(08-17-2019) – Anyone who sees the movie “Once Upon a Time in America” starting Leonard DiCaprio, Brad Pitt and Margot Robbie have to be amazed by the stunning visuals. How Quinten Tarantino and his crew managed to recreate Hollywood in 1969. Sure, he could have gone to Vancouver to do it, but he did it….IN HOLLYWOOD! Certainly the building makeovers were key, but (for our purposes) the cars were incredible. According to Picture Car Coordinator Steve Butcher and Car “Captain” Leonard Jefferson…..
…..the movie used just under 2,000 classic cars! Some were purchased and fixed up for the movie, others were borrowed for the scenes needed. I’ve always found it fascinating about the car stories behind the movies. Why that car? How did they get that car? The behind the scenes decision making! Steve and Leonard give us car people who love the stories, some great tales. Plus some rather creepy stuff about the 1959 Ford Galaxie used as the Manson “family’s” transportation that fateful night it approached Roman Polanski’s home where Sharon Tate, Abigail Folger and two others had no idea what was about to happen.
It’s so much stuff, I’ve split it up into a 2 part podcast…..Part 1 is already online, Part 2 will drop on Thursday morning, 730am Eastern, 430am Pacific on Radio.com, iTunes, Apple Podcasts, and KNX 1070 dot com and here soon after. Check it out by Clicking below and listening. It’s quite the story.
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(08-10-2019) – NEAR LAX – Another fun moment at the recent “Hollywood Show” autograph event was when I noticed two Starsky & Hutch “Striped Tomato” Torinos out front of the Hotel. There I met “Joey Torino” and “Johnny Torino”. Owners of the two cars. They pulled me in with the news that the TV Ford Torino and the Movie Torino had differences! WHAT?? Didn’t notice that before? Altho’ honestly I admit I could have been distracted by watching actresses Amy Smart, Molly Sims, Carmen Electra & Playboy alum Brande Roderick in the movie. Apparantly the Movie version was more “red” than the TV version….and
…..while the “L” shaped decal was different in the movie version than the TV version (see pics above and below)
Then, I met Charlie Picerni, the type of background actor we’ve seen hundreds of times, but never knew who he was, in the opening credits of the show….
Torino pursued by really long Lincoln with jazzy music going on, close up of Starsky & Hutch, Torino and Lincoln do a 360 degree turn, Torino goes into parking lot followed by bad guy Lincoln, Starsky & Hutch jump out of Torino and drag bad guys out of Lincoln and onto the hood. The Driver of that Lincoln….was Charlie Picerni. He later became Paul Michael Glaser’s stunt double. Cool story in this week’s podcast for fans of the show and the movie.
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(08-03-2019) – I was privileged to meet Murray Langston at a brunch with celebrities and comedians at Jerry’s Deli in Studio City many years ago. Invited by my radio idol Gary Owens, I sat at the “round table” to break bread with Johnny Dark (Late Show, Donny & Marie), John Rappaport (producer of MASH), singer/songwriter Harry Middlebrooks, the late Chuck McCann, comedian/actor Sam Kwasman, Laugh In’s Ruth Buzzi & husband/actor/car guy Kent Perkins and many more. We spent more time laughing and telling stories than eating the lox & eggs or Matzo Brie! In the process, I became friends with Murray and many others in that group!
It was one of my best “Hollywood” moments, that became a weekly occurance for me. I didn’t know Langston had any car stories, but I knew he was funny, so I cornered him at “the Hollywood Show” and peppered him with car questions, and career questions! You will like what you hear below!
I’ve finally decided to make it official. My occasional co-host Bob Beck now has a segment on Talking About Cars. It’s the “Hot Rod Bob Report”….this week we talk about an east coach dragstrip that refuses to allow EVs (Teslas, Leafs) to drag race on their strip! And has the C8 Corvette already sold out for 2020? Listen below….and please share, like, SUBSCRIBE, rank us 5 stars on iTunes and write us a review! Thanks!
(07-31-2019) – We all remember the show “Happy Days” on ABC that ran from 1974-1984. It came out on the heels of a similar movie also with Ron Howard of the Andy Griffith Show in a lead role, “American Graffiti”. “Days” actually took place earlier, in the 1950s as opposed to “where were you in ‘62”. But the concept was the same. Classic cars and Bobby Sox, a more “innocent” time. This time at the “Hollywood Show” I had some moments with two of the Happy Days stars, Anson Williams and Don Most (known as Donny back in the day).
