Corvette Summer


1h 45m 1978
Corvette Summer

Brief Synopsis

A high school student takes off in search of his stolen, rebuilt Corvette.

Film Details

Also Known As
Hot One, The
MPAA Rating
Genre
Comedy
Drama
Adventure
Crime
Release Date
1978

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 45m
Color
Color (Metrocolor)

Synopsis

When a customized Stingray is stolen, the owner takes up a wild chase through the Nevada desert to get it back.

Film Details

Also Known As
Hot One, The
MPAA Rating
Genre
Comedy
Drama
Adventure
Crime
Release Date
1978

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 45m
Color
Color (Metrocolor)

Articles

Corvette Summer


In 1978, the Force was with Mark Hamill. The boyish face, irrevocably linked with Luke Skywalker, was everywhere after the explosive success of Star Wars (1977). For his follow up film, in between installments of the George Lucas empire, Hamill chose Corvette Summer. The tale of a high school kid who takes off for Vegas in search of his beloved stolen Corvette and meets an aspiring hooker...well, Shakespeare this is not. But with the affable Hamill, Annie Potts in her first starring film role, and highlights from quirky supporting characters, Corvette Summer is a lively romp.

Commenting on the film, Hamill justified his decision to take the part as an intentional departure from Skywalker and gushed about his co-star: "I insisted on looking different. And I'm only interested in the car, not even any girl, until Annie Potts came along. . . It's not a car movie. It's really a love story. And I'm so thrilled to be working with Annie Potts. She reminds me of Judy Holliday. She's a unique creature." Capitalizing on the chemistry, the movie posters crowed, "Mark Hamill who you loved in 'Star Wars'.... Annie Potts who you'll never forget..."

Director/writer Matthew Robbins and producer/writer Hal Barwood were initially apprehensive about approaching the white-hot star about the project. Hamill recalls, "When I talked to the producers, they said, 'We can't offer you such and such.' That's not what I was looking for - I was looking for a good part. Even though they know George Lucas, who'd tell them a little about me, they still didn't want to even approach somebody who they thought was going to charge more than they had to spend." Good thing...because the car wasn't cheap. The corvette in question was actually a 1973 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray. The original was reportedly found by Robbins and Barwood in a junkyard, minutes away from being crushed. It had been hit from behind and totaled by the insurance company: voila! The dream car had been found. After an extensive overhaul and laborious additions...such as right hand-drive (for girl-cruising opportunities), a clam-shell hood, sidepipes, and flames painted on the candy apple red body - the Corvette was ready. It's rumored that up to seven versions of the car were built for various shots and filming purposes. Mid-America Designs in Effingham, Illinois, claims the original corvette, and another is displayed in the Corvette Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY (the museum also screens Corvette Summer around the clock).

Strangely, both stars of the film had car troubles of their own before and during filming: both were involved in separate car wrecks that left Hamill with a broken nose and Potts with pins in her legs. Reports of Hamill's wreck quickly spiraled out of control, with reports of extensive plastic surgeries required to rebuild the actor's visage and scenes in The Empire Strikes Back (1980) having to be refilmed to account for his facial scarring and convalescence. In fact, Hamill broke his nose six months prior to shooting Corvette Summer and needed one corrective surgery ¿the injury actually benefited the actor in getting out of a television contract with ABC for Eight Is Enough, freeing him up to work on films. Another television actor, Danny Bonaduce, had a featured role in the film, a far cry from his days as the red-headed moppet on The Partridge Family (1970-74). He recalled of the stars' vehicular troubles, "Both had been in really bad car wrecks. Mark was all scarred and Annie had some kind of a limp." Potts' injuries had not only suspended production for a time but also left her with a stilted walk. Near the film's end, a reference about her "funny walk" is made by Hamill's character, a timely addition made by the scriptwriters.

