Freebie, the Bean, and Me!

Freebie and the Bean (1974)


This photograph was taken in the summer of 1974 in front of the trailer dressing room. The photographer was taken by the make-up man on the feature, Donald Schoenfeld . The location wasSan Francisco’s Embarcadero. We had been filming some of the chase scenes, and many of the “extras” including myself had brought our cars. One scene called for a car to careen over the guard rail of the Embarcadero Freeway (which is no longer there, it was demolished after the 1989 earthquake), crash through the roof of a building, and end up in a person’s apartment. This was done in three steps. I watched as the automobile, stripped and with dummies was launched by a gas driven catapult over the actual freeway railing and into empty space where it crashed into the dirt lot below. A matt shot was then made to fill this space with a building, and then an interior where a car slides down a ramp enters the apartment through the ceiling. Such is the magic ofHollywood! Both Mr. Caan and Mr. Arkin were great to work with. Real cut-ups on the set and you can tell they enjoyed their work. Actually comedies always brought out the funny bone of most actors even behind the scenes. There was just as much fun on the “High Anxiety” set (another comedy I worked on) as there was in front of the camera, but that’s another story for another day.


Tony Piazza is author of the 1930’s 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” is due out early 2012. He was an actor/extra during the 1970’s and worked with such legends as Steve McQueen, Paul Newman, and Karl Malden.