Robert Redford once sent pal Paul Newman a battered Porsche with a red bow wrapped around it as a 50th birthday gift.

The movie star was so sick of his friend's constant chatter about car racing, he decided to play an anonymous prank on him and it started a series of unacknowledged bad gifts.

Redford recalls, "I went to a towing service and I said, 'Can you find a junked Porsche...' and they called back and said, 'We've found one, totalled.

"I said, 'Can you wrap it up... and put a ribbon around it and have the towing service take it and put it on his back porch?'

"They delivered it and it just said, 'Happy Birthday.' I didn't hear anything and two weeks later I went up to the house, opened the door and there's a box in the living room foyer, a crate. I undid the crate and it's this big block of metal, compressed down to just a solid block.

"I realised what he'd done. I did not acknowledge that it had happened... Then I had it boiled down to a garden sculpture and had it delivered to his garden and just placed in his garden, and that was the end of it.

"No one to this day has ever acknowledged it."

01/02/2005 09:19