Although the film garnered positive reviews from the critics, audiences didn't flock to see Corvette Summer. Over the years, however, the film has recruited a considerable cult fan base, who have petitioned to have the charming-but-cheesy film released on DVD. Reportedly, a deleted scene exists with Fran Drescher, from This Is Spinal Tap (1984) and The Nanny (1993-99), as an amorous vixen. Hamill went on to complete the Star Wars franchise, ending with The Return of the Jedi in 1983. More recently, he has found success in theatre and in voice over work for animated series. Potts went on to star in both Ghostbusters films (1984 and 89), as well as the long-running Designing Women (1986-93). Corvette Summer had some strong supporting performances from Eugene Roche and Kim Milford. Roche, perhaps best known as the AJAX Man from the television commercials, had memorable roles in Slaughterhouse-Five (1972) and The Late Show (1977). Milford was the original Rocky in The Rocky Horror Picture Show on Broadway; a Hamill look-a-like, he coincidentally starred in the Star Wars-influenced B-flick Laserblast (1978). Years later, Hamill wryly mused about the film, "Corvette Summer is a great little picture and it's got sort of a title that's a misnomer because you sort of put it in one category when you first see it and you go, 'Oh gee, it's quite a nicely written, uh romantic movie.' And I enjoyed it immensely."

Producer: Hal Barwood
Director: Matthew Robbins
Screenplay: Hal Barwood, Matthew Robbins
Cinematography: Frank Stanley
Film Editing: Amy Holden Jones
Art Direction: James L. Schoppe
Music: Craig Safan
Cast: Mark Hamill (Kenneth W. Dantley), Annie Potts (Vanessa), Eugene Roche (Ed McGrath), William Bryant (Police Lecturer), Richard McKenzie (Principal Bacon), Kim Milford (Wayne Lowry).
C-105m. Letterboxed.

