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The story of a group of high school friends, cruising around on a late summer's night in 1962. This movie accurately depicts American life before the Kennedy assassination and the Vietnam War. Wolfman Jack DJ's popular tunes on the soundtrack, broadcast throughout the movie as a local radio station.
Starring Richard Dreyfuss, Ron Howard, Cindy Williams, Mackenzie Phillips, Paul LeMat, Charles Martin Smith, Suzanne Somers (appears briefly driving a white T-Bird), Candy Clark, Harrison Ford, Bo Hopkins, Joe Spano, and Kathleen Quinlan. Nominated for five Oscars, but didn't win any! Great soundtrack and story. Don't miss!
(1980)—This is the movie that introduced Paul Reubens (Pee Wee Herman) to the world. Cheech and Chong were perhaps the most popular comedy team during the late seventies and early eighties, and their movies all centered around marijuana: how to grow it, how to smoke it, how to hide it, etc.
This movie doesn't really have much of a plot, it's mostly a series of sketches that
have been pieced together. There's no doubt that Cheech and Chong fans
will love it, and Thunderbird fans will enjoy the yellow 1956 Thunderbird in the
movie, although it does receive some abuse. The good news is, since this movie was filmed, the Thunderbird has been restored to its original Peacock Blue finish with Colonial White Hardtop.
(1987)— The story of an innocent 17-year-old girl vacationing at a resort hotel in the Catskills with her parents during the summer of 1963. Depicting life in tranquil America prior to the Kennedy assassination, Jennifer Grey is convincing as a typical teenager of the period. She quickly gets bored with the other guests and discovers that the hotel staff is having all the fun! The dance parties they throw after hours, with "suggestive" dancing is a big attraction to the teen. The fact that handsome Patrick Swayze is one of the dance instructors doesn't hurt, either.
Grey's character grows up quickly though, forecasting what was about to happen to America after the events in Dallas on November 22, 1963. It's all about love, sex, and rock and roll, with a dynamite soundtrack and excellent dance sequences. A Fiesta Red 1956 Thunderbird makes an appearance at the beginning of the movie. The black Oldsmobile the family arrives in during the opening sequence pulls up behind the T-Bird at the hotel, which can be seen while they are unloading their bags. Cynthia Rhodes, Jerry Orbach also star. The song (I've Had) The Time of My Life won the Academy Award for Best Song of 1987.
Connors plays a police officer who's concerned about illegal teen age drag racing in his community. He decides to organize a supervised venue for the kids, which doesn't go as smoothly as planned. A white 1955 Thunderbird appears throughout this movie, which seems longer than it is, as the story becomes slow at times. Lori Nelson and John W. Smith co-star. Directed by Leslie Martinson. American-International would capitalize on teen age theme movies over the next few years.
This VHS tape includes a total of three movies, the other two movies are The Fast and The Furious (1954) and The Big Wheel (1949).
(1959; B&W)—The car is definitely the star in this long-forgotten movie, recently released again. Sparta Films attempted to ride the wave of popularity (and free press attention) that Ford's hot new 4-passenger Thunderbird was receiving with this low budget picture. (The 1958 Thunderbird on the movie poster doesn't appear in the movie.)
This is the story of the one year out of high school crowd: fast cars, girls...no place to go. A high school boy named Frank is searching for his security guard Father's killer, and all the police have to go on is the killer got away in a white T-bird. Frank searches every T-bird in town which leads him to join up with a gang of juvenile delinquents who burglarize homes. Working undercover with the cops, Frank must avoid trouble with the gang and avenge his Father's death at the same time. When his cover is blown, can Frank keep it together? Starring John Brinkley (Frank), Ed Nelson, and Pat George. A White 1956 Thunderbird is the best reason for watching this movie, but be sure to watch for a very young Vic Tayback (of TV's Alice), who plays a cop at a gas station!
This movie is currently available only on DVD.
Despite the use of a 1958 Thunderbird on movie posters and on the DVD case cover, the star of this movie is a 1956 Thunderbird.
(See details of this movie above.)
