Tuesday, August 01, 2000

Breaking Away


Pay no attention to the post date; just a book-keeping trick.
This page last updated May 1, 2014 - added photo of Garry and Dennis

MY BREAKING AWAY TRIBUTE PAGE
When this movie came out in July of 1979, I was just about to leave for Navy Boot Camp and was living with my parents in Iowa City and visiting friends at the University of Iowa. Iowa City is a LOT like Bloomington – a small town with a big university (U of I vs IU) – Iowa City also has a Pagliai’s Pizza just like in the movie. So my friend Jim (Diego) Strottman took me to this movie and I immediately identified with the characters and it was really my introduction to the cycling world. I didn’t go out immediately and buy an Italian bike but it wasn’t too much later that I did.

Here's the original trailer for the movie - well worth a click:





  • The Actors of Breaking Away
  • The Music of Breaking Away
  • Interesting Trivia
  • Bloopers
  • Insider Information From Tom Schwoegler













Looks like a screen shot, but it's not. There was only one trophy in the movie.



The Actors of Breaking Away


Dennis Christopher as Dave Stohler (Christopher is a screen name, his given name was Carrelli – so he’s an Italian-American kid playing the part of a German-American kid who pretends to be an Italian kid). He does mostly theater now, but he’s done quite a few TV shows too including one where he played Paul Dooley’s son.










(note the socks - then see the BLOOPERS section)













Dennis Quaid as Mike. Dennis Quaid of course went on to do a lot of good movies.

















Daniel Stern as Cyril. He lost all interest in life when he saw his ex girlfriend “Dolores Reineke and Fat Marvin” (they're married now) making out at the quarry. Became the adult voice on The Wonder Years, and had several other notable roles, usually a bumbling but loveable idiot.















Jackie Earle Haley as Moocher. He was one of the Bad News Bear kids as a child actor. He also went on to revive his role in the Breaking Away TV show with Shawn Cassidy – it only lasted seven episodes… it was a vacuous series. Also did quite a few more movies and directed.












Barbara Barrie as Mom (Evelyn Stohler) I love the shot where she’s wearing the seductress flowers in her hair, the Italian opera is on the record player and she’s standing in front of a bike wheel and a tool board with cone wrenches on it. Barbara is one of the cast members who also made it into the TV show. Also famous for being Barney Miller’s wife on that TV show. She is a cancer survivor and is still acting.







Paul Dooley as Dad (Raymond Stohler – you have to listen carefully to catch his first name but twice he’s called Ray and once Raymond). He’s a great character actor and easy to imitate (refund?!?! REFUND ?!?!?!). The quintessential grumpy old dad. He’s been in a lot of parts including a recurring part as an alien on Star Trek: Deep Space 9.















John Ashton as Mike's Brother Roy, the Campus Cop. Later played another cop in Beverly Hills Cop. He also had a role in the TV show.



Robyn Douglass as Katherine Bennet. Ms. Douglass posed for Playboy in 1974 … five years before Breaking Away. Her Playboy photos were later published in Hustler and she successfully sued Hustler for printing them with unflattering innuendo. She’s mostly done small roles in TV shows since then. She was born in Japan and she keeps a replica of her sorority T-shirt as a souvenier. BTW, that was a real slap she gave Dave in the fessing up scene. She has a WEBSITE with a more recent photo and hints that she has been working on some new projects.



Hart Bochner as Rod. Hart was born in Canada and has done a few other big movies, including Die Hard.









Amy Wright as Nancy (Moocher’s girlfriend - she was actually 28 years old, playing a 19 year old). She’s currently married to actor Rip Torn and has been in several famous movies including The Deer Hunter. Apparently she's still acting but I can't find a photo of her on the web... lots of folks named "Amy Wright" that aren't her though.

P.J. Soles as Suzy (the blonde sorority girl who tells Rod that Dave had sent flowers to Katherine and calls Rod about during the serenade. “Oh, hi Rod, I just wanted you to know that there's some guy outside with a guitar serenading Kath!” She was in real life… Dennis Quaid’s wife at the time! She’s been in a lot of other movies too, like Carrie and Stripes.







Eddy Van Guyse, Carlos Sintes, John Van De Velde, and Pete Lazarra as the Team Cinzano riders. Only the first two are named in the credit scroll. Eddy’s the guy with the pump – he currently does race announcing in Wisconsin. John Van De Velde is the father of racer Christian Van De Velde. The riders have numbers 1001, 1002, 1003, and 1004. Be sure to check out my photo sequence of the Cinzano Road Race and Dave's crash HERE.







Eddy Van Guyse interviewing Chris Horner in 2007





Peter Maloney as the Doctor (after the Refund breakdown). He’s done a zillion little roles but you’d never recognize him from his short piece in this movie.










Jennifer K. Mickel as the Blonde dormie girl in Rod’s car and at the Union. Far as I can tell, this was her only acting job.

David K. Blase as the Little 500 race announcer (Mr. Blase was the real life person on whom Dave’s character was based according to Steve Tesich the script writer). He’s also the guy in the TI Raleigh jersey during the Cinzano 100 – the last guy Dave drops on his way to group up with the Italians.

The real Dave Blase (with sunglasses) in the real Little 500 in 1962.














This photo comes from a great article here:
http://www.americanprofile.com/article/32753.html

Lisa Shure as the French Girl at the end of the movie. She was homecoming queen of her real life high school. Did a few TV shows after Breaking Away and one movie with Dennis Quaid; then stopped acting in 1980.




Mike Silveus as the kid who buys and returns the "Homecoming Queen" car. "All I want, is a REFUND". You can also see him in the student union fight scene, just walking around. He later became a dentist and sometimes his patients recognize him.




Tom Schwoegler as the coach of the Merchant's National Bank team, he gives a rider some advice during the race. He was also a technical consultant and mechanic and he wrote up some great memories that I've copied below.



Jimmy Grant as "Black Student Leader". When the credits roll, I always see this and wonder who they're talking about. I'm not sure why he got any kind of extra billing, but in the scene where the University president (the real president of IU at the time!) announces to the frat boys that a team of locals will race the Little 500 (But SIR, they're not GOOD enough!) one of the guys in the group is black, so it must be him. Makes you realize how "white" the movie is otherwise.




Peter Yates the director is British and this was his third film. He later went on to do quite a few action movies.




Steve Tesich who wrote the screenplay was born in (what was then) Yugoslavia in 1942 and moved to Chicago with his family when he was 14 years old. He later graduated from Indiana University where he had a wrestling scholarship and his major was Russian Literature. In 1962, he was was an alternate rider for the Phi Kappa Psi team in the Little 500 bicycle race. His teammate, Dave Blase, rode 139 of 200 laps and was the victory rider crossing the finish line for his team. They developed a friendship and Dave provided the inspiration for the main character.-




Steve’s second most famous movie script was “The World According to Garp”. He also wrote “American Flyers”, which came out in 1985; it was a fun bike racing movie, but not nearly as good as Breaking Away, and he also wrote quite a few plays for the stage.. Steve died of a heart attack in 1996 at age 53. I met him at a special screening of American Flyers as a result of my involvement with the Coor’s Classic in 1985. He said to the audience there “Many of you are better cyclists than I ever was, but I love this sport as much as anyone.” He later grew very critical of the US government; especially its dealings in Serbia and Croatia, and his plays got dark and depressing.






The Music of Breaking Away




  • 00m00s As the four friends hike to the quarry, Mike sings his song about grocery bags, his funeral pyre, and The Parking Lot at the A&P. The tune is from an old cowboy song “Carry Me Back To The Lone Prairie” but Mike's version is much more bluesy than I've ever heard elsewhere. 








  • 03m35s Right after the quarry scene, Dave is riding his bike through town on his way home carrying his trophy. He greets the neighbors in Italian and one comments “He was as normal as pumpkin pie.” Dave is singing “Libiamo ne'lieti calici” (also known as “the drinking song” or "Brindisi") from the opera “La Traviata” by Giuseppe Verdi.


 






  • 07m37s Dave puts on an album by “Enrico Gimondi” - note that this is the name he uses as his own when he introduces himself to Katherine Bennet a little later. The name Enrico Gimondi is an inside joke provided by the script author for the benefit of us cycle enthusiasts; the opera pieces in Breaking Away were actually sung by Val Stuart. There was of course a famous Italian bike racer named Felice Gimondi who won all three Grand Tours and some of the biggest classics. Anyway, the song is Figaro’s well-known "Largo al factotum" from “The Barber of Seville”. Dave shaves his legs in the sink while singing “Figaro” and Mr. Stohler is in disbelief.

