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The Junkman (1981)

 Film Synopsis

2nd in H.B. Halicki’s Gone in 60 Seconds Trilogy THE JUNKMAN (1981) stars H.B. “Toby” Halicki, Christopher Stone, Susan Shawn, Lang Jeffries with Hoyt Axton and Lynda Day George. The Film was written, produced and directed by H.B. “Toby” Halicki, executive produced by Richard L. Muse.


Hosted by H.B. Halicki

Exclusive 20-minute Original Featurette on DVD
H.B. Halicki, known to friends and fans as the “Car-Crash- King,” will take you behind the scenes and show you how he did some of the amazing stunts that earned The Junkman film a place in the “Guinness Book of World Records” for wrecking over a 150 Cars, Trucks, Motorcycles and Planes in one movie.


THE SETTING: In the high stakes world of wealth, glamour and power.

THE ASSIGMENT: To Kill Harlan Hollis (H.B. Halicki) a Junkyard owner, turned movie mogul (maker of the Gone in 60 Seconds movie) and stuntman.

THE CHALLENGE: On the way to the James Dean festival, Hollis races to escape the deadly assassin attack, from the ground and air. Hollis must stay alive and uncover who is behind this lethal plan. It will take Hollis through a fiery battle to get him to the Gone in 60 Seconds movie premier (Cinerama Dome Theater), turning highways and city streets into a blazing junkyard!


The Junkman is the second installment of Halicki’s film trilogy. H.B. ‘Toby’ Halicki plays Harlan B. Hollis a junkyard owner, turned movie mogul and stuntman. It is set in the high stakes world of wealth, glamour and power. Hollis’s jealous public relations manager/brother-in- law; Michael Fox played by Christopher Stone, resents Hollis for making the “Gone in 60 Seconds” Movie, that is premiering at the famous Cinerama Dome. Fox hires a team of assassins to kill Hollis. Christopher Stone’s wife; Dee Wallace played the Mother of the 3 kids; who help E.T. “phone home” (1982 E.T. movie) It’s raw Halicki filmmaking at its best, with the most amazing aerial plane and car stunts. Halicki crashes through the “James Dean Festival” with a 100 of hot rods and custom cars. Halicki even convinced the Goodyear Tire company to use the “Goodyear Blimp.” Halicki’s sister carved and made the “Opening Credits” that went in the shadow boxes that where built by Eb Jensen, who built the sets for the movie.

The film starts with the leader and hit man Frank Spyros played by Kopi Sotiropulos answering a pay phone. Getting instructions from a then unknown person to go ahead with the hit on Hollis as he drives to the James Dean Festival in Cholame, California. The same unknown person inserts a video tape into a VCR, a highlight video of Hollis’s life. The black and white photos in the montage are Halicki’s true family. The Junkyard, with Harlan and his new wife; Helen was Halicki’s own Junkyard in Southern California. The Hollis baby girl “Kelly” was played by Tiffany Syslo (Cinematographer Tony Syslo’s daughter). The older Hollis’ daughter “Kelly” was played by Kelly Busia (Marion Busia’s daughter who played Pumpkin in the 1974 Gone in 60 Seconds). This opening Montage is a reflection of Halicki’s life, from The Junkman, to the making of Gone in 60 Seconds, becoming a millionaire and then going on to making his 2 nd movie The Junkman. It’s the set up plot for The Junkman movie.

Hollis is then seen cutting a rear differential out of a car in a junkyard, while his business manager Richard Hill Played by Richard L. Muse (who was Halicki’s High School friend and ended up being Halicki’s Business accountant) quietly looks on. Hollis requests a helicopter and gives instructions that he doesn’t care how much an upcoming junkyard party costs, as long as everybody has a good time.

Halicki sets up the opening chase-scene at the Queen Mary with Hoyt Axton playing “Captain Gibbs.” Hoyt Axton was a close friend of Halicki. Once again, Halicki shot his scenes on Sunday; the streets where empty, made it easier for Halicki to do the stunts.