Don't Knock the Rock
(1957)—Rock 'n Roll was the latest thing sweeping the country, and Bill Haley and His Comets were at the top of the charts. Hollywood took advantage of this popularity with this movie, which also starred Alan Dale, Alan Freed, Dave Appel, and Little Richard. A beautiful 1957 Thunderbird also has a big role, since at the time it was the latest thing to hit the road. This movie also demonstrates the proper way to enter a Thunderbird: you don't open the door, you just jump over it and into the car, and the top is always down! Really cool, Daddy. Hard to find on video, but you can catch it on late night cable or satellite TV from time to time.
(1957-1960; TV Show)—Lucy, Ricky, Fred, and Ethel (Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, William Frawley, and Vivian Vance) of I Love Lucy fame continue their adventures in Las Vegas. In episode 3, which originally aired on January 3, 1958, Ricky's band gets an engagement in Las Vegas. Lucy is determined to strike it rich while there by finding Uranium in the mountains nearby. Guest star Fred MacMurray runs into Lucy on the train heading west, and finds out about the scheme. He decides to join them, and you can imagine what happens.
Studio portions of this show were filmed on Friday, November 15, 1957 and many outdoor scenes were filmed at the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas. Fred MacMurray drives a Starmist Blue 1957 Thunderbird with two tone blue vinyl interior, and it is used quite a bit in this episode. It received a real work out too, as it was actually air borne more than once! In one scene, a stunt man was supposed to drive the car down a hill and onto a freshly-laid blacktop road. During each take, the car always went out of camera range, which was costing Desilu a considerable amount of money. Desi figured it wasn't that difficult to do, so he decided to drive the car himself. He got it right on the very first attempt, but the cameras weren't running! Everyone on the set laughed hilariously while Desi screamed at the camera crew!
(1957)—Frank Sinatra, Rita Hayworth, and Kim Novak star in this film based on the Rogers and Hart Broadway musical of the same name. Originally debuting as a story in the pages of The New Yorker, a few changes were made along the way to the main characters in the movie. Filmed in color on location in glitzy mid-1950's San Francisco, this movie is a treat to watch.
Hit songs "I Could Write A Book" and "The Lady Is A Tramp" both came from the soundtrack, and Ford Motor Company's popular 1957 Thunderbird, painted in Inca Gold, as well as a 1957 Continental Mark II and a 1957 Lincoln Premiere Convertible, are featured in this movie. There's also a customized blue Thunderbird designed by George Barris.
Frank Sinatra plays the bachelor playboy/singer, Rita Hayworth is the wealthy widow, and Kim Novak is the show girl extraordinaire in this classic love story. The story is a good one, although not really reminiscent of the play of the same name. The clothing, sets, and scenery are magnificent, the soundtrack was a hit, and Sinatra was at his peak. One notable scene for T-Bird enthusiasts has Sinatra bidding a loving farewell to his Thunderbird, telling it "So long little Bird, don't pick up any nails." It was parked in front of the Spreckle Mansion in San Francisco, and this scene was also used by Ford in commercials promoting the 2002 Thunderbirds. One of Frank Sinatra's best movies—you don't want to miss this one!
(1963)—Doris Day plays Beverly Boyer, a housewife that is suddenly thrust into the show business fast lane as a TV spokesperson. You might remember some of the hilarious "commercials" starring Day's character that appeared in this movie. James Garner plays her husband Dr. Boyer, and drives his 1958 Chevrolet Bel Air into the backyard pool, which was built by his wife's employer as a gift, and which he didn't know they had until after his car was sinking in it! The argument that ensues has Garner out on the town with his nurse, who drives a Starmist Blue 1957 Thunderbird with light blue and medium blue two tone interior. The car makes only a brief appearance, but the movie itself is a good one, and worth every minute spent watching.
(1978-1980; TV Show)—Robert Urich starred as Dan Tanna, a Las Vegas private detective who resided in a garage across the street from the Thunderbird Hotel. Dan had his share of lovely ladies, and they had to share the screen with his red 1957 Thunderbird with a black and white interior. The car appeared almost as much as Urich!
