Friday, July 27, 2018

Did Steve McQueen give Loren Janes A Rolex Submariner?




...Final Conclusions & Analysis...


Did Steve McQueen give 

Loren Janes His Submariner? 



Loren Janes wearing his Rolex Submariner



Loren Janes had a distinguished stunt career. The following vintage autobiographical video was edited and narrated by Loren Janes and showcases his career achievements including footage of him stunt-doubling Steve McQueen in The Hunter. This is Loren Janes in his own words:





“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able 


to entertain a thought without accepting it.”


― Aristotle, Metaphysics

To assume any timepiece's provenance can be absolutely indisputable and crystal-clear is almost impossible. If you really think about it, does anybody ever really know anything for certain when it comes to vintage objects or antiquities? It is likely there are only two men who could answer the title question above with absolute certainty, and they are sadly no longer dancing on this marble with us.

The circumstantial and direct evidence I collected for this watch and story help clarify what is likely the truth. More than 50 years have passed since the watch was born at Rolex in Switzerland, but one thing remains certain and that is the fact this Submariner has endured an unbelievable journey through hell and back—a trip so fierce it melted the plexiglass crystal off the watch.

Loren Janes' Submariner After The Fire

The photo above shows Loren Janes' Rolex Submariner after it endured the fire damage as seen in the photo below which burned his house to the ground and resulted in Loren losing EVERYTHING he owned, with one exception and that was his Rolex that Steve McQueen gave him which is pictured above.


Loren Janes Home As It Burned To The Ground

Just like the Van Morrison song, Into the Mystic, this research has served as the foghorn that brought me home to find the truth behind this mystic watch.

The true value proposition of this watch, in my opinion, is not only the Steve McQueen and Loren Janes provenance, but also how the watch survived through the fire to be completely restored by Rolex, coupled with the crazy amazing backstory I am about to share with you.




So let's hop in the Rolex time machine and go back more than a half-century to try to put together the historic pieces of this fascinating Submariner puzzle.




New Findings & Executive Summary


If you've been following this Steve McQueen roller coaster ride you are in for many more twists and turns as I expand the scope of the investigation by adding much more valuable insight and history. I recently interviewed Steve McQueen's first wife, Neile Adams McQueen for this story and cover many of the fascinating aspects of our conversation. I also interviewed Barbara Minty McQueen who was Steve McQueen's third wife and learned a lot from her. 

It is a fact Loren Janes stunt doubled Steve McQueen way more than any other stuntman. Loren began stunt doubling Steve on the TV Series Wanted Dead or Alive which ran from 1958 through 1961, and stunt-doubled Steve in his last movie in 1980, which was The Hunter. This is an undisputed fact.


Steve McQueen & Loren Janes in 1966 The Sand Pebbles Set

At age 9, Steve McQueen received the gift of a gold pocket watch with an engraving dedicated to him personally from his stand-in father-figure, his great-uncle Claude. One can imagine how—at a most emotional time in his life—when his mother returned and took him back to live with her, this event could very well have been the start of Steve McQueen’s passion for watches, and the reason why he would often gift engraved watches to his closest friends.

Numerous examples of Steve McQueen taking watches off his wrist and giving them to friends—Jimmy Brucker, Haig Altounian, and Bill Maher, abound in this story. McQueen had Altounian’s name engraved on the case back of the watch before giving it to him and would engrave Maher’s watch at a later date—after it was originally given to him. Niele McQueen confirmed Steve McQueen’s tendency for doing exactly that, pointing to the possibility Steve McQueen could very well have done the same with the Loren Janes Submariner. 



“There are three things that cannot be easily hidden: 



The Sun, the Moon and the Truth."

—Buddha


I want to make one thing clear, and that is the fact I am impartial and have no horse in this race. In other words, I have no preference for the outcome. I am only seeking the pure truth and am attempting to separate-the-fact-from-the-fiction and am putting forth the best evidence I have collected in this case. Don't forget, I was the one who first attacked the provenance document of Loren Janes Rolex Submariner watch and ripped it to shreds, which resulted in this controversy.

This Rolex history reads like a modern Steve McQueen action thriller with Loren Janes performing the stunts, but this is a real-world drama—not fictional. It is also a fascinating story of survival, resilience, mystery, intrigue, and happenstance. If you are not familiar with the Loren Janes Submariner Mystery, I highly recommend reading the first two stories I wrote on this subject which are linked below, as well as Parts 3 & 4:

Part 1Loren Janes Submariner—The Phoenix That Rose From The Flame, published between June 5-10th, 2018.

Part 2The Loren Janes Submariner Mystery: You Can't Always Get What You Want published between June 25 & 28th, 2018.

Part 3Nell Newman Foundation To Make Donation To Boys Republic In Honor of Steve McQueen. This is optional reading that is connected to this story.

Part 4The Queen of Cool: Neile Adams McQueen published on July 8, 2018. This is optional reading that profiles Steve McQueen's first wife who is an amazing woman.






Top Reasons It is Likely

Steve McQueen gave Loren Janes
The Rolex Submariner In Controversy

If you carefully examine the fact patterns in this case, you will inevitably discover there is a tremendous amount of direct, circumstantial, and incontrovertible evidence to support the fact Steve McQueen gave Loren Janes the Rolex Submariner in controversy. In other words, the preponderance of the evidence, in this case, supports this notion as you will discover below. Let's begin by asking the simple question:


Did Steve McQueen believe it to be true Loren Janes was "The Best Damn Stuntman In The World?" 

One could argue this whole case teeter-totters on this transcendental question. The autographed photo below from Steve McQueen to Loren Janes is undisputed in its authenticity. Everybody, including Neile Adams McQueen, Stan Barrett, and Marshall Terrill all agree it is genuine. 

Steve McQueen gave this personally autographed photo to Loren Janes when they were working on the movie named Nevada Smith in which Loren Janes stunt-doubled Steve McQueen. Five weeks after Nevada Smith wrapped in late 1965 Loren Janes again began stunt doubling Steve McQueen and was the stunt coordinator on the movie The Sand Pebbles which was shot in the Far East.



The signed photo above from Steve McQueen to Loren has what appears to be a cryptic message that says, "To Loren, Crackers and Cookies, and the Best damn stuntman in the world". What does "Crackers and Cookies" mean? Both Marshall Terrill and Stan Barrett, agreed: "Loren Janes was an amazing athlete. He didn't drink, smoke or do any kind of drugs, but loved eating chocolate chip cookies, vanilla ice cream, and Wheat Thin crackers."

Several people have questioned the engraving on the back of Loren Janes' Rolex Submariner in disbelief Steve McQueen might have had this message engraved. So the questions raised are, whether or not Steve McQueen had the watch engraved, and if so when? 

The engraving style is consistent and period specific with the style from the mid-1960s and DEFINITELY is not representative of modern engraving techniques. It is also the only watch known to the world that has Steve's name engraved on it.




Also, the question arises of how and when the engraving was added to the watch. I believe the provenance letter written by Erika Janes from which the Phillips Auction House press release was loosely based suggested Steve may have first worn the watch, then taken it off his wrist and given it to Loren Janes. The challenge or question with such a scenario would bring up the question of 'How did the engraving get on the back of the watch if Steve took it off his wrist and gave it to Loren Janes?"

There are multiple precedents for Steve McQueen actually doing this, as seen here, for example, in the pages of the Antiquorum Auction House catalog from June 11, 2009. As we will see, it was in Steve's nature to give engraved watches as a gift to people he cared about and depended upon. 




