Christmas on “The Streets of San Francisco” by Tony Piazza

 

Here we are on the brink of 2015, and as I do every year during the weeks leading up to Christmas, I reflect back. I don’t know about you, but with the passing years it seems that my mind turns even more readily to those innocent years of childhood. Frankly, adulthood isn’t what it is cracked up to be…loaded with its’ inevitable responsibilities, emotional roller-coaster moments, and inescapable tragedies. It certainly makes you long for the old days, where being naughty or nice was the only worry on your mind. Still there is lots to give thanks for, and many blessings have come my way through the year, not the least of which is all your friendships. I appreciate you coming back, reading, and commenting on my stories. Here’s wishing all of you a Merry Christmas, and a happy and healthy 2015!

 

My First Christmas Party with “The Streets of San Francisco” by Tony Piazza

San Francisco skyline at Christmas

  The Christmas season is a great time to reflect on the past. Family gatherings, friends stopping by for good cheer, sumptuous treats and colorful gifts are all part of the memories we conjure up on the days leading up to the twenty-fifth.

  Today mine turns to a very special occasion that occurred forty-one years ago in December of 1972. It was the Christmas Party put on by Quinn Martin for the cast and crew of “The Streets of San Francisco.”     KARL MALDEN and his wife Mona was there, so was MICHAEL DOUGLAS. Producer QUINN MARTIN came up from Southern California to join us, as did Executive Producer HOWARD ALSTON. Many from Management were a part of the festivities;  DICK GALLEGLY and ARTHUR FELLOWS also coming to mind.

 

This is a crew Christmas photograph from 1973. Look for guest star Ida Lupino among Karl, Michael, and the rest.

  I was a guest that night along with my parents. It was held in the ballroom at the Del Webb Towne House on Market Street. This hotel was used as the production office during that first season- later (for the second season) a warehouse on Kearny would be converted to offices and a soundstage.

 Kas Garas, Anneke Wills, and Anthony Quayle- Strange Report

  Aside from my parents, I shared a table with two of the guest stars on the episode they happened to be filming during the week of the party- actors KAZ GARAS and ED NELSON. Kaz was one of the stars (actor ANTHONY QUAYLE being the other) of my favorite British television production- “Strange Report”.  He was seated next to me and we were having a conversation like old friends! Boy, did that seem strange– no pun intended! Actor Ed Nelson had played Dr. Rossi (in the 1960s) on my mother’s favorite night-time soap…“Peyton Place” (which also starred: Ryan O’Neal, Barbara Parkins, Mia Farrow, and Christopher Connelly). Nelson was a heart-throb on that show, so I’m sure she didn’t have any complaints having him at our table. We were having a great time.

 

Ed Nelson as Dr. Rossi  (Peyton Place)

The food was terrific that night, as was the outtakes and blooper reels shown by EDDIE MARKS, the wardrobe guy on the show- some of the films were taken with his own 8mm sound camera.

My father and Michael Douglas

 I remember everything was brightly decorated- both in the ballroom and outside the hotel. Colorful holiday lights of red, green, yellow, and blue reflected off the wet pavement that chilly San Francisco night- it had rained. But once inside there was great warmth in the Towne  House with friends sharing laughter and good cheer.  Karl- ever the father of the production company also played Father Christmas passing out gifts that he (whose generous nature was remarkable) had purchased for the great and small alike of his “Streets” family.  

 Karl Malden- Father Christmas!

There was caroling, and music to dance to- nothing was overlooked. It was a memory to be cherished- as I have done these many years. Most of the crew is gone now- Karl has passed on to his reward, and so have my parents who are no doubt presently sharing some laughs with him. It is so grand that I can look back and remember these special occasions which grow every so much more meaningful as time passes on.

Merry Christmas to all! Thank you for following my blogs and hope to see you next year!

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Tony Piazza is author of the 1930s Hollywood murder mystery novel, “Anything Short of Murder,” which had its roots on the TCM fan website. His second novel, “The Curse of the Crimson Dragon” was next released early 2012, and in July of this year, his latest Tom Logan Mystery, “A Murder Amongst Angels” was published and is now available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble websites. He was an actor/extra during the 1970s and worked with such legends as Steve McQueen, Paul Newman, and Karl Malden.  His non-fiction e-book “Bullitt Points” is an in depth look at the making of “Bullitt” from a person who was there. Look for it on Amazon and Barnes and Noble websites,  or at the link posted below. All profits go to the Boys Republic charity: www.bullittpoints.com.

