On October 15, 1959, the enormous theater (soon to be transformed into the Marina Abramovic Institute) was filled to capacity for the movie's first showing. Among those in attendance was one of the movie's stars, Ed Begley, who played Dave Burke in the movie, the mastermind of the bungled bank heist. Begley brought his two children with him--nine-year-old Eddie, whom we now know as Ed Begley, Jr., and ten-year-old Allene.
The Albany Knickerbocker News for October 16, 1959, reported that Begley had a special affinity for Hudson:
The movie introduced character actor Ed Begley to the town.
Begley is far from being the star of the show. Harry Belafonte and Robert Ryan share top honors in the cast. But in the weeks that the company spent in Hudson it was Begley who carved out a special niche for himself in the local scene.
[Begley] was made an honorary mayor of the town. . . .
He told The Knickerbocker News:
"I would rather be here than on Broadway. I love Hudson and its people. I'm even thinking about trying to make my home here."
Begley's appearance in Hudson was something of a miracle. Until 6 p.m. he was rehearsing in New York for a new play. At 6:15 a black 1960 Cadillac chartered by the Walter Reade company, collected him in midtown Manhattan. Fifteen minutes before the curtain was scheduled to go up at 9 p.m., he arrived in Hudson.Don't make your appearance for the showing at the Basilica something of a miracle. Email your reservation now and let us know you are planning to attend. Dinner will be served at 7 p.m., prior to the movie. A $50 donation is requested.