"Smile. You're on Candid Camera!" The famous catch line of the hit show Candid Camera. The series all about putting real people in funny situations for laughs and reactions. The original series ran from the late 1940s through the 1970s. I like to think of it as the original reality tv show. You can find many old shorts from the show on their YouTube channel. Recently after browsing through some of the videos, it dawned on me that there were number of car gags. I thought I would share one of the most famous ones from the show. Candid Camera did a gag called, The Split Car.
Imagine seeing a car just split in half while going down the road? I mean how do you react? Well you see how people did in the clip below. I did a little research on the car itself. It turns out it was built a New York resident craftsman, Ron Jerauld. The car was built from a 1957 Renault, model 4C. One side retained the regular engine and drivetrain. While the other side was fitted with it's own motorcycle engine and steering. Must have been a feat to build. According to Timothy Hall, Jerauld's cousin, the car was completed in short order over a few weeks. The two halves were latched together by hydraulic locks. The car would split into two at the touch of a button. Hall went on to say in the comments that the fate of the car is unknown. Such a cool story. Thanks to author Timothy Hall for sharing. Be sure to check out his website and literarily works. See the full clip below! Tell next time, keep your peepers open!
Looks like the Speed Channel has something new for us car nuts this week. Car Warriors, a new series springs up on Wednesday nights at 9pm starting Feb. 23rd 2011. The series Car Warriors will feature a custom car build off style competition between classic car building stars and local hot rod shop guys and girls. Not to mention an all star panel of judges to include legendary George Barris, `King of the Kustomizers`, So-Cal Speed Shopï¿½s Jimmy Shine - Star of `Hard Shine` and ï¿½Mad Mike Martin - Star of `Pimp My Ride`.
The set of the show is at the famous Ted Moser's Picture Car Warehouse at the Los Angeles Center Studios. For those are not familiar with this venue's history, let's just say it's where they build and store a lot of the famous TV/Movie cars we talk about on this blog. Now that we've covered the who and where, what about the "what"? Well the "what" is the objective of the show. Which is the fact two teams of eight (stars vs. locals) using the shop's resources will have just 72 hours to design, dissemble, build and polish 2 cars to be judged by the star panel. The task of building these monsters in such a tight time frame will be sure to test the wits, stamina and skills of it's contestants. We're looking forward to see what materializes out of this series. I'm sure we'll all be in for a surprise. You can find out more about this series at SpeedTv.com See ya next time!
The first five episodes of the Dukes of Hazzard TV show were shot in Georgia during November 1978. A total of six Dodge Chargers were used for filming. These first General Lees were built by Warner Brothers and are identified by extra markings on their VIN tag (LEE1, LEE2 and LEE3). Above is a video of the first jump performed using the famous General Lee, labeled "LEE1". Here's your First Look at The General Lee!
LEE1 Before Dukes of Hazzard
As with most of the 321 General Lees used, LEE1 had a semi-short life on the show. Before Dukes of Hazzard, LEE1 was a Light Bronze Metallic (Mopar Paint Code T3) 1969 Dodge Charger with a black vinyl top. Under the hood packed 383 V8 backed up by a TorqueFlite automatic. LEE1 was equipped with air conditioning (A/C) and drum brakes on all corners. Experts say that LEE1 may have belonged to a college student somewhere in California, as there was a student parking decal found on the windshield.
Becoming a General Lee
Warner Brothers production crew made a lot of modifications to turn the Copper Charger into a General Lee. Most noticeable of course is the Hemi Orange paint job with the Confederate Flag on the top. Gone is the black vinyl top. Other details include the 01 number on the driver and passenger doors. A Radio Shack CB antenna and under the CB dash unit, kept the boys in constant contact with Uncle Jessie and the gang. The wheels are American Racing Vectors, 10 spoke. Can't forget about the black push bar on the front and the full roll cage in the cabin. Several pounds of concrete were added to the trunk to help keep the nose level on landing during jumps. Chrome strip on the rocker panels? Yep, chrome strips were only featured on the LEE1. They're very noticeable in the clip above.