My earlier bestselling novels, “The Curse of the Crimson Dragon” and “Anything Short of Murder” now joins “A Murder Amongst Angels” on Amazon’s Kindle at a new, low price of $2.99. Now you can have hours of adventure, thrills, mystery, and romance for the price of a cup of coffee- and just as stimulating! Look for it on Amazon. Print versions have also been reduced.

CofD

ASofM

Find them on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. Also available for $2.99 on Kindle.

 

amongstangelsfront cover 3

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14 Responses to “Christmas on “The Streets of San Francisco” by Tony Piazza”

  1. Herb Blank says:

    What a wonderful memory. Malden was a great actor. I just recently watched him in Baby Doll again. Some of my fovorite Malden performances include: Streetcar, Patton, and the Cincinnati Kid. I loved Ed Nelson in the TV-Movie ALong Came a Spider along with countless TV series episodes. Kaz Garas was a solid actor as well. I also enjoyed RIchard Hatch on Streets of San Francisco. And who was that other fellow you mentioned?

  2. My dad grew up in the Serbian section of Gary, IN with Karl Malden. His name was Mladen Sekulovich. They shared a similar heritage. Both had Serbian fathers and Czechoslovakian mothers.

    Even after Karl Malden became a famous actor, they maintained a connection and in the late 1970s my dad went to visit his sister in Ventura, CA and spent a day at the Malden’s house in LA.

    From what I learned through my dad, Karl Malden was a genuine type of person, authentic.

    • tonypiazza says:

      Hi Nike, I speak of that elsewhere- his pride in being a Serbian- on my website. He made many Serbian friends in SF during his time filming there…and his family name Sekulovich usually would be used for a minor character in his films and on TV. Example Sgt. Sekulovich in the “Streets of San Francisco” squad room played by his stand-in, Art.
      Take care,
      Tony

  3. Tony, you have shared some beautiful memories that bring you a lot of happiness. Thanks for sharing them with us. Memories like these are precious and I’m glad you have not forgotten them. Have a very Merry and Bless Christmas this year, too.

    • tonypiazza says:

      Thank you, Ronnie. I appreciate hearing from you. Here’s wishing you and your family all the best this coming new year. A very Merry Christmas. Tony

  4. Bob Ancell says:

    I regret never meeting Mr. Malden nor Michael Douglas, but their reputation precedes them. I did have the pleasure of meeting Michael’s father when he was filming a movie in Albuquerque and I was a tv news reporter.

    • tonypiazza says:

      I saw Michael’s father as well. He came to the studio on Kearny Street in SF to do an interview with his son for Entertainment Tonight. I was surprised that he wasn’t as tall as Michael, who was about 6 feet. It was fun seeing a legend in the flesh. My favorite film was 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea…and Kirk played Ned Land. What a thrill. Thanks Bob for commenting. Have a great holiday!

  5. Paul Fahey says:

    What a lovely reminiscence, Tony. I loved Peyton Place, and even though I was in college then in S.F., I’d often skip classes to watch it. Three nights a week in those days, I think. Found Ida in the photo. Wasn’t she great? Thank you for sharing this. Happy Holidays to you and Susan,

    Paul and Bob

  6. Paul Fahey says:

    Some wonderful memories here, Tony. I lived in the Mission back then back from five years of living and teaching overseas. Remember Dell Webb Townhouse for sure. Anthony Quayle was such a great character actor. Ed Nelson. Loved Peyton Place. It was on three nights a week and I remember I had to hurry home from SF State so I wouldn’t miss an episode. Thanks for this terrific walk down memory lane, Tony.

    Best of holiday wishes to you, Susan, and Toby.

    Warmly,

    Paul and Bob

  7. Roberta Slutske says:

    I really enjoyed reading this! What a great Christmas memory! Merry Christmas!

    • tonypiazza says:

      Thank you, Roberta. A very Merry Christmas, to you, Daniel, and Brent. Have a wonderful holiday, and a happy and prosperous New Year!

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