 




  • 17m56s Dave chases the scooter through campus on his Masi. This is the first extended musical selection; the first minute and a half of the Saltarello Presto (fourth) movement from Felix Mendelssohn’s Italian Symphony. I love how the music comes in loud and fast right at the moment he picks the book up off the ground. To this day, I cannot listen to that piece of music without hearing Dave's voice in the background... “Signorina! Signorina!”


 



  • 20m00s After returning Caterina's notebook, Dave rides though a park lost in his thoughts of new love. We hear an instrumental version of the serenade he will later sing to her from below her balcony. M'appari tutt' amor. It seems like this is immediately after leaving Caterina, but Dave is wearing a different shirt so he must have gone home first.





  • 21m00s The French fry scene. Dave is listening to Una Furtiva Lagrima from Donizetti's "The Elixir of Love" (special thanks to blog reader hgleihh for this bit - see comments) in the other room. Mr. Stohler “can't eat with that noise on”, and turns it off. 
This is one of the less memorable songs so I've added a fun little clip to help:







  • 23m00s Team Cinzano is coming to Indianapolis! Dave grabs his bike and drafts the Cinzano truck to Bloomington at 60mph in his little ring while we listen to the second half of the Saltarello Presto movement from Felix Mendelssohn's Italian Symphony.





  • 33m30s Evelyn scrubs floors while Cyril and Dave practice for the serenade. M'appari tutt' amor from the Frederich van Flowtow opera Marta is on the record player, Evelyn hums along and Cyril tries to learn it on his guitar. Interestingly, Marta is an opera with an English storyline, written in Italian by a German composer.





  • 34m45s Evelyn puts on some music for her romantic dinner with her husband Ray, while Dave and Cyril set off to serenade Caterina on her balcony. The album cover says “Enrico Gimondi sings Granada & Other Romantic Songs”. M'appari tutt' amor from the Frederich van Flowtow opera Marta is playing and we hear the recorded version and Dave’s version as a sort of duet.


 




  • 39m40sLoosen It Up”, a disco song lost to history, is playing on Rod's car stereo as he drives around the cute blonde dormie who hasn't yet pledged a sorority. We also learn that Rod's specialty is the breast stroke.
     


  • 56m30s Dave is whistling La Tarantella, a traditional Italian folk dance song (usually a mandolin or accordian tune) while he washes the cars in his Dad’s lot – Ray says “If I wanted whistling, I’d get a bird”. Special thanks to IMDB poster BRANDTM for identifying this one.

 





  • 57m15s Dave trains at night after a hard day shagging cars at his dad's lot. We get a sequence of training scenes and car shagging set to the Allegro Vivace (first) movement of Felix Mendelssohn's Italian Symphony.
 



  • 61m00s Cinzano 100 bicycle race gets underway with Gioachino Rossini's Overture from Barber of Seville.
 





  • 76m20s Motivational unidentified instrumental trombone? music while Dave fixes up the Roadmaster for the Little 500 and then takes it for a ride down to the stadium. Special recognition on my blog to the first person who identifies this piece to me.

Roadmaster Rebuild Music

  • 83m25s Indiana Our Indiana as the Little 500 riders take their parade lap around the stadium.




  • 96m00s Celebratory unidentified instrumental when Dave wins one for the Cutters.




  • 98m30s Indiana, Our Indiana again, then the credits roll and we hear more classical music.







Interesting Trivia:


The original title for the movie was going to be “Bambino”.

The name Dave Stohler is a combination of Dave Blaise who actually won the Little 500 in 1962 by riding 139 of 200 laps, and Bob Stohler who was the team's director that year. Mr. Blase was a high school biology teacher and Mr. Stohler had a position with the IU school of business.

Dave wears "Neopolitan Sunset" cologne. The flies seem to like it.

The cat is named "Jake" or "Fellini" depending on who's talking to him.

For filming the Little 500 sequence, they didn't get as many student extras as they needed, so they had to move people around to make it appear as though the stadium were more crowded.

Evelyn Stohler is reading "Valley of the Dolls", which was a thirteen year old book at the time.  It's about successful women who get addicted to pills.


Released in other countries with the titles: (translations, where given, are mine)



Greece...............Agria syntrofia
Italy..................All American Boys (?? an English title for the Italian release?)
France...............Bande des quatre, La (Band of Four)
Finland.............Fillarijengi (Bicycle Gang)
Venezuela.........Muchachos del verano, Los (The Boys of Summer)
Portugal...........Quatro da Vida Airada, Os (The Fun Loving Four)
Spain................Relevo, El (The Revealing)
Poland..............Uciekac (Flee)
West Germany..Vier irre Typen

The Italian and Spanish term for breakaway in a bicycle race is "fuga", which means "escape" and is frequently used to describe prisoners who have made a jail break - perhaps that's why they chose a title with such a different meaning in these countries.  Paul McCartney's album "Band on the Run" was "Banda en Fuga" in Spanish.



"I'm not going anywhere."
"I'm not so sure about that."






Here's a review of "All American Boys" in Italian!







di Laura, Luisa e Morando Morandini
Dave, un diciannovenne di Bloomington (Indiana), sarebbe un adolescente americano qualsiasi se non fosse affetto, sull'onda di una passione per la bicicletta, da un'acuta italofilia. Il suo eroe è Felice Gimondi, il suo gatto si chiama Fellini, mangia cibi italiani, ascolta dischi di Rossini e Donizzetti. Con tre amici s'iscrive a una corsa in linea a squadre. Vi partecipa un quartetto italiano della Cinzano che lo sbatte fuori di strada, infilandogli una pompa nei raggi. È il crollo di un mito per Dave che, però, trionfa con i compagni in una gara in pista a staffetta libera. Deliziosa e briosa commedia della Fox, animata da un affiatato gruppo di interpreti, ben serviti da un'ottima sceneggiatura dello iugoslavo Steve Tesich che, su 6 nomination, ebbe l'Oscar e nel 1985 fu consulente di una miniserie TV in 6 puntate con lo stesso titolo, messa in onda dalla RAI come L'America in bicicletta.






It was released in 1979, and premiered in Bloomington during the “real” Little 500 weekend.

It won Best Screenplay in the 1979 Academy Awards.
It was also nominated for Best Picture,
Barbara Barrie was nominated for Best Supporting Actress,
Peter Yates was nominated for Best Director,
and the movie was nominated for Best Adaptation Score (use of non-original music).

The used car lot is initially called "Campus Cars" and the windshields have things written on them like "Magna Cum Laude", "English Major", and "Varsity"; the red convertable that comes back for a refund was called "Homecoming Queen". At the end of the movie, the car lot has changed names to "Cutter Cars".



Rod's car was a blue Mercedes convertible with TEXAS license plates.







(The movie version was from the '70s, this one is too modern).



Catarina's scooter was a blue Vespa sort of like this one and it had a USA sticker on the front.












Mike's car is a 1970 Buick Skylark; a GS or GSX, either 350 or 455. It was a classic 70's muscle car, kind of a faded champagne color except for the driver's side door which was a faded reddish brown. There was a bike rack on the top that could hold two bikes, but I don't know why he would have had room for more than just Dave's Masi.






This one is a 1970 GS 455




Dave had an orange Masi that he won in a race; I think it was a Gran Criterium. He rode sew-ups, of course. "He was very sickly until he started riding that bicycle around."








A triple on a Masi Gran Criterium... I can't believe somebody did this. Looks to be badly cross-chained as well.



In the truck drafting scene, Dave sees the sign that says “BLOOMINGTON 50 MILES”, but he lives in Bloomington so he’s on his way home and has already ridden at least 50 miles before he catches the truck. Also, the sign is a FAKE! Dave emerges from the Morgan Monroe State Forrest turning right heading north on Hwy 37 toward Martinsville; Bloomington is really 30 miles to the south.

Dave's bike was a 1978 Masi Gran Criterium – ORANGE! There's one close-up where you can clearly see the Nuovo Record rear derailleur. Be sure to read Tom Schwoegler’s write-up about the bikes, below.



The term "cutters" was invented just for the movie; some of the real university students did refer to the locals as "stoners" (as in stone cutters) but the film makers decided that wouldn't be an appropriate pejorative because of its drug culture implications.

In the Cinzano 100, Dave’s race number was 1051. In the Little 500, the Cutters are team number 34.

Caterina’s sorority was Chi Delta Delta ΧΔΔ , but she wore Rod’s frat T-shirt in the serenade scene – Sigma Tao Omega ΣΤΩ.

