Steve McQueen races to the top - Digital Archives - CBC Player

In 1962 the movie star explains how he tackles a role, and why he doesn't plan to give up racing fast cars.

Just three years after becoming a star on TV, actor Steve McQueen is a bankable Hollywood actor on the strength of his performances in 1959's Never So Few and 1960's The Magnificent Seven. It wasn't just luck that got him there, either: "I don't like acting when it's playing house," he says, explaining how he immerses himself in a role. In this relaxed 1962 CBC Radio interview, McQueen also talks about his life outside acting: his family and his beloved hobby of auto racing.

Medium: Radio
Program: Assignment
Broadcast Date: June 26, 1962
Guest(s): Steve McQueen
Interviewer: Dick Strout


Gary Simson says:
Thank you Don. I'm a first-gen American and my father is a Berliner so I've spent some time in Germany and may take you up on your offer. Also, if you're interested, I did a one-hour documentary on Steve McQueen a while back (we scored some amazing material. I usually like to do docs on dead celebrities by using on-camera interviews over the course of the film to kind of bring them back to life. Well, Mr. McQueen was notorious for not doing any on-camera interviews except one with an NBC reporter on the set of "The Great Escape." I tracked down the footage but the audio was missing. Then I tracked down a collector in Albany, NY with the audio only on a cassette and my editor married the two and voila! we had the one and only interview with Steve McQueen. It has since been used in two other documentaries and the footage is at the UCLA Film Archives. It was quite a research coup at the time and I was almost reluctant to give UCLA the audio element since they hadn't bothered to look for it themselves. But in the interest of good karma, I sent the video and audio back to them. Oop. I just made it easier for you. Here's the youtube link to the McQueen documentary I wrote and produced for the A&E Biography network. Enjoy and let me know what you think!


Gary (1.3.14)…  (1min 47sec, 5.09, 7.07, 11.28, 13.16, 42.45)


Gary Simson (Director, Writer, Producer) has written, directed and produced more than 100 biography, sports, music and investigative crime documentaries for cable television, international news organizations, and broadcast television networks.  He has been honored with two Emmy nominations in the Outstanding Non-Fiction Series category.  In 2002, he received with his first nomination for a documentary on basketball great Isiah Thomas, which aired on the Fox Sports Network. In 2006, he received a second nomination for his two-hour film on the life of Marlon Brando.  Gary has produced for Bravo, History Channel, Discovery, Bloomberg TV, the Starz Network, Imagine TV and more. He has a masters degree in journalism from American University and worked as a news producer for Reuters Television in Washington hopefully he will be on the tour in August 2014.


Good afternoon, Don,
Congratulations on your labour of love website dedicated to the iconic feature, "The Great Escape." Very impressive.
Yes, I personally recorded the Steve McQueen interview (Here's Hollywood NBC TV) which was done on location in Germany on the site of "The Great Escape." I also recorded off the air (direct line - pristine sound quality as well) the HH interview with James Gardner. These audio air checks are contained in my archive.
What are your needs and objectives?

Phil Gries
Archival Television Audio, Inc.



1962-08-07, WNBC 17 min.
Steve McQueen, Jack Linkletter
Jack Linkletter interviews Steve McQueen on the set of "The Great Escape" in Munich, Germany.



Here's Hollywood was a series which featured celebrity interviews, and Steve appeared on a few episodes. Series host Jack Linkletter travelled to Germany in 1962 to interview Steve on the set of The Great Escape.

Jack Linkletter
I lived a few blocks from Steve and, while seeing him seldom, we did visit...shared an enthusiasm for motorcycles...for which he was responsible.

I flew to Munich during my Here's Hollyood show to do interviews with Steve and the cast while they were making The Great Escape. On a free night, Steve got a hold of three Harleys for him, me and Jim Garner to go to Obermensing for a folk fest. Neither Garner nor I had many cycle hours and the narrow streets, humped in the middle and made of cobble stones would have been scary enough, but then to have cars flying by within inches, made Garner and I think it was our last trip anywhere.

We got to the folk fest...lots of carny offerings...throw balls in holes, ride bumper cars, etc. From a big tent, we heard classical oompa music and that is where we headed. Picnic type tables, the local community many in leather pants, the band and lots of beer. Steve and Jim were recognized immediately and room was made at a table with a policeman, a dairyman, etc. While we didn't know German, pretty soon we are singing along as if we knew the words. The crowd got Steve standing on the table singing the chorus of whatever....everyone loved it.

Going home in a light rain was horrible.


March 4, 2014

Good Day, Don,

Again, great admiration for your passionate input related to your GREAT ESCAPE website and your very special remembrance of icon actor Steve McQueen.

For the record, I was 19 years old when I personally audio recorded, off the air, the HERE’S HOLLYWOOD interview conducted by Jack Linkletter, with Steve Mcqueen.

I personally recorded 74 Here’s Hollywood interviews over half of them not existing, today, anywhere in the world as video or audio. UCLA has 46 different shows archived on 35mm positive elements alongside of their separate optical negative track elements. A few of their holdings have been transferred and exist as composite prints and exist on ½” VHS and ¾” video tape. Many years ago I donated to Dan Einstein at UCLA a number of my HH tracks which they did not have copies in any form, including an interview with Rod Serling.

As introduced at the beginning of the interview by Jack Linkletter (not an NBC reporter as originally thought by Gary Simson, but one of two hosts of HH) the interview takes place on the back lot at the Bavarian Studios in Munich Germany.

I recorded the entire 17 minute program, 52 years ago, and it is this pristine audio track source (only one known to this day) that was married up to the one surviving 35mm film positive print element, archived at the UCLA Film and Television Archive, and televised for the first time, as broadcast on A&E Biography in 2004.  Fifty seven seconds were used from the Here’s Hollywood interview (sync picture and sound combined). At the time I was paid $500 for such usage by VAN NESS FILMS who with Prometheus Entertainment and Fox Star Productions undertook this documentary project. Such footage added a personal spine to the piece. Gary Simson, producer/writer for STEVE McQUEEN: LIFE IN THE FAST LANE, wrote to me later and sent me a VHS copy of the program October 2, 2004 prior to the October 30th A&E television premiere. I received screen credit (Archival Television Audio, Inc.) at the end of the film, alongside of 14 other resources who contributed footage to this production.

In Gary’s comment to you on your website, he mistakenly mentions that he “…tracked down a collector in Albany, NY with the audio only, on a cassette…” I was the collector who lived in Sea Cliff, NY at the time, not Albany, and it was his associate producer Jordan Ehrlich who negotiated with me for the transaction of my peerless audio air check of the August 7th 1962 Here’s Hollywood interview with McQueen.

Gary Simson also used audio from my Archival Television Audio, Inc. for his Emmy Nominated full length feature documentary, “BRANDO” which was released in 2006. When you next talk to Gary…possibly you or he can tell me the names of the other two documentaries where the Linkletter/McQueen interview is used….I am not aware.

Possibly we can work out a deal to send you the complete HH Steve McQueen interview for your own personal archives for a reasonable fee, and also have Archival Television Audio, Inc. posted on your website as the original unique source for such audio.

May you have an ever increasing assembly of dedicated and passionate GREAT ESCAPE / STEVE McQUEEN friends, family, associates and fans accompany you on your August 2014 return to Munich. YOU are certainly the keeper of the flame.

Most Cordially,

Phil Gries

Archival Television Audio, Inc. (

Click to return to main page