When Hollywood comes to Pittsburgh, it comes through Baldwin Borough and Pleasant Hills. That's because Haddad's, based at 221 Curry Hollow Road, hauls the freight in this part of the world for the likes of Julia Roberts, Jennifer Beals, Michael Douglas and Russell Crowe.
Here are just a few of Haddad's collaborations with major studios:
- Wonder Boys, starring Douglas and Tobey Maguire
- Eat Pray Love, with Roberts and Javier Bardem
- The Next Three Days, starring Crowe, Elizabeth Banks and Liam Neeson
What with movies, television productions and commercials, the size, scope and spread of Haddad's creative film support work is amazing. To date, the company has provided location equipment to nearly 2,500 creative projects.
Keep in mind, Haddad's is basically a local, homegrown gas station that's spread its reach across the world. It all began as a mom-and-pop business in 1954 when Dave Haddad and his wife, Virginia, opened Haddad's Amoco service station at the foot of Curry Hollow Road on the Baldwin-Pleasant Hills border—the same location as today. Over time, Dave expanded the little station to include towing service and a car wash.
Located in the heart of a huge apartment rental district, including Baldwin Court (now Leland Point) and Wallace (Prospect) Park, it only made sense for Haddad's to expand into a truck and van rental line of business to serve all those lower-income tenants who were always moving and wanted to do it themselves.
In 1977, Dave enlisted the help of his son, David. Upon graduation from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, David began running the company with his father.
In the spring of 1983, Flashdance began filming in Pittsburgh on the streets of the South Side and at Oakland's Carnegie Museum complex. Shortly after shooting began, Dave Sr. got a call from a transportation coordinator for the film, because Flashdance needed to rent a box truck. Dave not only rented the truck; he and David personally delivered it.
Dave Jr. saw this as an opportunity for the business to branch out into another field: production rentals. Soon, the Haddads bought their first dedicated film support equipment. Initially, it just was vans and trucks to lug around equipment, but over time, more specialized equipment and skilled personnel to operate it were added to the company's fleet to meet producers' needs.
Nowadays, the "Haddad's Trailer" is an iconic fixture on many production locations. These are the cozy, comfortable trailers where office work is conducted on-location and where film stars can take their leisure when not on camera.
Today, the business still is headquartered in the building on Curry Hollow where it all began 58 years ago.
(Much of this information pulled from Haddad's website's About page. Visit it to see some cool photos.)