They’re shooting a movie or tv series in Chris Cieslak’s neighborhood, as he has documented with a series of shots posted at the Cohort. I like the car casting, as they’re not the all-too common overly-pristine cars seen too often. Nice variety too, including a rather rare ’56-’57 Rambler, in front of the Hillman Minx.
Can any of you tell whether this is a ’56 or ’57?
Checker Marathon wagon arriving, along with a ’64 Ford.
Wow, this was unexpected! Thanks Paul!
What Paul didn’t mention, though, is the new Curbside Classic Ultra Premium Subscription. Not only do you get to read about curbside classics ad-free, they actually deliver classics right to your own curbside! 🙂
There’s a very ‘workaday’ appearance on most of those. Early 1960s setting at a guess.
The Rambler is a 1956 model, based on the parking lights and side trim.
Looks like an appropriate mix for maybe ’66 or so? The Bondo on the Ford is a good touch, and the Plymouth is just rusty enough. Most of them are too clean.
Too often these productions use cars that looked like they model for Hemmings. Cars did not keep their looks very long in Chicagoland. My first car was ten years old and one would have thought it was a miracle to still be on the road by the way everyone referred to it as “an old car”. Faded, rusted and dated – it was only a decade old. By the time I got it, that car probably was on its 3rd exhaust system. It didn’t burn oil – yet. However, a lot of cars on the road back then definitely did – blue exhaust.
My current daily driver is nearing 20 years old and still looks great. A twenty year old car back in the late 1960s? Good grief – no way would it look that good.
So I am always a bit excited and also a bit bummed when I see these cars how up in a movie looking like they had been stored in Ziplock bags.
This. In some movies the street scenes look like a car show. Worse is having too-new cars. I remember watching a Beatles documentary where the showed a big tail light Type 2 VW in 1968 Berlin. The other day I was watching the TV show 12 O’Clock High and it had evil Nazi’s driving a Dauphine in 1944 Stockholm.
IIRC, in the opening seconds of the movie ‘Green Book’, which took place in 1962(I think), the rear end of a 1964 Chevy taxi was pulling away from the curb. Only a second or two, but I saw it!
Here it is, in all its’ glorious postwarness; https://www.imcdb.org/vehicle_781719-Renault-Dauphine.html
Wow, that 56 Plymouth is the 4 door hardtop! I do not believe I have ever seen one of those in real life. I just looked it up and one source says there were 17,000 of them made – if that’s true the survival rate is really low.
Now that they’ve got the cars looking right for mid to late 1960s, I wonder how much work they’ll do on the surrounding buildings. Looks like they’ve already decked out the residence behind the 56 Plymouth as a grocery store, but the modern windows in the old rowhouses look distinctly 21st century. Quite often they think the buildings being from the early 1900s is enough, despite modern security lamps or air conditioners hanging from them.
Having worked in a grocery store as a kid, way back when, the window signs, especially in neighborhood stores, were usually not preprinted. Either wide white butcher paper was used with red, blue, and black paint, and hung in the windows, or the signs were painted right on the window glass, using mostly white paint, with red and blue accents. The sign makers would freehand the lettering and prices, and do very nice custom proportioning and spacing to fit the dimensions of the space, thus getting the overall esthetics looking really good. It was all disposable, because prices, sizes, and products changed all the time.
By the way, ground beef sold for a fraction of the price of pork loins and sausages, and at perhaps 25% to 30% of the price of lamb chops. Apples and eggs were sold by the dozen or by the “flat”, not by the “carton”. Potatoes sold at a tiny fraction, per pound, of the price of oranges. Ice cream sold in pints, quarts, and half gallons, not pounds. Now get off my lawn!
The (usually fake) freehand lettering/prices look is still popular with retailers aiming for whimsical charm in their signage – think Trader Joes, Home Depot, Lush, etc. I’m pretty sure most of those signs and labels are electronically printed in imitation handwriting.
Yup I remember those signs. When I worked as a merchandiser in the late 80’s that did a lot of work in grocery stores of all types I do remember coming across a few stores that still had a station set up for making those signs and presumably a person that did it.
Great Shots! Thanks. The Checker Station Wagon needs to loose the white letter tires.
My first thought on seeing the Checker was that it could be way more recent than the setting of the movie. They changed so little.
