OT HIghway Patrol cars
This is especially directed at my fellow old codgers, but anyone can
I've been watching reruns of Highway Patrol with Broderick Crawford
for the past few months.
I really like them. Some parts are more realistic than average, and
others are less realistic. For example, they're almost never in a
hurry, even when a baby can't breathe.
But one thing gets me. The police cars are all full-size (since
that's almost all that existed in the 50's. But they are all 2-door.
Did any police have 2-door cars?
When they arrest someone, they put him in the back seat, usually with
his hands cuffed behind him, but not always iirc. Sometimes maybe
they put him in the front seat. I forget.
I recall two door police cars back then. When I lived in Philly years ago,
the called for the Paddy Wagon to take the prisoners.
I know that our grade school janitor bought an old Ford (maybe late 40's)
police car and it was two doors, maybe even a coupe. Hard to recall details
from 50+ years ago.
My mother bought a '58 Ford Fairlane 500 with what the salesman called
an Interceptor Engine, which he said was used on police cars. It
might have even said Interceptor right on the engine. It was a
demonstrator (do they still have those?) and had maybe 1 or 2000 miles
on it, and it was the end of the year, so she got a good price. It
makes sense that they would use a car with their biggest engine as a
demonstrator It did have a big v-8 and a 4-barrel carburetor and was
probably one of the fastest cars on the street then, though my mother
never tried to find out. She did like, however, that it had so much
they have press cars. i have one, a 94 vette that was one of the press fleet
in 93 so one of the first off the line. they sell them about in mid-year
through the dealer chain. it was in a couple magazines of that year. my wife
used to write for Vette so we'd get a new vette on loan for a week or so for
'testing' so she could write an article on it.
These come from Detroit, so there woudln't be as many of those. The
demonstators like my mother got spent several months at the dealer,
being driven by customers with the salesman sitting next to them, or
maybe by customers alone, so each dealer, at least those who used
demonstrators (all of them?) needed one of each major model.
Back when I was in college there was a guy who told me about his
mother's Chrysler station wagon a 1968 I think that was special
ordered with a 426 Hemi V8, bucket seats, floor shifter for the
727 automatic and I'm not sure about the rear end ratio but the
fellow would take his mom's wagon to the drag strip on the week
ends and eat all the stock vehicles alive without breathing hard.
Don't you just love sleepers? ^_^
Not quite at that level of speed, but for several years (until rust got
it) I had a 78 Ford Fairmont 'fleet special' wagon with a 302 in it.
Same Fox platform and underpinnings as a Mustang, so it was basically a
Mustang 5.0 station wagon. Embarrassed more than one person who assumed
it had the usual anemic straight-6 in it. One of the few cars I ever
owned that I still miss.
You just reminded me of the scariest car I ever drove. My late brother
in law had a car belonging to his father which was a 302 Ford Maverick.
It wasn't tricked out or anything like that, it was a common basic
salesman car with a manual 3 speed on the column an no fancy suspension
or performance parts or tires. It was so overpowered that it would burn
the skinny little stock tires for a block and it handled like a brick
which made it terrifying to drive. It could swap ends if you gave it a
little too much gas, DANG, that was a fun car! ^_^
I wonder how the practice of transporting prisoners in patrol cars
developed. Into the 1960s, Baltimore's Cruising Patrols were trucks. A
cop could sit in back to watch any prisoners, and the driver was
isolated from them.
I've read that BC was such an alcoholic by the time HP came along that they
had to lean him against cars, trees and walls to keep him from falling down.
If you look for it, the "propping up" is pretty easy to spot. At least he
didn't go the bad SciFi movie route like Joan Crawford in Trog and so many
other A-list actors that fell on hard times. No one fell quite so hard as
Bela Lugosi into "Plan 9 from Outer Space."
OMG, that was so painful!! Never much liked JC. Thought she was
kinda homely. Finally saw her in Mildred Pierce. WOW!! She deserved
(anyone but me notice the mouth/lips of Jessica Rabbit are the
dead-nuts copy of a young Ann Blyth?)
Yes, but he was immortalized in the movie Ed Wood by Martin Landau,
who deservedly won an academy award for his portrayal of Lugosi. You
can still see all those old Lugosi movies on 2fer/$5 bargain DVDs and
Netflix. The fact he became a caricature of himself is no one's
fault. As an actor, he was strictly vaudeville, a throwback to the
silent era, long dead.
