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Sal Mineo loses his pants to fans

Sal Mineo loses his pants to fans

May 20, 1958: Actor Sal Mineo says fans stole his clothes and wallet while he was working out at a health club, but after being quoted as saying that he would rather wear a barrel than have a fan accused of stealing, he did just that. Officer Bill Grell is on the right.

Under a “Giggle and Swoon” headline, the Los Angeles Times reported the next morning:

Sal Mineo’s that teen-age idol with the laughing dark eyes, black curly hair and — no pants.

Yesterday he was wearing a barrel.

On Monday his trousers were lifted by a horde of adoring female fans.

No, he wasn’t wearing them at the time.

Sal took them off so he could work out in his undies at the Beverly Hills Health Club.

Parked outside was his well-known Thunderbird automobile bearing his initials.

Then along came a half dozen teen-agers.

“Look!” they cried delightedly. “It’s Sal’s car!”

Poor Sal. There he was, caught in his shorts as the teen-agers pulled off their invasion.

But he was a good sport. Embarrassed, but still a good sport. He signed their autograph books while the gals giggled and swooned.

Then he went back to his pushups.

But as the girls left, they spotted his pants, shirt, shoes, socks and sweater.

“Souvenirs!” they cooed.

And that’s how Sal happened to lose his pants and the rest of his clothing.

The thing that troubled Sal was that his trousers contained his wallet and $50.

“I don’t care about the clothing, but I would like my wallet back,” he said yesterday at Disney Studios, where he is testing for the lead in a new film titled “Tonka.”

When he reported the incident to police, he said he didn’t want any retaliation. Doesn’t want any Sal Mineo fans accused of stealing.

“I’d rather wear a barrel,” he said.

So he did for Los Angeles Times staff photographer John Malmin. This photo accompanied the above article in the May 21, 1958, edition of the Los Angeles Times.

Mineo did get the lead role in the Disney movie “Tonka.” He’s wearing part of the costume in the above photo.

On Feb. 12, 1976, Mineo was killed in West Hollywood.

This photo was also used in the 1999 Los Angeles Times book “High Exposure: Hollywood Lives, Found Photos from the Archives of the Los Angeles Times.”


  1. March 27, 2013, 9:06 am

    Great to see this. I was an extra in TONKA filmed in Central Oregon, 1958. Met Sal Mineo on the set. He broke a limb, riding a horse in the film.

  2. March 28, 2013, 5:46 am

    Awesome vintage press article! Sal rocks! Don't forget to drop on by and "like" his official Facebook page Thanks, John and Karen, of Sal Mineo's official website

  3. October 17, 2013, 7:54 pm

    How dare they defame my Sal's memory!

    By: revina

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