Thursday, September 9, 2010

Savlatore Tessio's Traffic Stop

Abe Vigoda has been a working actor for more than half a century now. His most recent appearance was alongside Betty White in that famous Snickers candy bar super bowl commercial. Vigoda is doing very well for a man a few months away from his 90th birthday. Vigoda was a star of television’s Barney Miller show, playing Detective Fish, and a sequel series by that name. However, he first came into popular view in 1970 in The Godfather in which he played the Corleone family underboss, Sal Tessio. At the end of the film, Tessio realizes that while he had agreed to attempt to set Mike up for assassination, he had been found out and was about to be taken for a ride himself. Who can forget Vigoda’s line, “Tell Mike I always liked him. It was only business.”

Shortly after the film premiered, Abe Vigoda was driving through Beverly Hills with his wife when a police officer pulled him over. Vigoda was flabbergasted because he hadn’t been speeding. When he pointed out to the police office that he hadn’t been speeding, the officer replied that it was against the law to drive too far under the speed limit. At first, Vigoda was astonished, and then rather alarmed when he noticed a very steely look on the cops face, and that the officer had unsnapped his holster and had taken out his pistol. At this point, a light bulb went on over Vigoda’s head. He said in his sweetest voice, officer did you recently see a movie called The Godfather? The officer said yes. Vigoda replied, “Officer, I was in that movie; I’m an actor. Now put you’re gun a way and quit scaring the bejesus out of us.”

Vigoda had fallen victim to a good cop’s instincts: ”Wait I’ve seen that face somewhere. He’s a really bad guy; I need to check this out.”

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