GTO 3987 on Mulholland

GTO 3987 on Mulholland

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Ferrari GTOs Sears Point start

If one is good, how about..?

This is a clip from a video I shot of a group of Ferrari 250 GTO owners at Sears Point (at the time, Infineon) Raceway as they move out onto the track for an afternoon of fun during the 45th anniversary event organized by Jean Berchon of Moët & Chandon. It was a great track day with some very enthusiastic drivers!

Monday, January 7, 2019

Bentleys and other adventures...

I began the era of 'living my life as though I were in a movie' before I was actually making them by going to England to buy Bentleys and enjoy the sights and sounds of swinging London that was dominating the cultural scene at the time. I was able to experience the new pop culture while being tutored in the old school (lessons of all sorts provided by my friend W.J.D. Clarke not the least of which was to always pronounce the last consonants), which provided quite a contrast Lord's being what it was and Carnaby Street, well...

Staying at the Garrick Hotel, I looked out my window one morning to see a half dozen Bobbies trying to break into my dark blue S1 Bentley parked below on Charing Cross Road. I flew down the stairs and managed to convince them I was undeserving of a citation--David Hemmings having set the stage for unlikely Rolls/Bentley drivers--and they let me off with a warning about double yellow lines. In the States, rock & roll types were commonly seen in sports cars but infrequently in Bentleys. One day, I was at a gas station where my stepmother and I were filling our tanks and, after I'd driven off in my Bentley, an incredulous man approached her asking, "Do you know him? What on Earth does he do for a living?" I'm not sure how she answered that question because I'm still struggling with it...

All this came back to me as we enjoyed afternoon tea with French friends in Donegal at the Central Hotel. I've enjoyed afternoon teas at the Brown's in Mayfair, The Shelbourne in Dublin and at Eala Bhan in Sligo but the style of the Central was reminiscent of London during the 'Bentley' years sporting a vintage feel and atmosphere--the only thing lacking were the red double-decker buses and the scent of London diesel in the air. In those days, I was too young to be out on my own but, nevertheless, there I was taking trains to Southampton (that served very nice luncheons with starched white linen table cloth and waiters who understood customer service) to look at a Bentley I just had to have, flooding the bathtub at the London Hilton on Park Lane (an American ritual, I was told) and trying to follow the thread of Cockney rhyming slang in a theatrical presentation, which would have been quite a feat had I managed it--years later, I heard that Sean Connery and his friends would hang out in a Santa Monica pub called The Mucky Duck and it still hadn't dawned on me what that meant (!!).

A lot of pleasant memories were stimulated by our visit to the Central but, just as surely, we were creating new ones with our friends as we managed to make 'afternoon tea' last a full seven hours and, to their credit, that was fine with the staff at the Central Hotel

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Driving a Ferrari 330GT 2+2 on Mulholland

Driving a Ferrari 330GT 2+2 on Mulholland courtesy of Richard Mitchell and Blackhorse Motor Sports--plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose...

Richard Mitchell adds this note:

Pat Boone was the original owner who bought it after Enzo Ferrari convinced him it was a better choice for a family man instead of the 400 Super America he wanted. Boone figured out later he wasn't cool enough to rate a special Ferrari as a mere hick American crooner...he hated the car and rarely drove it.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

The first time I saw GTO 3987, it was being driven by Mark Slotkin who acquired the car from Ferrari dealer Otto Zipper after Otto had entered the car for Richie Ginther to drive at Riverside Raceway. We were going in opposite directions on San Vicente Boulevard by Brentwood Elementary School though I was a passenger, still too young to drive. The GTO took my breath away and I turned around in my seat to watch as it disappeared down the road. It looked and sounded wonderful! I needed that car!

The next time, some months later, the GTO pulled up next to the family Cadillac (I was was still too young to drive) at a red light on Wilshire Boulevard at Gayley Avenue--a couple of blocks from where I would later begin holding the Elysée Wednesday meetings--I took in as many aspects of 3987 as I could, admiring the body contours and gleaming red paint, the orange lights on the roof, the sound of the engine idling at 1000 rpm, the Goodyear Blue Streak racing tires on Borrani wire wheels. It was a lot to take in and the light turned green much too soon and the sound of the GTO accelerating away was almost too much to bear. That particular GTO had embedded itself into my psyche!

The next time I saw 3987, it was already mine. I purchased it over the phone without a moment's hesitation. Sal DiNatale tells me a GTO is in the shop and the owner wants to sell it and I place a 'buy' order without needing any further information. It was only when I arrived at Sal's shop to inspect my new purchase that I realized I had acquired that red GTO with the orange lights on the roof! I had purchased the car from guitarist/bassist/producer William Rinehart though I never met him in person and what lay before me was a rebuild of the engine that would take months as Rinehart had cooked the engine. Patience is a (hard won) virtue.

When, finally, the car was able to leave Sal's shop under its own power, I immediately drove it to Phoenix to break-in the engine and visit the set of Then Came Bronson, combining one passion with another. I drove all night keeping to 5000 rpm and enjoying the night drive across the desert with all the 18-wheelers. It was a memorable trip for so many reasons, not the least of which was meeting and hanging out with Bud Ekins--motorcyclist and Steve McQueen's stunt double on The Great Escape and Bullitt.

