To a certain generation of skateboarders, the Bones Brigade were as big as the Beatles. No matter how you measure it, Tony Hawk, Steve Caballero, Tommy Guerrero, Mike McGill and Lance Mountain dominated mainstream skating in the mid- to late-1980s.
While more renegade skaters like Mark Gonzales, Natas Kaupas and Christian Hosoi were skateboarding's Frank Zappa, David Bowie and Rolling Stones (respectively, and yes, I have put great thought into this), there truly was no competition when it came to the Bones Brigade's shameless marketing by Stacey Peralta, the team's public cheerleader and Maurice Starr-type Svengali.
And in 1987, the Bones Brigade released their Help!: a fun-loving, envelope-pushing, immensely popular skate video called The Search for Animal Chin. If you are like me, you have watched it approximately 5,987 times.
One of the enduring enigmas about The Search for Animal Chin is, surprisingly, not the whereabouts of its eponymous character. Yes, baggy T-shirts proclaiming "HAVE YOU SEEN HIM" with the visage of Animal Chin flourished in popularity. But c'mon. Everyone knows Animal Chin wasn't real.
What was real was the mythic Animal Chin ramp. At the time, it was the largest, craziest ramp ever built, with a spine, a channel, extensions, another half-pipe connected via secret tunnel and a mini-ramp on the platform. In the same way generations of kids walked into a major-league ballpark for the first time and experienced the expansive green field opening up a world of imagination, every young wide-eyed skater in the late 80s saw the Chin ramp on their family room's Magnavox TV and dreamed of one day skating it.