Garry Rybar was a body double bike rider and technical advisor. Garry was an accomplished local racer at that time and had been on several winning Little 500 teams in real life. Whenever you see a closeup of Dave’s legs without a face, or a shot from behind or far away, it’s probably Garry – his legs are much more muscular than Dennis Christopher’s too. Garry did not do the Cinzano 100 crash scene; that was a Hollywood stunt man. Garry later had a sex change operation and now his name is Karen Rybar (aka Holly Celeste Violins and Nancy E Wilson). Karen/Holly/Nancy has written part of her memoirs about the movie and her/his involvement in it – I’ve included an abridged version at the end of this page.


Garry and Dennis as Dave





Garry then






Karen/Holly/Nancy now (1991)


Special thanks to Blog Reader MIKE for the two photos below, both photographed on Christmas Day 2008:







Caterina's Sorority House "Oh hey Rod..."


The Stohler Home "Yeah? Well it's a piece of junk!"






"It's our goddamned quarry" "This hole... this quarry hole is MINE!" "Screw you Cyrill"



Here's the Google Maps image of the quarry - below right of center, zoom in on it, the official name is "Sander's Quarry". QUARRY









And here's a news story about it:



Teen dies jumping into 'Breaking Away' quarry



June 4, 2008 BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- A teenager who drowned in a southern Indiana quarry died after making a 65-foot leap from an imposing ledge made famous in the movie ''Breaking Away,'' police said. Walter Ayala of Washington jumped Saturday into Sanders Quarry from ''Rooftop'' ledge, an imposing ledge from which actors in the 1979 film jumped into the quarry in Bloomington. Friends of the 18-year-old filmed his jump and continued shooting until they jumped in to try to save him after he failed to resurface. Footage shows that Ayala was apparently injured when he hit the water's surface after making his leap, police said. ''He hit the water with his face forward," police said.




Bloopers

I like watching for bloopers, and this movie has a few good ones. I don’t mean to imply that the bloopers make the movie any less worthy of merit but I think finding a mistake and realizing how the mistake was made gives us insight into the real process of film making.

On the cover of the VHS and DVD packages, the image of Dave is reversed, showing the drivetrain on the wrong side of the bike.




When the mailman delivers Dave’s bike racing magazine, he’s truing his front wheel (off the bike, no truing stand) and gives one spoke four half-turns on the nipple; if you’ve ever worked on wheels you know why that’s just wrong.

60 mph in the small chainring; everyone notices this one.



In the truck drafting sequence, we see bright blue skies when Dave is Dennis Christopher, and cloudy gray skies when the bike racing body double is used. The two actors worked on different days and the weather changed.

In the student union; the bowling ball becomes unstuck from Cyril’s hand and breaks the window, but then there’s another scene where it’s back on (in the background). I also think he waves it around too easily, it’s plastic and doesn’t weigh as much as a real bowling ball. It took them three or four tries to get the bowling ball to break the window properly.

In the Cinzano 100 race, Dave’s socks mysteriously change a few times. Mostly they're longish white socks with an Italian tricolor stripe; in the scene where the Cinzano rider shifts Dave’s bike into high gear on the hill, Dave’s socks have disappeared altogether!

In the Cinzano 100 crash scene, Dave and all four Italians are together. After Dave’s crash, only two Italians ride away from the scene

In the the Little 500, Dave’s right knee is bandaged from start – probably because of his crash in the Cinzano 100. But in one shot there’s blood on his bandage which shouldn’t be there until after his Little 500 crash (when his same knee gets new tape).

In the Little 500, after Dave’s feet get taped to the pedals, there’s a shot that shows his feet untaped again.

There are plenty of excellent examples of film editing technique as well – for instance watch the Cinzano 100 crash scene; a stunt rider crashes the bike and goes into the ditch, then there’s a masterful transition to Dennis Christopher rolling over in the ditch. When you watch this in slow motion and you understand how it was acted, filmed, and edited, you can appreciate what a good job they did. Watch too the ending of the Little 500 – body doubles doing the actual racing switch to actors crossing the finish line, it’s smooth and convincing.















Deleted Scenes



After the Cinzano guy shifts Dave into a big gear on the climb, Dave retalliates by forcing him into a pothole. I think they decided this wasn't in keeping with Dave's good guy innocent image.



In the Little 500, Kath/Caterina is seen leaving the stadium while Dave is being bandaged from the crash. This is interesting because without this scene we have no notion that she was ever there.



There were reportedly some additional scenes filmed dealing Mr. Stohler's weight problem. In the scene where Evelyn and Ray are strolling through town at night, we see that he has a large stain on his tie (probably from one of the deleted scenes), they're discussing his maybe hiring Dave to work at the used car lot (Who says it's good enough for me?) and at then end of this scene they're in front of a Baskin Robbins - another scene was deleted here where he wanted to eat some ice cream but Evelyn talked him out of it.








Insider Information:

From Tom Schwoegler, one of the technical advisors (the below is extracted from a Usenet thread from year 2004):
(also, Tom's got some great mementos and souveniers in his collection - photos HERE.)



Here's Tom in his cameo appearance as a coach to one of the Little 500 teams.


The bike that Dave Stoller rode was a Masi Gran Crtierium made in the USA. At the time the film was made there were 2 Masi brothers making them, one in Europe and one in the US. We had 2 of these bikes along with an extra fork that was bent for use in the shots after the "pump-in-the-wheel" scene. We also had a Sears bike painted orange for the special effects shots . We asked Masi for a set of decals but were turned down. The decals on the Sears bike were hand painted. A clear case of the paint and decals being worth more than the rest of the bike.

The story about the crew not wanting orange is totally false. Steve Tesich, who was present for the entire filming specifically asked that the bike Dave rode was a Masi and that it was orange. He rode one of the Masi's every chance he got. I believe that he got to keep one of them. (I still have the broken Masi fork)

As far as the Colnago's go.... Two of the guys who were hired to play the Italian team members already had Colnago's. So we purchased 2 light blue ones from Ochsner International in Chicago. The other bikes were a different color. We got light blue because that was all that was available. I was given one of these at the end of the filming and still own it.

There was a story going around Chicago after the film was released that a shop in Chicago supplied all the Colnagos. In fact, he actually had sold the Colnago's to the two other two riders before they were asked to be in the film. John Van De Veld, and Eddy Van Guyse rode the light blue ones.

(On the 60mph in the small ring) The double was Gary Rybar from Indianapolis.... and he was in the large chainring. (I was in the truck telling him when to move out so he could be seen in the mirror.) I was in that truck and he got up to 58mph. The Cinzano on the truck was just a little light humor that was added. You have to remember that when you are behind the truck you are in a slip-stream. The tough part for Gary was when he had to move out from behind the truck to be seen in the mirror. As I recall it took us about 3 hours of filming to get everything we needed. To this day I can picture him spining like a madman. If you really think about it, it was a very dangerous thing to shoot especially on an open highway. At the time the largest Campy front chainring I could get my hands on was a 53 from my own touring Paramount.

As far as the small chainring shot. I was not there the day it was shot. or I would have caught it easily. You can tell the days when we shot the truck scenes with Gary and with Dennis. On the day we shot with Dennis is was sunny and with Gary it was overcast. The shot with Dennis in the wrong chainring you can see the bright shadow on the road. With Gary in the long shot, showing the truck, Gary and the highway in the distance it is clearly overcast and just about to rain. The other tell tale sign is the muscle definition in Gary's legs that Dennis did not have.

I also don't think we ever tried to imply that he could draft at 60mph for an hour. (But he catches the truck right at the BLOOMINGTON 50 MILES sign and it’s not much after the truck pulls off that he gets to Bloomington and checks his watch - Scott.)
My question for you is, we used a real MASI and a Sears Free Spirit painted and decal'ed like a MASI. How can you tell which one is being used?

(Answer) The brakes on the Sears bike are DiaCompe and not Campy. On Campy, the cable comes down on the drive side. The DiaCompe comes down on the non drive side.

Another interesting thing that will give you an idea of Gary's ability. In the Little 500 race scenes when the camera angle is low (getting the close shot of pedals from behind). The camera crew made a bolt-on camera platform that held the camera about 4 inches off the ground and about 8 inches off the side of the bike. The camera weighed about 20 pounds. Think about what it takes balance-wise to ride something like that, especially knowing that the attached camera is not cheap.

I know this first hand as I was in charge of this stuff; check the credits for my name, it's there twice.

Tom Schwoegler











The Lyrics






Libiamo ne’lieti calici





Libiamo ne' lieti calici,
che la bellezza infiora;



e la fuggevol oras'inebriì a voluttà.







Libiamo ne' dolci fremitiche



suscita l'amore,



poichè quell'occhio al coreonnipotente va.







Libiamo, amore, amor fra i calicipiù caldi baci avrà.