When I had put 3000 miles on the rebuilt engine, Sal gave me the go-ahead to use all the revs up to the redline. I didn't need to be told twice. I entered the San Diego Freeway southbound at Ventura Boulevard and, after negotiating the hairpin, let it rip--7500 rpm came up very fast and I was shifting up to second, then third and fourth before the first off-ramp at Mulholland presented itself. I exited the freeway to re-enter it again heading northbound accelerating down the incline into the Valley redlining the engine through the gears until I exited at Ventura Boulevard to execute the same circuit again. Talk about euphoria!

This was an auspicious beginning to a wonderful relationship with GTO 3987 that continues to this day, which provided me with thrilling experiences on road and track, personal encounters with extraordinary people and contacts and opportunities that would never have come my way otherwise. Well done 3987!

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

A Pertinent Question...

This clip shows playback from a Skype session with Adiyb Abdullah Muhammad as he rehearses a monologue I wrote for him in teaching elements of the Action/ReAction technique. The technique is designed to groom actors for lead roles and to effectively express their personal brand to the audience.

The text of the monologue may seem an unlikely Christmas message, but on the other hand...

Friday, December 21, 2018

ONE & Notes on a Call Sheet theme

Needing a theme for A series of ONE, I turned to Michael Chanslor who has created a number of musical themes for my projects over the years. I wanted music that could serve for comedy or drama since these one-man/one-woman shows range in tone from the light, absurdist comedy of The Spoiler with Kbaby Nate to the darkly sinister The Provocateur with Pry'ce Jaymes. My preference was for an upbeat jazz piece with a hint at irony and a touch of 'Charlie Rose' in feeling. I got just what I wanted. The same theme is used as an intro for my podcast Notes on a Call Sheet.

Thank you, Michael!

Monday, December 17, 2018

Look Into Darkness: "I don't need you to hear..."

Look Into Darkness: "I don't need you to hear..." with Pry'ce Jaymes and Shane Lewis and special thanks to Jaymes Young--two men on death row on the eve of their execution...

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Elysée Wednesday: A Ferrari/film/finance/homeless group

The Elysée Wednesday group that I founded was listed on Facebook as a Ferrari/film/finance/homeless group, which some mistook for humor though it was not. 

Two of our more notable homeless members were an ex-physics professor at UCLA (before he did a stint at Area 51 and came away all sideways) yclept Russell--I'll tell his story at a later date--and the other other was an artist who had showings of his works in Paris, if you can imagine. We were that kind of group. 

The artist first came to my attention when EW was gathering at the Elysée Bakery in Westwood Village. He would walk past in a determined fashion, a preoccupied countenance that saw only his intended path and not the people along the way and the sort of suntan seen only on lifeguards and transients seeming to give him definition. His immaculate, pale beige suit and his hair, worn long to the collar but seemingly hacked off at that point by a pair of shears that never saw the inside of José Eber's salon, completed the picture of many parts that this man presented to the world. I knew better than to say hello to him. 

Months go by and I find myself with my daughter Morgan at a 'coming out' party for a mansion in Beverly Hills--it had just received a make-over/re-think and the architect wanted to show it off--and Champagne and canapés never hurt anyone so there we were. Pierre Du Lat (with whom I did a French version of my Interview show) was there with his whopping great Bentley along with a few other EW regulars but I didn't know most of the assembled crowd.

Tyrone, who looks like a cross between Tom Wolfe and Lucky Luciano, approached and said hello offering us an astonishing introduction that only diplomacy and respect for the statute of limitations preclude me from repeating here. And then I saw him--the man with the pale beige suit and the maniac haircut. I decided I would finally say hello to him.  

Morgan and I went over and joined the small cluster of people listening to this curious fellow who was talking to his attentive audience about art--his art. This drew Morgan into the conversation as she was studying art and he was quite knowledgeable and articulate though shy. A homeless artist, he found--or rather, he was discovered by--a woman in the art world who rented an apartment for him where he could paint and sleep off the streets for a change. She also arranged for his art showings in Paris (!!). He seemed a very sweet fellow but someone had chopped off his hair at the collar with agricultural grade shears, and so, "Red sky in morning, sailor take warning"... 

Some months later, after not seeing him for awhile, I saw him walking along the sidewalk in Westwood Village and pulled my car to the curb to talk to him. Apparently, the arrangement with his patron had run its course and he was back to living on the streets, which he said he preferred. EW had moved to the Sunset Strip by that time, too far from his usual haunts, which explained why we hadn't seen him. I wished him luck and watched William Laga as he walked off in that determined way of his, no doubt towards some adventure of the most improbable kind. Perhaps he'd found another group of Ferrari and art enthusiasts or, given that Hefner's place on Charing Cross was so much closer... 

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Ferrari GTO 3987 at Riverside

This clip shows GTO 3987 at the Times Grand Prix in 1963 where it finished 5th overall driven by Richie Ginther and entered by Otto Zipper. The car is still in its Mecom racing colors before it went red...

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Notes on a Call Sheet: Making an Entrance

Notes on a Call Sheet: Making an entrance--This is an excerpt from my podcast which can be heard in its entirety on Podbean or iTunes. The idea of 'making an entrance' is both literal and conceptual and should be understood by any actor expecting to have a sustaining career. In the full podcast, I give an example of how an actor can do this even when the script doesn't provide the opportunity...