…but they did change. In The Butler just after we’re directly informed we’re looking at 1958 we see at least one centrally-featured Checker with side marker lights blazing away. Nope, not til ’68!
That 64 Galaxie is exactly like the one my uncle showed me in the dump at Water Valley Alberta in 1989.
Told this story before but he went down to the dump one day and someone had left a yellow 64 sedan, 289 3 speed, no rust, keys in the ignition. He went to get a buddy and a pickup to pull it home with, but by the time he got back someone had smashed all the windows. 🙁
Hey, Tesla, go away!
The pink and lavender Rambler is a 56. You can tell by the small front turn signals. The signals on the 57 were taller.
Now, what really will irk me if the movie is set in 1952. :).
Nice to see some four doors as well. It always looks a bit weird to have the streets full of high trim two doors in some period movies/shows.
I’ll take the 1960 Rambler Classic
What a great collection! It takes me back to those times. As long as we are going back that far, did any of you shop at a green grocer, perhaps with Mom? Do you remember how the sum of all those purchases was tallied? That’s right! One of the brown bags for your fruit and vegetables was first used with a pencil to mark each selection before being placed in another bag. When the bag was full, the other green groceries waited, merely added to the tally on the bag until the total was gotten. You, the grocer and your Mom all added the figures. The grocer purportedly used his pencil, but, as we, he added in his head!
I grew up in the ‘burbs so many shopped at big grocery stores like the Super Giant in Rockville shown below in 1964, which is still there although reconfigured beyond recognizability. I remember those mechanical cash register tills with separate 10-digit keypads for each column, which actually made that bell-like “ka-ching” sound when opened that’s now known only as a aural symbol of cashing in on something. I’d completely forgotten the receipts they spit out were just narrow strips indicating the price of each item but not what the item was. Also, a huge cigarette dispenser in each checkout lane, along with so many razor blades. Film. Flashcubes. S&H Green Stamps that if you saved up 3,000 of them in your little book earned you a free toaster. More cigarettes in a vending machine as you rolled your cart out of the store.
Once outside, you didn’t have to bring the food to your car yourself. Rather, an employee took your cart and gave you a matched set of plastic number tags, one that clipped onto your cart and one you kept with you drove by to pick up your groceries. They took back your number tag and loaded the food from the matching cart right into your car. That curbside pickup arrangement seemed quaint to me until it made a big comeback last year, although you now need a smartphone app to do what used to require just a plastic number tag. Progress!
Supermarkets still looked substantially similar to this what you’ve shown here when I was a little kid in the late ’70s and early ’80s (Brach’s Pick-a-Mix candy trough at the far left of the photo!), but they were rapidly being renovated and modernised at that time.
Back in the butcher shop, we would use the (non-digital) scale, note the pounds and ounces, and then use either a metal plate with a spreadsheet array of numbers on it, riveted to our side of the scale, or a printed spreadsheet kept close by. Pounds and ounces times the price per pound. In a pinch, we could use one of the grease pencils on a corner of the butcher paper to do the math. Add it all up, wrap the order in the butcher paper, write the total price on the outside with the grease pencil, and away the customer went. Notation of what was in the package, with the grease pencil, was optional, depending on the customer and how many wrapped packages they bought.
In the late ‘70s, the scales went digital and did the math for you. Now they even print out the labels with the price on it. Butchers no longer had to know their arithmetic.
I too love the look of the cars how they were when I was younger .
I’m not sure which one I’d choose, maybe the green Hillman ? .
Attention to verisimilitude is always a good sign in the making of a movie. Yeah, while sloppy surroundings not matching the supposed timeframe can be overcome by other solid production values, it still takes away from the entire experience for many and most definitely does not help suspension of disbelief.
One of the biggest gaffes with movie vehicles, can be seen in the movie “Patton!”. It was in early 1945, towards the end of the war in Germany, and Patton can be seen arriving in a 1948 Packard Custom Eight limousine, body by Henney.
Must have been a really early pre-production version!
It can be seen on the IMCDb here:
One of my memories is of the 1956 movie “Beau James” with Bob Hope playing 1920s New York Mayor Jimmy Walker. As there is a parade, we see on a side street, a 1956 Cadillac
Two four-door sedans, and an uber-rare four-door hardtop. And the sedans both have wrap-around rear glass ! What’r the odds ?