Ah! Libiamo, amor fra' calicipiù caldi baci avrà.



Tra voi saprò dividereil tempo mio giocondo;



tutto è follia nel mondociò che non è piacer.













Largo al factotum, Figaro's aria from Il Barbiere di Siviglia




Largo al factotum della citta.



Largo! La la la la la la la LA!



Presto a bottega che l'alba e gia.



Presto! La la la la la la la LA!



Ah, bravo Figaro! Bravo, bravissimo;



Ah, bravo Figaro! Bravo, bravissimo;



a te fortuna (a te fortuna, a te fortuna) non manchera.



Ah, bravo Figaro! Bravo, bravissimo;



Ah, bravo Figaro! Bravo, bravissimo;



a te fortuna (a te fortuna, a te fortuna) non manchera.



Sono il factotum della citta,



Sono il factotum della citta,



della citta, della citta,










M'appari tutt' amor




M'appari tutt' amor,



il mio sguardo l'incontro:



bella si che il mio cor, ansioso a lei volo:



mi feri, m'invaghi quell'angelica belta,



sculta in cor dall'amor cancellarsi non potra:



il pensier di poter palpitar con lei d'amor,



puo sopir il martir che m'affana



e stranzia il cor...
e stranzia il cor...




M'appari tutt'amor,



il mio sguardo l'incontro;



bella si che il mio cor ansioso a lei volo;



Marta, Marta,



tu sparisti e il mio cor col tuo n'ando!



Tu la pace mi rapisti,



di dolor io moriro.



Ah di dolor moro, si morro!





Indiana Fight Song




"Indiana, our Indiana,



Indiana, we're all for you.



We will fight for the cream and crimson,



for the glory of old IU.



Never daunted,



we cannot falter



in the battle,



we're tried and true.



Indiana, our Indiana,



Indiana, we're all for you!



I U!"








Holly Violin's (Garry Rybar's) Memoirs of the Movie:




(very long)





It was on a midsummer’s day in 1978 that I first heard about BREAKING AWAY. I was out training with David Andrews and Hank Schrenker, on the “ninety-mile loop” as it was known to the local bike racers- a circuit that ran southwest of Bloomington over the Causeway at Lake Monroe, then turned east on Highway 58 farther south, up 135 in Brown County, and back through Nashville Indiana.



David was a rider I trained with quite a bit starting that year after I graduated from Indiana U, finishing out a five year plan that allowed me to ride in four complete Little 500 bike races, after having been ruled ineligible my freshman year when I’d transferred down from Purdue, to major in Journalism and try my luck in the famous race. Now five years later, I had ridden on three winning Little 500 teams, and had been named to the Little 500 Hall of Fame the year before. I called David “Dr. T”- for the “Doctor of Transit”, because he lived in a school bus with a wood stove out in a field, drove an ancient Checker taxi cab he’d bought in New York, and went EVERYWHERE on his bike. When I first began riding with him, David had hair he tied in a ponytail, that came almost to his waist, but by then had cut it much shorter Hank was well-known in the Bloomington cycling circles, and worked at a local bike store- The Bike Rack- just off the square on Sixth Street.



We three had stopped for a break in Nashville, before rolling the last 25 miles or so back to Bloomington, when Hank casually asked if we’d heard about the movie they were going to make in Bloomington about bike racing. I nearly fell over- I was a big fan of the movies, had taken a number of Comparative Literature film courses in my undergraduate days, and had been making Super 8 films as a hobby since high school. I was still harboring some notions about getting into a film school somewhere and someday becoming a director, and now Hank had told me about everything that really interested me was somehow all colliding together and falling out of the sky-I couldn’t believe that Hank had waited some 65 miles of cycling to casually mention this electrifying news. And as I probed him for information, it was only the more exciting- as he even knew something about the story. It was to be about a bike racer from Bloomington who rides in the Little 500 and also in some road races, and that the movie was going to be using local bike racers for both kinds of racing. His non-plus attitude about it all astounded me. He said he thought it was just going to be a “B” movie- a “drive-in” kind of thing, with a small budget, and he’d heard about it because some advance people were in town scouting locations and talking to people, specifically “bike racers, and men who looked Italian”. Then he mentioned he thought the studio making it was 20th Century Fox- and I recall thinking that I didn’t think 20th Century Fox really made many “B” movies. He knew the motel they were staying in and the room number of the woman who’d been to the bike shop-



And yes, it was pretty much what Hank had described- it WAS 20th Century Fox, and it was to be a fairly small-budgeted film. She was taking down the names of bike racers and also looking for local men who looked Italian- to play the part of some Italian bike racers. She invited me back that evening and said the production manager was to arrive, and that I sounded like someone they might be able to use. The casual attitude about looking for any local men who looked Italian already bothered me- I knew that just any guys off the street would likely not be convincing as professional bike racers- so I had already taken the liberty of bringing a photograph someone who I was sure could fit their needs. Eddy Van Guyse both looked Italian and had recently retired from a successful bike racing career.

Eddy was in fact largely responsible for the path I’d taken at IU. In my senior year of high school, I saw my first Little 500, and Eddy was then a senior at IU and captain of the Delta Chi bike team. He was a funny outgoing guy, who had acquired a reputation at Delta Chi as a “True Wild Man” , a most-prized epithet at that particular fraternity, garnered only through outlandish antics and unbridled devotion to the party lifestyle. To me he had always been the Italian Formula One Ferrari driver in the film GRAND PRIX , both in appearance and bravado, and I had seen him on winners podiums at races looking like the same triumphant victor. The photo I gave them was one of my better ones, of Eddy with a winning smile for the camera, as he prepared his bike before some race. If anyone could play an Italian bike racer, it was Eddy. They took the photo and patiently listened as I tried to explain that REAL bike racers would look much different than just people off the street. Then Art took some wind out of my sails when he said something about it probably didn’t matter that much- since this was going to be a comedy.




A comedy? I was picturing something like ROCKY on wheels, and as they talked again about the small budget, I was beginning to think that it probably WAS some kind of adolescent drive-in movie. I couldn’t then envision that it was really something of both a comedy and drama about something I was oh so serious about. Somewhere along the way, I learned also that the screenwriter, Steve Tesich was a teammate of Dave Blase in his Little 5 days, and that the script was inspired by some of Dave’s antics, back in an era when cycling was something especially rare and very foreign to Americans. I knew Dave Blasé from the Speedway Wheelmen cycling club in Indianapolis, where he lived about a half mile away and taught school at Arlington High School. I had trained with him many times, with Mike Strong, another rider from IU, who told me stories about how Little 500 riders were “treated like football players at IU” and went on paid training excursions to Florida every spring break. And I recall one day when we started out for Bloomington, intending to return again the same day- a distance of some 140 miles or more, until we were cut short by a thunderstorm.



So I took Eddy over to the hotel, and we were surprised when we met both Steve Tesich and Peter Yates, who were indeed impressed with Eddy’s photograph- it appeared that he was going to be one of the Italian bike racers. When they saw me, they said that I looked like I could probably be the camera double for the actor they’d gotten to play the bike racer. I wasn’t sure what that entailed, but they were both especially likable men, and I somehow soon was given a script, and would no longer have to rely on the local scuttlebutt or sketchy stories in the paper to know what was going on. It was getting quite thrilling! It was also easy to convince action director Peter Yates that we needed real bike racers to portray the Italians, and Eddy was certain he could round up several others. With my own background in photography, I was able to suggest that if the camera stayed tight enough on the actor/bike racer, with a shallow focus, his actual speed wouldn’t be discernable- the shots I was to be in would all then be longer shots- at racing speeds.

I was told I‘d probably be needed to double in a road race sequence, in the final Little 500 race sequence, and definitely in the scene where “Dave Stohler“ drafts a semi-truck at sixty miles an hour- and could I do it? I had in fact several times gotten tucked in behind a truck or two and wound it out pretty good. On a training ride in Florida I got in behind a motor home for a good many miles- settled in at about 45 or 50 mph, and left the rest of the team miles behind. Sixty was still a little in doubt, especially with my injuries healing, but I told them I thought I could, and all the bike stuff was scheduled weeks away. And they were going to pay me for all this too- I’d have probably done it for free! When Eddy learned of the activities of the Italian Team Cinzano, he started telling everyone- “I wanna be da guy that puts in da pump! I wanna be dat guy! “ And he ended up doing just that. I couldn’t believe that the guy I saw as Ferrari Man in Grand Prix, was now going to be something similar on a bike.

