This 1986 Chrysler LeBaron convertible, shot by canadiancatgreen, appeared a while back at the Cohort. I could have posted it back then, but instead, I felt it should come up on this date. Yes, I’m giving in to my pop sensibilities today. Even though it isn’t the right trim, nor the right color, I can’t look at a mid-80s LeBaron convertible and not think of Thanksgiving. All thanks to Planes, Trains and Automobiles.
I never caught the film during its theatrical run and actually watched it for the first time one Thanksgiving Eve in the mid-90s. It was my first year in San Francisco and there was something odd about spending holidays away from family, all alone. So in the end I agreed to spend the evening with a friend from work. He was a native of Toronto who had just arrived in the Bay Area, and was still in the process of making acquaintances. Part of the reason for me being invited over.
Before dinner, he placed a VHS copy of the film in one of his two decks. That’s right, two VHS decks. It shouldn’t have surprised me he owned more than one since he was kind of a tech geek, and I knew he obsessively perused TV Guide (Someone was doing a lot of scheduled recordings…). Eighties films were sort of on my ‘no-viewing’ list at that time, but having nowhere to go, I joined in with some hesitation.
Like many comedy films from the 1980s, Planes, Trains and Automobiles was silly, cartoony, and overtly sentimental. And a lot of fun. The film buff in me wanted to dismiss it, but the truth was I laughed aloud along the way. To this day, if it pops on TV I leave it on. And if it appears on my streaming menu, I tend to gravitate to it.
And nope, I can’t see a Chrysler LeBaron convertible from the period without thinking about the film.
This 1985 LeBaron Town & Country wagon, also found by canadiancatgreen, is in many ways closer to the car that appears in the film. But as noted at CC before, there’s no 1986 LeBaron convertible quite like the one in the movie, as it was specifically altered for the film.
I understand the movie has become a sort of Thanksgiving tradition and I’ll most likely rewatch it this very evening. Both for my enjoyment and also, in remembrance of my pal from Toronto, who unexpectedly passed away not long after I left the Bay Area.
So I wish you all a joyful holiday. And if you happen to be traveling, I hope fate spares you the many mishaps placed upon John Candy and Steve Martin in Planes, Trains and Automobiles.