching person.
Female, Avignon/NY Film Fest audience member, NY
It’s really inspiring the whole family.
Donna, Avignon/NY Film Fest audience member, NY
I just got finished seeing Holes In My Shoes – very inspirational. And now I’m going to be goin for 100!
Male, Avignon/NY Film Fest audience member, NY
I thought it was a spectacular film. It’s a real feel-good kind of movie. And you actually experience this man’s life from the very beginning to his 94 years.
Barbara, Avignon/NY Film Fest audience member, NY
He was a gentleman who grew up in poverty with holes in his shoes, and built ½ of New York City!
Male, Avignon/NY Film Fest audience member, NY
It was very very touching. And it feels like it was a privilege to see this.
Male, Avignon/NY Film Fest audience member, NY
I just saw the movie and I really enjoyed it. I found it emotional, first of all. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I found it very touching. Couple tears. Couple sniffles in the background – that’s for sure.
Participating film director, Avignon/NY Film Fest, from Australia
I enjoyed it, and I thought it would be a great inspiration for my kids.
Leslie, Avignon/NY Film Fest audience member, NY
Holes In My Shoes was an enthralling and inspiring documentary. I loved it. And I loved the tale of a man who’s still with us after all these years. I cried.
Film director of “Creating Karma”, Coney Island Film Fest
A brilliant, uplifting piece.
John, Avignon/NY Film Fest audience member, UK
(Woman) I cried…I loved it. (Man) A very enjoyable film…she dragged me here, basically, but I really enjoyed it.
Couple, Conn Film Fest audience member, NY
It was really fantastic. Unbelievable.
Female, Avignon/NY Film Fest
I loved your film. Here’s why:
Somewhere there may be the odd man or woman who has done as much as Jack Beers, but very few will have put in as much effort or discovered the true joy of living in the way he has. He makes me feel grateful just to be alive and alive to just how much more I could do! Inspirational viewing for all ages.
I had the pleasure of watching your film Holes in My Shoes and a pleasure it was. After asking her permission, I sent it to my niece in Virginia, who will arrange for a showing of it to my two older brothers (83 and 85) and her sisters, brother, and their families.
As children, my brothers and I lived on various streets between 6th and 11th and between Avenue A and B in the very same neighborhood as Jack Beers. In fact, although my brothers are younger than Jack I believe that they were children while Jack still lived in the neighborhood.
I wish I could be there when they see your film and enjoy what I know will be their joy and fascination with seeing it and vicariously reliving some of their childhood, thanks to you. They will recognize every scene of their neighborhood.
I wonder if they know of Jack and I am sure that they will tell me after seeing the film.
What a remarkable human being this man is and what a role model for everyone who starts out in life in poverty, in a ghetto. Although as you are more aware than most, back in the early 20s and 30s in the East Side and lower East Side of Manhattan, it was a very unique place and a very unique time. I am certain that you had much more film that did not make it into your final version. As young as I was (am 73 now) I still remember those tenaments, walking up 5 and floors, toilets down the hall, the ice man and knives sharpener calling from the street, and the ice man carrying a large block of ice up those many floors to put into our ice box. I remember sleeping out on the fire escape, because it was too hot to sleep inside in summer.
There are no doubt men like Jack, indomitable, who when an obstacle or challenge is put before them overcome it or find a new path to even greater accomlishment or success. Surely Jack Beers is such a man. It is almost too difficult to find ways or accolades to express admiration for him. If the expression, “pulling oneself up by one’s bootstraps” has any meaning, it certainly describes what he did. Each and every step or stage of his life in and of itself is an accomplishment and each one is more remarkable than the previous one. How does a person have such determination and such zest for life and such courage combined with hard work and dedication? From boyhood to old age each stage is a story in and of itself, which you captured so remarkably and so sensitively.
Thanks to your creativity and artistry I believe I felt his feelings as a boy body building and exhibiting his strength, working in a steel mill, constructing skyscrapers and buildings that became so famous, walking on steel beams up to a 100 stories high, earning a good living during the depths of the depression and without an edcuation, to take care of his Mom and Dad, teaching himself to be a more than competent structural engineer and inventor, making such a contribution to our winning the second world war, and then as a very successful actor. David, perhaps what you captured the most is that man’s love of humanity, his tenderness and just plain goodness, and of course, his great sensitivity and humor. So many people so successful and creative in their own right came to see Jack as a truly special human being.