After General Lee
LEE1 was reused later in the show in episode 4, "Repo Men". It was painted a dark blue/green color with a big "71" on the top and had Nascar sponsor decals on the side. The American Racing Vectors were replaced with gold painted steel rims. The sides of the car were banged in further to give the appearance of a battered race car. The car was portrayed as Richard Petty's "Tire Test Car." Then it was retired to a Georgia junkyard, where it would remain for over two decades before it would be resurrected. If it hadn't been for Dukes of Hazzard fans Travis Bell and Gary Schneider, it may still be there.
Back from the Dead
The two found the LEE1 in July of 2000. The car was a wreck, of course. But after it changed hands a few times, the car was completely restored. Precise measurements were made of all the artwork on the flag and side 01 logos. Then the car was media blasted and repainted it's original color Light Bronze Metallic and sprayed over with a cheap orange paint. All the artwork was redone by hand, every star pointing in the right direction. These guys wanted to stay true to the car's state before the first jump.
There are many General Lees, however there is only one LEE1. It's pretty interesting how people can come together and pool their resources to bring back a part of history. Some people would say it's just a another hunk of metal. But to the fans it's much more. Thanks for joining us for this First Look at the General Lee. Stay tuned for the next On Screen Cars!
January 2021 Update:
Travis Bell (the rebuilder of LEE1) appeared on VIN Wiki: Car Stories a while back with the complete story. Embed below.
"The Homer" is a fictional car featured during an early episode of The Simpsons. The episode is from the show's second season, and is entitled "Oh Brother Where Art Thou." It features a number of personal add-ons requested by Homer Simpson. What an interesting piece of automotive fiction! Could you imagine something like this?
The Homer: Features
Large beverage holders
Little ball on top the aerial
Bowling mascot on the hood
Horns that play La Cucaracha
Sound-proof bubble for the kids
The Episode Plot
Homer is reunited with his long lost bother, Herbert Powell, the owner of "Powell Motors." After a brief phone conversation, Herbert invites Homer to visit his home in Detroit. Once in Detroit, Homer and Herb begin to get to know each other better. Herb quickly falls in love with the Simpsons. Uncle Herb spoils his the kids with vacations and gifts. He offers to help the family out with a new car. However, Homer is unable to find a suitable automobile from the Powell Motors line-up. Herb, already frustrated with his board of directors, commissions Homer to design a new car.
Herb's challenge to Homer is to build a car for the everyday person. However, as soon as Homer met with the engineers, his ideas were quickly pushed aside. Luckily though, Herb steps in and forces them to listen to Homer's ideas. They were pretty crazy, I might add. Homer takes over every aspect of the design. He comes up with large beverage holders, a little ball on the aerial, a separate sound-proof dome for the kids, etc.
"...power like a gorilla, yet soft and yielding like a nerf ball..."
At the unveiling, it was presented as "The Homer, The Car Built for Homer." They show a video of Homer driving down the winding road. Then the curtain is dropped, and the car is shown. The final cost of all the features totaled $82,000. Naturally, the car failed, the company went out of business, and Herb left his only brother, saying he wanted nothing to do with poor Homer. Sad story. But what a funny car!
Thoughts about "The Homer"
This is one of my favorite episodes for obvious reasons. But I admire the fact that, even though it's a cartoon, it isn't too far off from some of the concepts that international automakers have attempted. I did some research, and found Pontiac's failed concept car "The Stinger." I think this is a fairly good example of a real life version of "The Homer." Not to mention they're both green and have a ton of features that no one could ever fully utilize.
I think "The Homer", reminds me of a cross between a Rolls Royce, the Popemobile and an ice cream truck. I know that doesn't make a lot of sense. But look at it! The grill and front-end look like a Rolls Royce, the second bubble looks like the Popemobile, and the color and wackiness reminds me of an ice cream truck! What are your thoughts on the "The Homer?" Comment and let us know what you think! Stay tuned for more exciting On Screen Cars.