The first scenes shot were those in the student union- with the bowling alley, the stuck bowling ball on Cyril's hand, and the whole fight sequence- when my roomate Greg and I arrived to see the cavalcade of trucks, with generators humming away and crew members moving gear into the union (Watch your back!)- I knew that Hollywood had arrived for sure.So anyway- I ended up being seated at a table where Cyril (Dan Stern) eventuallyswings the bowling ball around at us all, before it slips off his hand and breaks the stained glass window.

So Greg and I watched it all unfold- and wondered over the actors who had been selected to play "The Cutters"- the four friends from Bloomington who would race in the Little 500 after having these troubles with the college kids.I had never heard of any of them prior to this- although JackieEarle Haley got a lot of press, as one of the "Bad News Bears"- I hadn't seen that film- We wondered together about Denis Quaid- in the student union scenes- a permanent scowl seemed glued to his face, even between takes, and we concluded that he must simply have been staying in character- that later appeared to be true-




Daniel Stern was very personable on the other hand, and Greg echoed Director Peter Yates instructions to him, mimicking his English accent- "Lots of energy Danny, lots of energy!"



There was Hart Bochner- the drop dead gorgeous frat man and several real students hired as his teamates- John Ashton, the campus cop of later Beverly Hills Cop fame, hovered around outside theatrically wearing a red beret and proclaiming himself "One Take Ashton"- Did he actually have a cigarette holder or do I just remember it that way? The Hollywood people had a language and way of doing things that was quite impressive and I marvelled at their cool in the face of what often seemed chaos- Peter Yates was very much in control of the situation, but was obviously not afraid of enlisting the aid of Steve Tesich about the story, or of cinematographer Matt Leonetti- who seemed especially knowledgeable.



It was all kinda wild and exciting, as the fight scene was staged again and again from difeerent angles, and especially when Peter Yates would fire off a blank pistol unnanounced to elict the startled reactions he wanted of his players When Dan Stern was to throw the plastic bowling ball through the fake stained glass window- he kept missing it- which caused both some consternation, and a certain ammount of amusement among everyone else who didn't have to worry over it- as he'd break the fake glass just enough to require a new piece- and I think they only had so many- when he finally got it dead center on the third or fourth take, everyone breathed a sigh of relief.



After several days of shooting around Dennis Christopher, he finally arrived and I was wisked upstairs to makeup for an evaluation about how'd I'd matchup as the cycling double- I didn't think I particularly looked like Dennis , but Peter said he thought we were similar enough in coloring and size that the long shots required of me would work- so I was glad of that.When Dennis did his first scene with Robyn Douglas (Katherine) I asked Peter if I could watch so I could get a feel fo the character (which mattered little as far as the bike riding) and Peter sat me right up front practically next to the camera, as Dave attempts to light her cigarette and the lighter the prop people had rigged up flares up out of control.When I saw the energy that Dennis put into the performance, any fantasies I may have had about me somehow playing the part were erased- I knew I couldn't emote like that.



I was also then assigned to tutor Dennis on cycling when we could arrange some time- and so I got pretty protective of him when we went on some bike rides- I wanted no falling stars on my watch- because I figured I'd might be out of a job if he got injured and they found someone else- One day I saw him riding out on Tenth street, with Ted Chase, another Little 5 rider who was playing a frat guy- and I was sorta pissed because not even many real bike riders braved that busy stretch of road- When Dennis had a break in shooting- he road with me and the Delta Chi’s over to Nashville Indiana- a good 25 mile ride- proving his own cycling ability- but the real surprise was screenwriter Steve Tesich- who couldn't seem to get enough time away from the set to reaquaint himself with the cycling venues of Bloomington.A group of us rode down to the quarry as the shooting at the union moved on- and Steve really seemed out to show us that he was a bike rider just like we were- albeit a few years older.

The action then moved on to the quarry sequences, and Greg and I moved on right along with it- since we'd then been there on our bikes- It was all seeming much more private then, with the onlookers and extras of the student union gone and only the cast and crew present.The serenade sequnce was obviously going to be terrific- and I recall cracking up at the shot of Paul Dooley removing his pocket pen protector- and he seemed really jazzed by my reaction- which wasn't untypical- because it always seems to get a big hoot whenever I've seen it with an audience in a theatre.




About that time, I was getting ready to do my bit on the bike, and I was given one of the orange Masi bicycles to sort out- although it had to be returned to the prop man every day- It was unfortunately a size or two too small for me- although it fit Dennis a little better- but wasn't really any problem.They originally thought I might be enlisted to do some scenes when Dave chases Katherina on her motorscooter- but they did it all with Dennis - and so I was a bit disappointed and getting anxious.There was another bit they had me do- where Dave sloloms trough a bunch of parking meters- ecstatic over the news that the Italians are coming to Indianapolis- We did several takes- and second unit cameraman Jimmy Glennon wasn't happy with my energy somehow- but I was sloloming for all I was worth- then we took a lunch break and I did it again- Jimmy seemed to think it was much better then- but it never made the film- and I was starting to feel that maybe my bit in everything wasn't going to be much after all-



Then it was time to do the truck drafting scene- I knew that was going to be my big moment- I'd drafted trucks on my bike before, but never quite at the sixty miles an hour in the script- I recalled a time when Dave Blase himself had told me that about sixty miles an hour, the super skinny tires on a racing bike seemed to really start getting a little squirrelley- and especially after a recent wreck- I knew there was some danger, but the enormity of the proceedings around me pushed that out of my mind, and I enjoyed all the attention.For almost two days- the whole focus of the film revolved around my participation- and it was awesome- Peter, Steve and I talked about the bike's gearing- I debated whether I should use an extra large gear- the Masi they gave me didn't even have a gear as large as I was using in racing, and so I put my own usual racing gearing on for the sequences.The very first part was the most diificult- because the script called for the truck to come past Dave and for him to catch the draft already at speed- that's really quite impossible, although the downslope on Highway 37 between Bloomington and Martinsville helped me get closer to the speed, and so the truck wasn't moving as fast at that point, and I found I could initially catch the draft at about 50 or so.But all the rest of it- and there were quite a lot of takes and different runs were done at about sixty- Peter was a stickler for realism- having a reputation as an action director- that speed did not prove to be that difficult when I accelerated up to it along with the truck- and so in shots such as the one across the cornfield- it was all done at that speed with no camera tricks or sped up film.Most of it was done the first day- but some had to be added again the next, and then some second unit shots- when the dailies came back- everyone cheered at the shot across the cornfield and it was a great feeling.There was one bad edit that appears in the film and I kind of felt bad about it- in crosscutting between me and Dennis- there's one angle where it's apparent that Dennis is in a light gear on his front inner chainring- and obviously couldn't be going that fast- I was in a group of bike racers at a showing at some races and they spotted it right away- although perhaps not many other people would- but if I'd seen the edited product before it was released I probably could have caught it



I think the football stadium scenes were about then- when Mike talks about his frustration of no longer being a quarterback- It was early September then- when the red sun sets directly in the west in the Indiana sky- and it seemed sad to think it was all going to be over soon.



Next came the Cinzano 100 road race- which was another big moment for all the local bike racers- and the start of it all was staged conveniently right outside the Fireside motel where all the cast and crew were staying.Eddy had arrived with the other "Italians"- all bike racers from the Chicago area to play the Team Cinzano riders- and it was funny to watch Eddy in his big moment- very much like the Italian Ferrari driver- blowing kisses to the crowd when he's announced before the start of the race.Eddy made sure to tell everyone that he was to lead the group into the first corner- a hundred yards or so from the start.Still the anxious group of cyclists took off like crazy- and Eddy had to scramble for all he was worth to get to the corner first- a lesser rider would have been buried in the pack.The race of course was not a real race- but followed highway 446 south- the pack of riders would ride past one camera location- and then stop and reasssemble while the cameras were set up for the next shot.Dennis Christopher had to be in most of the shots- so my own duty through most of it was to ride near him- in another jersey and not as his camera double- but just to keep him from being swallowed up in the chaos of the pack.By the time the group reached the long causeway across Lake Monroe- the bike race had "broken up" into several groups- with the Italians mechanically leading the way- and Dave springing up through different groups chasing them down.Later on a fast descent where Peter Yates uses a circular camera pan to track the riders- I again assumed the role of Dave as the character springs from the group and closes in on the Italians- There was some inter-cutting with Dennis- and it's notable that the last rider that Dave leaves behind- in a distinctive TI Raleigh team jersey- is none other than Dave Blase- the real life "inspiration" for the script- who feigns exhaustion- as Dave Breaks away to finally join his idols ahead of all the others.The verbal exchanges between Dave and the Italians- in Italian constituted speaking parts for the riders- and they were compensated for them as such- I rode as Dave when Eddy shifts his gears on the long uphill- and Peter told me to be careful to keep my face out of the shot- so I tucked in my chin and looked down when the others cleared away from in front.