Thanks to you there is now a monument to Jack and one day a memorial that allows us and future generations to see, to marvel at, and to try to emulate as best we can and in our own way. You’ve done a great thing for a great man and for all of us. Thanks.
Thank-you for the experience of being inspired by watching the Jack Beer story at the Yacht Club last evening.
The ending highlighted the ongoing message thru-out the film that whatever job you do if you do it with enthusiasm, pride and a desire to continue to improve, you and others will get the most out of it. Jack’s zest for life and living it to the fullest was apparent in whatever he did including his love for family and dogs. His positive attitude and determination to help his parents was wonderfully brought out in the documentary…
The highlights of the film was seeing scenes from New York, especially Radio City, since I am an ex-New Yorker and had a smile on my face throughout most of the movie. I enjoyed reminiscing with Jack on the differences between his childhood and today.
I would definitely recommend this film and the message will continue to stay with me… Thank-you again for the privilege of getting to know Jack Beers.
I’m writing to say that it was an honor to meet you this past Sunday at the Secret City Film Festival awards program.
I saw the documentary film on your life earlier last week. It made me laugh, cry, and feel a host of other emotions. You have experienced an amazing life.
I am proud to have met you and talk with you about your experiences here in Oak Ridge during its early days when it was a city behind the fence.
As I told you, those times you spent showing your special dogs was quite touching as my wife and I watch the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Shows every time they are on tv. She loves her dogs, too.
You mentioned your book. I would be most delighted to receive an autographed copy of it. I would certainly reimburse you as needed.
I was so fortunate to be the flight attendant on Jack Beer’s flight from Knoxville to Charlotte on 10/16/06. I was so amazed at the sharpness of his mind and to learn of all his accomplishments in his life are truly amazing from one man.
I was lucky enough to get my picture taken with Mr. Beer’s. I hope they remember to send me a picture of Mr. Beers and me.
I think all the men I have told about amazing Jack Beer’s are jealous. Maybe they should be. I am looking forward to reading the book.
Mr. Beer’s told me to view his website and I am very proud to have met such a GREAT and very INSPIRING MAN! THANK YOU JACK!!!
Hi Jack, I met you last night briefly at the Charlotte-Douglas airport. I work at the “E” Concourse at the Marriott booth.
I loved this website and you have inspired me. Keep doing what you’re doing !
I had the great privilege of viewing this film at the Coney Island Film Festival, where Jack Beers made a personal appearance.
The film is obviously a labor of love and David Wachs performed a great service to New York and to the world by capturing the life of this magnificent and awe-inspiring man on film.
The movie evoked a wide range of emotions, including inspiration, wonder, joy and sadness. Most of all, it was life-affirming and the spirit of Jack Beers illuminates the screen as he touches our hearts.
Audience Reactions from
Cinequest Film Festival (San Jose) 2007
Holes In my shoes was fantastic, very inspiring. I’d give it a 10. I’m feeling really good right now and take on the world because of him (Jack).
He’s inspirational. He’s amazing. I’ve gotta lose some weight if I want to look like him when I’m older.
That was an amazing life, especially the Manhattan Project, like that, be a steel worker and contribute like that.
Then he became an actor – he just never gave up. I was really impressed.
I can’t even speak after seeing that. That guy is such an inspiration. I just thank God they made this film.
10 plus, it was fabulous.
Traditionally, I’m no fan of heart-warming, but this was really the best kind of heart-warming there ever was.
10 with stars.
It was excellent, definitely a 10.
It was great. I knew I was going to be bawling by the end. And I was.
I’ve been to New York just once. This guy was inspirational. A 15!
I loved it. Oh, it was wonderful. Oh, I loved him. He was amazing – all the things he accomplished!
It was a great historic perspective on a wonderful life.
Absolutely a 10, and Jack Beers was fabulous. We fell in love with Jack.
Jack you did good! A 10, off the charts! An inspiration.
I was really impressed with his life.
I think it was wonderful. Jack is an inspiration and a model for everybody.
Amazing man, very inspirational.
I loved it. Beyond 10!
Jack, I love ya. We’re gonna get the DVD. For me it was a 10.
I loved the movie. I was just totally engrossed in the movie. I’d say it was about a 10.
Really gave me something to look forward to, and not give up. 10 definitely.
I like it very much. I think it was a tremendously well put together film. Touching, humorous, nice photography. It was great.
It was excellent. He was such an inspiration. It was definitely a 10.
I thought the movie was wonderful. It was a great opportunity to meet such an extraordinary person. Definitely a 10.
Zold zein mit glicht. Hope you live to 1000.