To say the least, both Anson and Don were extremely popular among the show goers, but eventually I did get some time with them as the guys talk about their first cars, odd adventures, and we ponder why Ralph Malph got to drive in the show, but somehow “Potsie” Weber never did. Plus, Harland Charles from General Motors joins me to talk about the just unveiled 2020 Corvette mid-engined C8, and how important GPS plays in it’s ability to avoid speed bumps.
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(07-21-2019) – As we found out in Talking About Cars “152” watching Bill Mumy and Angela Cartwright interact at the recent “The Hollywood Show” autograph event near the LA Airport was like watching two siblings in action and considering they played brother and sister in the 1965-68 CBS show “Lost in Space” and have connected many times since at comic-cons and celebrity events it makes sense. (Let’s set aside the whole, they dated after the show ended thing as we found out in our last podcast). Add “older sister” Marta Kristen….and the whole family reunion thing continues. (Yes I asked Marta if she ever dated Mumy as well….her answer….well, you’ll have to listen to the episode #153 below). But Marta did apparantly date other TV show co-stars. One involved her, and a hatchet. So HE says! Marta’s interview starts around the 18 minute mark.
We first saw Joey Lawrence in the TV show “Blossom” (with Mayim Bialik of “the Big Bang Theory”), later with his younger brothers in “Brotherly Love” and many guest spots including Hawaii 5-0 which now stars younger brother Andrew. Joey is his family’s only “car guy”. He’s not sure what gave him “the bug” (and i’m not talking about the VW), but he’s passionate about his cars from his Matchbox collection as a kid to driving his first car which he describes in our program starting at the 29 minute mark.
But this episode begins with my occasional co-host “Hot Rod” Bob Beck as we look back at the start of Chevrolet’s Corvette (this episode uploaded on the night GM introduced the all new mid-engined Corvette. Next week in TAC 154, I will talk with a Corvette official about some cool things the new ‘vette’ will bring to the table!). Bob and I talk about the original corvette prototypes and how they brought about the Tri-5 Chevy Nomad and Pontiac Custom Safari wagons of 1955-57, and just how low those Mako Shark Corvettes appeared to be when you drove them!! PLEASE Subscribe, (it’s free), Like and share on social media!! Also rate us if you listen on iTunes and leave a review!
(07-12-2019) – It’s always circled on my calendar! Dave and Ester Elkouby’s The “Hollywood Show”, full of celebrities we remember from the classic TV days and plenty of unheard car stories to mine! The most recent one was no different!
So many cool celebs, I arrived with my top 10 wish list, and away I went! The top three on that list? Stars from the original “Lost in Space!” I found Bill Mumy (Will Robinson) to be quite the car guy, admittedly Angela Cartwright (Penny Robinson) wasn’t a car gal at all, but she was fun verbally jousting in our discussions about their dating life….(did you know Bill and Angela dated after “Lost” was over?). Marta Kristen was a sweet lady, and in Part 2 of our podcast (TAC 153 coming up next week) she will add her fun stories and some interesting revelations about former TV Robin, Burt Ward!
Here in Part 1, Bill talks about driving cars around the set …around 12 years of age, hoping the statue of limitations has passed on some fun things he and Mark Goddard did, like what Goddard did with a 50 lb bag of peanuts in the shell, and did I mention Bill Mumy and Angela Cartwright DATED?? Am I the only person on this planet who didn’t know this??
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(07-10-2019) – Three movies from the 80s that boasted quite the lineup of cars! The 35th anniversary of “Ghostbusters” was celebrated at the Sony Studios lot in Culver City recently with a “Ghostbusters Fan Fest”!
Fans of the movie had a chance to rub elbows with some of the stars including Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, and even singer Ray Parker Jr who immortalized the movie’s theme song in a video! Bill Murray didn’t make it, and sadly Harold Ramis passed away in 2014. Aykroyd was super busy, so much so that Randy did what’s known in the biz as a “walk and talk”…..so 123 seconds with Dan are in this podcast! Dan talked about how they decided on the 1959 Cadillac Ambulance for Ecto 1, and those Dodge St. Regis’ for. Blue Brothers, and HOW MANY they bought for that crazy crash scene in Chicago?
