Making the Movie: Pink Cadillac, Greenville, CA
By Eileen Majors
It was 1988 and Plumas County was buzzing with the news that a movie crew was coming to Greenville. I remember hearing about the opportunity to get in the movie as an extra. Several local people had small parts in the movie. I was told the drama teacher from Susanville High School was in it and that Dave Humphrey, a local tow truck operator, was pumping gas in the film among other locals who got a part. It was late November in 1988 when Hollywood came to Plumas County. The cast and crew of Warner Bros.’ Pink Cadillac starring Clint Eastwood and Bernadette Peters arrived in Greenville to set up for the final scenes of the movie. The forthcoming action romance movie would debut in May of 1989.
In the movie, Eastwood plays the part of Tommy Now, a skip tracer who is hunting down LouAnn McGuinn whose only crime was marrying Roy, who got her arrested for having counterfeit money in there home. She ended up getting away with Roy’s pink ’59 convertible Cadillac Deville, full of money. That would send bounty hunter, Tommy Nowak after her. When he finally caught up with her in Reno, the saucy lass caught more than his eye. Nowak decided he would take her to see her baby she had left with her sister for safety. They traveled back through Plumas County, paying a visit to the counterfeiter whose cabin was in Greenville. Roy and his buddies showed up after they left; they tore up the place and burned it down. Twice, according to a local I spoke with. The bad guys got the baby and Nowak’s mission changed to rescuing the baby.
I got to speak to many people who remember the production. One was Frank Berry who was working in Donnell’s Music Land in Greenville, CA. He recalls seeing a baby doll being thrown in a dumpster in Taylorsville, when he was walking home from school. A couple days of filming took place near the Taylorsville Tavern. Much of the filming took place in Greenville.
I heard from Tracy Butler who was living Fernley, Nevada at the time. She decided to stop in and see the action. “I had a van at the time and I had my 3 year old daughter who was asleep in the back” she reported. “I had parked across the street from the frosty, where they were filming and was watching from the van. A man had come by and told everyone that they had to go across the street and move behind some barricades they had set up. Well I looked in the bar of the van and my daughter was still asleep so I left her in there and went across the street as it would only be there for a short tine and I could watch the van from there. They had gotten set up and told everyone to be quiet as they started the filming. Well this time my daughter woke up and was crying when she didn’t see me. I could hear her yelling from across the street and looking out the van window. I thought oh please, not now! She continued to yell and I’m sure they could hear her as I surely could. They stopped filming and I immediately went over to the van and got out of there! To this day that is what I remember about the Pink Cadillac coming to town!”
The cast and crew enjoyed unseasonable temperatures in the mid-80’s for the first two weeks. After two days filming a complicated auto chase sequence along Highway 89, the temperature dropped 55 degrees overnight. The production staff gathered the next morning amid snow across the region. That was not the only problem encountered during the filming. A ten-day Teamsters Union strike became a problem in the early weeks of production. The last two weeks in Greenville came with hail, sleet and rain. It was the snow, however that came first. One logistical nightmare was the lack of lodging available for 115 cast and crew members who had to stay as far away as 26 miles in either direction. That would prove lucky for Kathy Triska and others who worked at the Clear Creek Diner near Westwood. She met Eastwood and served breakfast to him and others who were staying nearby. She also said they heard Bernadette enjoyed shopping at Crescent Country in Crescent Mills. Clint Eastwood had some sort of ties to the Walker Mansion at the time and he reportedly stayed there in Westwood. On another occasion, today the Walker Mansion is operated as a Bed & Breakfast.