It is worth pointing out when introduced in 1969 the Heuer Monaco was a very innovative wristwatch as it was the first chronograph wristwatch made that incorporated an automatic movement. Heuer was a specialist chronograph manufacturer, known for precision and expertise. 

It's hard to believe when you do the math that Rolex introduced the first automatic winding, time-only watch with a 360-degree winding rotor in 1931, and it took 38 more years for a company to create the world’s first self-winding chronograph, but that is exactly what Heuer did with the Monaco.



As we see in the last three paragraphs of this lot (seen above), it tells the story about how Steve McQueen gave Bill Maher a Heuer Monaco which Steve wore on his wrist during the filming of the major racing movie titled Le Mans. The story suggests that after shooting Le Mans, Steve McQueen took the watch off his wrist and gave it to Bill Maher in person. Then in a surprising chain of events, Steve McQueen took the watch back from Bill Maher and had it engraved. Then Steve had the watch delivered back to Bill Maher in a gift box. 

Also, it is a fact that before Steve McQueen gave the Heuer Monaco to Bill Maher, McQueen was never seen or documented as having worn it. In the words, he only wore it during the filming of Le Mans and not afterward. This is not the only time Steve took a watch off his wrist and gave it to somebody, as he was also known to do it other times. What it does, is make it seem realistic and believable that he may have done the same with Loren Janes' Rolex Submariner.






Steve McQueen

Gave Away Another Heuer

Steve McQueen gave away one of the Heuer Monaco watches from Le Mans as seen above to Bill Maher as a gift. Steve also gave away a second Heuer watch from Le Mans to his mechanic, Haig Altounian after the last day of shooting the film and said, "thank you for keeping me alive all these months". Steve McQueen also had the case back of this watch engraved with Haig Altounian's name.

I interviewed Don Nunley who was the property-master on Le Mans for this story, and we see the letter below from Don Nunley to Jack Heuer mentioning Steve McQueen kept two of the Heuer watches, which he gave away as gifts. 


Don Nunley was a pioneer in product placement and the Heuer watches used in Le Mans were likely one of the first ultra-successful watch product placements in history. Today, Chad McQueen, Steve McQueen's son is associated with Tag Heuer as seen in the picture below. One thing is for certain and that is the fact Chad McQueen—just like his father—is one cool Dude!!!








Another Steve McQueen Submariner?

I interviewed Chad McQueen for this story and we discussed how he has two different Rolex Submariner models his father gave him before he passed away. In the future, I plan to write a detailed story about those Rolex Submariner watches which have the most flawless provenance.

There is yet another Rolex Submariner that was purported to have belonged to Steve McQueen which Antiquorum Auction house sold for close to a quarter of a million dollars back on June 11th of 2009, at the same auction they sold Steve McQueen's Heuer Monaco he wore in Le Mans as seen above. 



There are a few details I want to point out regarding this watch. First is the fact it sold for close to a quarter of a million dollars nearly a decade ago, and it went through far, far less scrutiny than I have put Loren Janes Rolex Submariner through. 

It is interesting to note Antiquorum did not include the serial number of the watch, nor did they include a photo of the case back in their auction catalog, so I assume there was no case back engraving on this watch. How could it have achieved such a high result almost a decade ago? Its believability rested upon a provenance letter from Jimmy Brucker that accompanied the watch, and a believable connection Brucker had with Steve McQueen.




The second point is how with this watch, as the story goes, Steve McQueen gave the watch to Jimmy Brucker and then asked for it back. Then two years later, gave the watch back to Jimmy Brucker.  I am not doubting the veracity of the narrative put forth, I am just pointing out it illustrates Steve McQueen had some unusual gift-giving practices. 


Steve McQueen in The Hunter (1980)
Clearly Wearing Rolex Submariner Reference 5513

Speaking of unusual, this Antiquorum auction lot description states this Submariner was worn by Steve McQueen in The Hunter, which is completely inconsistent with the video footage evidence, which clearly shows he wore a Rolex Submariner Reference 5513 (pictured above) in The Hunter—NOT a Reference 5512. Just to be crystal-clear, this Antiquorum auction lot description got this material fact wrong, which is similar to the type of errors made in the original provenance letter that was released for the Loren Janes Submariner.




So let's compare and contrast the believability of the provenance of Loren Janes’ Submariner to the Brucker Submariner. The Loren Janes Submariner has:
  • A bulletproof and crystal-clear connection between Loren Janes and Steve McQueen. 
  • A case back engraving tying the watch directly to Steve McQueen, and the only watch that has come to the market with Steve McQueen’s name engraved on the back. The case backs dedication matches almost exactly a signed and dedicated portrait of Steve McQueen that was given to Loren Janes around the same timeframe.
  • A published serial number of the watch that aligns it with the account shared by Loren Janes’ son, Eric. The watch was manufactured circa 1964, and as recalled by Eric, it was given to Loren Janes during the filming of the Sand Pebbles in Hong Kong in 1965/1966, where McQueen and Janes spent 6 months together.
  • A complete restoration by Rolex as verified by the letter that accompanies the watch from Rolex USA, performed, as one can imagine, at great expense to Rolex due to the believability of its provenance.










Steve McQueen's

First Engraved Watch

So where did Steve McQueen first learn about the significance of a message engraved on a watch? The Book, "Steve McQueen, Portrait of a Rebel" by Marshal Terrill (who I interviewed extensively for this story) recounts the story of how Steve McQueen, when he was 9 years old, was asked to come back to live with his mother in Indianapolis after spending 6 years (ages 3 to 9) living with his great uncle, Claude Thomson. 




Steve looked up to his great uncle who taught him how to shoot, and his appreciation for the outdoors came from living on Claude’s farm. Claude also gave Steve his first bicycle. It is likely Steve McQueen got the idea for giving watches to his friends from this story of Claude giving him this engraved pocket watch during his youth—as his father figure—during a childhood filled with turmoil. Marshall Terrill writes:

"There he was, living a Huckleberry Fin-like existence, having a sense of placement. Then suddenly it was all taken away again: Jullian came back to Slater to get her boy. Her timing couldn’t have been worse. While Jullian had been away in Indianapolis, she married the second of her many husbands. Steve later could not recall how many times his mother had been married, nor would Jullian ever volunteer the information. She came back to Slater now hoping to put her life in order again. That meant getting her nine-year-old boy back. 

Claude didn’t put up a fight, knowing that the wrong thing to do would be to deny a boy his mother, even though she was downright irresponsible. Before they left for Indianapolis, Claude called Steve aside for a private moment together. “Here, I want you to have this to remember me by,” he said. Steve reached out and Claude placed in his hands a gold pocket watch. Steve opened the case. Inside he saw an inscription that read: “To Steve—who has been like a son to me.” As Steve wiped the tears from his eyes, Jullian hurried away."

Every person, if they think about it, likely has an experience where they remember their first emotional encounter with a watch, and this likely was Steve McQueen's. This encounter of expressing love from one man to another through an engraving on the back of a watch likely set the pattern for Steve McQueen that lasted the rest of his life.






Career Timeline

Loren Janes was Steve McQueen's leading stuntman in terms of sheer quantity of movies and TV shows he doubled Steve on. 