In the script there is another exchange- as Dave strikes back at the Italians by leading them into a pot hole, after they've hassled him- It never made the film- and I guess would detract from Dave's innocent good-guy image.But it was filmed anyway- and Peter Yates- always a stickler for realism stood over the prop men supervising- while they dug a hole in the road for Eddy to be run into.Eddy was also standing there- expressing more and more doubt as the hole grew deeper- but Peter wanted to make it very obvious for the camera that he was run into the hole- So when the camera finally rolled- when Eddy hit the hole- his front rim completely buckeled and collapsed- so that he was thrown over the handlebars, and he came up cursing- it was kind of embarrassing- but no bike racer likes to fall when he doesn't have to.



Then it was time for the Italian idols to turn on Dave and wreck his chances in the race- by inserting the pump into his spokes- Eddy's big moment.For that professional Hollywood stuntman Conrad Palmisano was employed- I certainly didn't want to take any intentional falls, yet I found it a little amusing that quite a few people told me that I should become a hollywood stuntman, after my own participation in the movie.



In fact- earlier on, when Dennis had to dart in front of the Pinto that Ray is trying to sell- I was a little overly concerned I guess with my own expertience of flying over a car hood still fresh in mind- and I recall telling Dennis that if the car came too far and hit him- to try and stay above it as much as possible- Dennis in fact had more nerve than I would have had about riding out in the path of a car then Anyway- Mr. Palmisano knew his trade and the bike was equipped with a trip wire to make it tumble at a certain spot- The ditch beside the road was well-padded and then covered over with brush- so that he did it all without injury- all Eddy had to do was stick the pump in at the right moment. And so suddenly it was almost all over- and only the final Little 500 race remained to be filmed...

It was then about the middle or late September when it was finally time to shoot the climactic Little 500 sequence. The real Little 500 is of course held in Spring, and so the timing presented some problems for staging. The biggest one was that, despite having gotten a lot of attention in the local press throughout the summer and for the several weeks the students had been back in town, the crowd turnout was disappointing- The promise of appearing in a large crowd scene didn't draw the hoped for crowd, despite the promotional efforts of Twentieth Century Fox and the I.U. Student Foundation. While the race itself then drew about 18,000 people, only several hundred showed up for the staged filming of the race. I guess if people had known then how successful it was all going to be, there would have been more people there- but of course classes were just starting to really get rolling, it was football season and people just didn't come to the old 10th street stadium- which was already scheduled for demolition when the newer soccer stadium was completed on 17th street. It was a remarkable feat by director Peter Yates that it all came off as well as it did- he had to creatively move the crowd around after fewer shots- which of course took time- to make the stadium appear fuller than it actually was- and he later commented that it forced him to stay tighter on the race itself than he had in mind- but eventually he was more pleased with the results because of it-




It was also interesting from the standpoint of getting quite a few of the actual little 500 teams together- My last two years of riding in the Little 500- I was on the IU Student Foundation's Rider's Council- and so I knew many of the teams and riders there- as well as of course my own team -the Delta Chis- who took the race quite seriously and had resurected a fraternity house devastated by a fire and struggling for members, by having a certain amount of success in the race- We had in fact won the event four times in the last six years- and the occasion of the filming brought together several generations of riders in a kind of reunion- I was a little bit alienated from my own team by my own camera double role in the movie- they wore the yellow jerseys they had worn in the race that year- while I was given one of the "Cutter" tee shirts and red helmet like Dave- Beyond doubling for Dave in the longer shots- I also did some "camera duty" now- the prop man rigged up a Little 5 bike that hung a camera off to the side, for a close up of my peddling right foot and a point of view shot of the pack from a rider's perspective- It was fun and got me even more attention, so I was loving every minute of it- and although it constitutes just a scant few seconds in the film- The rest of it all was pretty easy-- absolutely second nature to me- since I'd first trained for the race way back in 1973- and now it was over five years later- Peter wanted me to slowly work my way up through the pack a couple of times, but I was really frustrated that they weren't moving any faster- and Peter said it was much too fast- but he didn't stop to reshoot much- and I don't think he was that disappointed in the end-



One thing happened that I felt bad about- as they had planned with the Italians- the casting people took it upon themselves to find a rider to double for the frat guy in the Little 5 sequences- and at random picked some Little 500 rider mostly for his coloring and size- and although he was a nice kid- i didn't know anything about him- in fact I'd already thought about it a lot- and a younger rider I'd known from Indianapolis for a number of years seemed to me to be a safer bet- he was on my Delta Chi team- and I was partial to him doing the doubling, not just because I knew him, but because he was the designated sprinter for our team- and as part of our usual preparation- we typically practiced several "final sprint" scenarios for the real race- He had velodrome and amateur racing experience as well, so I knew he could pull it all off. So I told Peter and Steve Tesich about him, and they decided to make the change- Unfortunately then- somebody told the other kid that I'd pulled the plug on him and he was a little bit upset. In the end- I'm sure it worked better- but I still feel like a heel a little bit-



At one point in the script- Dave of course falls off the bike leading up to the climactic sprint- the stunt man was to be employed again, but Peter wanted me to sort of step off a bike for the first part of the falling sequence- I did it without killing myself but with some reluctance- particularly after Eddy's debacle as the Italian with the pot hole- It ended up being Dennis Christopher who provided the necessary footage- when an unplanned tumble with an exchange was caught on film and then edited to my own "trip" from the pedals- And so we all paid our dues a little- and I think Dennis was a little upset with his own fall
Nestled in among other things was the long anticipated final sprint shot- which was scripted for the entire last two laps of the mock race- I think Peter and Steve thought it might be difficult- but as we'd done the very same thing in practice for the real Little 5 many times- we just did it- It seemed slow to me and I was telling Billy B- "Rod's" Double- to pick it up throughout the last lap- when I had to feign difficulties and then come from behind and surge around after the last corner- (In fact such a scenario in the real race was VERY unlikely- it was almost impossible to pass someone coming out of the last corner- especially on the old track- and so our team strategy was always to treat the entrance to the third turn as practically the finish line- and to make sure we were ahead by that point- and it never failed if we were there) It didn't seem that great to me- and I was hoping to do it all again- but when I got over to Peter and Steve- I found they were ecstatic and babbling about it had just saved them half a day in the schedule- and just that quickly they moved on- When I look at it now- I guess it works fine- the whole last two laps was us- and a close-up of Dennis is cut in as Dave crosses the line- And just like that- the whole Breaking Away shoot was over. I moved my dad's motor home away from the motel and worked that fall at a drug store in Bloomington selling photo supplies.




Then that January I got a call from Dave Blase- he had done the Public Address announcing in the film- as he did at the real Little 5- and they were flying him to New York to do some post-production voice overs- and they invited me along- so there we were for a day as he and Dan Stern recorded some voice overs "Hey, watch out for the hole...Owwww!" That night they had a test screening of the rough cut and Roy Scheider was there- I was intrigued at the reaction that just a shot of the quarry drew- and the enthusiastic responses of the audience had everyone encouraged-




The "World Premiere" of Breaking Away was then held the Spring of 1979- on Little 5 weekend at the IU Auditorium.

At some point that weekend I was with Steve Tesisch and Peter Yates, and everyone just knew by then that the film was going to be a success- everyone except a reviewer in the IU Daily Student newspaper who labled it "superficial and trivial" Everyone was laughing about it- and in fact it was the only negative review it seemed to get- as the national reviews that came along were all raving- "It makes you glad that there's both a Hollywood and a Bloomington" said LA Times columnist Pauline Kael. Rex Reed said that the bike racing sequences were "as exciting as any Olympic footage" The picture was up for several academy awards including best picture and best direction- and Steve Tesich won the Oscar for screenwriting- Bill Murray mentioned it on Saturday Night Live as he summed up the Oscar contenders by saying something like "It's new, It's fresh, It's original and endearing... So it doesn't stand a chance!!!" It was very sartisfying to watch it all unfold. Now get outta here... The film was a shot in the arm in my own bike racing endeavors and I ended up having probably my best season that summer- as Eddy Van Guyse invariably built up both his and my own participation in the film as an announcer at bike racing venues all over the midwest- And what a time it was.

But now it's a different story- In 1984 I retired from bike racing and started living as a woman- I've been harassed and bothered by a covert, organized group of people who have only grown in numbers and very brazen aggressive and offensive behaviors- Now I can't go into nearby Nashville Indiana or Bloomington without a lot of cops following me around- A team of vigilantes is abusing me at my home- as was the situation in California where I recently returned from- I've been bothered away from my last four places of residence since 9-11- and they're trying their best to make that happen here- The whole time- I've been in very poor health- I have a medical disability and now medical treatment has virtually become unavailable- and certainly untrustworthy.

