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Trivia / Silver Streak

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  • California Doubling: Aside from Los Angeles Union Station, the movie was almost entirely shot in Canada. The CP Rail train made up as "AMRoad" is a dead giveaway. Many of the railroad station scenes (supposedly Los Angeles, Kansas City, and Chicago) were actually filmed in various parts of Union Station in Toronto. Also, Alberta stands in for the Midwest in several places, most notably Kansas City, which is represented by the distinctive skyline of Calgary.
    • An exception are the POV shots showing the stub end terminal the train crashes into. These were filmed by a second unit at the Chicago Northwestern Station in Chicago.
  • Playing Against Type: Up until this point, Gene Wilder almost exclusively played eccentrics or neurotics. George Caldwell, is a well adjusted book publisher who enjoys gardening and isn't particularly strange. He is thrown into a series of events that are more bizarre than his character. Perhaps the first time that ever happened with Wilder.
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  • Technology Marches On: Of the "life before cell phones" variety - 90% of the film's conflict comes from being unable to get to a phone or unable to quickly contact someone else: George spends the first half of the movie stymied because he can't get in touch with the police. Also: modern locomotives use an alerter system that must be deliberately toggled by the engineer, to eliminate the possibility of the dead-man pedal being propped down by a heavy object, as shown in the film.
  • Similarly Named Works: Same name as a 1934 film loosely based on the "Dawn to Dusk" run of the "Pioneer Zephyr" from Denver to Chicago.
  • Those Two Actors: The first of four team-ups between Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor.
  • Unintentional Period Piece:
    • Down to a brief appearance of a Volkswagen Thing!
    • The quantity of liquor available on American inter-city passenger trains along with open consumption in public spaces.
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    • Not to mention smoking on board a train.
    • Also George and most of the other male characters wear bell bottom pants, which completely date the movie as made in the 1970s.
    • And Tab, which still does exist in a few markets, but is nowhere near the go-to for diet soda that it once was.
  • Wag the Director: When the scene where Grover puts the shoe polish on George's face to make him appear to be black was first filmed, a white man walked in and believed George was black. Richard Pryor was uncomfortable with the scene and felt it would be funnier if a black man walked in and is not fooled at all. Pryor asked Arthur Hiller for a re-shoot but Hiller refused. Pryor walked off the set and refused to return to filming until the scene was changed. Hiller relented and Pryor's idea was used for the final cut.
    • Pryor also asked for, and got, an additional take to show Grover cringing at George's antics.
  • What Could Have Been: Robert Vaughn received the script in the mail, and loved it. He wanted to play Roger Devereau, but was dismayed to discover that Patrick McGoohan had already accepted the part. He contacted Arthur Hiller and discovered that it was sent by mistake. He was invited to watch the production, and became friends with Gene Wilder.
    • Oddly enough, Wilder and Vaughn died less than 3 months apart.


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