L.A. Lifeguards

Having to deal with everything from cars buried axle-deep in the sand to recovering drowned bodies, the life of Los Angeles lifeguards may still need beefing up to sustain as a TV series, but it makes for an interesting and informative hourlong documentary.

With:
Narrator: Michael Newman.

Having to deal with everything from cars buried axle-deep in the sand to recovering drowned bodies, the life of Los Angeles lifeguards may still need beefing up to sustain as a TV series, but it makes for an interesting and informative hourlong documentary. Like much good reportage about Los Angeles, docu, finely wrought under director Barbara Leibovitz, comes from afar — in this case, Atlanta-based WTBS.

Core of “L.A. Lifeguards” follows fresh crop of trainees, winnowed from 250 applicants to 32 who actually make it to the beach. Before, after and along the way is a bit of history, a couple of rescues and a fair amount of insight.

The service was founded several decades ago when officials decided that the number of bathers who drowned each year was bad publicity. Now there’s a guard for every 200 yards of L.A.’s 71-mile shoreline during the summer season, with six “recurrants,” or seasonal lifeguards, for every one on year-round duty. The lifeguards operate as a division of the county Fire Dept. and handle something like 10,000 rescues a year.

It’s not like “Baywatch.” For one thing, there are only two female lifeguards on year-round duty. The one spotlighted, Chris Linkletter, has run nearly 50 triathlons, including three Iron Man events in Hawaii.

As for the men, they tend toward hunkiness. One lifeguard interviewed here is a history teacher during the off-season, another is an emergency-room medic and a third, Greg Bonann, is creator and executive producer of “Baywatch,” though he continues to lifeguard professionally.

Some lifeguards are more articulate than others. “Some of these people,” the history teacher notes wryly of those he watches, “you wouldn’t let take a bath by themselves.” Another, speaking of his students in a Junior Lifeguard program, exclaims, “The kids are so awesome — it’s awesome!”

L.A. Lifeguards

Docu.; WTBS, Sun., June 14, 6 p.m.

Production: Filmed in Los Angeles by Leibovitz Prods. in association with Turner Original Prods. Executive producer, Nancy Walzog; producer, director, Barbara Leibowitz; writers, Leibowitz, Lenny Feinstein.

Crew: Camera, Jaime Hellman; editor, Feinstein; sound, Sam Aronson; music, Richard Fiocca. 60 MIN.

With: Narrator: Michael Newman.Camera, Jaime Hellman; editor, Feinstein; sound, Sam Aronson; music, Richard Fiocca. 60 MIN.

More Film

  • Solo A Star Wars Story

    'Solo: A Star Wars Story' Stumbles Overseas With $65 Million Launch

    Having to deal with everything from cars buried axle-deep in the sand to recovering drowned bodies, the life of Los Angeles lifeguards may still need beefing up to sustain as a TV series, but it makes for an interesting and informative hourlong documentary. Like much good reportage about Los Angeles, docu, finely wrought under director […]

  • 'Solo': What That Surprise Cameo Means

    'Solo': What a 'Character Too Secret to Ever Name' Means for the 'Star Wars' Spinoff

    Having to deal with everything from cars buried axle-deep in the sand to recovering drowned bodies, the life of Los Angeles lifeguards may still need beefing up to sustain as a TV series, but it makes for an interesting and informative hourlong documentary. Like much good reportage about Los Angeles, docu, finely wrought under director […]

  • Rebel Wilson and Taye Diggs

    Concert Review: 'Beauty and the Beast' Gets Adoring Tribute at Hollywood Bowl

    Having to deal with everything from cars buried axle-deep in the sand to recovering drowned bodies, the life of Los Angeles lifeguards may still need beefing up to sustain as a TV series, but it makes for an interesting and informative hourlong documentary. Like much good reportage about Los Angeles, docu, finely wrought under director […]

  • Solo a Star Wars Story Deadpool

    It's Official: Deadpool Is Now Cooler Than Han Solo

    Having to deal with everything from cars buried axle-deep in the sand to recovering drowned bodies, the life of Los Angeles lifeguards may still need beefing up to sustain as a TV series, but it makes for an interesting and informative hourlong documentary. Like much good reportage about Los Angeles, docu, finely wrought under director […]

  • solo a star wars story

    Box Office: 'Solo: A Star Wars Story' Headed for Underwhelming Holiday Weekend Debut

    Having to deal with everything from cars buried axle-deep in the sand to recovering drowned bodies, the life of Los Angeles lifeguards may still need beefing up to sustain as a TV series, but it makes for an interesting and informative hourlong documentary. Like much good reportage about Los Angeles, docu, finely wrought under director […]

  • solo a star wars story

    How the Kasdans Settled the Biggest Debate in 'Star Wars' History With 'Solo'

    Having to deal with everything from cars buried axle-deep in the sand to recovering drowned bodies, the life of Los Angeles lifeguards may still need beefing up to sustain as a TV series, but it makes for an interesting and informative hourlong documentary. Like much good reportage about Los Angeles, docu, finely wrought under director […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content