(I’m stopping the story at this point – the rest is mostly about Holly's troubles living as a woman - synopsis: she's glad she did it but she gets hassled a lot. The whole thing is available HERE if you want to read it. It’s a sad story and an unfortunate set of circumstances but it doesn’t have anything to do with the movie. -Scott)

38 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hey, AWESOME website!! Just watched the movie on Encore last night (probably the 50th time I've seen it). One of my top ten films.

I think there's a great "blooper" at the little 500 towards the end of the film. Just after Paul Dooley arrives and meets Barbara who's watching the race, the pack passes by and I swear Barbara screams, "GO DANIEL GO!!!". She then covers her mouth.

I think she was actually cheering for Daniel Stern who was probably riding while that footage was taken, and covered her mouth when she realized what she yelled. The footage looks like she was regaining her composure after screaming.

Diablo Scott said...

[I]I swear Barbara screams, "GO DANIEL GO!!!". She then covers her mouth.[/I]

I think what she says is "Go DAMN YOU Go!" And she covers her mouth because she realizes that she's so caught up in the excitement that she actually cursed. Ray looks at her with a little shock also (probably the first time he's ever heard her use that word) but then gets over it.

Thanks for writing.

Anonymous said...

The girl in the car with Rod is a local girl - Jennifer Mickel. She graduated in 1978 (I thnk) from Bloomington North high school.

Anonymous said...

Great site.

The house I lived in was two blocks up from where they were filming the 'home' shots and they used to close the road. I'd have to ride around the block. Most annoying. Also, I remember they filmed a scene inside Nick's English Hut where I worked as a bartender. Looks like it didn't make the final version, although there is an exterior of Nick's. My office in Myers Hall overlooked the sorority where the shots of Dave and Kathryn were taken and I remember watching them take what seemed like hours to get it right.

I was in Bloomington for 2-1/2 years from 1977-1979 and I never heard he term Cutters (Townies, maybe occasionally). They were the best of times and it's great to see Breaking Away as it caught what the town and campus really did look like. Not much has changed. I go back occasionally as a good friend still lives there. Nick's still has pound jars.

Anonymous said...

Great stuff!!

You made a blooper yourself! The picture you show of Rod's car is a 80's model 350sl Mercedes. Rod drove a late 60's early 70's 280sl, which looks very different compared to 380sl.

Jim Toole said...

Thank you so much for this site. When the Cinzano rider puts the pump in Dave's wheel, the video switches to a bare bicycle with a weighted burlap sack taped to the top tube for about 5 frames. Not exactly a blooper, but a great job of special effects.

mike said...

Great blog and post!
I have a couple more photos you're free to use if you like. One is of Dave's house and the other is Katherine's sorority house.
Cheers,
Mike

Anonymous said...

I rode my Frejus with Dave Andrews and Gary Rybar and was one of the selected pack in the Cizano 100... This was just before leaving Bloomington after 5 years of Getting my BA, then Breaking Away to Austin, TX and more culturual diversions. I managed a small Lake Travis resort hotel in Lago Vista, TX. In 1988, I traded lodging for ESPN sponsorship with Branders Jeans Tour of Texas, housing foreign Olympic riders from 20 countries. It became an annual Spring Cycling event, to this day. It's great to have a chapter of my Bloomington experience captured in a great film.

amanda said...

hey lovely, will you please direct me to the loosen up song playing in the car in the movie? i need need need it!!!

Anonymous said...

Excerpts below from an interview with Wayne Stetina by SpokePost.com 11/30/2006
http://spokepost.com/news/story/1686/

Bicycling magazine article
http://www.bicycling.com/article/0,6610,s1-3-9-10082-1,00.html

Wayne Stetina
Vice President, Bicycle Division
National Sales Marketing Product Manager
Shimano America

Member U.S. Olympic Teams 1972, 76, & 80.
Ten times U.S. National Cycling Champion (1975 - 1993).
Pan Am Gold Medal winner 1979.
Nat. Prestige Classic Champion 1973-75-77-78.
USCF Board of Directors 1979-1984.
US Bicycling Hall of Fame 1999



SP: I was actually saving this question for later, but now that you're mentioning the mid-west, I thought I'd talk to you about the movie "Breaking Away" for a minute. So I've heard that the movie was based on your story? [chuckling]

Wayne Stetina: Nahhhh, that's incorrect. There are similarities. Actually, the guy that wrote it was a Phi Si and he knew Dave Blase, who was a really good local racer. I think Dave had the most laps ever ridden until the first year I rode a hundred and forty-some laps. I rode the first 60 laps without doing an exchange. They changed a lot of rules after I did two races there...

SP: The rumor is that you single-handedly won the race...

Wayne Stetina: ...the second year I rode we had a team that had three other riders who got into the Little-500 Hall of Fame. They won pole positions in qualifications and I didn't even go to qual's...that year I only rode 92 laps. I think I was 144 laps the first year if I recall correctly, but the second year we were arguing about who was going to go back out. The first year I had no idea what to expect, so I spent a fair amount of time getting used to the track and trying to figure out how to ride it...

SP: What was the surface of the track?

Wayne Stetina: It was a cinder track. It was before they had gone to a faster track with narrower tires. It's an artificial surface now, much quicker. We were on loose cinders in an old stadium that they would pack with maybe 35 to 40 thousand screaming spectators. It was quite an interesting venue to ride a bike. The second year I went to the [fraternity] house and I said, "Do you guys want to win by one or two laps this year?" and they said, "You can't call that!" I said, "Listen! We could win by 3-laps, but it would be really hard, but one or two laps is pretty easy." -- I'd gone out and I did one practice session at the track that year and rode about 40 laps just to see how the fields were riding. With the team that we had, and the way I felt...

SP: So what year would this have been?

Wayne Stetina: That was, let's see, the first year I rode was '73, so it was '74. We won by two laps and then I helped a friend of mine make sure he got second. He had the flu that day and wasn't feeling strong, but normally he would have been able to stay with us...

SP: This is good stuff. Most cyclists realize that the Little-500 wasn't just in the movie. They probably don't get the scope of it when you say 30 to 40 thousand fans...

Wayne Stetina: That was filmed in the stadium that I raced in. The movie was in 1978 and my brother Dale and I were at the World's at Nuremburg Ring in Germany. We went to the Tour of Switzerland, then raced the worlds in Germany that year. My two younger brothers and my dad were extras in the road race scenes. One of my former roommates from Delta Chi was the double for Dennis Christopher. Every time you see the really muscular guy, that was supposed to be the star going fast...that's Gary Ribar, he's a Hall of Fame rider. So when you see the guy in the small chainring, behind the semi...that's the "star". When you see the guy that's really going 60 mph, that's Gary [chuckle]. He was frequently top-10 on a nation level.

jimmyschweb said...

Great Blog. I live on the Lincoln St in Bloomington, and I think the initial Davey riding on Lincoln scene was from my front porch. Things haven't changed much here in B-Town. Everytime we ride past Davey's house we yell out, "Refund, Refund!"
I'm designing a route for the local bike club that we will be riding the week before the little 500. There's only one part of the film I can't figure out. What is the location that they filmed Daving training, getting a flat, and then being passed by motorpacing Katarina? Also, I think Moocher's house got torn down for some new condo's and apartments. And, I'm sure you know that the 10th St Stadium got torn down a long time ago.
If you're ever in the neigborhood, stop by and have a beer under my Cinzano umbrella.

Diablo Scott said...

Hi Jimmy -

If you've got any interesting photos I'd love to include them.

I'm pretty sure the "getting a flat" scene was filmed in the Morgan-Monroe State Forest. Check this photo page out:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/amyqb/524883545/

I had a Cinzano umbrella too!

Russ Proctor said...

Okay, I can't believe I just stumbled onto this site! I'm a communication professor at Northern Kentucky University who has used the movie Breaking Away in his interpersonal communication classes for more than two decades. It's safe to say that I've seen the movie over 100 times and know virtually every line. I've also written about it in a book called "Communication in Film." If you'd like to see a copy, drop me an email at proctorr@nku.edu.

Love to see that others treasure this movie as much as I do!

Johnny P. said...

Yes! I too just stumbled onto this site and have been reading every detail and savoring it like a fine meal or a tasty dessert. I love that movie and I think that got me into riding and eventually racing - I remember taking apart my hubs on my department store bike, repacking them with thick grease my dad had around, cleaning my chain and then riding endless hours in the summer.
The cast and story couldn't have been any better.
I am now a 41 yr old and still try to train and do the local races. I watch the movie on DVD from time to time and today I was searching for scenes from the Team Cinzano sequence when I found this treasure of a site.
Thank you so much! Molto grazie!