It is a fact Loren Janes stunt doubled Steve McQueen way more than any other stuntman. This is an undisputed factI independently verified the record below, which is NOT based upon the faulty IMDB.com record. Marshall Terrill, who has written seven books on Steve McQueen, as well as having interviewed Loren Janes fifteen times, kindly assisted me with putting together this list of TV shows presented in chronological order and movies that Loren Janes stunt doubled Steve McQueen on: 

  • 1958-1961Wanted Dead or Alive [TV Series: Stunt Doubled Steve McQueen]

  • 1959Never So Few [Movie: Stunt Doubled Steve McQueen, Frank Sinatra, and Charles Bronson]

    • 1966 Nevada Smith: [Movie: Stunt Doubled Steve McQueen]

    • 1966 Sand Pebbles [Movie: Stunt Doubled Steve McQueen and coordinated all stunts]

    • 1968 Bullitt [Movie: Stunt Doubled Steve McQueen]

    • 1969 The Reivers [Movie: Various Stunts]

    • 1974: The Towering Inferno [Movie: Various Stunts]

    • 1980 The Hunter [Movie: Stunt Doubled Steve McQueen]

    As we see from the data above Loren stunt-doubled Steve McQueen in 5 movies and performed various stunts in 2 other Steve McQueen movies. Loren also stunt-doubled Steve McQueen on the hit TV Western series, Wanted Dead or Alive.

    In reality, Loren Janes doubled Steve McQueen in far more movies and TV shows than any other stuntman.  








    Pat Johnson

    Steve McQueen's Best Friend

    Opinion on Loren Janes

    Pat Johnson met Steve McQueen back in 1972 when he was a martial arts instructor in the Korean based art of Tang Soo Do. Pat trained a lot of celebrities and was pals with Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris. As a matter of fact, Pat was in the first blockbuster Bruce Lee movie titled, Enter The Dragon. He was also in The Karate Kid, and Mortal Combat.

    According to a 1989 CSMonitor interview, Pat Johnson was a big fan of Loren Janes and the article said: 


    "He (Loren) wrote the book on stunts,'' says Hollywood stunt coordinator Pat Johnson, lauding Mr. Janes for forming the Stuntmen's Association of Motion Pictures and Television 28 years ago, which brought better safety standards to a profession that was often subject to abuse before 1961. "Not only did he teach all of us how to do the stunts - and he does them all - but he made all motion pictures better because of it.''


    Buzz Kulik, Pat Johnson, Loren Janes & Steve McQueen
    Photo was taken in Chicago in late 1979 by Dave Freidman 

    I interviewed Pat Johnson for this story (pictured above—second from left), who was a consultant on The Hunter and was also Steve McQueen's personal martial arts trainer, as well as his best friend and confidant from 1972 until Steve passed away in 1980. Pat is not only a 9th-degree black belt in American Tang Soo Do Karate but also performed stunts in The Hunter

    In my recent June 2018 interview with Pat Johnson for this story, he said:

    "Steve McQueen loved and respected Loren Janes and had a lot of faith in him! Loren was one hell of a stuntman. I learned a lot from Loren, and he was the best stuntman I ever worked with. Loren could do anything! I believe it to be a fact that Steve McQueen gave Loren the engraved Rolex Submariner on the set of The Sand Pebbles back in 1966."

    Pat Johnson appeared and was interviewed next to Loren Janes and Bud Ekins in the 2005 Steve McQueen documentary titled, "The Essence Of Cool" as seen in the image below. The Essence Of Cool Documentary is included in the Two-Disc Special Edition Blue Ray version of Bullitt (1968) released in 2005.


    Loren Janes, Bud Ekins & Pat Johnson
    The Essence Of Cool Documentary, 2005


    In the 2005 interview, Pat Johnson said: "I taught Steve Martial Arts, Bud taught Steve how to ride a motorcycle, and Loren was his stuntman."

    Note that Pat Johnson made this declarative statement in front of Bud Ekins who did not dispute this fact in any way. This refutes the notion that Bud Ekins was Steve McQueen's leading stuntman. 

    Anybody who says Bud Ekins was Steve McQueen's favorite stuntman would be correct if they are referring to stunts that involve motorcycles and cars only. It is worth pointing out Bud Ekins only stunt doubled Steve McQueen in two movies: The Great Escape (1963), and Bullitt (1968). Loren Janes, as previously mentioned doubled Steve McQueen in five movies, and on three seasons of the TV series Wanted Dead Or Alive, and also performed various stunts in two additional Steve McQueen movies.






    Old Friends / Bookends

    I love having a soundtrack for all major stories I write and for this I chose Simon & Garfunkel's classic "Old Friends / Bookends". 




    Old friends
    Memory brushes the same years
    Silently sharing the same fear

    A time it was, and what a time it was, it was

    A time of innocence
    A time of confidences

    Long ago it must be

    I have a photograph
    Preserve your memories
    They're all that's left you



    Proximity: It is a fact Loren was in more Steve McQueen movies than any other human. Steve McQueen started his career with Loren Janes being his stuntman in Wanted Dead or Alive in the late 1950s and ironically stunt doubled Steve McQueen in the last movie he ever made in 1980, The HunterSteve's career began and ended with Loren Janes as his stuntman.

    For any action actor like Steve McQueen to say, "LOREN, THE BEST DAMN STUNTMAN IN THE WORLD. —STEVE" would be a subjective statement. If being the best stuntman is correlated with being the most frequently trusted and depended upon, then it stands to reason Steve McQueen thought this about Loren Janes.

    The Loren Janes Rolex Submariner watch in controversy below with the similar engraving would have been given to Loren Janes from Steve McQueen later in 1966 after the signed photo above from earlier. The evidence from Doc Duhame's statement as well as Eric Janes statement independently corroborate the watch being given to Loren Janes by Steve McQueen on or around the set of The Sand Pebbles in 1966.




    Keep in mind, according to the timeframe, Steve McQueen gave the Rolex with the engraving after Loren Janes stunt doubled Steve McQueen for three seasons in a row (1958-1961) on the TV show, Wanted Dead Or Alive, as well as after Loren Janes doubled Steve McQueen and was the stunt coordinator on the 1966 movie, The Sand Pebbles." 

    The shooting on the set of The Sand Pebbles was long and arduous as it lasted 6 months. Also Loren Janes was accidentally bitten by a Bamboo Pit Viper snake on the set of The Sand Pebbles and almost died. Thus, it stands to reason the gift of the Rolex Submariner was but a small token of appreciation from Steve McQueen to Loren Janes.







    Gary Combs

    Steve McQueen's Last Stunt Request

    Last Wishes: I interviewed Gary Combs many times for this story. Gary Combs was one of the top stuntmen in Hollywood as well as being one of the top stunt coordinators and second unit directors back in the late 1970s. Gary Combs stunt doubled Steve McQueen and was the second unit director on Steve's second to last movie titled "Tom Horn". A second unit director, if you are not familiar with the term, is a director who specializes in filming action related stunt scenes—like a car chase or motorcycle jump or horseback riding scene.


    Gary Combs & Steve McQueen 1979 Set of Tom Horn


    Gary Combs shared the photo above with me for this story. There are several things to take into consideration regarding this image. First, just like with the cryptic "Crackers and Cookies" in the personally autographed Nevada Smith photo from Steve McQueen to Loren Janes from 1966, the 1979 photo above from Steve McQueen to Gary Combs also contains a seemingly cryptic message that says, "Suck in your stomach". 

    The photo above of Gary Combs with Steve McQueen was taken by Steve McQueen's last wife, Barbara Minty on the set of Tom Horn in 1979. Gary Combs shared the funny backstory behind the "Suck in your stomach" comment, which was an inside joke between him and Steve.