Fans were out in force getting a chanced to get autographs and check out all the Ghostbuster vehicles from the new all female ghostbusters Ecto….
…to Ghostbuster vehicles we’re really not sure where they came from…..
Randy also caught up with his pal Jennifer Runyon (or as she calls herself “Christmas Cindy” from when she subbed for Susan Olsen during one of the Brady Bunch TV movies) and Steven Tash. Both were credited as being students in the movie, so not very large parts, but Tash was also in the movie “Christine” as the bully who drove that cool 67 Camaro which was mangled (and him under it dying) when the ‘58 Plymouth reeked some revenge in a warehouse.
Sadly Jennifer’s interview had some technical issues, mostly a background band playing “Ghostbusters” tracks louder than her answers. Interesting notes that Jennifer and her husband are into horses, one ran at the Preakness, her mom used to own a Mustang and she loved her Jeep Wrangler but had to give it up after some creep recognized her and tried to chase her through Laurel Canyon while she was in it. That’s the downside of show biz!
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(06-29-2019) – Walking into the new Lions Drag Strip Museum in Wilmington, California is like walking into a bit of a time warp. The cars, just as they were back in 1955, are at the starting line. The “Christmas tree” is lit, people are in the stands (painted on a wall), and the diorama takes you back! It’s just like the way Rick Lorenzen visualized it when he bought the property for his trucking company many years ago. Lorenzen grew up in Wilmington when…
…the track began operating, even racing one of his beloved Willys down the strip as a teen. Rick tells us the story behind the museum’s start on our Talking About Cars podcast #150. We also hear from well known “starter” Larry Sutton, about his take on the track including how he came to own the drag strip record for riding…..in a porta-
Potty! We also hear from former announcer and race car guru Sid Waterman about his thoughts about the Museum.
The Museum includes a city diorama including a movie theater facade, “Back to the Future” clock tower, Helms Bakery facade (complete with trucks
And even a Willys Dealership complete with some 15 Willys cars including Rick’s very first Willys from 1942. The Museum is open to private tours only. Go to LionsDragStripMuseum.com for more information!
And check out the podcast below, remember to LISTEN, LIKE, SHARE on social media/TELL your friends, SUBSCRIBE, RATE US (5 stars on iTunes) and WRITE A REVIEW!
(06-23-2019) – With a name like “KC Jones”, Kenneth Charles Jones has a thing with incorporating railroad themes with his dragsters. While mc’ing this 2019 LAPD, LAFD “Saving Lives” car show in Woodland Hills, CA. “Hot Rod” Bob Beck and I saw the eye-popping wheels brought by Jones, a Van Nuys native who grew up in the 60s era.
Jones races in the NHRA’s exhibition class, featuring a car that looks like a locomotive, does wheelies down the raceway, and “jet cars” that look like train engines. Kind of a cross between Tom Cruise in Top Gun meets Doc Brown in Back to the Future 3.
There is also a Peterbilt powered by a jet engine as well. Check out the podcast!
(06-15-2019) – It was one of the most iconic “Wheel Standers” out there when it made it’s debut in late 1964-early ‘65. The first Plymouth Barracuda’s with the enormous picture window in the back seemed perfect for a drag racer in the mind of the late George Hurst. Wheelies were King and putting a Hemi that everyone could see while it races down the quarter mile on two wheels was a mind blower! There were several versions as years went by….’65, ‘66, ‘67 and of course the ‘68 which is what Mike Mantel drives and owns along with the original “Little Red Wagon” Dodge A100….AND, Mantel has plans for an updated version of the “HUG” using the recent Dodge Challenger body (considering the “Cuda” died after the 1974 models.)
While at the recent “Nitro Revival” at Irwindale Speedway with occasional TAC co-host “Hot Rod” Bob Beck (Great American Auto Scene/GAAS), I caught up with Mike and original “HUG” driver “Wild Bill” Shrewsberry who gave me some background on their automotive journeys and why “Wild Bill” came out to California originally to run Pontiacs then got a call from George Hurst himself. Mike also talks about that segment on CNBC’s “Jay Leno’s Garage” where Jay had a harrowing ride in the ‘69 “HUG” that looked a bit more scary than it actually appeared on TV.
Then we listen in with Steve Gibbs as he honors some classic names from the short history of the “San Gabriel Raceway” from the 50’s and 60’s, including “TV Tommy” Ivo, the former child star and race car fanatic.
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