by Eleanor Quin
Corvette Summer

Corvette Summer

In 1978, the Force was with Mark Hamill. The boyish face, irrevocably linked with Luke Skywalker, was everywhere after the explosive success of Star Wars (1977). For his follow up film, in between installments of the George Lucas empire, Hamill chose Corvette Summer. The tale of a high school kid who takes off for Vegas in search of his beloved stolen Corvette and meets an aspiring hooker...well, Shakespeare this is not. But with the affable Hamill, Annie Potts in her first starring film role, and highlights from quirky supporting characters, Corvette Summer is a lively romp. Commenting on the film, Hamill justified his decision to take the part as an intentional departure from Skywalker and gushed about his co-star: "I insisted on looking different. And I'm only interested in the car, not even any girl, until Annie Potts came along. . . It's not a car movie. It's really a love story. And I'm so thrilled to be working with Annie Potts. She reminds me of Judy Holliday. She's a unique creature." Capitalizing on the chemistry, the movie posters crowed, "Mark Hamill who you loved in 'Star Wars'.... Annie Potts who you'll never forget..." Director/writer Matthew Robbins and producer/writer Hal Barwood were initially apprehensive about approaching the white-hot star about the project. Hamill recalls, "When I talked to the producers, they said, 'We can't offer you such and such.' That's not what I was looking for - I was looking for a good part. Even though they know George Lucas, who'd tell them a little about me, they still didn't want to even approach somebody who they thought was going to charge more than they had to spend." Good thing...because the car wasn't cheap. The corvette in question was actually a 1973 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray. The original was reportedly found by Robbins and Barwood in a junkyard, minutes away from being crushed. It had been hit from behind and totaled by the insurance company: voila! The dream car had been found. After an extensive overhaul and laborious additions...such as right hand-drive (for girl-cruising opportunities), a clam-shell hood, sidepipes, and flames painted on the candy apple red body - the Corvette was ready. It's rumored that up to seven versions of the car were built for various shots and filming purposes. Mid-America Designs in Effingham, Illinois, claims the original corvette, and another is displayed in the Corvette Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY (the museum also screens Corvette Summer around the clock). Strangely, both stars of the film had car troubles of their own before and during filming: both were involved in separate car wrecks that left Hamill with a broken nose and Potts with pins in her legs. Reports of Hamill's wreck quickly spiraled out of control, with reports of extensive plastic surgeries required to rebuild the actor's visage and scenes in The Empire Strikes Back (1980) having to be refilmed to account for his facial scarring and convalescence. In fact, Hamill broke his nose six months prior to shooting Corvette Summer and needed one corrective surgery ¿the injury actually benefited the actor in getting out of a television contract with ABC for Eight Is Enough, freeing him up to work on films. Another television actor, Danny Bonaduce, had a featured role in the film, a far cry from his days as the red-headed moppet on The Partridge Family (1970-74). He recalled of the stars' vehicular troubles, "Both had been in really bad car wrecks. Mark was all scarred and Annie had some kind of a limp." Potts' injuries had not only suspended production for a time but also left her with a stilted walk. Near the film's end, a reference about her "funny walk" is made by Hamill's character, a timely addition made by the scriptwriters. Although the film garnered positive reviews from the critics, audiences didn't flock to see Corvette Summer. Over the years, however, the film has recruited a considerable cult fan base, who have petitioned to have the charming-but-cheesy film released on DVD. Reportedly, a deleted scene exists with Fran Drescher, from This Is Spinal Tap (1984) and The Nanny (1993-99), as an amorous vixen. Hamill went on to complete the Star Wars franchise, ending with The Return of the Jedi in 1983. More recently, he has found success in theatre and in voice over work for animated series. Potts went on to star in both Ghostbusters films (1984 and 89), as well as the long-running Designing Women (1986-93). Corvette Summer had some strong supporting performances from Eugene Roche and Kim Milford. Roche, perhaps best known as the AJAX Man from the television commercials, had memorable roles in Slaughterhouse-Five (1972) and The Late Show (1977). Milford was the original Rocky in The Rocky Horror Picture Show on Broadway; a Hamill look-a-like, he coincidentally starred in the Star Wars-influenced B-flick Laserblast (1978). Years later, Hamill wryly mused about the film, "Corvette Summer is a great little picture and it's got sort of a title that's a misnomer because you sort of put it in one category when you first see it and you go, 'Oh gee, it's quite a nicely written, uh romantic movie.' And I enjoyed it immensely." Producer: Hal Barwood Director: Matthew Robbins Screenplay: Hal Barwood, Matthew Robbins Cinematography: Frank Stanley Film Editing: Amy Holden Jones Art Direction: James L. Schoppe Music: Craig Safan Cast: Mark Hamill (Kenneth W. Dantley), Annie Potts (Vanessa), Eugene Roche (Ed McGrath), William Bryant (Police Lecturer), Richard McKenzie (Principal Bacon), Kim Milford (Wayne Lowry). C-105m. Letterboxed. by Eleanor Quin

Wendie Jo Sperber (1958-2005)


Wendie Jo Sperber, the zany comic actress who had appeared on several movies and sitcoms since the late '70s, died on November 29 of breast cancer at her Sherman Oaks home. She was 47.

Born on September 18, 1958 in Hollywood, California, Sperber made an impression from the beginning when, at just 19 years of age, she was cast as Rosie Petrofsky, the hyperactive, dreamy-eyed Beatle fan who will stop at nothing to see them on their Ed Sullivan debut in the charming Robert Zemeckis' period comedy I Wanna Hold Your Hand (1978). The film was a surprise smash in the Spring of '78, and she proved that her comic chops were no fluke when Stephen Spielberg cast her as a lovestruck teenager in his overblown spectacle 1941 (1979); and as a naive car buyer in Zemeckis' funny Kurt Russell outing Used Cars (1980).

