It would be hard to imagine the Oscar-winning film "E.T." without Henry Thomas and his hooded extraterrestrial's bike-riding silhouette against the moon or Paul Newman's classic two-wheeled courtship of Katharine Ross missing from "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid."
Hollywood's friendly affair with bicycles can be traced back nearly a century. It could be an integral part of the main story line, such as in "Breaking Away," or used as a pivotal prop in memorable scenes (the "Do-Re-Mi" sequence in "The Sound of Music") or just objects of pleasure and recreation on studio lots.
Film critic and bike fanatic Steven Rea has pulled together a collection of seldom-seen photos of actors and their bikes in "Hollywood Rides a Bike" (Angel City Press, $20), which is a part of the coverage featured in this Sunday's Arts & Books section.
"It's a convergence of two of my biggest passions in life: movies and bikes," said Rea, who rides his early 1970s, Raleigh DL-1, British postman's bike nearly every day to work at the Philadelphia Inquirer and to screenings.
Long before "eco-friendly" became part of our vernacular, studios stocked their lots with fleets of bikes for stars to zip quickly from stage to dressing room. Drawn from Rea's 2010 Tumblr blog "Rides a Bike," the 125 selected images in this book are a mix of candid back-lot shots, actors at their leisure, posed studio portraits and production stills such as B-movie actress Louise Allbritton's cheesecake shot of her tumble in the 1944 comedy "San Diego I Love You." Other notable crashes featured are Doris Day in "The Tunnel of Love" and Jane Fonda in her first film, "Tall Story."
Images span from the onset of talkies (Fred Allen in 1929's "The Installment Collector") to late 1980s (Tom Hanks on a Silver BMX in "Big"), with the majority of images taken during Hollywood's golden age.
More after the jump