    Gary said, "On the set of Tom Horn, Steve walked up to me one day and said, 'Man. You gotta suck in your gut. If you are doubling me you can't walk around with your gut hanging out like that." Gary responded, "What are you talking about Steve!?!! You need to take a look in the mirror. Your gut is hanging out further than mine!?!!"

    Gary continued, "A few days later Steve walked up to me and said 'Gary, what is going on with your terrible posture? Your shoulders are completely slumped over. I told you if you are going to double me, you have to stand up straight like I do!" Gary responded to Steve by saying "What are you talking about!?!! Your mirror is obviously broken. You are the one with the slumped shoulders!!!"

    Then Gary said, "About a week later, Steve's wife, Barbara Minty, walked up and handed me a photo she took of me with Steve, and low and behold we both had terrible posture and our guts were hanging out. A few days later I walk up to Steve and said, 'Hey Steve, I have a special gift for you!' I handed Steve the photo and Steve started cracking up! A few weeks later Steve gave me back the signed photo with his funny message that said, 'Suck in your tummy."

    I believe if you examine and compare the Nevada Smith signed photo to Loren Janes next to the Tom Horn signed photo to Gary Combs you will notice many remarkable similarities. Both have cryptic messages, and both are self-effacing and highly congratulatory. I don't think this a coincidence, but a pattern.



    Gary Combs did such a great job on Tom Horn he was chosen again to stunt double Steve McQueen on the set of what would be Steve's final movie, the 1980 motion picture titled, "The Hunter". Gary was also chosen to be the stunt coordinator on The Hunter as well.







    Steve Preferred Loren Janes

    Gary Combs shared another fascinating story with me. He said:

    "Steve McQueen called me before we started shooting The Hunter. He invited me to come to his home that was in an airport hangar located at the Santa Paula Airport which was very interesting. Steve and Barbi were living in this hangar which Steve filled with all kinds of old vintage things, like his cars and motorcycles and many other things he had collected in his lifetime.

    "Steve said, 'I have a special favor to ask you, Gary. I know you were chosen to double me on The Hunter, but I would prefer to have Loren Janes double me instead if that is O.K. with you?'" 

    Gary told Steve it was fine and Loren Janes ended up stunt doubling Steve McQueen in what would be Steve McQueen's last movie. In the photo below we see Loren Janes on the set of The Hunter, doubling Steve.


    Loren Janes & Steve McQueen
     Late 1979 on the Set of The Hunter

    I was naturally curious and asked Gary Combs why Steve McQueen asked him to step aside so Loren Janes could take his place to double Steve? Gary said, "I have no idea? I never asked Steve and he never told me why."

    So wait a minute!?!! If Loren Janes was NOT Steve McQueen's favorite stuntman then why in God's name did Steve ask one of the best stuntmen in Hollywood to step aside and let Loren Janes replace him? Neile Adams McQueen said it was due to the fact Loren Janes looked more like Steve McQueen than anybody else. In my estimate there are only two possible reasons: Either Steve thought Loren Janes would do a better job, or he wanted to help his friend Loren who had not doubled him for many years. Either way, it is crystal-clear Steve McQueen respected and liked Loren Janes.

    I have interviewed Gary Combs many times for this story. The first time I interviewed him, he voluntarily mentioned in an off-hand remark:

    "If you want my opinion, I believe Steve McQueen gave Loren Janes the engraved Rolex Submariner." 

    In my original story, I mentioned many other people I interviewed for this story including stuntmen like Ronnie Rondell, Gerry Gatling, Jack Verbois, and Rico Mancini. All drew the same conclusion without me even asking. I recently mentioned this fact to Gary Combs and he said:

    "After having read your first two stories on this subject and having examined much more of the evidence, I am even more convinced Steve McQueen gave Loren Janes the Rolex Submariner as a gift. After examining Doc Duhame's statement about how he personally witnessed Steve McQueen telling him (Doc Duhame) he gave the Rolex to Loren Janes after shooting wrapped on The Sand Pebbles and that Loren 'earned it', I am certain. Particularly since Doc Duhame mentioned Richard Talmadge had introduced Loren Janes to Doc Duhame, not to mention all the details Doc specified about how we shot the car scene in Los Angeles in 1979."

    "As the stunt coordinator on the set of The Hunter, I was there and all the details are correct and consistent with the truth. It in no way surprises me Steve McQueen would have invited Doc Duhame to join him and Loren for lunch on the set. Loren Janes and Steve McQueen were close long-term friends and it is a fact Loren doubled Steve way more than anybody else. I would go so far as to say that Loren Janes was to Steve McQueen, what Stan Barrett was to Paul Newman—his favorite and chosen leading stuntman of his career."


    Trust: Loren was one of the few people Steve McQueen told he had cancer before he went to Mexico. If they weren't close friends, and if Steve didn't trust Loren implicitly why would he confide this extremely personal fact in Loren?






    Friendship Timeline

    Loren Janes and Steve McQueen were definitely friends and social as we see in the photo below taken in 1966 on the set of the Sand Pebbles in which Loren Janes was the stunt coordinator and also doubled Steve McQueen.


    Steve McQueen & Loren Janes 1966

    Loren Janes mentioned in a book that Steve and Loren dined at each other's homes. Loren was a Christian Scientist and as a result did not drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes or take ANY drugs. On a side note, Gary Combs told me the exact same thing about himself. He said, "Just like Loren, I didn't drink or smoke or do recreational drugs, so when I was done working I would go home to my family. Especially during the later 1960s, recreational drugs were really prevalent among stuntmen."

    That being said, according to Erika Janes, Loren Janes daughter, he was once at a party where a waiter asked Loren if he would like some caviar, to which he responded, "No thank you. I don't drink."

    The photo below was taken in 1969 in Loren Janes' backyard and shows Steve McQueen with his arm around Loren Janes' wife, Sylvia Janes. Sylvia is holding their son Eric who was 20 months old at the time, and Sylvia was 8 months pregnant with her daughter Erika. I believe it is very likely Loren took this photo. Don't forget back in 1969 they didn't have selfie sticks or self-timers on the camera where you run back into the picture.

    Eric Janes, Sylvia Janes & Steve McQueen March 1969
    The photo was taken by Loren Janes in his back yard in Canyon Country, California  

    It is ironic, but the little blonde dude in the photo above with Steve McQueen, close to a half-century after that photo was taken, would spend hours digging through the rubble of his father's decimated home (pictured below) which burned down to the ground, and would find the Rolex Submariner Steve McQueen had given his father more than a half-century earlier.


    Eric Janes digging through the rubble of his father Loren Janes' home that burned to the ground





    1971 San Fernando Valley Earthquake 

    On February 9, 1971, there was a massive earthquake the occurred in the San Fernando Valley in the San Gabriel Mountains which registered 6.5 on the rector scale. This devastating earthquake destroyed the road to Loren Janes home as well as knocking out the phone lines. In the photo below from the devastating 1971 San Fernando Valley earthquake, we see how the freeway collapsed making it impossible for drivers to get through.




    Both Doc Duhame and Marshal Terrillindependently of each other—told and corroborated the same story about how Steve McQueen rode his motocross bike over broken land to make sure Loren and family were safe after the terrible 1971 earthquake.



    This event occurred three years after Loren had doubled Steve McQueen in Bullitt and nine years prior to filming The Hunter. If Steve McQueen didn't genuinely care about Loren Janes and didn't consider him to be a close friend, why on earth would he travel over broken roads on a motocross bike out to the middle of nowhere to make certain Loren and his family were alright? Neile Adams McQueen confirmed this by saying "That sounds like something Steve would have done."