Halicki did the helicopter lift off out of the Red Bricklin in the river bed. (go to bricklin.org for the history on the Malcom Bricklin’s sports car that was produced in 1974-1975) In fact, Halicki loved doing his own stunts for his movies. (He wasn’t a stunt man by trade.) Halicki climbs out of a flying helicopter with no tie-downs, so that his character Hollis climbing into the helicopter looks real. Realism was the name of the game for Halicki. Halicki used this River bed/helicopter chase-scene to set up that Hollis is now a Junkman turned movie mogul and stuntman. Dominic Sena was one of Halicki’s cameramen; Sena used the river bed/helicopter chase scene when he directed the 2000 remake of Gone in 60 Seconds with Nicolas Cage & “Eleanor” being chased by a helicopter in the river bed.

It’s a “Wrap” on Hollis’s film. The film crew is then seen cleaning up. We see Hollis’ daughter Kelly and Reporter Susan Clark played by Susan Shaw (who was a real local news reporter), arriving with a camera crew to interview Hollis for a story, interviewing his PR Manager/ brother-in- law Michael Fox played by Christopher Stone first. Nick Nickolary playing himself as the “Goodyear Blimp Skipper” walks up and hands a little toy of the Goodyear Blimp over. Hoyt Axton, plays “Captain Gibbs” in Hollis’ movie. And Hollis gives Kelly a horse as an early birthday present.

Halicki moves his story along and shoots scenes in his own warehouse the size of football field with over 100,000 vintage and antique toys and Automobiles inside. Halicki had one of the largest “Car and Toy” collections in the world and we are able to get a peek at all his cars and toys, even “Eleanor’s room” the star car character from Gone in 60 Seconds. Hollis meets up with Arthur Wheeler played by Lang Jeffries at his office to detail the itinerary for the next two days. Hollis then goes with Kelly to his ranch in Paso Robles for the weekend.

Meanwhile, the Head Assassin “Spyros” watches his hired assassin’s drive up at the airport, the driver is “Cover Two” played by Tony Ostermeier, in the backseat is “Blackbird” played by Rita Rickard and riding shot gun is “Magnum” played by Dave Logue. Head hit man; “Spyros” gives his team of assassins the plan to kill Hollis, which would include the “mystery man” behind the “hit” who will be flying one of the air covers.

Hollis meets up with the Editor played by Warner E. Leighton to discuss the editing changes to the Hollis movie. The Bricklin scenes that are shown in the editing viewer ended up in Halicki’s 3 rd movie Deadline Auto Theft. Leighton was Halicki’s editor along with PJ Webb; who was Warner’s Love of his life and his assistant editor on the film. (See their interview on the DVD).

As Hollis drives to the James Dean festival he’s unaware that killers are tracking his every move. Halicki puts a“ James Dean Festival” in his movie as a tribute to the James Dean. Halicki put a press release out about the James Dean Festival and car clubs came out and you’ll see 100’s of hot rods and custom cars. Even the famous George Barris (one of the great Car Customizer) was in the scenes, Barris was a close friend of Halicki. Barris met Halicki when Halicki won first place for his Custom 56’ Buick when Halicki was only 16 years old still in high school.

Halicki had some of his custom cars from his collection towed up for the “James Dean Festival” filming; one of them fell off the tow truck. So Halicki turned lemons into lemonade and wrote a scene into the movie, where Hollis is driving his Cadillac Eldorado and comes upon a flipped over car on the Highway, with CHP in the accident scene. “Blackbird” played by Rita Rickard spots Hollis on the highway and gives chase. Blackbird races up to the backend of a Black Pontiac TransAm that has “Eat my Dust” on its back spoiler, it’s giving Blackbird a hard time to pass. Once she gets side by side with the TransAm she pulls her gun out, the Kids swerve to stop. “Eat My Dust” is a movie that starred Ron Howard (Happy Days) from the independent Roger Corman film in 1976.

Blackbird slides to a stop avoiding crashing into a “spun out” Highway Patrol car. She pulls her gun and ambushes the Officer Gregory W. Slane who played himself. She continues her rage and shoots up the Highway Patrol car with her shot-gun. Assassin “Cover Two” Plane starts his attack on Hollis. Hollis is able to save the Girl in the Red Corvette. But “Cover Two” blows up that Corvette.

