Thursday, June 21, 2012

Past, present, and future in this week's Thursday Drive-By

A new week, a new selection of links for this week’s Thursday Drive-By. Gotta love the Internet.

Two of these are inspired by Disney, including the new Carsland at the Disney California Adventure Theme Park, and a great look at cars of the future—as told in 1958.

From the same era, we have another Hollywood-inspired link with the classic TV show Highway Patrol. Man, those old mid-‘50s Buicks really leaned over in the corners!

Check out all the fun links in this week’s Thursday Drive-By.

I have an eight-year-old son, so it’s no wonder that the Pixar animated movie Cars has played a significant role in our family entertainment for quite some time. Not too long ago, we went to Disneyworld in California, and there, hidden behind a tall fence, was the epic new Carsland section getting some final touches at the California Adventure Theme Park. If you’re familiar with the 2006 movie, Carsland should seem pretty familiar to you, because it looks just like downtown Radiator Springs brought to life. Of course, they have all kinds of great cars-themed rides and shows, and it seemed to be constructed with no budget considerations, as is the Disney tradition. We felt bad that our visit was too early to try out Carsland. Trips to Disneyworld aren’t cheap, so it’ll probably be awhile before we get a chance to go there again. But at least they have a website, which can be found at this link.

This is basically a press release on the General Motors Media website regarding 85 years of GM’s design department, or GM Design. The story talks about Harley Earl’s creation of the department, and the impact it had not only on General Motors, but throughout the automotive industry. It also mentions the other men who held the top-spot at GM Design, including their current style leader, Ed Welburn. Naturally, since GM wrote the article, it talks about some of the stuff they’re coming up with today. But there is also a great photo gallery that accompanies this story with some historic pictures of many of GM’s outstanding designs over the years. If you ever dreamed of working for one of the greatest design studios in the world, or crave a little insight into GM’s past, present, and future, it’s worth the time to click this link.

Here’s a neat little Disney video that the Hemmings Blog turned up called “Magic Highway U.S.A.” Made in 1958, it has all the great futuristic stuff that makes looking back at the ‘50s so great. No, cars don’t drive by themselves, travel effortlessly on a rail system, or fly, like in the video. But we do have infrared systems to help see at night, and GPS systems that help get us where we need to go (albeit without a punch card system). It’s a really fun video to watch, and has some great artwork. That car in the vidcap looks a lot like Flo in the Disney-produced movie Cars, which was penned nearly 50 years later. See the whole thing by clicking this link.

You know, I’m not the only one in Kansas City taking pictures at car shows. One person whose camera may be even more prolific than mine is Fran Mattox, who snaps pics for the Kansas City Star’s Community Faces section. She doesn’t just focus on the cars, though. She gets people to pose for her pictures. I just want them to get the heck out of my way. Fran’s method is much more personal. Fran goes all over town taking these types of pictures. Not just car shows, either. We seem to see her at every festival or event where lots of people show up. We saw her this weekend at the KCI Airport Cruise, where she rolled in in a pristine 1997 Corvette coupe. See her pictures, and maybe even buy one if you see someone you like, by clicking this link.

If you like 1950s cars and you’re not familiar with the old TV show Highway Patrol, you’re in for a treat. This half-hour action-adventure featured police chief Dan Mathews, who mercilessly took down deadbeats, jail breakers, speeders, and killers each and every week. The lead character was played by Broderick Crawford, who in spite of winning an academy award earlier in his career, had to be one of the worst actors ever. The gruff, fast-talking police chief was so rude and no-nonsense to everyone in his office you have to wonder why anyone wanted to work for him. That was all part of the charm, though. As were the cars. This show only lasted a few seasons, and Mathews is typically remembered for driving a black-and-white ’55 Buick Century. Over the course of the show, he also drove Oldsmobiles, Mercurys, and Dodges, to name a few. And of course, the bad guys drove all kinds of neat cars. Watch the first season of Highway Patrol for free right here on HULU.

1 comment:

  1. Saw that 1958 video of the future over at Dean's Garage. the amazing thing to me , other than the fact that were a few key factors different that much of it would be quite feasible, is the illustration. How great is that film, and how little 'production wizardry' did they have? I mean no computers, no editing software, etc etc. The guys that made that had some serious talent.
    As an aside... the TV show 'Highway Patrol' apparently has quite a following in England. I have a friend from Old Blighty [who happens to be in the US right now] who loves it and regularly makes references to it / uses phraseology from it. I thought that interesting...