    Neile Adams McQueen

    Neile Adams McQueen was Steve McQueen's first wife and was largely responsible for guiding Steve's successful career. Neile is a very talented artist in her own right and had a very successful career before she met Steve. I interviewed Neile Adams McQueen for this story and was so inspired I wrote an article about her titled, The Queen Of Cool: Neile Adams McQueen."


    Neile Adams and Steve McQueen Monaco Grand Prix 1965

    My interview with Neile yielded a great deal of insight about Steve McQueen's love for Rolex, and she mentioned that when they were in Zurich, Switzerland for Christmas of 1969 Steve bought a few Rolex Submariner watches.


    Neile Adams McQueen with Steve set of The Sand Pebbles 1966

    Regarding Loren Janes and the Rolex Submariner in controversy, Neile said, "I was not aware of Steve giving Loren the Rolex, but I will say that it does not surprise me as it was within Steve's nature to do so. Steve was very generous with people he liked and would commonly do things like take his watch off his wrist and give it somebody as a gift. I believe it is possible Steve gave the Rolex to Loren in Hong Kong."

    I asked Neile Adams McQueen why she thought Steve McQueen asked Gary Combs to let Loren Janes double him on the set of Steve's last movie, The Hunter and she said, "Well that is obvious! Loren was the stuntman that looked most like Steve. I mean they really looked like twins!"


    Buzz Kulik, Pat Johnson, Loren Janes & Steve McQueen
    The photo was taken in Chicago in late 1979 by Dave Friedman 





    Barbara Minty McQueen

    Barbara Minty McQueen was Steve McQueen's third wife. Barbi and Steve met in 1977 and got married on January 16, 1980. 

    Barbara Minty with Steve McQueen attending the premiere of Tom Horn in 1980


    Barbara Minty and Steve McQueen are pictured below on his Indian motorcycle and notice he is wearing one of his Rolex Submariner models.



    Barbara is seen wearing her yellow gold Rolex LadyDate in the photo below. She shared a story with me about this Rolex. She said: 

    "Steve's daughter, Terry was visiting and Steve handed me his credit card, and said, 'I want you and Terry to go shopping and buy whatever you want!' So Terry and I both bought yellow gold Rolex Ladydate watches, that cost $16,000 each at the time."



    Image Credit: Photography by James Veysey / Camera Press

    Barbi, as she is known by her friends, issued the following statement: 

    “Loren was an awesome person, and Steve and I were proud to be considered his friends. Steve was very fond of Loren and deeply respected him. Steve and Loren and l hung out together on the set of 'The Hunter' during the shoot, lunch on the set and at the hotels in Chicago and Kankakee, Wisconsin. Steve and Loren and I also took a day trip to Janesville, Wisconsin which is about 90 minutes from Chicago. Steve did that as a special favor to Loren since Janesville had the same name."




    Unbroken Chain of Ownership

    More Than 50 Years of Wearing the Same Rolex Submariner

    It is a fact Loren Janes wore his Rolex Submariner for over a half-century without interruption which makes Loren Janes a member of the one Rolex watch for a lifetime club just like Jack Nicklaus. It is a fact Stan Barrett positively ID'd the watch on Loren Janes in 1968. 




    The undated photo above and the photo below show Loren when he was younger wearing his Submariner.


    Loren Janes is pictured below in 2004 wearing his Rolex Submariner.







    The photo below of Loren with his daughter Erika was taken in 2016 before his house burned to the ground and if you look closely you see Loren is still wearing his trusted Rolex Submariner.






    Direct Evidence Witness

    Doc Duhame is an uninterested party who has nothing to gain or lose by coming forward to testify through his statement as seen below about how in 1979, on the set of The Hunter, in Los Angeles, Steve McQueen personally confirmed to him, in front of Loren Janes, he (Steve McQueen) had given Loren Janes the Rolex Submariner in controversy. 


    I followed up with Erika Janes to ask her about Doc Duhame's relationship with her father and she told me:

    "I met Doc Duhame when I was young and the last time I saw him when I was around 17 years old—then I didn't see him for 32 years. I was pleasantly surprised to see Doc at my father's funeral and we struck up a conversation. He told me how much of an influence my father had on his early career, which was very touching."

    When I first interviewed Erika Janes and she told me her side of the story, I asked her if she could think of any people who knew her father and might know more about the history of his Rolex Submariner. Erika said she would reach out to some of his friends and she reached out to Doc Duhame and Marshall Terrill. Erika told me she called Doc in New York and he answered the phone. Erika continues:

    "Doc answered the phone and I asked him if he remembered anything about dad's Rolex watch. He said, 'The one Steve McQueen gave him?' I said yes. Then I asked him if he wouldn't mind sending me an email statement about what he knew about the watch and he said 'sure'. I didn't ask Doc or Marshall or any of the other people any other questions because I assumed you (Jake) would follow up with them and I didn't want to share any preemptive information with them regarding my inquiry so their answers would be pure."

    "Then I got the email from Doc, read it briefly and immediately sent it to you (Jake). It wasn't until I spoke with you later that day and you asked me if I realized what this letter meant, that I realized Doc had spelled out how Steve McQueen had told him in person how the Rolex Submariner was a gift he gave to my dad on the set of The Sand Pebbles in 1966, and how my dad sure deserved it."

    While some people might say a famous movie star like Steve McQueen would never have had lunch with his stuntman (Loren) and a young aspiring man (Doc) who wanted to be a stuntman, there are others who would strongly refute this notion.

    It is a fact many famous actors, like Burt Reynolds, had absolute deference toward their stuntman. As a matter of fact, John Wayne who was the older archetypical male action/cowboy figure like Steve McQueen used to have lunch on the set with his stuntmen who he deeply admired and respected.

    Steve McQueen adored and revered John Wayne as we see them together in the photos below.







    Speaking of John Wayne and Steve McQueen, in the photo below we see Steve getting overly affectionate with the Duke, and notice Steve is wearing his Submariner.



    Update August 7, 2018: on Doc Duhame: I conducted a conference call with Gary Combs and Doc Duhame. The three of us spoke in great detail about Doc's recollections on the set for The Hunter, where he recounted many accurate facts and details. A few hours after the conversation ended Gary Combs called me and said, "Jake. I am 100% convinced that Doc was present on the set of The Hunter in Los Angeles as he recounted details nobody could have had they not been present. Thus, I am completely certain Doc was there and based upon the story he shared with us about Steve and Doc, I trust his testimony 100%"





    Marshall Terrill Statement

    McQueen biographer Marshall Terrill wrote the statement seen below before I met him. I followed up with Marshall regarding his letter seen below in early June 2018, and he made himself available to me regarding this fascinating series of stories. I have to point out that Marshall's contribution to the accuracy and details of this story has been beyond invaluable as he knows and most importantly has shared so much amazing insight with me.

    In Marshall's letter seen below, he recounts his relationship with Loren, and how the two were going to write a book together.


    There are three details in Marshall's letter that really stand out for me. First is his recollection of Loren's Rolex and its engraving which he remembers from 1990. Secondly, Marshall recounted the exact same story as Doc Duhame regarding how Steve McQueen rode his dirt bike out to Loren's Canyon Country home after the 1971 earthquake just to make certain Loren and his family were safe. Keep in mind that Doc Duhame and Marshall Terrill both told the same story, yet they have never met or spoken to each other. Thirdly, it is apparent to me Marshall deeply respected and admired Loren Janes as well as his career achievements.