The Highway Patrol is alerted about the planes shooting. Blackbird pulls her gun on him and shoots as Hollis slams on his brakes. Hollis spins around is able to escapes and the chase continues.

Halicki built 5 Highway Patrol Z28 Camaros for the movie and the California Highway Patrol had 2 Z28 Camaros in their stable.

The Highway Patrol crashes into a 280Z and rips off its front end, the KNX Reporter played by Debra Zullo (a real reporter) pulls over quickly and runs to help the 280Z lady. The highway patrol officer is played by Butch Stockton (who played the “1-baker- 11” Detective who chased “Eleanor” in Gone in 60 Seconds). Stockton and Halicki were great friends.

The chase continues with “Blackbird” and “Cover Two” Plane all over Hollis. Halicki had a ranch up in Paso Robles and he filmed some of the crashes on his street. Halicki left the wrecked cars on the street for a week so he could come back and film them.

The chase continues with “Blackbird” shooting up Hollis’s Cadillac. As Assassin “Magnum” joins Blackbird in the pursuit of Hollis. ““Cover Two” Plane is shooting at Hollis from above. They all race through the “James Dean Festival.” Assassin “Magnum” and Blackbird are on Hollis’s bumper, as the bullets rip through Hollis’s Cadillac. Hollis makes a quick turn and “Blackbird” goes off the cliff and crashes. “Magnum” and White “Cover Two” Plane continues after Hollis. Finally, the white “Cover Two” hits Hollis’s Cadillac, crashes and explodes. Hollis quickly drives under a low bridge and loses “Magnum”, but red “Cover One” played by Tony Ostermeier chases Hollis out from under the Bridge. Check out the DVD interview with Tony, and how he flew that plane under the low bridge without killing himself.

In the chase scenes, Halicki rigged lights to be flashing on the Highway Patrol Z28 Camaros. The California Highway Patrol liked it so much they implemented into their Highway Patrol cars.

Red “Cover One” Plane throws a grenade through Hollis’s moon roof. Hollis quickly grabs it and throws it out and Blows up “Magnum” for a climatic jump and flip over. Halicki had a pipe ramp on the back of the Cadillac for the stunt. Halicki’s next stunt was for Hollis to jump his Cadillac over Red “Cover One” airplane. Halicki built a house on his Paso Robles property. The scene is for Hollis to come crashing through as Red “Cover One” Plane drops a grenade and the house blows up as Red “Cover Two” Plane does a couple victory rolls in the air. Richard Hill and his secretary played by Sharon McCreedy watch the news… reporting that Harlan B. Hollis junkyard owner, turned movie mogul and stuntman is dead. Left for dead, Hollis manages to escape a fiery death and is met by reporter Susan Clark and her camera crew; Jack Vacek played Clark’s cameramen (he was the production manager on the Film). Hollis asks for their help. They all head back to Los Angeles to figure out who’s trying to kill him. The scene with Kelly and Hollis’s Mom with the horse in the barn was played by Jack Vacek’s mom.

Hollis is hiding out from the assassins, reporter Susan Clark shows Hollis a new “publicly photo” of him, that was found in the assassin’s (“Magnum”) burnt car. Hollis tells Clark that the photo has not been released yet. Clark sums it up “that means someone inside your company is trying to kill you”. Hollis’s house is surrounded by police and Hollis’s public relations manager/brother-in- law; Michael Fox is helping Kelly get her things to leave. When Hollis makes it to Kelly to let her know he’s a live.

Halicki used the outside of his company’s warehouse to shoot the scene; that brings in the burnt Cadillac. Susan Clark continues to ask questions to Hollis’s public relations manager/brother-in- law; Michael Fox that she needs to finish her story on the Hollis new Movie and his death. Hollis makes it to Palomino “Country Club” and meets Hoyt Axton and asks Hoyt Axton to loan him some money, a gun and a car. Hoyt Axton offers his wife’s brand new 1981 Chevrolet Corvette. For Hoyt Axton’s fee for being in “The Junkman” Halicki gave Hoyt Axton a Rolls Royce.

