HBO plans film on Minnesotan who became 1st 'Earthwalker'

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An obscure story about a Caledonia, Minn., native who was the first documented person to have walked around the earth is finally being made into movie by HBO Films, the Caledonia Argus reports.

Dave Kunst, who was born in Caledonia and later settled in Waseca, told the paper in an interview that he and his brother, John Kunst, began the trek in 1970, first walking to New York with a mule named Willie Makeit.

After touching their toes in the Atlantic Ocean, the brothers flew to Europe and walked across Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Turkey and Iran.

The brothers were endorsed on their adventure by former U.S. Sen. and Vice President Hubert Humphrey and met several dignitaries on the way, including Princess Grace of Monaco.

Sadly, in Afghanistan in October of 1972, the brothers were attacked by six bandits about 90 miles from Kabul. The first bullet hit Dave Kunst and the others hit and killed John Kunst. After recovering in the hospital for four months, Dave Kunst resumed the journey with his oldest brother, Pete Kunst.

While Pete Kunst had to leave the walk in Australia, Dave Kunst continued on, and returned home to Waseca in October 1974.

According to the Argus, the city of Caledonia commemorated the brothers' walk with the large sign with the inscription, "Caledonia: Birthplace of the Earthwalkers David, Peter and John Kunst" in 2004.

Now 73, Dave Kunst has sold his book about the journey and life rights to HBO, but told the Argus he will have little influence on the movie.

Kunst now lives in Costa Mesa, Calif., and told the Argus he's proud he was born in Caledonia, lived a "fantastic life" as a kid" and remembers nothing but "good and fun and good people."

"When you grow up with that kind of childhood you grow up straight and narrow," he said.

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