On Location with Leslie Nielsen by Tony Piazza
Mr. Nielsen and my father, from “The Streets of San Francisco.”
In 1976 I worked on a Quinn Martin T.V. movie entitled “Brinks: The Great Robbery.” In it I was as a stand-in for STEPHEN COLLINS (“Star Trek-The Motion Picture”) . “Brinks” also starred LESLIE NIELSEN during his pre-“Airplane” days. I had worked with him before on “The Streets of San Francisco” (first season episode) and so knew that we were in for some fun… the prankster that he was… and he didn’t disappoint. I really liked Mr. Nielsen, both personally and professionally. He was a fun, friendly individual that always brought a smile to your face.
He was quite different from the earlier characters that he played in such films as “Tammy and the Bachelor” (1957) and Forbidden Planet (1956)”- just an aside, but I worked with his co-star ANNE FRANCIS, a real lovely lady. Leslie was more like his “Airplane” (1980) character Dr. Rumack and “Naked Gun’s” (1988) Frank Drebin than his previous incarnations. To illustrate this point, he once told a story about being on a talk show. He had injured his wrist a week earlier and his doctor gave him a rubber ball to squeeze as part of his recovery. This ball made a rude sound when depressed, and seeing the comedic possibilities he brought it on the show hidden in his hand. Occasionally, when the host asked a question he squeezed it…the host became embarrassed and didn’t know what to make of it, except that Mr. Nielsen may have had cabbage for lunch!
The lovely Anne Francis and myself
The Naked Gun
The attached picture was taken in the Hall of Justice in San Francisco one Saturday during the summer of 1976. The story was set in 1950 and we had to dress accordingly. The lady in the middle was my mother. She had worked as an “extra” that day. The cinematographer on this show was a good friend of mine, MICHEL HUGO. We had not only worked together on this movie, but “The Streets of San Francisco”, “Bert D’Angelo, Superstar,” “The Avenger’s USA”, and the motion picture “Manitou.” Michel was the director of photography on the original “Mission Impossible” series (‘60s) and such feature films as “Bless the Beasts and Children” (1971) and “The April Fools” (1969).
Mr. Nielsen, Michel Hugo, and my mother are gone… and I’m sure to a much better place. They will be missed. Still, I wonder if Mr. Nielsen brought along his rubber ball?
R.I.P. Mr. Nielsen…it was a pleasure.
Tony Piazza (Courtesy of Charlotte Alexander)
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 published next in early 2012, and in November of 2013 his second Tom Logan Mystery, “A Murder Amongst Angels was released.” In July of 2015 his latest Logan mystery, “Murder Is Such Sweet Revenge” was made available for purchase, and has since been an instant bestseller. All are 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.
Tony Piazza is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and SLO NightWriters.
All my novels in the Tom Logan mystery series have become audio books- read by actor James Romick, and is available on Audible, Amazon, and I-tunes.
The rollicking adventure novel set in paradise. The thrill-a-minute bestseller that two film producers are interested in…”The Curse of the Crimson Dragon” will soon be available as an audio book, read by the talented Broadway actor, James Romick. Watch for it. In stores soon!
My earlier bestselling novels, “The Curse of the Crimson Dragon” and “Anything Short of Murder” now joins “A Murder Amongst Angels” and “Murder is Such Sweet Revenge” on Amazon’s Kindle at new, low prices. 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.
Also: The new Tom Logan mystery thriller, A Murder Amongst Angels .
Find them all on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. Also available at an affordable price on Kindle.