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!
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
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
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.
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)
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!
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...
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.
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
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"...
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...
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...
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... https://tinyurl.com/yadnc93l
How to Shoot a Feature Film in 15 Days (And Survive to See Profits)
Click to buy on Amazon
Click to view on Amazon
Examples of Responsive Reactions
Click photo to see example clips from Stephen's movies
Action/ReAction at Stella Adler
Point of Departure
A Series of ONE...
Stephen and Dragonuk
Stephen Mitchell webinar for Stage 32
Ferrari GTO 3987 at speed by Yan denes
Ray D. Shosay's Journal
Dispatches from a (junior) suite in Paris
Ray D. Shosay's Journal (excerpt)
"Saturday, January 27, 2007
They say you can fool some of the people all of the time. Accordingly, I think we should concentrate on this group initially. We can move on to the people you can only fool some of the time at a later date if we deem it necessary. I hope to hear back from my agent about this as soon as he's out of rehab, as I don't think my messages have been getting through."
Ignorance is Bliss by Stephen Mitchell
Kindle or Paperback versions
Exerpt from Ignorance is Bliss
"Out of the corner of his eye, Martin saw Martha shift in her seat. She leaned forward, as though something was about to be decided. This caused her breasts to push up against the neckline of her dress in a way that couldn't be fully appreciated out of the corner of one’s eye. So, Martin turned his head to look directly into the abyss of her cleavage. He was vaguely aware that Murray was talking again."
Carrera Panamericana (1950-54)
Click on poster to buy the poster and DVD
Ferrari GTO 3987
Elysée Wednesday: Drive!
Click photo to watch on Amazon Direct Video
“You ought to meet Steve. The two of you have the same kind of Ferrari.”
Ferrari Berlinetta Lusso
One evening, I was enjoying a John le Carré novel and a glass of Bordeaux...
L'art de l'automobile
My first Lusso prior to restoration
It was only after Sinatra was gone...
Once upon a time...
Meeting Enzo Ferrari
I came across this on a late night stroll in Paris near the Louvre.
I bought Bentleys in England and Ferraris & Maseratis in Italy to re-sell in Los Angeles as a teenager. I met Enzo Ferrari, Juan Fangio and Steve McQueen. I 'grew up' on the set of Mission: Impossible and other episodic TV series of the era. For a few years, I owned a Ferrari GTO that is owned by Ralph Lauren today and valued at approximately $52M. I began my film career by writing, producing and directing Montmartre in Paris in French. I founded and ran a repertory company for film & TV for 20 years in Los Angeles. I created a TV series which had fans that included Marlon Brando. I authored the first new acting technique--Action/ReAction--that was not based on Stanislavski's Method. I am currently writing my third novel and shooting my spy thriller Exigence. If you can't make movies, live your life as though you were in one...