Thanksgiving on the Set with Sidney Poitier by Tony Piazza
This movie memory goes back 45 years to 1969, when I was 15 years old! Where has the time gone?
My Father was assigned to a SIDNEY POITIER movie, “They Call Me Mister Tibbs!” during the winter of 1969. It was a sequel to the highly successful “In the Heat of the Night” where he again portrayed the detective Virgil Tibbs. “In the Heat of the Night” won five Academy Awards including Best Picture. It was based on a book by John Ball.
The company had a tight shooting schedule which required my Dad to work on the Thanksgiving holiday. This was a big disappointment to my family- doubly for me, since it was also my birthday. However, as it turned out, we (my Mother and I) were invited down onto the set to share a Thanksgiving meal with the crew. This was served up by the motion pictures’ caterer- I believe the Paso Robles Inn- it has been many years now, so I can’t remember exactly-but I do recall the excellent turkey and all the delicious trimmings!
The location was the San Francisco Hall of Justice, specifically, the communications room. Earlier I had met Sidney Poitier and took a picture with him. I was really impressed with how friendly he was. He really went out of his way to make us feel special. I’ve met many actors, some very personable, others not. Poitier was the former. He made us feel important and more than welcome on the set. I believe I also got a happy birthday wish from him. He was thoughtful that way. We also had a chance to visit with MARTIN LANDAU at another San Francisco location- a church on Potrero Hill . He was a great guy, down to earth, and interesting to talk with. We had another picture taken, which he readily posed for. I particularly remember my mother commenting to him about how beautiful his then wife BARBARA BAIN was, which he acknowledged proudly. If you recall, they were both regulars on the “Mission Impossible” television show at the time.
It was a cold, rainy Thanksgiving that November in San Francisco, but the warmth of that experience still lingers with me today- especially because I do not have either of my parents to share the holiday with me as we once had. They were wonderful times, and I miss them both.
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.
The novels that started it all. The first and second novel 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 NEW Tom Logan mystery, “Murder is Such Sweet Revenge” is available in print, e-book, AND NOW audio book on Amazon and Barnes & Noble websites. For audio- Audible, Amazon, and I-tunes.
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 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.
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 for $2.99 on Kindle.
Neal Browne says
Thanks for giving credit where the nice guys displayed it. During my stint in news, there were a number of actors and actresses who came by the TV station. Several, like Betty White, John Tesh, and others were delightful and everything you hoped they would be.
There were some others, I won’t name, who were professional jerks. Our crew who worked with them, said in cleaned up phrasing, “never again.” One even played the most cordial, even tempered character everyone would seemingly want to know, but in person—well, it tainted my view of him ’til this day.
So, thanks for pointing out the true wonderful people. May their tribe increase.
Thanks for the comment, Neal. Always like to hear complementary words from readers.
I live in another part of the world but have always been a fan of Hollywood movies. Have been enjoying reading your comments. Sidney Poitier, as one of the black pioneers, was a great favourite. It felt good to know that he is nice off screen. Looking forward to more stuff from you.
Thank you for your comment, and I appreciate you following my stories.
All the best,
Vera Poitier-Chase says
Thank you Tony for evoking many memories,particularly of Sidney Poitier
who is know as “Sir Sidney Poitier”.He has inspired thousands not only in Movies but, also as a Best Selling Author and Writer.We are so proud of him.
Thank you, Vera. I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment on it.
Vera Poitier-Chase says
Thank you Tony for your response.I am a Writer and I have so much information to share.Kindly look around my Web site.
God Bless you
I remember his as a wonderful actor. We will miss Thanksgiving this year with our family, because of our work schedule. First Thanksgiving we’ve missed. We will have an extended time with them at Christmas. Happy Birthday this week. Thanks Tony for the inside story.
larry wilocox says
There are some neat ancillary ways to promote your books regarding bullit….and some groups. Let me know if you are interested as I have no agenda other than sharing the info with you.
I would be interested. Thank you!