    Giving Thanks & Praises

    Steve McQueen clearly had a pattern of giving autographed photos with special messages to people he loved and respected. 

    1. Nevada Smith Signed photo 1966. In this signed publicity photo, we see the first example of Steve's cryptic messaging with the "Crackers and Cookies" statement coupled with the sincere compliment in the form of self-deprecation.


    2. Gary Combs: Tom Horn signed photo 1979. Another cryptic message. In this next photo, we see a very similar pattern including he cryptic inside banter.


    3. Tony Piazza Sr. signed 1968: photo and letterhead. In this next photo to SFPD Officer Tony Piazza we see the congratulatory and declarative pattern again.


    In this next image printed on Steve McQueen's Solar Productions letterhead also made out to SFPD Officer Tony Piazza Jr, we see the same gracious word pattern.







    Lack of Conspiracy

    After having studied this case and interviewed many witnesses I have found ZERO evidence to suggest any form of conspiracy whatsoever. 

    When I first learned about the serious inconsistencies in the provenance letter, coupled with the specific language it struck me that there was some funny business going on, and I wasn't the only one...

    After digging much, much deeper I have found ZERO evidence that would suggest any kind of conspiracy or foul play. I believe the details that may have looked potentially conspiratorial, can, in retrospect, be chalked up to communication breakdown coupled with naiveté. In particular, the highly inaccurate IMDB.com filmography for Loren Janes really threw me for a loop. 

    "Never address to conspiracy, what you can chalk up to stupidity." —Hanlon's Razor



    No Financial Motive or intent to sell Rolex Submariner during or after his lifetime

    Loren Janes never tried to sell the Rolex Submariner in controversy. In 1990, when Marshall Terrill saw the Submariner engraved, the watch at the time would have been worth around $1,000, and with the gift provenance from Steve McQueen would have been worth no more than $5,000. Paul Newman's Exotic Dial Daytona at the same time would have likely been worth around $6,000 and with the provenance might have sold for around $20,000-$30,000. 

    Since then the value of both Rolex and of celebrity have grown exponentially in the alchemy of vintage collectible wristwatches. To illustrate this point, Antiquorum Auction House held a Celebrity auction for a Paul Newman owned Daytona [White dial Zenith Automatic Movement, Reference 16520 which he won in the 1995 24 Hours of Daytona Race in the GT-1 Class] as part of their Famous Faces Charity Auction in 1999 and the watch only sold for $39k. It is rumored that Paul Newman was the high bidder at that auction and bought his own watch back. Today the same watch would likely sell in the six to seven figure range.

    It is a fact Loren never told his children the watch was of any value. Also, it is a fact after Loren's son Eric found his dads watch in the rubble he wanted to keep it in the burned condition as a keepsake to remind him of his father.






    Why I Wrote This Story


    I wrote the 5th part of this story for several different reasons. First and foremost, when I wrote the first two parts of this story I was blogging in real time and often adding hourly updates. The challenge with this approach was I was trying to process in real time as I was still downloading and discovering new information. I took this approach as I wanted to keep you, my readers, in the loop as the details unfolded.

    The challenge was this left little time for me to process all the details I was capturing in real time. Over the course of the past several weeks, I have had a chance to do just that. This new story is like a CliffNotes synopsis of the story which incorporates several timelines. My right-hand man, Jose from Perezcope.com who is THE top horological forensics investigator on planet earth once said to me, "When you collate information and data on a timeline, the true facts always come to light and cannot be disputed." And that is exactly why I wrote this story.

    I believe when you study all of the facts in this case on the historical timeline, they inevitably tell a story that would be challenging to discern from reading the first two parts of this story. 





    Backstory

    This story began in early June 2018 just after Phillips Auction House announced they were going to be auctioning a watch in October 2018 that belonged to Steve McQueen's favorite stuntman, Loren Janes, which is seen below.




    Phillips Auction House included a provenance letter that was signed by Loren Janes in 2016 that gave an overview of his career achievements, as well as mentioning the engraved Rolex Submariner seen above was a gift from Steve McQueen. Phillips Auction house is most famous for having recently auctioned Paul Newman's trademark Daytona for $17.8 Million.

    Within an hour of publishing my first story on this Loren Janes Submariner, I discovered some strong inconsistencies in the narrative put forth and ended up attacking the provenance letter and ripping it to shreds. This was due in large part to my own sleuthing which was aided by Stan Barrett, who knew and worked with Loren Janes and Steve McQueen.

    Stan Barrett pointed out a number of inconsistencies with the original provenance letter that accompanied Loren Janes watch, which cast a curtain of doubt as to the authenticity of the watch, that is now in controversy. Stan Barrett pointed out rather profoundly: "There is a certain amount of mystery in every gift."

    On June 7th @ 12PM PST, after having reached out to Chad McQueen for comment, I published the following statement:

    "Dear Jake: Thank you for your inquiry regarding the watch allegedly gifted by Steve McQueen to Loren Janes and currently advertised for auction. Mr. Chad McQueen disagrees with the information and claims published regarding the purported authenticity and pedigree of this watch."

    I must say at the time I understood and agreed with why Chad McQueen and the estate of Steve McQueen took this warranted stance. Based upon all the evidence at the time it looked as if there perhaps was some kind of nefarious action that had taken place.






    A Turn Of Events

    Soon after Chad McQueen had issued his statement and after I had ripped the provenance letter to shreds, I ended up interviewing Loren Janes daughter, Erika Janes who shared her side of the story with me. Erika told me she wrote the provenance letter and had asked her father, Loren Janes to sign it. She wrote this letter as Micheal Eisenberg, who was purchasing it at the time told her he needed a letter that detailed the history of the watch. It is interesting to note when I first began interviewing Erika, she naively asked, "What does Provenance mean?"

    At the time, her father Loren Janes was 84 years old and was suffering in the late stages of Alzheimer's disease. Erika came up with the list of movies in which she believed her father stunt doubled Steve McQueen from her own memories, as well as looking on the internet. It is likely she ended up on Loren Janes IMDB.com on her father's record, which falsely credits him for movies he was not involved in at all. Erika also told me that at the time her father was in and out of it, and at times seemed lucid, as was the case when he signed the letter. In retrospect, we now know this was not the case as he would have noticed the errors.

    Erika Janes was extremely helpful and put me in touch with many different people including Doc Duhame and Marshall Terrill.

    After I gained new information and insight which seemed to turn the narrative around 180 degrees in this story, I reached out to Arthur Barens who is the attorney for the estate of Steve McQueen and shared this new insight, including the following statement from Doc Duhame:



    I didn't hear back from Arthur Barens for two weeks until he finally responded via email on June 29, 2018. Arthur said the McQueen estate had yet to change their mind, but from the email I received from Arthur it appears they read the first part of my story regarding Tony Piazza having claimed he saw Loren Janes driving the Mustang in Bullitt, but not the follow up which clarified the story which I published less than 24 hours later. More on this in just a few moments...





    Wall Street Journal

    This is a critical juncture in the story, as Loren Janes had claimed in a 2011 Wall Street Journal interview he had driven the Ford Mustang on the chase scenes in the 1968 Steve McQueen movie named Bullitt.

