It is fairly common for sites to have an About Us section. Saying who you are and what you do is basic politeness in any conversation. Trust and credibility are major issues on the Web. Explaining who you are and where you come from does matter and we make the following promises to our audience: We'll provide you with accurate, engaging content. Like a friendly neighbor, we'll give you information that you can trust. We won't make you dig through a haystack to find the needle.
We'll make it easy to learn the basics of the topic we cover and we won't confuse you with unnecessary jargon. Our content is succinct, digestible, and entertaining. So many About Us pages are a waste of HTML. Though not everyone wants to know more about you, there are those who do. This page will tell you everything you ever wanted to know (and some things you don't) about us! Pay attention, we'll be giving a quiz!
Starting in 1996 I gleaned the web, newspaper articles, magazines, pictures, etc. which I wanted to keep and along with some original content and some things I'm interested in and I hope you are too posted them. I come from Missouri originally and operated this site from Oklahoma now Texas. I have a construction background, but since a stroke I do this Web Site. The Contact Us and The Small Print are located on the contact page.
This was a part of "Dick Trickle 'Die Hard' Journal & Scrapbook" at one time. But the Trickle stuff got to be enough to wade through at one time and I gave these pages their own directory in 2000. With the muscle car in its peak I don't know what kid couldn't have been a motorhead in the 60s and 70s. The music was special too, and: Kids + Cars + Music = Cruisin'.
The number of vehicles on American roads soared every year until the recession hit in 2008. Then the number plummeted. Recently, it's crept back up. Similarly, the number of drivers has leveled off. Braking was a skill. Parking did not involve cameras or computers. Maybe car culture is waning because "parents are less authoritarian and want to be your friend." In other words, the need to rebel isn't what it used to be.
A century ago, a good way to reach the bestseller list was to publish books featuring boys and girls having adventures with cars. From "The Motor Boys" and "The Motor Maids" through the iconic Hollywood hits of the '50s through the '80s, the car was every bit as important to the great American dream machine as the best-known writers and actors.
Cruising and drag racing were the real stars of "American Graffiti" (1973). Chases inspired car love among viewers of "Thunder Road" (1958), "Smokey and the Bandit" (1977) and "The Cannonball Run" (1981). On Hot Rod magazine's list of the 40 greatest car movies of all time, only two were made in this century.
George Lucas' 1973 American Graffiti is a terrific film about that transition from adolescence to adulthood and what it means to define and redefine oneself. It is a film about romantic love, about fearing what it means while simultaneously longing desperately for it. It is a film about nostalgia, as much its pitfalls as its soaring heights. It is a film about cars.
The automobile might be, if not the most important invention of the 20th century, certainly the most affecting. Nothing has changed the way we live our daily lives on such a grand scale as the car, with the possible exception of the mobile phone.
There was a time when the greatest cars in the world were manufactured in America. And while that time may have come to a close in 1961, when Jaguar unveiled the iconic E-Type, the ripples of America's car culture would continue to be felt for years.
Seen purely through a gearhead's perspective, American Graffiti is interesting because it is a movie that is nostalgic for a period in America's car culture that is itself inherently nostalgic for a different time. By 1973 America's years of directing the course of the automobile industry had come to a close. There were still some truly great cars, and there was a burgeoning resurgence of the great American muscle car, but the days of the rest of the world trying to keep up with Detroit were over.
A decade before that, the end of America's car culture was beginning to be felt. But on one night in 1962 the American car still represented freedom, even if it was just the freedom to drive around in circles.
No character in the movie embodies this desire to just go as much as Terry "The Toad" Fields (played by Charles Martin Smith). The Toad's got a good heart, but he's kind of nebbish and kind of a dweeb. He rides around in his (properly cool) Vespa Scooter, but it's not until Ron Howard's (total jackass) Steve Bolander hands over the keys to his '58 Impala that his night turns around.
The Toad reinvents himself behind the wheel of that car, charming Debbie Dunham (Candy Clark) into cruising with him for the evening. The Toad enacts all of the teenage boy's fantasies in one night: he gets a cool car, scores some booze, gets in a fight, and goes home with the girl. The Impala turns the Toad into a self-styled Tiger.
He's still kind of a dweeb, though. The Chevy Impala is a hell of a machine, one whose legacy is still felt today. The Impala first appeared as a concept car in 1956 and had more in common with the sleek Corvette than the thunderingly huge cruiser it would become. The first true Impala was introduced in 1958, and that model is still the best car to ever wear that badge.
The Impala marked a huge change for Chevrolet, with a completely different structure than any of the manufacturer's other cars. It was a car meant to evoke luxury and wealth, the very definition of "go big or go home." Everything about the car was meant to pop. The dual-headlights would be unmistakable from miles away, even in the dead of night. It was long and low and wide, less a car and more a speedboat with wheels. And everything about the body, from the interminable bonnet to the sloping roof to the subdued tailfins and sculpted fenders, was meant to draw the eye.
The Impala was the first of Chevy's cars to wear the crossed-flags badge, and the first in their line to offer a convertible (Toad drives around in the superior hardtop because for all his faults, Steve has good taste). It wasn't just a car, it was a fantastic promise.
Paul Le Mat plays John Milner, the saddest character in the film. John's all flash and all show, a legend on the streets of Modesto, but he's a broken-eyed man who knows he can't live up to his own image even though he can't stop himself from barreling forward.