It is interesting and sad to see so many of the classic hotels and casinos that no longer exist in Las Vegas, thanks to heartless and greedy developers who think nothing of tearing things down. The Desert Inn and Stardust are just two shown in the video at left that no longer exist. The glitz and glamour that was has been replaced now by something else, and some don't think it's a step in the right direction. At least Vega$ has preserved the late seventies and early eighties Las Vegas forever. (Of course, some will point out everything had been heavily remodeled at that point, too.)
77 Sunset Strip
(1958-1964; TV Show)—Edd "Kookie" Byrnes, Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., and Roger Smith starred in this cool, hip TV series about private detectives. You dig it, Dad?
In the scene at left, Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. arrives in his Colonial White 1958 Thunderbird Convertible and leaves it in the care of cool cat Edd Byrnes, who was hip to park it, because after all, it was the coolest thing you could be seen in at the time.
The Brady Bunch
(1969-1974; TV Show)—The TV series inspired by the hit movies Yours, Mine, and Ours (1967), starring Henry Fonda and Lucille Ball, and With Six You Get Eggroll (1968), starring Doris Day (her last movie to date) and Brian Keith. Widower Mike Brady played by the late Robert Reed, and widow Carol Tyler Martin played by Florence Henderson, get married, merging their two families in the process. The kids, Greg, Marcia, Peter, Jan, Bobby, and Cindy are constantly getting into one thing or another. What was never explained during the series run was how six kids were able to survive with just one bathroom! Throw in the housekeeper, Alice, and the dog, Tiger, and you have the elements that became The Brady Bunch.
In Episode 17, titled The Undergraduate, which originally aired on January 23, 1970, and guest starred Wes Parker of the Los Angeles Dodgers as himself, a white 1958 Thunderbird Hardtop can be seen driving in the background in a scene filmed at an outdoor field. It's interesting to consider that at this point, the then 12-year old Thunderbird was already being actively collected and restored by enthusiasts.
(1960)—Elizabeth Taylor won an Oscar for her role in this film, a role that she never liked. This film was based on the John O'Hara novel of the same name, about a prostitute named Gloria Wandrous who wants to retire from the business and settle down.
A white 1958 Thunderbird Hardtop can be seen turning the corner in the background as Miss Taylor walks down a city street. A gorgeous and rare 1960 Imperial Ghia Limousine also makes a brief appearance. Laurence Harvey, Eddie Fisher, Dina Merrill, Mildred Dunnock, Betty Field, Susan Oliver, and Kay Medford also appear. This movie can be somewhat depressing, but the beautiful Miss Taylor gave an excellent performance, and her award was very much deserved.
(1988)—The raven-haired television comedienne (Cassandra Peterson) takes her campy character to Fallwell, a small New England town that has never seen the likes of her. She's there to receive her inheritance from a Great Aunt, which consists of an old house, a dog, and a book. She soon discovers her legacy—she's a witch! The plot isn't the best, but there's always Elvira to admire! Her car is a George Barris custom 1958 Thunderbird Convertible, complete with spider web grille and skull and crossbones wheel inserts. The car fits her character perfectly, and there are quite a few good shots of it in this movie.
(1987)—The story of singer Ritchie Valens, who is said to have owned a 1958 Thunderbird Convertible new, starring Lou Diamond Phillips. This movie covers the young singers life from just before he became famous until his death. A light blue 1958 Convertible with blue and white interior is shown several times during a funeral procession near the end of the movie.
(1957-1966; TV Show)—Paul Drake drove a 1958 Thunderbird Convertible in an episode titled The Treacherous Toupee which was originally broadcast on September 17, 1960. This episode featured a young Robert Redford in one of his early roles; another episode centered around a spoiled rich kid with a white Convertible; and Perry took a ride in a white Hardtop that was sitting at a car lot. The salesman described it to Perry as "a real bomb."
(1993)—A Raven Black 1959 Hardtop is in the background quite a bit during this movie about a kid growing up in Bronx during the late 1950's through the early 1960's. Robert DeNiro plays the father, who is trying to teach his son right from wrong after the son witnesses a murder committed by a local bad guy the kid admires.
Also available on VHS WIDESCREEN.
(1959)—Frank Sinatra portrays a hotel owner on Miami Beach who is about to lose his hotel. He also has a thing or two to learn about raising his son. A Baltic Blue 1959 Hardtop is seen driving down the street in one scene, and it looks especially gorgeous in the bright Miami Beach sun.