    In part two of this story, I pointed out, noted Steve McQueen expert, Marshall Terrill had mentioned to me that when he read the WSJ article back in 2011 he cringed as he knew it was not true. Marshall had extensively interviewed Loren Janes fifteen times back in the early 1990s and recalled when he asked Loren Janes about his stunt doubling Steve McQueen in Bullitt in 1968, Loren mentioned he stunt doubled Steve McQueen in the scene running under the airplane. Marshall asked Loren, "Did you participate in any of the driving scenes?" to which Loren said No.

    I asked Marshall Terrill why he thought Loren lied in the Wall Street Journal article in 2011 about his participation in Bullitt, to which Marshall replied and said he didn't think Loren lied. Marshall said he thought Loren was completely out of it mentally at the time in 2011 and told the WSJ interviewer what he thought he wanted to hear. Apparently, this is a common characteristic of Alzheimer's victims whereby people who suffer from this terrible disease commonly pretend everything is normal as a coping mechanism and tell people what they think they want to hear—so they don't look like they are out of it.

    Marshall said, "I flew to Missouri to attend a Steve McQueen event with Loren several months after the WSJ article was published. I was shocked by how much Loren had deteriorated mentally and physically since the last time I had seen him in person. At age 80, Loren was now a shell of the man I previously knew. I took a photo of him at that event (seen below) in 2011, and I basically had to babysit Loren the whole weekend."



    Marshall continues: "In the years before when Loren had attended the same Steve McQueen event he was a different man. This time I had to do everything for him."






    Tony Piazza Jr.

    I believe when Arthur Barens and Chad McQueen and Neile Adams-McQueen reviewed Part 2 of this story, it was right after I had written a story on how Tony Piazza came forward and claimed he indeed saw Loren Janes driving the Mustang in Bullitt, which I published on June 28, 2018.

    Tony Piazza Jr., was thirteen years old when his father, Tony Piazza Sr. took him to the set of Bullitt where he met Steve McQueen and spoke with him for ten minutes. Tony Piazza Sr. is pictured below with Steve McQueen on the set of Bullitt in 1968, when Tony Piazza Sr., was assigned by SFPD to act as the liaison to the Bullitt film crew. 


    Steve McQueen sent the Bullitt thank you letter to Tony Piazza Sr., as we see below on his Solar Productions letterhead:



    I discovered Tony Piazza Jr, as he had published an article on his blog as well as in a book he wrote named "Bullitt Points" about his experience as a 13-year-old boy in San Francisco who had witnessed and filmed the shooting of Bullitt with his 8MM movie camera. The still below is a screenshot from the 8MM film Tony Piazza shared with me and it shows Steve McQueen on the set of Bullitt, while he observes the Mustang and Charger filming one of the famous car chase scenes out in San Bruno, California.



    In my first interview with Tony Piazza, he confirmed he was certain Loren Janes was one of the drivers in Bullitt. I asked him many, many questions which he answered and had convinced me that indeed Loren Janes had driven in Bullitt.

    After I published the results of the Tony Piazza Jr. interview I spoke with Stan Barrett. I told Stan about how I had discovered evidence Loren Janes had driven in Bullitt. Stan Barrett said, "I don't believe it for a second!?!! I don't know who Tony Piazza is, and I understand he was only thirteen years old at the time, but I am CERTAIN he is confused. Trust me when I say that Loren did NOT drive the Mustang in Bullitt."

    Next, I spoke with Marshall Terrill who has written seven books on Steve McQueen. Marshall knows Stan Barrett well and I told him Stan was adamant in his stance that Loren Janes did none of the stunt driving in Bullitt. Marshall responded by saying, 

    "I think Stan Barrett is correct." 

    I said, "So if Stan is correct, that would mean that Tony lied to me!?!!" Marshall responded: 

    "No. I don't think Tony lied. Lying requires intent to deceive. I don't think Tony was trying to deceive you in any way. As a matter of fact, it strikes me that everything Tony told you was true. I believe he was there and saw the drivers and Steve McQueen, but I think he mistook one of the drivers to be Loren Janes based upon what he read forty-four years later." 

    Marshall also pointed me to a video interview of Bud Ekins talking about how he did the stunt driving in Bullitt, which I included in my June 29th update.

    The next day I reached out to Tony Piazza and interviewed him a second time. Tony told me he believed it was Loren Janes driving the Mustang as he personally witnessed Steve McQueen watching the Mustang and Charger race on the set. I asked Tony, how he knew for a fact it was Loren Janes driving the Bullitt Mustang, and he said, "It's all part of the historical record!" I asked him "What historical record?" Tony replied, "When I was researching my book 'Bullitt Points' I researched and discovered it was Loren Janes driving the Mustang." 

    I asked Tony what his research sources were, and he cited the 2011 Wall Street Journal interview of Loren Janes as well as additional articles that were ALL written after the 2011 interview where Loren Janes had claimed he drove the Bullitt Mustang. Viola! I shared all the facts with Tony, and he realized he made a historical error based upon what other people had published. Tony apologized sincerely and profusely for the error, to which I told him I believed it was a completely innocent mistake that anybody could have made. Tony said, "I mistook what the Wall Street Journal had published, as well as the others for Gospel truth."

    I immediately posted another update to the story (in less than 24 hours) confirming the continuity error in Tony Piazza's story and included a link to a 1989 magazine article that confirmed it was Bud Ekins driving in the Bullitt chase scenes and NOT Loren Janes.

    When I head back from the lawyer for the McQueen estate, Arthur Barens on June 29th, he told me they had not changed their stance, but also it appeared they must have seen the story after I first interviewed Tony Piazza, but before the next day when I published the follow-up interview that concluded he was incorrect in his assessment.

    Arthur Barens suggested in his letter I should have interviewed Neile Adams-McQueen, as she was on the set of The Sand Pebbles and briefly on the set of Bullitt. I wrote back to Arthur and told him I would like to interview Neile, and I also shared the fact I had more information he should be aware of so he could make as informed a decision as possible on this matter. 

    I recently got the opportunity to interview Neile Adams McQueen and she was amazing. I was so impressed with her I wrote what would become Part 3 or this series titled: The Queen of Cool: Neile Adams McQueen 




    The Streets of San Francisco

    Erika Janes recently mentioned she recalled her father speaking about how he had worked on a car chase scene for the TV show, "The Streets Of San Francisco." Erika wrote: 



    "I'm thinking maybe my dad thought in that (WSJ) interview about the car chase the interviewer was asking him about a different car chase. I vaguely remember my dad telling me about a car chase scene for the TV show Streets of San Francisco where he drove a car through the rockiest curviest street."


    I decided to include this as it may shed some light on why Loren Janes said what he said in the WSJ interview. In other words, he appears to have had some experience driving on the streets of San Francisco, which he may have confused with Bullitt. I will point out the issue with this is that in the WSJ interview Loren recalled how Steve McQueen gave him the engraved Rolex Submariner. 

    As I understand it, and I am not in any way putting myself forward as an expert on Alzheimer's disease, but as I understand it people who suffer from this disease tend to repeat details they are familiar with. So is it possible he remembered the watch and mixed up Bullitt with The Streets Of San Francisco? I don't know, but I recognize it as a potential explanation.





    You Can't Prove A Negative

    I believe I have succeeded in dissecting and scrutinizing this story to the Nth degree. In other words, the autopsy has been performed prior to the auction and I have corrected the historical record.

    I believe this story has proven there is an extremely high likelihood Steve McQueen gave Loren Janes the Rolex Submariner in controversy. The greatest piece of evidence, in this case, is the eyewitness testimony from Doc Duhame that appears in his statement seen earlier in this story. I also would point out there is a tremendous amount of circumstantial evidence to support this as well.

