Vanishing Point - Behind the Scenes

Vanishing Point fans send me a lot of email, and many of them have provided me with photos and other information about the making of the movie. I've also found information on other web sites and newsgroups.


Photos from crash scene June 1970
Details of Kowalski's route through Denver
Information on Goldfield, NV
Article on Kim Carnes

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Photos from crash scene June 1970

Thanks to Tom Jasiewicz for these outstanding pictures! Tom writes:

  The attached photos were taken from original slides taken in
Cisco, Utah in June of 1970, while I was on vacation with my family.
We were routed off of I-70 due to road construction and had to
travel through Cisco to bypass the construction. Luckily, there
was Vanishing Point! The crash scene was filmed the same day as
these photos were taken.
Unfortunately a short storm came up just before the filming
and as we were headed to the car for cover, we walked across a
field and my mother stepped on a board with a rusted nail in it and
had to be tended to by the doctor on the movie crew. After she got
fixed up my dad was P.O.'d and we left before the storm cleared.
We missed the BIG ONE!!!
In the near future I will send you some up to date photos of
Cisco as recent as April of 1996. Some of the recent photos show
the Shell gas station that was shown in VP. The old Cisco Motel
behind the bulldozers is gone.

Cisco map
Cisco is located approximately 20 miles west of the Colorado
border at the Cisco exit, south off of I-70, 30 miles away from
Moab, Utah. Moab is the location of Arches National Park.

Motel site
Photo 5416MIL shows the site of the Bulldozers, Motel
and CBS news truck. This is the full view of this slide.

Photo BULLDOZR shows a close up view of the Bulldozer.
Taken from photo 5416MIL with area zoomed in.

CBS truck
Photo CBS shows a close up view of the CBS news truck and
police car. Taken from photo 5416MIL with area zoomed in.

Cisco Motel
Photo CISCOMOT shows another view of the Bulldozer with the
Cisco Motel sign showing behind it. Taken from photo 5416MIL
with area zoomed in.

Photo 5516MIL shows the 1967 Camaro that was actually used in
the crash scene with kids looking inside at the dynamite loaded
car. Barry Newman (Kowalski) is in the background. This is
the full view of this slide.

Photo 5616MIL shows Challenger with Newman in it & camera
equipment on hood and police motorcycle. This is the full
view of this slide.

Photo NEWMANLT shows closeup view of Barry Newman in the
car. This view has been lightened up to show more details
of Newman. Taken from photo 5616MIL with area zoomed in.

Photo 5716MIL shows view of Challenger with crew around it.
Includes view of trailer on back of car. This is the full
view of this slide.

Photo TRAILRVW shows close up view of the Challenger with
the trailer attached. Taken from photo 5716MIL with area zoomed in.

Photo 5816MIL shows side view of the Challenger with the camera
on the hood, trailer, crew, motorcycle, and Newman inside.
This is the full view of this slide.

Photo NEWMAN2 shows Newman and crew next to the Challenger.
Taken from photo 5816MIL with area zoomed in.

Photo 5916MIL shows side view of the Challenger with the camera
on the hood. The passengers in the car are the 2 "Just Married"
guys from the movie. This is the full view of the slide.

Photo CAMFENDR shows closeup view of the camera on the hood of
the Challenger. Taken from photo 5816MIL with area zoomed in.


Details of Kowalski's route through Denver

Thanks to Al Alexander for this information:

  When the movie starts Kowalski rolls into an area of Denver known as the
Denargo Markets where all the fresh food is wholesaled to the local stores.
The location is 20 St and Fox. Kowalski then left in the Challenger and
proceded up the 20 St Viaduct and you can see the iron work of the bridge in
the movie. That has since been replaced for Coors Field traffic. Home of
the Rockies. Kowalski headed through downtown Denver... the exact route is
unknown and not shown on the movie. Kowalski scores his speed on East Colfax
which is just as seedy now as it was then. The area is called Capitol Hill
because it is in the shadow of the Capitol building.
Kowalski then heads east on Colfax to Colorado Blvd. He passes 3
businesses that are no more: Mr Luckys, Colorado Dodge, and Celebrity Sports
Center. Celebrity was just torn down last year (1995).
He thens heads north on I-25 then called the Valley Highway to I-70.
Kowalski then heads west on I-70 and runs the 2 Colorado State Patrol off
the road at the end of I-70 at the time which is somewhere around Georgetown
CO. Kowalski then proceeded west on US 6.
If you listen to the movie the TV reporter id's himself as Bob
Palmer, a real life local anchor. Bob was anchoring at the time the CBS TV
station here in Denver which was KLZ-TV. I just found out on Sunday that Bob
will retire from the local TV scene in June, 1997.
In 1991 I sponsored the Kowalski Klassic Cruise and we retraced
Kowalski's Colorado ride to Silverthorne CO is where we ended it. I
contacted Bob and he was our guest of honor and he presented me with a 8x10
glossy of the marquee of the Centre Theatre of the World Premier of the


