Saturday, February 4, 2012

Orlandi's Body Shop (part1)

Like most I got my information on the movie cars sporadically thru the years a "Hot Rodder" here a "Car Craft" there. I am out near Chicago not downtown L.A. I read that the headers were made at Jonny Franklin's. The paint was sprayed at Orlandi's. The World was different then.(in my best cranky old man voice) You read it. You took it as gospel. Life was good.

 Problem is now it's years down the road and I have a stack of bibles and the scripture doesn't match? Stir the Internet into the mix and the drink gets cloudier yet. One person who set me straight on more than a few things is Don Orland. Ya how cool getting the story first hand from the man I have read about so for many years.

From a correspondence with Don Orlandi
"Here is the only photo I have of the deuce coupe from American Graffiti. This photograph was taken after the all niter we pulled to get it repainted for the next days shoot on the set of More American Graffiti. It seems Ol Milner has trouble bumping into things and that the shooting crew and equipment hanging on the car was tearing up the finish. So Lucas/Universal Pictures brought it into the shop for a face lift"
I had always read that Orlandi's had painted Milner's Coupe but I was happily surprised when I learned that Don had painted a total of 9 cars for the original movie including the 58 Impala, 51 Merc and the Edsel just to name a few. Then I learn that Don also painted 15 cars for the sequel More American Graffiti. He said he painted all kinds of stuff for that movie including dragster body's an El camino a Dodge wagon some Moving Vans, Cop Cars and a couple Chevrolet trucks.

These days Don has traded in "Coupe Yellow" for "Coke Red" Don restores vintage Coke machines and Juke Boxes. If you are looking for someone to bring you old coin-op machine back to life I suggest that you give Don a call. Not to mention how cool to have your own "Orlandi" 
I really like the T-shirts that Don had made years ago to advertise his body shop.
to quote Don Orlandi
"This is the last version of the shirt we ever did for Orlandi's Body and Fender. 37 years of our lives went into that business. A lot of fun and a lot of heartaches. The best was doing cars for movies. I met Harrison Ford, Ron Howard and all the actors from the movie at the time when nobody even knew who they were. It was always fun and I painted cars every night of the week until all were done.
Painting all night long if that is what it took. Same for More American Graffiti as well"

Don used to give these shirts away at car shows. Don also said it was "The Best" advertising he ever did for the shop. Reports have the shirts seen as far away as Russia. World wide exposure is nothing new to Don. Star Wars fans take note. George Lucas liked Orlandi's work so much he reenlisted Don to do work on sets and props for movie Star Wars. You can't miss his handy work through out the film. Orlandi's Body and Fender even laid a sinister paint job on one of Darth Vaders helmets. I wonder if that color is "Wicked 55" black?

Hey Don any chance of having more of those shirts made. I would love one and I know I am not the only one! Thanks for everything Mr O.

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