Anonymous said...

Great site - just one comment - Dave's family name is Stoller, not Stohler

Diablo Scott said...

Great site - just one comment - Dave's family name is Stoller, not Stohler..

Let's be specific:

The IMDB site spells it Stoller. It's not shown in the movie's credit scroll so I don't know where they got that spelling - maybe they had a script or maybe they just made it up. I've never seen it spelled that way anywhere else of significance.

But the REAL GUY after whom Dave's character was named is Bob Stohler so I'm going to continue with that spelling; see the photo and link in my ACTORS section.

I'd contend that the movie itself would be the primary consideration for a determination (like if there were a scene showing his name written out), then secondary would be the credit scroll, then finally the script or other original document. Absent any of those three I'm just going to declare that I'm right and IMDB is wrong.

Tom Schwoegler said...

I thought you might want to check out the Breaking Away posters that I have been collecting since the last time I emailed you. In addition to the ones shown, I have a program from Iceland and I have two additional posters that are coming from Spain and Italy.

Tom Schwoegler

http://www.little500.com/breakingaway/

Diablo Scott said...

Wow that's some great stuff Tom!

I don't remember your e-mailing me before and I don't have a way to contact you but thanks for everything!

Tom Schwoegler said...

you can reach me at tjs@little500.com

t. said...

This movie is the sole reason my brother and I fell in love with bike racing. I didn't start racing until I was 16, in 1987, but after seeing this movie I bought magazines, bought VeloNews (you had to go to Tower Books to find VeloNews and it looked like a newsletter and was printed on newsprint) and followed the European races in the international newspapers.

I have seen this movie so many times over the years and view it a bit differently each time as I age. I have two little girls and I think I now understand the dad's perspective more.

Some cyclists who want to act really cool say the movie is lame but I was always proud to say it was the reason I started racing. And racing brought me so much pleasure for the four years I competed.

Jimmy Schweb said...

Just heard from the neighbors that the owner of Davey's house lives in Germany most of the time, and the house is vacant. Wouldn't it be great if they'd make it a B & B?
Also, last summer was the 30th anniversary, and Buskirk-Chumley Theatre (Indiana Theatre) had a packed house for a showing. The mayor was there (he was in the stadium crowd). Beforehand, I contacted the program director and made sure they invited Jennifer Mickel ("local girl in car") who I had met at a cafe' after riding 100mi in Green and Owen counties. She moved back to B-Town some 5 years ago and has a landscaping company.
Jimmy Schweb

dolo said...

"Loosen It Up" - "a lost disco song?" Surely someone must know something about the track? Artist, anything?

Mark said...

Hi... Great Blog.

I lived in Bloomington from 1972-1979. Many friends cut high school our senior year to sit in the stands. I even dated Jennifer Mickel for about a month. I had a date with her for the Junior Prom, but then had to cancel on her as we later discovered it occured on Passover, a Jewish holiday.


I found two very subtle Bloopers that probably require knowledge of Bloomington to pick up:

When Kat first drops her notbook off her Moped and Dave picks it up on his bike and starts chasing her, he's riding east, past the backside of the Indiana Memorial Union. You'll see he passes a green awning, a white sign, a white station wagon, and a van. As he continues to chase her, seconds later, he passes the exact same van, station wagon, white sign, and awning on the right. He made a speed of light U-turn and is doubling back.

When Dave starts on his 50 mile bike ride at 60 mph, he's supposed to be 50 miles away from Bloomington. I believe he's actually cycling north, out of Bloomington, on N. Walnut St. That whole scene, I believe, is showing repeated shots of the same stretch of highway, all in close proximity to Bloomington. The only thing far away from Bloomington was the road sign.

hleighh said...

I know your question is 10 years old, but since nobody seems to have responded...

the Italian aria Dave listens to in the scene right after he meets Katherine (right before he tells his parents that his heart hurts because he's in love) is "Una furtiva lagrima" from Donizetti's "The Elixir of Love". The hero has just talked to a girl who acted snooty and stand-offish, but he sings about how "One furtive tear" betrayed her secret love for him.

This is still one of the best films EVER. Thanks for this great post with all the "Where are they now?"

Diablo Scott said...

Thanks hleighh!

No, the question is not ten years old, I just chose an old date because Blogger sorts everything by date and I didn't want it to re-sort everytime I updated... LIKE NOW!

Dangerman Six said...

To answer someone's question, I think the place where Dave gets the flat is Yellowwood State Forest. It was a popular place to ride and there used to be a regular Wednesday or Thursday evening time trial held out there by I think the BBC (Bloomington Bicycle Club) way back when. A friend of mine was a bike racer extra in the movie and won the Indiana state road race a couple years later. We later served together on a crew in the 1984 RAAM and, the day before the race started, walked into a bike shop in Huntington Beach, Calif., and who was working as a mechanic there but Gary Rybar! We used to see him lounging around Bloomo, post movie, as a kind of local celeb, about the time we were all just really getting into cycling. Fond memories.

jimmy schweb said...

here's a Utube that I just received from some Bloomington riders. You may recognize some of these now old-timers from your days in Bloomington.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4IDgrFRAvio

Also, I led the annual BBC Breaking Away Club ride. Had around 40 cyclists riding by all the hot spots of Breaking Away. New RIP is Fairview Elementary School, it was dozed over and replace with a brand new structure.

Jimmy Schweb

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if there was ever an official soundtrack album for this movie? I can't find ANYTHING online but I can't believe there wouldn't have been. So much great classical music!

Please post if you know more!

Steve said...

Just wanted to let you know you are correct, it is Stohler and not Stoller. Check the scene where Dave's dad is riding the bike out of the car lot and you see the Cutter Cars sign with "Raymond Stohler" listed below it.

download Freeloaders said...

You made a blooper yourself! The picture you show of Rod's car is a 80's model 350sl Mercedes. Rod drove a late 60's early 70's 280sl, which looks very different compared to 380sl.

Jimmy Schweb said...

Just wanted to let you know that the BBC used a couple of photo's of your blog for our plug for our annual Breaking Away ride. Check it out on bloomingtonbicycleclub.org. Thanks.
Jimmyschweb

Diablo Scott said...

Thanks Jimmy - I saw BBC and first thought about the Monty Python channel, but it's a real honor to be referenced by the Bloomington Bicycle Club.

I've never been to Bloomington, but a ride like this would be a good reason to go.

fritz96 said...

What a great movie, brings back so many memories. At that time my friends and I were really into bike racing. Growing up in PA. we had Trexlertown velodrome to enjoy, and we had some great riders in my neighborhood male and female & I mean great-Pan-Am games & Europe racing. Here's my ? How many riders after seeing the movie-jumped on the draft of every tractor trailer that went by--It was impossible to resist-it was like an addiction. The funniest/best/however you want to classify an event-happened to my friend Doug.He was drafting behind a big rig and just like the movie-it was the police,& of course the speed was well above the posted 35mph.Here's the kicker-the truck driver was given a warning, and Doug got the ticket. We were stunned,it was an outrage-Doug loved it.At the time it was honestly the greatest event in his 18 years of life. He payed his fines,framed his tickets,and hung them on his bedroom wall-Almost 30 years later it still cracks me up-wow being young sure was fun,just a shame it's wasted on the young.

Anonymous said...

Jennifer K Mickel was definitely an eye catching beauty as the girl in Rod's car. I googled her and found she was arrested in 2008 at age 48 in Bloomington. Bloomington? Age 48 in 2008. Has to be the same person.

http://www.bloomingtonalternative.com/node/9112

Anonymous said...

Not to belabor commenting on someone who was only in two short scenes, but here's what got Ms. Mickel arrested: http://www.ai.org/judiciary/opinions/pdf/01090907ebb.pdf

I saw that you couldn't find a recent picture of her. I'm betting the Bloomington police have one or two. :)

Also, she apparently ran for city council: http://ttmsoia.andyhill.us/bloomington-2011-elections/

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this amazing tribute to Breaking Away. This film was such and inspiration to me growing up!

Sandy said...

Re: Stohler vs Stoller: I didn't go through the whole blog to see if any more was said about this, but I have a PDF of the original script, and it definitely spells it Stohler. Just for trivia's sake. :D

Anonymous said...

I love this blog! Breaking Away is one of my favorite movies and Mendelssohn's Italian is one of my favorite symphonies, since 1979. Thanks for compiling all this and sharing your love of biking and this movie.