Eleanor Parker, Carolyn Jones, Edward G. Robinson, and Thelma Ritter also appear in supporting roles. The hit song from this movie, High Hopes won the Academy Award for best song of 1959. A 1957 Cadillac Convertible is also featured in quite a few scenes.
(1993)—Kathy Bates delivers her usual top notch performance in this tale of a family suffering through hard times. At times depressing, and at other times uplifting, this movie shows how one family was able to overcome the difficulties and obstacles life gave them by remembering what is really important in life.
A beautiful red two tone 1959 Thunderbird Hardtop with white roof and red and white vinyl interior is shown in a couple of scenes. One scene is especially memorable: it was shot at night, and the image of the spotless red Thunderbird driving on freshly fallen snow is quite memorable.
This movie is worth owning, watch it whenever you feel things aren't going well and you'll feel better, with a renewed understanding of just how precious life is.
(1962)—Based on the Peter Gilman novel, the late Charlton Heston portrays an Hawaiian island land owner about to destroy his family because of his stubbornness. He owns a Baltic Blue 1959 Thunderbird Convertible with the new for 1959 optional black leather interior. The car is in several scenes throughout the movie, and there are some good shots of it.
Yvette Mimieux, George Chakiris, France Nuyen, and James Darren also star.
Edge Of Eternity
(1959)—This western epic is set in the late 1950's and depicts a Midwestern Sheriff's Deputy in pursuit of a murderer. A gold trader is killed for his gold, which the murderer unloads in Mexico. The trail comes to a climax at the Grand Canyon, and involves a hostage and a Casino Cream 1959 Thunderbird Convertible along the way! Cornel Wilde, Jack Elam, and Hope Summers star. Directed by Donald Siegel, whose other films include Play Misty For Me, Dirty Harry, Coogan's Bluff, and Charley Varrick.
(1960)—Bob Hope and Lucille Ball team up for another movie, this one about suburban housewife Kitty Weaver (Ball) who is the typical middle aged wife and mother of the late 1950s: she's PTA Secretary, Cub Scout Den Mother, etc., and it just so happens is also a bit bored with her life. Hope plays Larry Gilbert, an old friend of Kitty's husband, Jack, played by Don DeFore (of Hazel fame). Initially Kitty and Larry find each other somewhat grating, but through a series of circumstances find themselves spending a lot of time with each other, without their respective spouses. Predictably, they fall in love and deal with the possibility of having an affair. This movie is a comedy, as you would expect with Bob Hope and Lucille Ball, but it focuses more on the dramatic side of the situation.
Watch for a 1959 Thunderbird Hardtop parked at the curb in a night scene as Hope and Ball search for a motel so the two of them can have a talk. It's shown just as Hope turns into the motel. Hope drives a 1960 Buick in this movie, and there are lots of other good scenes with cars of the era in them.
This movie was nominated for 6 awards, and won 3 of them, including the Oscar for Best Costume Design, Black and White. Edith Head and Edward Stevenson did the costumes.
A touchy subject for 1960, this movie is somewhat mundane by today's standards, but is worth watching just for the costumes, old cars, and the friendship between Hope and Ball. Not available for many years due to legal issues, it's now available on VHS.
(1959)—Mamie Van Doren plays a troubled girl, sent to reform school run by Nuns. Elinor Donahue (the eldest daughter on Father Knows Best) is Mamie's sister, who gets into trouble of her own. This movie is a 1959 Thunderbird Convertible lover's dream! Several can be seen throughout the movie, including a white on white one, with top up, in a parking lot. In this scene especially, the unique Thunderbird styling really stands out, showing just how different these cars really were in their day. Another '59 Convertible, with top down, is featured in another scene, which emphasizes the Bird's acceleration capabilities. Mel Torme and Paul Anka also appear, and while the story isn't the greatest, the old cars make it fun to watch. A rare 1958 Edsel Bermuda Station Wagon also appears in one scene.
(1972-1978; TV Show)—This controversial CBS comedy-drama starred Beatrice Arthur, