Downshifting With Michael Douglas

Westporters who grew up here in the late 1950s and early ’60s remember Michael Douglas. The son of actor Kirk Douglas did not go to Staples — he’s a Choate grad — but he was friends with many who did.

He’s been gone for decades. Does he remember Westport at all?

Apparently. Check out a recent post on his personal Facebook page:

Michael douglas 2

The Downshifters were legends. To read more about them, click here.

To learn more about Michael Douglas, join Netflix.

(Hat tip: Bill Banks)

9 responses to “Downshifting With Michael Douglas

  1. Michael Douglas was in CT in 2014 (notably in Bridgeport) filming AND SO IT GOES — and driving a Mercedes that belongs to Bill…not quite a ‘Downshifters’ car…
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  2. In case anyone else wants to check our Michael Douglas’s FB page, it wasn’t a recent post with hot rod and the mention of the Downshifters. It was December 4, 2013. Great photo, and some former members of the Downshifters are coming to the Staples 1960’s 55th reunion September 18-20. We hope to have a program about the club since so many loved it!

  3. East Coast American Graffiti times. Although, I missed the late 50’s early 60’s hot rod era…I didn’t miss the late 60’s early 70’s muscle car era in terms of ownership having had a few cool cars from that period. I am still a huge fan of both era’s though and enjoy the resurgence of American muscle returning to the streets! Go Dodge, Ford and Chevy!

  4. Went to summer camp with Michael and his brother Joel in New Hampshire in the 1950’s. Kirk flew up for parent’s weekend right after he made The Vikings! Time flies when you are having fun.

  5. Joanne Lupton

    Michael Douglas considered himself a member of the Staples Class of 1962, even though he went to Choate. At some place in his education he was part of the Westport School system as I remember him in one or more of my classes. He came to the 25th reunion of the Class of ’62 in 1987, (the dinner at Long Shore) right when both Fatal Attraction and Wall Street had just been released. And, as you might imagine, it pretty much eclipsed the conversations on “what have you done with your lives since Staples?” conversations. He was very gracious and approachable. When we had our 50th reunion in 2012 he did not attend although there was always a hint that he might. Joanne Lupton, Staples, Class of 1962

  6. Mary Schmerker

    It was great to learn that Michael Douglas was a Downshifter and then to read the comments and see my brother’s name, Corky Cookman and his friend Freddie Fable. Thanks for the memories. I have some old newspaper articles about the Downshifters. They were recognized in Parent’s Magazine. Of course, I have a lot of articles about Corky and his racing career. I’ll share them sometime.

  7. One day back in sixth grade at Burr Farms Elementary, the kids in my class ran to the window to watch a man and his son walking into the school. It was Kirk and Michael, and I was struck by the fact that they were both wearing suits. I had no clue who they were or why everyone was so interested in them. Michael’s brother, Joel Douglas, sat behind me. Before the end of the school year, our family moved to California, and Joel handed me a slip of paper with his father’s phone number on it. He told me to be sure and call him because he’d show me around and I’d have a really good time. I still had no clue who Kirk Douglas was and I couldn’t imagine why Joel’s father would want to hang out with me. I sometimes wonder what would have happened had I called.

  8. AS a rookie cop in 59′, I got to know many of the Downshifters. Not because they violated the law, but because of the good influence they had on young Westport teen-age drivers at the time. Bill Etsch was their adult advisor, but the kids in the club were far harder on any member that got a ticket than the courts would have been. Corky, Freddie, Carl Gajdosik became friends through the years. Corky and Freddie had the gas station, auto repair shop at the corner of Rte. 1 & Bulkley Ave., until Freddie had a bad accident on the way back to Naval Reserve training. I remember waking Andy Willauer up at 3:00 am one morning as I knew he had welding and cutting tools and we needed help getting another trapped teenager out of a car after a bad accident on South Compo Road.
    Kirk Douglas started boxing classes for Westport kids with Cobby Tedesco in conjunction with PAL. They ran them in the old Nash’s Barn next to the pond on North Kings Highway. – Dick Alley