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On this very day, 24 March…
[turned out to be “Steve McQueen Day”]
On this day in 1944 (a Friday): The Great Escape: 76 Allied airmen escape Stammlager (abbrev: Stalag) Luft 3 in lower Silesia, eastern Germany (now Poland). The real life escape adventure was turned into a blockbuster hit movie in 1963, titled (of course) “The Great Escape,” directed by John Sturges and with an all-star cast that included James Garner, James Donald, James Coburn, Charles Bronson, Steve McQueen, Donald Pleasence, David McCallum, Gordon Jackson, and Hannes Messemer (as the camp commandant ‘Col. von Luger”… in real life, (hotlink) Col. Friedrich Wilhelm von Lindeiner-Wildau). The film was based on the real events but deviated significantly from historical fidelity, depicting a heavily fictionalised version of the escape with numerous compromises to embellish its audience appeal, such as including Americans among the escapees (the escapees were entirely British, Canadian or South African), and also including the preposterous—but spectacularly entertaining (hotlink)—motorcycle chase sequences by actor Steve McQueen (q.v., below) who insisted on performing his own motorcycle exploits (on his Wehrmacht-tweaked Triumph T6), much to the dismay of director John Sturges. [StrategyPage.com & Wiki]
On this day in 1930 (a Monday): Steve McQueen was born; today would be his 89th birthday. U.S. Marine, actor. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps (portrait: McQueen in Marine uniform) from 1947 to 1950, when he was discharged. Altho’ he was involved in disciplinary problems early on, he wound up saving the lives of five other Marines during an Arctic exercise, pulling them from a tank before it broke through ice into the sea; thereafter he was assigned to the honor guard, responsible for (among other things) guarding the presidential yacht of US President Harry Truman. McQueen’s stardom began with the CBS TV Western series “Wanted Dead or Alive” (1958–1961) starring McQueen as (hotlink) bounty hunter Josh Randall. From there his career took off on the silver screen. He received an Academy Award nomination for his role in “The Sand Pebbles” (1966) His other popular films include “The Cincinnati Kid” (1965), “Love With the Proper Stranger” (1963), “The Thomas Crown Affair” with Faye Dunaway (1968), “Bullitt” (1968; Youtube chase sequences linked below), “The Getaway” with Ali MacGraw (1972), and “Papillon” with Dustin Hoffman (1973), as well as all-star ensemble films “The Magnificent Seven” (1960), “The Great Escape” (1963, q.v. above), and “The Towering Inferno” (1974). In 1974 he became the highest-paid movie star in the world, although he did not act in films again for four years. McQueen was combative with directors and producers, but his popularity placed him in high demand and enabled him to command large salaries. Coda: Terrence Stephen “Steve” McQueen. Born in Beech Grove, Indiana on 24 March, 1930. Married to actress Ali MacGraw from 1973 to 1978. Died of asbestos exposure–related pleural mesothelioma (cancer) at age 50 while undergoing treatment in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico on 7 November, 1980. [StrategyPage.com & Wiki]
Bullitt chase scene (youtube), Part1: Click here.
Bullitt chase scene (youtube), Part2: Click here.
Trivia Factoid: ‘RACECAR’ spelled backwards is ‘RACECAR.’
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Daytona Coupes for Sale Cobras for Sale GT40s for Sale
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