Young Carol Morris (Mackenzie Phillips just radiating exuberance) brings John back to life and makes him realize that his days as Modesto's drag-race king are finished, for all the good it does him. John drives a car that defines him as a character, and that is the heart of American Graffiti.
The 1932 Ford Model B was the cheaper version of the Model 18, itself the first mass-marketed car to have a V8 engine. The Model 18 outsold the Model B, and by a country mile, thanks to its engine. It's about power, and the freedom power affords.
Although the Model B was discontinued just two years after its introduction, it came back to life in the years immediately following World War II. It may never have achieved what it was designed for (a cheaper and theoretically more popular alternative to the Model 18), but the Model B was arguably the catalyst for the next three decades of America's car culture. It was cheap, it was readily available and most importantly it was easy to modify. The two-door coupé version in particular was heavily sought after by hot rodders and drag racers like John Milner.
John's Deuce Coupé epitomizes the entirety of cruising culture. It is one of cinema's greatest and most readily identifiable cars. Its bright yellow paintjob and exposed engine are iconic, and nearly everything about the car was built and modified to George Lucas' specifications. The '32 Deuce Coupé is rough and mean, and built with one purpose in mind: to be better than every other machine on the road.
Even if it is outdated. In the climactic moments of his story, John finally goes head to head with Harrison Ford's scene-stealing Bob Falfa and his '55 Chevy. "Paradise Road," says John, two words growled as he tears off into the distance. And after chasing each other all night, the two race as the sun comes up over the desert.
Bob Falfa's '55 Chevy Sport Coupé (the same car used in 1971's Two Lane Blacktop) is a monster, all power and muscle, and if not for blind luck and a blown tire John and his Deuce Coupé wouldn't have stood a chance.
If the '32 Deuce Coupé is the heart of American Graffiti, Richard Dreyfuss as Curt Henderson is the film's soul. Curt is lost, confused, spending his last night in Modesto before heading to college unsure if he's even going. He's a mess from the moment he steps out of his beat-up old Citroën 2CV, and spends the entire movie on the road, never looking comfortable unless he's a passenger in a car.
A passenger. Curt is twitchy and nervous when he's in control, but when decisions aren't up to him, he's cool and charismatic. He visibly relaxes at the beginning of the movie, getting in the backseat of his sister Laurie's (Cindy Williams) '58 Ford Edsel. The Edsel is interesting, because it's a car that never took off. Where the '58 Impala was revolutionary thanks to its eyecatching design and iconic name, the Edsel failed thanks to these same intentions.
It is in the backseat of the Edsel that Curt first sees The Blonde (Suzanne Somers), the mysterious woman he'll chase throughout the rest of the film, and her '56 Ford Thunderbird, the best car ever produced.
The T-Bird was conceived as a response to the Chevy Corvette, but it was far more than that. It was beautiful and sporty, but luxurious in a way that sportscars of the time were. In fact, the Thunderbird's genesis led to the creation of an entirely new category of automobile, the personal luxury car.
And did I mention the machine was beautiful? Because it was beautiful. Sleek and elegant, but radiating power. The Thunderbird looks how driving fast feels, and one can see its design reflected through the years by the likes of the original Porsche 911 and Ferrari 250 GT. It is the ideal, and it's easy to see why Curt's ideal woman would drive it.
But of course Curt doesn't find her. First he has to take a drive with the Pharaohs in their terrifying behemoth, the '51 Mercury Eight. This was a car that was not built for speed, comfort, luxury or practicality. It was a car designed to intimidate. And when the Pharaohs first meet Curt and drag him into their prowling maroon shark, they find him sitting on the hood of a parked car, watching a display of TVs in a store window. Curt needs to be in (or on) a car. Even when he's not moving, he needs to be going.
Curt's adventure (including a memorable prank involving a police car, the Ford Galaxie that was the law enforcement vehicle of choice throughout the ‘50s and ‘60s) finally leads him back to Mel's Drive-In, and his beat-up old Citroën 2CV.
Almost every state and city has existing laws that prohibit assault, excessive noise, reckless driving, prostitution, and other problems typically associated with cruising. Some suggest congestion could be combated by diverting traffic or by closing streets to all but emergency vehicles.
But those other methods can be expensive and time-consuming for police officers. As the popularity of cruising rose, authorities began looking at ways to prohibit cruising itself, not just its by-products. Thus were born the modern anti-cruising laws.
|Questions? Anything Not Work? Not Look Right? My Policy Is To Blame The Computer.|
|Oneliners, Stories, etc. | About Cruisin' | Site Navigation | Parting Shots | Google Search|
|My Other Sites: Cruisin' - A Little Drag Racin', Nostalgia And My Favorite Rides | The Eerie Side Of Things | It's An Enigma | That"s Entertainment | Just For The Fun Of It | Gender Wars | Golf And Other Non-Contact Sports | JCS Group, Inc., A little business... A little fun... | John Wayne: American, The Movies And The Old West | Something About Everything Military | The Spell Of The West | Once Upon A Time | By The People, For The People | Something About Everything Racin' | Baseball and Other Contact Sports | The St. Louis Blues At The Arena | What? Strange? Peculiar? Maybe.|