The private jet parked on the Boeing Field tarmac Thursday afternoon and shut down its engines. A few moments later, two iconic faces from 1970s film and television stepped out: Karen Black and Hal Linden. A white stretch limousine, practically as long as the plane itself, was waiting to whisk them to the Gig Harbor Film Festival, where they are making appearances through the weekend.
Festival executive director Marty Thacker handed a bouquet of flowers to Black, known for a string of performances from “Five Easy Pieces” to “Airport 1975” to “House of 1000 Corpses.”
“What? No flowers for me?” Linden said, his face full of mock offense.
The two actors – along with film director Angela Garcia Combs, who accompanied them on the flight from southern California into the limousine with Thacker. Inside, pulsating multicolored lights gave the car a decidedly Las Vegas feel.
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The limo proceeded down the highway with Black noting cloud formations and giving color advice to those in the car. “I’m a winter,” Linden helpfully noted, dressed in black warm-ups.
Thacker had arranged for Black and Combs to attend the event and present their film, “Nothing Special,” at 11 a.m. Sunday. Linden, now 79, was the star of the long-running police sitcom “Barney Miller,” and was coming to support the event – and get in a little golf.
“He’s everybody’s favorite actor,” Thacker said. “When people found out Hal Linden was coming, they said, ‘Hal Linden? You mean Barney Miller?’”
In the limo, Combs admits to being a little star struck. “I had a major crush on him when he was in ‘Barney Miller,’” she said.
“It’s OK,” Linden said, overhearing. “It’s when I get, ‘My mother loved you,’ ” he said, throwing up his arms.
Combs and Linden engaged in an analysis of why Linden’s character, Barney Miller, was so popular. Linden said the essential purpose of that character was formed in an early episode when everyone in the police station accidentally eats a drug-laced brownie – except for Miller – leaving him the only sane cop in the office.
“You gotta have someone to compare them (the other characters) to. And that turned out to be my function for the whole eight years.” Linden was disappointed when the show ended because he loved doing it so much. “I didn’t realize how wonderful it was”
Linden will appear at various film festival events, including the audience award event at 6 p.m. Saturday and a filmmakers panel at 2 p.m. Saturday. Mostly, Linden said, he came to lend his name to a good event. The festival will be at the Galaxy Theatres at Uptown Gig Harbor.
“That’s why I’m here – to support the concept of regional film festivals,” Linden said.
Linden recently appeared on the new Valerie Bertinelli and Betty White sitcom “Hot in Cleveland.” Linden, who plays clarinet with the Desert Cities Jazz Band, also has his first CD coming out soon – “which is very strange, for a man of my age,” he said.
As the limo turns off I-5 to Highway 16, Linden spots the new Nal-ley Valley interchange under construction. “The bridge to nowhere,” he says spying one of the uncompleted sections.
The limo driver misses the turn to Canterwood Golf Club where lunch is scheduled. “Maybe we’re all being kidnapped,” Black says, drama in her voice.
Combs talks about the next film she is making and a long and protracted contract clause for a nude scene with one of the actors.
“I don’t do nude anymore,” Linden says. “I’m just heading you off before you offer me the part.”