In 1979, six years after George Lucas' smash hit "American Graffiti", Bill L Norton wrote and directed, under Lucas’ guidance, a redux on the classic characters with this ambitious sequel. You definitely need to know and love the original to have an emotional investment in More American Graffiti, as the action is spread over four different New Year's Eves from 1964 to 1967, depicts scenes from each of these years, intertwined with one another as though events happen simultaneously. John Milner (Paul LeMat) is a Top Fuel drag racer, the Toad is dodging bullets in Vietnam, Debbie is a San Francisco hippie, and Steve and Laurie weather a domestic crisis. The cast is back, save for the AWOL Richard Dreyfuss; even Harrison Ford pops up for an amusing uncredited cameo (as Bob Falfa, now a motorcycle cop).

All that said, it is the drag racing part of the film we care about here on WDIFL. I now present a hundred plus stills from the film that will bring NoCal racers home to Fremont Drag Strip - remind some how hokey some of the racing set-ups were, and let you see that Lucas did take some huge steps to get shots never seen before of dragsters in action. The photos are in chronological order as they appear in the film. To completely understand them - you need to see the movie. It's well worth 90 minutes of your time.

Varity Reported: "More American Graffiti" may be one of the most innovative and ambitious films of the last five years, but by no means is it one of the most successful. In trying to follow the success of George Lucas' immensely popular 1973 hit, writer-director B.W.L. Norton overloads the sequel with four wholly different cinematic styles to carry forward the lives of "American Graffiti"'s original cast.




To set the stage, the John Milner (Paul LeMat) car is an ex-NoCal AA/FD that nobody can positively ID. Many though it was the old Masters & Richter Fuller car but the experts say no. Although LeMat did have a lot of seat time on camera, the actual driving in the movie was done by Davie Uyehara and he said it was an old Don Long car. The mystery continues.


Milners' part (drag racing) starts on New Years Eve 1964 with some nice overhead shots of the long defunct Fremont Dragstrip staging lanes.





If you were ever there you know this was the entrance to the pits at Fremont. In the car is Ron Howard, Cindy Williams, Candy Clark and Charles Martin Smith.




The first race sequence features Milner's track rival - Beckwith (Ken Place) beating the crowd favorite.




Chet Carter was the starter at Fremont for 30 years.











Milner returns to his pit.




The "factory" Hunt Bros. team unloads their super trick - ultra high dollar fueler from its trailer. At the time this car actually belonged to Pierre Poncia who raced it until 1971 when it was sold. Years after the movie was done, Pierre was looking to buy his car back. He found the body - and bought it back and then had a new chassis built to go inside. The new chassis had the required safety upgrades and he actually raced the car again in Nostalgia Top Fuel. It retired for good in 2002.



Paul LeMat, Ron Howard, Cindy Williams, Candy Clark and Charles Martin Smith reunite for the first time since 1973 (American Graffiti).



Milner Pit



Milner mixes up a load - but if you can read a hydrometer it looks like about 40%.




This would fall under the hokey racing sequences cited in the header. This Jim Davis car was Milner's first round race - keep in mind he has a fueler. This is obviously an unblown gas car.



From the Fremont tower.



Guess who was on the mic... none other than Steve Evans.


Milner moves up to stage.



The scene jumps quickly to John racing to a win.





His opponent "blew up" on the line.



Set up for sheer effect, this single carb digger was rigged with pyrotechnics to simulate a huge engine explosion. Dave Yount was the driver.




Yount mastered a spin out and the track safety crew comes to his rescue.




Hunt Bros. in their first race of the day. The blue car was not ID'ed but here's its backstory. That car was owned and driven by Rick Griffis. It was an ex Jerry Ruth car bought by Charles Marquez who then sold to Griffis. Eddie Flournoy would help with tuning. This was filmed in October 1978.



Steve and Laurie (Howard and Williams) on the fence.


Ok, the blue car blew up (flash fire) a few frames ago yet its still out on the Hunt car. which must have been crawling.



End of sequence that leave one thinking the Hunt car lost?



Beckwith and Milner move up in the staging lanes for a rematch.



The film used most of the Fremont crew including Kitchy.


There are a lot of great close up shots like this one of LeMat as Milner.





Milner declares I'm #1.


Beckwith didn't respond.




Milner left first by a bunch.


Calling the race was the late great Steve Evans with Jolly on his right.



Beckwith up in smoke, Milner long gone.


But then Milner lit the tires.




Milner did win the race but lost the war.


Beckwith pulled his chute, Milner's failed.



Milner pulls his chute....





Dave Ueyhara actually drove the car through a fence this shack for the shot.






All that and a bent front wheel.



Back in the pits the Milner crew tries, without success, to repair the damaged front in for their final round race with the Hunt Bros.



Starter, Chet Carter goes through the motions of telling Milner he's running out of time.



The Hunt Bros car is in the staging lanes and ready to race.




Part of the Hunt Bros team was played by local racers Rick and Lorry Azevedo (below).



Milner suddenly gets help from his new best friend (Beckwith) who pulls the front end off his car to fix Johns. Beckwith was not a Hunt Bros. fan.


Starting line crew gettin impatient.


Just as the Hunt car was about to single, Evans goes nuts when he sees Milner's car coming down the fire-up road.














Milner gets gated but the Hunt car blows the tires at the hit.


At the 330' mark Milner smokes the tires as well.







The little guy (and star of the movie) wins ... go figure. This is the end of the drag racing part of the film. However, it was only one aspect of the movie. You need to see it all.




Accurate Review - Or Not




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