Bullitt products designed for the 45th anniversary event
Brisbane, California is a sleepy little town that resides on the side of a mountain just outside the boundaries of San Francisco and Daly City. One cloudy Saturday in April, forty-five years ago this idyllic hamlet wasn’t so quiet. In fact the air on Guadalupe Parkway was filled with racing motors, skidding tires, gunshots, and explosions. No it wasn’t terrorism, but the final day of shooting on the motion picture Bullitt. I was there, as was my parents, and our trusty 8mm movie camera. My dad was a police officer assigned to the company, which gave us under-the-rope access to the location.
Now, let us fast forward forty-five years to June 21, 2013. It’s the anniversary of this same film, and Hoondog Events, under the able steerage of Greg Autry, is celebrating this bench mark in style. A car show in Blackhawk; a proclamation from the City of San Francisco honoring the late actor STEVE McQUEEN, accepted by his son, Chad; and a night of movie memories offered by those who had been present during the filming of the motion picture back in 1968. Both Frank Panacci, senor (my dad’s police partner during the movie years) and his son, Frank Jr., a Deputy Chief, North County Fire Authority, and Anthony Bologna spoke of Bullitt, and the surviving mustang movie car- and I was extremely honored to be able to share my Bullitt memories as featured keynote speaker.
Event organizer, Greg Autry and myself
Steve McQueen on location in Brisbane, CA in 1968- Piazza Archives.
I began my presentation with a statement honoring my dad. I told the audience that I’d wished he could have been standing there, instead of me … for it was his hard work, and dedication that contributed so greatly to the production of Bullitt, and deserved the attention, not I; for I only served as a lucky spectator. I then gave a brief explanation of who I was, and how I was associated with the production, and then followed with a brief PowerPoint presentation on the background of the film- interspersed with some inside tidbits- all drawn from the interviews and research information I utilized for the writing of my e-book, Bullitt Points: Memories of Steve McQueen and Bullitt. Lastly, I told some personal stories, and then ran a DVD video presentation of a Bay Area NBC interview I did on Bullitt Points last July, and the complete 8mm family movie filmed behind the scenes on the last day of shooting on the film. Steve McQueen could be seen in it, as was, then Mayor Alioto, the cars, the explosions, and everything else that made that day so memorable.
Chad McQueen and myself at the 45th Anniversary of Bullitt
Author visiting with Chad McQueen
CHAD McQUEEN stopped by, which gave me another chance to talk with him, and get another picture, or two. He is a very gracious man, a chip off the old block- a carbon copy of his dad, which is saying plenty. His, and the McQueen family’s generosity to The Boys Republic in Chino, California is legendary- and by-the-way- this 45th was also designed to benefit the charity.
My wife, Susan and I in front of my Bullitt Points display
The sold out event took place at the Mission Blue Center in Brisbane. A marvelous Lions Club BBQ steak dinner, a screening of the Bullitt documentary, Commitment to Reality, and a live dance band rounded out the festivities.
Left to right: Mitch Bull, president Brisbane Chamber of Commerce; Cliff Lentz, Brisbane council member; Chad McQueen; Tony Piazza, author & film Historian; Dan Carter, Brisbane Lion; Bob Wilson, Lions Clubs International District 4 Governor; Deputy Chief Frank Panacci; and Frank Panacci, Sr.
So June 21st we went full circle: Brisbane, the sleepy little town nestled in the California hills was once again, for this one special day, bustling with the excitement of a McQueen, cool mustangs, and a generous sprinkling of movie folklore. I was so fortunate to be able to represent my dad on this glorious occasion, and am grateful to Greg Autry, and Hoondog Events for making it possible.
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 next novel, “The Curse of the Crimson Dragon” was released early 2012 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.
Also: Watch for the new Tom Logan mystery thriller published soon by Amazon!
Due out mid-2013!