I once drove my GTO to Phoenix, Arizona in order to break in the engine after a rebuild. I chose the destination because my mentor, the television director Paul Stanley, was directing an episode of Then Came Bronson on location there. The series was sort of like Route 66 on a motorcycle starring Michael Parks. I left Los Angeles late one evening and arrived in Phoenix the next morning. I don't think I went over 5500 rpm the entire trip.
It was fun getting to know the car driving through the desert in the middle of the night listening to the V12 engine singing its song. The next day, I met up with the production and it seemed I gave rides to the entire crew during their lunch break. I met Michael Parks who pretty much kept to himself. I also met Michael Burns who had been a child actor whose career carried on into his adult years and who introduced me to Ramos Gin Fizzes for which I am eternally grateful. I also ended up spending most of an afternoon with some guy sitting in a station wagon in order to stay out of the desert sun. The guy liked motorcyles. Whenever Michael Park's character needed to be seen on his motorcyle, it was this guy who rode the bike. The guy's name was Bud Ekins.
I knew Bud's name because he had a motorcyle shop in Sherman Oaks. The name was also familiar to me because he had stunt-doubled Steve McQueen in Bullitt. Bud drove the McQueen Mustang in many of the scenes--whenever the rear-view mirror is turned down, it's Bud at the wheel. He also put down the motorcycle on the freeway during the chase scene, his only protection being his leathers and a helmet. Bud was equally famous for having made the motorcycle jump in The Great Escape. I say famous, but perhaps only to those close to the business, for the public was allowed to believe that McQueen performed the jump. We talked a lot about McQueen--Bud had only good things to say about him--and about the making of Bullitt. He spoke of Carey Lofton who also worked on Bullitt, but I don't recall any mention of Bill Hickman who drove the Dodge Charger in the film. Bud was an easy conversationalist and as unpretentious as anyone could be. I could see how he and McQueen would get along together.
This encounter reminds me of how, yet again, I was able to meet an extraordinary individual thanks to the extraordinary car that I owned for a few years. Had I not needed to break in the GTO's engine, I doubt I would have made the trip to Phoenix and I never would have spent that afternoon shooting the breeze with Bud Ekins.
How to Shoot a Feature Film in 15 Days (And Survive to See Profits)
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Examples of Responsive Reactions
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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
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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)
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Ferrari GTO 3987
Elysée Wednesday: Drive!
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“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...