Information on Goldfield, NV

In Vanishing Point, the building used as the radio station from which Super Soul broadcasts is the Goldfield Hotel in Goldfield, Nevada. Thanks to David Bremer for this information:

  Kowalski - we share an avid interest in the film and the character
from which you derive your moniker. I have been to Goldfield, and
scrounged around Super Soul's place of employment, now known as the
Goldfield Hotel. It looks much the same as it does in the film,
and the Ford sign is still on the building across the street. As I
drove into town, you can imagine what soundtrack was being piped
through my car stereo! Quite a small town, but clean and very hot!
I have yet to travel to Cisco, where the end takes place. However,
in case you didn't know, there is no Cisco, California. The Cisco
in the film (verified by the Cisco Hotel seen in the film) is in
south eastern Utah, just off the interstate that Kowalski traveled.
It is near a larger town called Green River, which is actually on
his route. I hope to travel there soon.
I can send you some photos of the Goldfield Hotel and some other
pictures of Goldfield. I have several. It looks the same as it did
in the film. I dragged my wife out there in 1989, but I'm sure it
hasn't changed much since then. Unfortunately, she doesn't share my
enthusiasm, and I ended up having to take her up to Reno to make up
for dragging her all across the Nevada desert!
Goldfield is in Nevada, about 100 miles or so east of Mono Lake,
CA, and near a town called Tonopah. I don't know why they picked
that town. It is quite literally in the middle of nowhere. It is
an old mining town, and I'm sure less than a thousand people live
there. There is an old lady who now runs an antique store in the
Brown Parker Auto Co. building which is right across from the site
of KOW (which is now abandoned). She told me that she has had a few
people inquire through the years about VP. I stopped at a local bar
and spoke to some crusty old farts who remembered the filming, but
not many details. I guess they weren't into hippie movies at the time.

Goldfield Hotel
Goldfield Hotel in 1989.  Photo by David Bremer.

Brown Parker Auto Co.
Brown Parker Auto Co. in 1989.  Photo by David Bremer.

Goldfield Hotel
  This photo of the Goldfield Hotel is from the cover of
"Goldfield - Boom Town of Nevada" by Stanley W. Paher.
The book, written in 1977, states that in 1908 "...investors
erected the huge four-story Goldfield Hotel, complete with a
lobby of solid mahogany and richly appointed rooms. Many rooms
had private baths, and all had curtains and deep pile carpets.
Furnishings and the building cost more than $450,000".
The book also states that "The Goldfield Hotel has not seen a
paying customer since 1946. Today there are enough businesses
(in Goldfield) to support a permanent population of about 195

There is a video called "Ghost Towns USA" which has a section
about Goldfield. Here are some quotes from the 1992 videotape:

"Grandest of the semi-ghosts is Goldfield, Nevada. An old dinasour
of a town, it was for a time the largest mining city of them all. Site
of the last great gold bonanza, Goldfield was called home by 30,000
people in 1910."
"The largest and finest building erected was the splendid Goldfield
Hotel, which opened its doors with such fanfare that champagne flowed
down the steps into Columbia Street. If asked, most folks are willing
to recount tales about the one guest who never checked out, the
"mysterious lady" that haunts the Goldfield Hotel."
"There's been some weird things happen."
"Both of us have had psychics through there time after time, and they
always home in on that same area."
"I myself heard music, and saw people in here. I don't know for sure if
I was hallucinating or not."
"I don't have an answer for it, but every time you walk in there you get
a shiver."
"This many people can't be wrong, there must be something there."
"In 1913, we had a flood. 1923 was a disaster. We had a fire than burned
54 city blocks, and we ran out of water and the wind got up and it just
wiped out the town and it really didn't recover."
"The place settled into the quiet existence of a classic semi-ghost
town, its buildings scattered along highway 95 between Reno and Las Vegas.
Goldfield's future was just as shaky as any other town with its hopes
based on a continuing supply of mineral wealth. But what a record. Total
value: 90 million dollars. That would be over 1.8 billion today."


Article on Kim Carnes

This paragraph is from an article which first appeared in the Sep/Oct 1995 issue of American Songwriter magazine. Kim Carnes sang "Nobody Knows", the song at the very end of the movie, and she also wrote "Sing Out For Jesus" for Big Mama Thornton, which is the song played by Super Soul when he returns to the radio station after being beaten.

"Morning Coffee with Kim Carnes" by Mike Settle.

  Sitting on the screened in porch at her 75 acre property, nestled among
two hundred-year-old trees, Kim is as energetic and excited about writing
and recording as when I watched her make her very first album. She's as
natural and open today as she was when we first met as members of The
New Christy Minstrels, back in the late sixties. When she decided to go
out on her own with husband Dave Ellingson (as Kim and Dave), she made
her debut recording singing the title song to the movie, "Vanishing Point."
Her first cut as a writer, written for the same movie, was sung by
blues maven Big Mama Thornton and produced by Jimmy Bowen.


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