As hilarious as she was in those films, Sperber earned her pop culture stripes when she played Amy Cassidy in the cult comedy series Bosom Buddies (1980-82). This strange sitcom, about two pals (Tom Hanks and Peter Scolari), who dressed in drag so they could live in an all-girls residential hotel might have had a flimsy premise - but the actors played it to the hilt. Hanks and Scolari were fine, but Sperber stole the series with her incredible physical display of pratfalls, comic sprints, splits and facial mugging. Indeed, here was one comedic performer who was not afraid to go all out for a laugh. Even after the cancellation of the show, Sperber continued to work in comedies throughout the decade: Bachelor Party (1984), Moving Violations, and in Back to the Future (both 1985).

Tragically, Sperber's career was halted in 1997 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. After a brief remission, she played a cancer survivor in a final season episode of Murphy Brown (1997-98). The warm reception she received from her appearance influenced her decision to become an active campaigner for cancer awareness and fundraising. The culmination of her humanitarian efforts resulted in 2001, when she founded weSPARK Cancer Support Center in Sherman Oaks, a nonprofit center that provides free emotional support, research information and social activities for cancer victims and their families. Despite her altruistic causes, Sperber still found time in recent years to make guest appearances on such hit television shows like Will & Grace and 8 Simple Rules...for Dating My Teenage Daughter. She is survived by a son, Preston; a daughter, Pearl; parents, Charlene and Burt; sisters, Ellice and Michelle; and a brother, Richard.

by Michael T. Toole

Wendie Jo Sperber (1958-2005)

Wendie Jo Sperber, the zany comic actress who had appeared on several movies and sitcoms since the late '70s, died on November 29 of breast cancer at her Sherman Oaks home. She was 47. Born on September 18, 1958 in Hollywood, California, Sperber made an impression from the beginning when, at just 19 years of age, she was cast as Rosie Petrofsky, the hyperactive, dreamy-eyed Beatle fan who will stop at nothing to see them on their Ed Sullivan debut in the charming Robert Zemeckis' period comedy I Wanna Hold Your Hand (1978). The film was a surprise smash in the Spring of '78, and she proved that her comic chops were no fluke when Stephen Spielberg cast her as a lovestruck teenager in his overblown spectacle 1941 (1979); and as a naive car buyer in Zemeckis' funny Kurt Russell outing Used Cars (1980). As hilarious as she was in those films, Sperber earned her pop culture stripes when she played Amy Cassidy in the cult comedy series Bosom Buddies (1980-82). This strange sitcom, about two pals (Tom Hanks and Peter Scolari), who dressed in drag so they could live in an all-girls residential hotel might have had a flimsy premise - but the actors played it to the hilt. Hanks and Scolari were fine, but Sperber stole the series with her incredible physical display of pratfalls, comic sprints, splits and facial mugging. Indeed, here was one comedic performer who was not afraid to go all out for a laugh. Even after the cancellation of the show, Sperber continued to work in comedies throughout the decade: Bachelor Party (1984), Moving Violations, and in Back to the Future (both 1985). Tragically, Sperber's career was halted in 1997 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. After a brief remission, she played a cancer survivor in a final season episode of Murphy Brown (1997-98). The warm reception she received from her appearance influenced her decision to become an active campaigner for cancer awareness and fundraising. The culmination of her humanitarian efforts resulted in 2001, when she founded weSPARK Cancer Support Center in Sherman Oaks, a nonprofit center that provides free emotional support, research information and social activities for cancer victims and their families. Despite her altruistic causes, Sperber still found time in recent years to make guest appearances on such hit television shows like Will & Grace and 8 Simple Rules...for Dating My Teenage Daughter. She is survived by a son, Preston; a daughter, Pearl; parents, Charlene and Burt; sisters, Ellice and Michelle; and a brother, Richard. by Michael T. Toole

Eugene Roche (1928-2004)


Eugene Roche, the marvelous character actor who had a knack for shining in offbeat roles, such as Edgar Derby, ill-fated prisoner of war in Slaughterhouse Five (1972), and the murderous archbishop in Foul Play (1978), died in Encino, California of a heart attack on July 28. He was 75.

