Commonwealth Journal

July 24, 2013

American Graffiti stars to kickoff Somernites Cruise

by Chris Harris
Commonwealth Journal

Somerset —

Every Somernites Cruise brings welcome visitors and interesting cars to town. But celebrities? Few past Cruise events will rival this weekend’s for those.
The stars of the classic film “American Graffiti” — Cindy Williams, Candy Clark and Bo Hopkins – will be on hand at this month’s Somernites Cruise to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the movie’s release. 
Williams played the role of Laurie in “American Graffiti,” the 1973 film directing by “Star Wars” creator George Lucas ad produced by “The Godfather” auteur Francis Ford Coppola. However, she may be best known for playing one of the title characters in the sitcom “Laverne and Shirley.” She was also up for the role of Princess Leia in “Star Wars.”
Clark, who played Debbie, is a versatile actress with numerous major credits to her name, including roles in “The Man Who Fell to Earth,” “The Blob,” “Popeye Doyle,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” and TV shows ranging from “Magnum P.I.” to “Baywatch Nights.”
Bo Hopkins, who played Joe, has appeared in over 100 different roles on both the large and small screens, with movies like “Midnight Express” and “White Lightning,” and TV classics like “Gunsmoke,” “Bonanza,” “Fantasy Island,” and “Murder, She Wrote” on his resume.
“American Graffiti” portrays a slice of life from the youth culture of 1962, when hot rods and drive-ins were all the rage. 
“It fits hand-in-glove with Somer-nites because of the nostalgia,” said Downtown Somerset Development Corporation executive director Gib Gosser. “’American Graffiti’ sort of created nostalgia. Before that, there wasn’t a whole lot of it (in movies and television). ‘American Graffiti’ created ‘Happy Days’ and all the nostalgia shows of the ‘70s.”
The stars will be at Somernites on both days signing autographs, meeting their fans and introducing a special screening of “American Graffiti” at the Friday Night Block Party this July 26 in downtown Somerset.
They will also be talking to the media at a special press conference Friday morning at the Doolin House on North Main Street.
Gosser noted that it’s a coup to get the celebrities to Somerset, though they tend to do a lot of car shows in California, where they’re typically based (Williams will be coming to Somerset from New York, noted Gosser).
“It will be a lot of fun to have the stars with us to celebrate the 40th anniversary,” said Gosser. “(They were happy to come) once they found out more about the show and what we do.”