The FBI and Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood poster

Soundtrack cover for Once Upon a Time…in Hollywoodd

In July 2019, Sony’s Columbia Pictures released the ninth Quentin Tarantino-directed film, Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood.

The movie is set in 1969 and follows Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio), an actor who’s career is starting to sag, and his stunt double and sidekick Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt).

Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood is full of cultural references of the era. Surprisingly (at least for me) was how one of the more prominent was The FBI.

In the movie, Rick and Cliff arrive at Rick’s house so they can watch The FBI on a Sunday night. Rick is one of the guest stars.

The episode is All the Streets Are Silent, which actually first aired in 1965 as part of The FBI’s first season. Movie goers actually see much of the episode’s pre-titles sequence. Original shots of guest star Burt Reynolds are substituted with DiCaprio playing Rick Dalton.

Here’s an example of one of the shots with Reynolds that gets substituted for Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood.

FBI Burt Streets Silent

In the episode, Michael Murtaugh (Reynolds) blasts two soldiers with a shotgun so he can steal high-powered rifles for his gang. In the movie, as Rick and Cliff watch, Rick comments on one of the actors in the sequence. “That’s Bobby Hogan, he’s a good guy.” The actor was Robert Hogan (b. 1933), who would appear often in Quinn Martin-produced shows.

The movie shows the episode’s title card. But it has been altered to have a 1969 copyright date, instead of 1965 in the original. The movie also shows real guest stars James Farantino and Norman Fell in the titles, with DiCaprio’s Rick inbetween them (same slot as where Burt Reynolds appeared.

Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood is a long movie and I was surprised to see The FBI get as much screen time as it did. Still, it would have been amused to watch the death scene of the Michael Murtaugh and comment about it.

In the episode, Murtaugh unwisely tries to shoot it out with Inspector Lewis Erskine (Efrem Zimbalist Jr.). Murtaugh misses but Erskine doesn’t. Here’s Murtaugh after being shot a second time. There are rumors there might be an extended cut of Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood. So perhaps we may yet see a Rick Dalton version.

FBI Burt dead

UPDATE: Warner Archive posted a clip from All The Streets Are Silent.