Born on September 22, 1928, in Boston, Massachusettes, Roche began his career when he was still in High School, doing voice characterization on radio in his native Boston. After he graduated, he served in the Army, then studied drama on the G.I. bill at Emerson College. Concentrating on acting, he found much stage work in San Francisco in the early `50s, then headed for New York in the early `60s and began appearing on televison (Naked City, Route 66) and on Broadway. 

It wasn't until he was in his forties did Roche began to get really good parts. His open, friendly face and stocky build made him the ideal choice to play the likable POW, Edgar Derby in Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five. His role as Edgar who saves an intact porcelain figurine from the ruins of Dresden only to be executed by his German captors for looting, may have been brief, but it was instantly memorable. Fine roles continued to come his way in films throughout the decade, the highlights included: They Might Be Giants (1971), Mr. Ricco (1975), The Late Show (1977), Corvette Summer (a deft comic performance as a high school auto shop teacher who is secretly running a car theft ring), and Foul Play (both 1978).

Yet, it would be on television where Roche would find lasting success. He became a household face when, as Squeaky Clean, he became the spokesman for Ajax household cleaner. Then he struck gold in sitcoms: Archie Bunker's practical joking nemesis, Pinky Peterson on All in the Family (1976-78), the madly romantic attorney, Ronald Mallu on Soap (1978-81), and the lovable landlord Bill Parker on Webster (1984-86).

Roche is survived by his wife, Anntoni; his brother, John; his sister, Clara Hewes; nine children, one of which, a son Eamonn, is a successful working actor; and nine grandchildren.

by Michael T. Toole

Eugene Roche (1928-2004)

Eugene Roche, the marvelous character actor who had a knack for shining in offbeat roles, such as Edgar Derby, ill-fated prisoner of war in Slaughterhouse Five (1972), and the murderous archbishop in Foul Play (1978), died in Encino, California of a heart attack on July 28. He was 75. Born on September 22, 1928, in Boston, Massachusettes, Roche began his career when he was still in High School, doing voice characterization on radio in his native Boston. After he graduated, he served in the Army, then studied drama on the G.I. bill at Emerson College. Concentrating on acting, he found much stage work in San Francisco in the early `50s, then headed for New York in the early `60s and began appearing on televison (Naked City, Route 66) and on Broadway.  It wasn't until he was in his forties did Roche began to get really good parts. His open, friendly face and stocky build made him the ideal choice to play the likable POW, Edgar Derby in Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five. His role as Edgar who saves an intact porcelain figurine from the ruins of Dresden only to be executed by his German captors for looting, may have been brief, but it was instantly memorable. Fine roles continued to come his way in films throughout the decade, the highlights included: They Might Be Giants (1971), Mr. Ricco (1975), The Late Show (1977), Corvette Summer (a deft comic performance as a high school auto shop teacher who is secretly running a car theft ring), and Foul Play (both 1978). Yet, it would be on television where Roche would find lasting success. He became a household face when, as Squeaky Clean, he became the spokesman for Ajax household cleaner. Then he struck gold in sitcoms: Archie Bunker's practical joking nemesis, Pinky Peterson on All in the Family (1976-78), the madly romantic attorney, Ronald Mallu on Soap (1978-81), and the lovable landlord Bill Parker on Webster (1984-86). Roche is survived by his wife, Anntoni; his brother, John; his sister, Clara Hewes; nine children, one of which, a son Eamonn, is a successful working actor; and nine grandchildren. by Michael T. Toole

Quotes

Trivia

Originally entitled "Stingray" until another movie with the same title was released first, probably to cash in on the advanced hype of 'Mark Hamill' 's first post-Star Wars (1977) movie role. Both flopped.

The Corvette was converted to right hand drive so that Mark Hamill could hang out of the kerb-side window looking at the ladies.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Summer August 1978

Completed production June 1978.

Released in United States Summer August 1978