On Tue, 10 May 2011 14:39:14 -0400, "Robert Green"
I don't know about that. I've been watching for months and rarely see
a new episode anymore. He may have drunk off the set, but everything
he does in the show seems appropriate to the setting. If there's a
scene where he's lying on the ground to avoid getting shot, there's
usually another scene just before that where he's walking in the
woods, on a hill, looking quite stable. And I'll bet both scenes are
shot in the same session.
There are 4 more shows this week. If I remember, I'll pay closer
attention to this.
This show was maybe the first and only cop show set in rural areas
(not counting the Andy Griffith show, and I guess that was not rural
but small-town - they stayed mostly in Mayberry.) So it routinely
takes 20 minutes for another car to get to where they are**.
This same notion has led them to leave a dead body alone in a field
(or a wounded victim alone in his home iirc) while they go check out
any lead they have, even just the closest store or gas station. I
tend to think this is unrealistic, even then.
Do you folks think they would really leave a dead body alone? Was
chain of custody was no big deal then? That is, no defense attorney
would claim the body was tampered with while the police were gone?
Also, and probably most important, the show was only 30 minutes long
(the way I like them) and they only show transporting when it comes in
the middle of the show. When they catch the guy, the show usually
ends within 30 seconds. The shortness of the show must have many
consequences on the script, though I'll admit it doesn't seem to lead
to weird things on Sea Hunt or the Patty Duke show.
**They never say what state they are in and when they show a map,
often with 100 miles showing and many towns and/or cities, I've never
been able to identify the location. In addition, once they were only
10 miles from Mexico, but another time they were on the route from
Oregon to Chicago, and they've been other moderately identifiable
locations too, maybe even Indiana, but never east of the Appalachian
mountains, maybe not even east of the Mississippi, and never where
people had a Southern accent.
But in neither of these cases was the body alone in a field, after the
cops got there and then left again, and before the coroner arrived,
Besides legal issues, I sort of thought that no one would do this
because of respect for a dead body. OTOH, in a rural county wehre it
takes 20 or 30 minutes for the cororner to get there, even after he
starts the car, it would be a shame for the murderer to get away while
the only cop nearby keeps watch on the body.
Paul, it's one thing to have unrealistic direction and a different
thing to have an unrealistic major prop, the cop car, so I decided to
ask on the home repair newsgroup, where it's off topic but the sort of
thing that interests a lot of the people here.
These are great pictures. A lot of two-door cars, more than half
On the tv show, I don't remember the siren or lights on top. On the
show last night, they definitely weren't there, so I'll have to watch
more closely. I'm a little surprised they didn't put them in, just
for "excitement". Sirens were sometimes under the hood, but flashing
blue lights behind the grill I thought didn't exist until after the
time of this show. Of course I'd never been west of Indianapolis
when I was 10 years old. Or even 16. They have a black cop in Tampa
in 1958. That's pretty good.
One picture says that 2-way radios were rare at the time. In the late
50's? I didn't' think so. But one thing about the show is that in
many episodes they will not start the car until they've finished
talking on the radio, while the bad guys are getting away. They were
actually in sight, so 30 or 60 seconds on the radio is going to give
them a lot of time to hide. In a few episodes they will talk on the
radio while driving, but I think maybe they thought it was dangerous.
The l955 CHP Buick looks just like a common cop car on the tv show.
That works out fine since the name of the show was Highway Patrol. :)
The closest I came to seeing this sort of thing was when we moved to
suburban Indianapolis and the sheriff came to say hello. The
sheriffs's office was the only police in Washington Township outside
the city. He had a shotgun clipped to the dashboard.
When I lived until age 10 in a town of 58,000 in western Pa. I don't
remember ever seeing a cop. Although I know they existed. They gave
the mayor enough traffic tickets that his license was suspended, and
he rented a buggy -- from an Amish man I think -- and drove the buggy
to work every day until he got his license back.
That might be it, but because a show that dealt only with traffic
tickets wouldn't' be very interesting, they have a much higher rate of
serious criminals. Even among the violent criminals, the vast
majority, more than half of them wear suits and ties, and they usually
have a pretty girlfriend, some of whom are nastier than the men.
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