    Anybody who purchases Loren Janes watch does so with the knowledge it was attacked and questioned so nobody can get hurt as anybody who purchases it does so with their Eyes wide open. In other words, no potential purchaser of this historical watch is going in blind.

    Michael Eisenberg, the consigner of the watch told me when Loren Janes' watch sells at auction at Phillips 1/3 of the proceeds will be donated to the Boys Republic which is a fine organization that Steve McQueen was a direct beneficiary of as well as being a direct benefactor. Michael Eisenberg has helped to support and made financial donations in the past to The Boys Republic.

    Michael told me another 1/3 of the proceeds will be donated to the Janes Family which is extremely kind and gracious.

    Also, the Nell Newman foundation wants to make a donation in honor of Steve McQueen to the Boys Republic. These funds would aid the Boys Republic in upgrading their Culinary department which is ironic in that Paul Newman was not only pals with Steve McQueen but was also likely the greatest culinary philanthropist in history. The other irony is Paul Newman's Rolex Daytona auction proceeds will be contributing toward the Boys Republic Culinary Department. In other words, Paul Newman, through this grant will be making the donation in the spirit of giving for which he is perhaps best known for. This seems like a huge win/win/win for everybody involved.




    As it has been said so many time before, 'Every Rolex Tells A Story', and I believe this Rolex certainly has told one of the most interesting stories I have ever witnessed.

    I interviewed many outstandingly talented people for this article and as a result, have learned so much. In particular, studying this case has taught me not to jump to conclusions, but to dig deeper and try to gain as much insight as possible.

    There is one Rolex story I want to share with you that I found to be particularly moving. So much so it made me cry.

    When I was interviewing witnesses for this story I felt like I was searching for the truth and at times the whole investigative process seemed almost clinical and sterile. 

    When I first spoke with Erika Janes and she told me her side of the story I quickly began realizing there was a flip side to this story that completely contradicted my prior findings. Once I realized this fact, I told Erika, I would do my best to share this story as accurately as possible.

    I was really surprised at how tirelessly Erika worked to help me discover the truth. After I wrote the last chapter in this story Erika shared some personal thoughts with me that were so moving, I asked her permission to share them with you, and she agreed. Erika said:

    Hey Jake, I wanted to share some final thoughts with you about my dad and his watch.

    I'm cool with what you said about Eric, but if it wasn't for me telling him to keep digging in the rubble after the fire this whole story, even after my stepmom and Eric said 'Erika we're not going to find it, we're not going to find it', none of this would be happening. 

    And who would have thought when I decided to take it to Geary's Beverly Hills, that anything could be done with it; or even salvaged, or I could simply just be turned away?  I'm grateful that I was able to think "Outside the box," because I was passionate about making my dad's watch come back to life for him. 

    I don't think I told you this, but in his old age his Rolex was a trigger and starting point to which he could tell his stories about his life, to my friends and to people along the way. Cuz really all we have in the end are our memories. His Rolex watch was the one thing that REMINDED him of the amazing man he was before having Alzheimer's, and that's why I did what I did.

    One quick note: When I got the burnt watch I rolled it up in a paper towel and then put it into a plastic bag; I was going to throw it away since I couldn't wear the watch or even pass it down to my son Braylon. Before doing so, I sat with it for a while trying to rack my brain as to what I could do with it. Then Gearys Rolex came into my mind, thus this story. And to think I was going to toss it.  Crazy huh?

    Jake again thank you so much for doing this beautiful story. It was really like therapy for me. Again these damn tears keep coming down my face. Since my dad's passing I haven't been able to look at pictures of him but really haven't felt the pain of him gone until the last month. I've been in denial and not really wanting to face the fact he's no longer here, so thank you.

    What an incredible piece of writing and research. This needs to be a book or a movie. Incredible Jake!

    I remember speaking with Erika several weeks ago, and she told me it was the one year anniversary of her father passing and she went to the Riverside National Cemetery in Southern California to participate in the ceremony where the Marines gave her father a Three-Volley Salute before they played Taps, and then they laid his ashes to rest. I remember she was a wreck and started crying like crazy...

    This was the personal side of this story that most people would normally not be privy to. I believe Erika's story is touching, especially the part about how when her father's Alzheimers got really bad, how his Rolex Submariner firmly anchored him to his past achievements, and in particular his great loyal friend, Steve McQueen who he stunt-doubled for his entire career.

    This reminds me of a beautiful quote that said:

    "God gave us memories so we would have roses in December."

    Loren Janes was quite an athlete and stuntman as we see him below performing a jumping stunt for the FBI TV Series...It sure does seem like Steve & Loren are still entertaining and mystifying us from beyond...




    LorenJanes.com published the following biography of Loren's Career Achievements, which I believe was written before he passed away:



    About Loren Janes

    Loren Janes has been an icon in the stunt industry for over 50 years. He founded the Stuntmen's Association of Motion Pictures and has spent a lifetime perfecting the skill, delivering results and ultimately thrilling audiences all over the world.

    In 1954, Loren became a professional movie and television stuntman and stunt coordinator, making his debut in movies with an eighty-foot dive off a cliff on Catalina Island in an Esther Williams movie. 

    In the following years, he worked with practically every major director, producer, and star in the industry, including doubling for Steve McQueen his entire 23-year career, Jack Nicholson, Kirk Douglas, Paul Newman, Michael Douglas, Charles Bronson, Robert Wagner, Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis, Yul Brunner, and Frank Sinatra. 

    He has appeared in more than 500 movies and in over 2,200 television shows.

    Loren feels fortunate that in his long career he has never been seriously injured. In fact, he has never broken a bone. He gives credit for this to his coaches for teaching him discipline and focus, his acrobatic background, staying in good shape, never smoking, drinking, or using drugs, and his faith in God.

    In 1961, he was a co-founder of the Stuntmen's Association of Motion Pictures and Television, the original Stuntmen's organization.

    In 1992, he was elected to the Board of Directors of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), and was the National Chair of the SAG Stunt and Safety Committee.

    In August 2001, Loren received the coveted lifetime achievement award, the Golden Boot (the Oscar for Westerns).
    In April 2003, Loren received the “Gallery of Legends Award” from the World Acrobatic Society.

    In November 2003, Loren received the “Silver Spur Award” in recognition for outstanding achievement in entertainment and Western films.

    In March 2004, Loren’s name was placed into the “Walk of Western Stars” in Santa Clarita, California.

    Loren Janes started to look for challenge and adventure early in life. Between the ages of 10 and 17, he hiked alone the 220-mile length of the John Muir trail four times, and lived off the land in the Southern California mountains for two to four weeks at a time, wearing only an Indian breechcloth and carrying only a hunting knife.

    In high school and college, he competed in swimming, diving, water polo, and gymnastics, winning numerous titles and awards. He is a bow hunter, scuba diver, surfer, mountain climber, and certified ski instructor.

    In 1956, Loren became the first civilian to enter the United States Olympic trials in the modern pentathlon, a grueling Summer Olympic event that combines five sports: riding, fencing, shooting, swimming, and running. He completed a second time in 1964.

    He is a member and past president (1991) of the exclusive Adventurer’s Club of Los Angeles and the Explorers Club of New York. His extensive travels and explorations have taken him throughout the world. He is a biologist, plant and animal ecologist, musician, school teacher, movie photographer, speaker, and film lecturer.

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