Here’s what happens when your significant other is a car fanatic: There you are, watching a movie (“True Confessions”, if memory serves), and he notices a “wrong” VW bus–which is glimpsed for about half a second in a rear-view mirror.
My ’69 Skylark was used in the “Young Rock” series. If you spot a white over red 2dr hardtop, it’s mine. Some shooting in the next street, with the 1960’s Australian shops dummied up to look American.
The ‘lark was used for 2 days, and since it was driven, I made a thousand bucks. Sweet. I’m also pleased to say it behaved its self!
Good Morning Vietnam went down hill from the opening credits, when I saw a VH Valiant, circa 1972 in whatever city was doubling for 1960’s Saigon.
Chris [and I guess everyone else],
I used to supply many of the vintage movie cars in Maryland and DC up thru the 1980s, but once the studios decided they didn’t want to pay reasonable prices, and also provide insurance against the vehicles when they sustained damages during filming, film studios began suggesting that if you wanted to be considered for using YOUR CAR in an upcoming movie, then bring your car down to a “casting call for cars”, and maybe your car will be chosen.
Money? You want to be paid to use your car in OUR MOVIE? You should be honored to have your car accepted. Never mind you will need to take days off from your job, and pay your own fuel to/from the film site, and rest assured your antique car insurance WILL NOT cover you if the car is damaged on a commercial film set.
I had several production companies who contracted with me for vehicles, that when vehicles were damaged [like removing a windshield for filming, or putting suction cups on soft aluminum body panels, to mount a heavy camera unit that leaves visible raised rings in the metal], they closed out the production company and said sorry, the company is no longer in business, and the insurance was only good for 30 days, ending a couple of days after filming.
The above situation is why many of the larger film production companies now use special transportation companies that provide vintage cars [many don’t even run] for a flat fee per car. Hence you see a large car carrier here with old cars that are not even licensed for the road. Today, CGI capabilities allow vehicle problems like rust holes or cracks in a door glass to be quickly erased!
In the past I ran a picture car business. It basically paid for my old car hobby. I quickly learned to verify what type of insurance a company should have and who the bonding agency was. If I knew the production manager, producers or transportation manager I could be assured that my stuff would be well taken care of. I also learned that I needed to be on location to prevent shenanigans. Even though my contract specifies that vehicles are only to moved by the transportation people and solely for the purposes of actual filming and only for pre-approved and scripted shots I have had productions use my vehicles in unapproved ways including as general transportation, catering and craft services and grip and electrical equipment transportation. I’ve had various no-account production office staff take a convertible joy riding during a company move. The last movie I worked on abused one of my nice convertibles denting trim, prying apart a tail light, using non matching touch-up paint that would not wash off and turning the transmission fluid into a strawberry milkshake. Yes, their insurance paid off but not really enough to fully correct some things. Several years later when I finally saw the film there was an unapproved scene where my driverless convertible with its top down rolls down a hill with the protagonist in pursuit. He finally regains control by jumping onto the trunk and crawling over the seats and climbing behind the wheel. Some nerve. They never told me about this scene and I would never have approved. I went and examined the trunk lid and sure enough there is evidence of deformed metal. It wasn’t apparent when I got the car back from the production and I was already steamed up by the other nonsense. Too late to do anything about the trunk lid by that time. My mistake was that I violated my first rule which is to be on location at all times and get paid for being there. I also put my trust in the production manager, someone who I knew well, but ultimately they were unable to keep an eye on the car and failed to put a trustworthy person in charge of that job. That was the worst production ever. Other than the production manager whom I knew, not a single other entity on the movie would take any responsibility for screwing up. That is not an untypical attitude on movies. A lot of movie people think they are special and expect to be able to get away with a lot of shit on the basis that “everyone wants a movie to shoot in their town.” Having a movie in town is like having an occupying army visit you. How big an army depends on the budget/size of the movie. The best movie productions are staffed with people who know this and make sure to build in accountability for the attitude and behavior of the production in all aspects. It takes extra effort but that’s what separates a professional production from the shitty productions. And it’s what assures that community will be open to welcoming the next production who wants to use it as a location. It only take one bad production to ruin things for everyone.