I mentioned Gomer Pyle in yesterday’s COAL, so now habbout I pour us some good, stiff shots of Televisionland to wash that fetid Town Car taste out from our mouths, eh!
Here’s Gomer Pyle and Associates in season five, episode № 13—”Hit and Write”. It first aired on 27 December 1968. The show was set in some imaginary town in California. It was filmed in San Diego, within an adjusted-reality bubble in which almost all the cars were Darts and Valiants, and most of the rest were other Chrysler products—right from the opening scene, complete with its discontinuity (see it?). Sarge’s car is a 1965 Dodge Dart Charger, much higher up the A-body hierarchy than the el-strippo ’68 Valiant ahead. That’ll prime the pump, now see what-all others there are. For reference, $10 at the time is about $75 in today’s money, and $235 is about $1,800.
Not just the cars are notable; look and see how every driveway is blotched with spilt oil up by the engine and transmission, and streaked with soot back by the tailpipe. That’s how it was with the carburetors and automatic chokes of the day, and engines and transmissions that pretended to keep hold of their oil with half-inch strips of cork and bits of rope. It’s all easy to see in this fine, sharp living-colour presentation:
And while we’re on the subject, here’s episode № six of Leave It To Beaver’s seventh season. Wally gets a car-parking gig for a party, and…wow, lookit there, almost everyone in Mayfield drives a Chrysler product, this or last year’s model. First we see Ward’s ’62 Plymouth, then at 2:47 someone drives by in a ’62 Valiant or Lancer. After a six-minute absence of cars, things snowball starting at 8:27. Ooh, that Eddie Haskell! He’s a feckless gladhander—such a bad influence! First aired on 17 January 1963, several years too early to be in anything other than living-black-and-white: