September 1st, 2012 10:42 EST
Thoughts About Michael Douglas
Thoughts About Michael Douglas by Tony Piazza
Michael Douglas and myself (1975)
MICHAEL DOUGLAS was terrific- a real pro. It was funny, but the first day he showed up in SF he was totally out of character. He had long hair and a beard. Not exactly the image of a police inspector (unless he planned to go undercover as a Narco agent). Of course, that all changed when production started.
Michael with beard
He was totally accessible- he didn`t run to his trailer between shots to avoid fans. He signed plenty of autographs. Of course, it goes without saying that he got a lot of attention from the ladies, although he was dating BRENDA VACCARO of "Midnight Cowboy" fame at the time. She spent a lot of hours around the set.
Brenda Vaccaro and Michael Douglas
Michael was just one of the guys- he spooned mashed potatoes for the crew- as did KARL MALDEN on occasion, joked around the set, and even joined several of us crew members as we cooled off in a river (like school boys skipping class)- on a very hot lunch hour at our location in Santa Rosa, Ca.
Michael Douglas on location in San francisco
I remember one incident in Santa Rosa: the (movie) squad car was parked under a maple tree and as a rule when standing in " you leave a mark " for an actor to stand on. I was standing in for Michael and looking around took a maple leaf and used it. When Michael`s turn came to take his place on the mark ", he asked me where it was? " I told him the maple leaf "trouble was, the whole front yard was littered with maple leaves. Whoops. We had a big laugh over it!
My Dad & Michael Douglas
Obviously, I got to talk with Michael a lot- and as I mentioned to a Turner Classic Movie fan on its fan site- he was very proud of his Father, Kirk. I remember telling him about a picture I saw in a movie book about his Dad. It was a picture of the both of them on the set of "Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea". The location was an island in the South Pacific, and I believe he was about 10 when it was taken. He was really interested in it and wanted to know more about the book.
He also loved and respected his Mother, DIANA DOUGLAS, who was also an actress and guest starred in one of our episodes. He spent a lot of time in-between scenes visiting with her. You can tell by his actions that he treated her with a lot of respect.
One time a fan decided to do a voice impression of his father from "Spartacus", Michael played along even doing one of his father himself.
Kirk and Michael Douglas
A few Additional Memories
Entertainment Tonight came to the Quinn Martin Studio during the fourth season to interview Kirk and Michael. It was a thrill to see them both together.
I also remember Michael being on one of the popular talk shows that same year (MERV GRIFFIN or MIKE DOUGLAS). We (Karl,the crew, and I) watched him on television from The Streets of San Francisco studio. He did a bit with SCATMAN CROTHERS. It was pretty cool.
Christmas time, both he and Karl never forgot the crew. They were both very generous. I still have a nice jacket from Karl and a silver plated beer stein with my initials - and "Thank you from Streets- M.D." engraved on it.
Mug from Michael sitting on the jacket given to me by Karl
Those were great times- and both Karl and Michael were wonderful actors to work with.
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 where fine books are sold, or at the link posted below. All profits go to the BoysRepubliccharity: www.bullittpoints.com.