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Long IslandHistory

From the archives: 1956--Paul Newman gets booked in Mineola

Actor Paul Newman being booked after a traffic

Actor Paul Newman being booked after a traffic incident in Mineola. (July 6, 1956)

Mineola - This story was originally published in Newsday on July 9, 1956

Movie Star Paul Newman was a silent leading man in court over the weekend as his hazy nightful of traffic charges cleared off and only a traffic summons remained. Everybody but Newman did the talking.

Newman, star of the story of fighter Rocky Graziano’s life, “Somebody Up There Likes Me,” was a disliked man early Saturday when a Roslyn bartender charged that Newman’s car plowed through shrubbery leaving a restaurant and a police officer added a charge of passing a red light. But in court, with his lawyer doing the talking, Newman was freed of the bartender’s complaint and released pending trial on the red light charge.

But, to get back to the chronological plot of When Rocky the Actor Met Rocky the Cop:

Newman and some friends dined in Roslyn early Saturday. After a late dinner, about 1:45 a.m., they jumped into the actor’s new Volkswagen convertible, which plowed into some shrubbery as it left the restaurant and took off down the highway. Thomas J. Hutcheck, of 20 Overlook Terrace, Roslyn Heights, bartender at the restaurant, got the license number and called police.

Ptl. Rocco Caggiano spotted Newman’s car at Port Washington and Northern Blvds., Flower Hill, about five minutes later and pulled the car over to the side of the road. Hutcheck charged Newman with leaving the scene of an accident, and Caggiano said the actor went through a red traffic light.

Newman, who also starred in “The Desperate Hours,” didn’t like the way the script was going when Caggiano took him to headquarters. So he told the officer about his role as Rocky Graziano.

“Well, I’m Rocky Caggiano,” the cop said, “and you’re going to headquarters.” At headquarters, Newman was surprised at the battery of news photographers who greeted him, but he was advised that he was the night’s second feature. The newsmen were waiting for developments in the Weinberger kidnapping case.

After a few hours in jail, Newman appeared in First District Court before Judge Kathleen M. Kane Saturday morning. There, Hutcheck withdrew his complaint, explaining that he was only interested in compensation for the shrubbery. The curtain fell as Paul Sherman, Newman’s lawyer, pleaded him innocent to passing a red light. The actor, his wife and lawyer left, but there will be a return engagement. Newman’s red light violation trial was set for Aug. 16.

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