Back at Hollis’s office (Halicki’s real office) Fox and Wheeler argue over letting Clark in with her film crew to finish the story she was doing. Fox sighting Hill now owning the company gives him the decision of whether to grant Clark access. Later that night, Hollis sneaks into the office, but is heard by his security guard Dennis played by Dennis Stouffer (who really worked for Halicki as his personal property security) who thinks he is an intruder and shoots several times toward the intruder. Hollis escapes in the star car character Eleanor from Gone in 60 Seconds. He climbs the fence and is met by Clark’s film crew and they all escape as the police arrive. The police officer was played by Eb Jensen.

Richard Hill’s Jensen (car) brakes down, Fox picks up Hill in his white Lincoln, they drive off. They stop at Liquor store. Blackbird, who survived her car crash over the cliff, back in Paso Robles, sets off a car bomb in Fox’s car, which was thought to be occupied by Hill. Fox finally sees Hill was not in the car. Halicki shot this scene across the street from his shop.

At the News Station, Clark gets in a fight with her boss Larry Bergleman played by Dan Grimaldi; who demands to know her source on Hollis death. Bergleman tells Clark about the planes used in the hit.

Clark and the crew go to the airport to interview a pilot (Assassin “Spyros”). Once Clarkmentions the biplane that was involved in the Hollis murder, “Spyros refuses to continue the interview. “Chevrolet Citation Lady” was played by Emily Fladland. Ronald Morgan Cadillac was also used in Halicki’s Gone in 60 Seconds Movie. “Blackbird” shoots “Spyros” and grabs the bomb. Hollis, on a tip from Clark arrives to confront “Sotiropulos”, who he finds dead. Hollis discovers “plans” where a bomb will be planted in a limousine at Hollis’s movie premier. “Spyros” assistant comes in, sees Hollis. Hollis pulls the gun and escapes in the Yellow Corvette. The assistant calls the police.

“Blackbird” plants the bomb in the limousine and sets its timer. Hollis races to the premier in the Yellow Corvette. The police chase… The Police play the Police. Halicki raced down sidewalks, spun around corners and races down railroad tracks with the Police in pursuit.

Hollis sees Police behind him and now infront of him. Hollis yanks the Corvette into Pucci’s Restaurant’s parking lot. The Police have Hollis pinned in, no place to go. Halicki sets up a get-away escape for Hollis. Hollis steps on the gas, the Pucci’s sign makes a ramp and Hollis drives across the hoods of the Parked cars. Halicki as usual, is the actual driver driving in this stunt scene. Police follow as Hollis escapes. In the 2010 RAT RACE, Seth Green (from ‘The Italian Job) played Duane, who drives a 4×4 Ford called “Wild Ride” did the same stunt, driving drives across the hoods of the Parked cars. Soon Hollis has Highway Patrol on his tail. Hollis comes around a corner and slams into “Chevrolet Citation Lady” in her new car. Hollis flips the Corvette. Hollis gets out of the wrecked Corvette and he starts running and he sees the Goodyear Blimp about to take off. Hollis jumps on to the Goodyear Blimp and with the aid of Nick Nickolary playing himself as the “Goodyear Blimp Skipper” travels to the Cinerama Dome (Sunset Boulevard in the heart of Hollywood), where the premier is held. Hollis jumps out of the Blimp and runs towards the bomb, Police and Susan Clark’s news crew follow Hollis.

Richard Hill and his secretary are loaded up in the limousine by “Blackbird” and Michael Fox. Hollis yells for them to get out. Richard Hill and his secretary get out. Susan Clark and the Police grab “Blackbird”. Clark’s News Crew Jump in the limo and look for the bomb. Hollis and Fox have the climatic “fight scene” on top of the Famous Cinerama Dome, until Fox falls off the theater’s roof to his death.

Clark’s crew find the bomb in the limo, throw it into a parking lot, and it explodes, blowing up several cars in the process. In 1982 The Junkman Premier was held at the National Theater in Westwood, California. In June of 2000 the Remake Gone in 60 Seconds Premier was also held at the National Theater in Westwood, California.

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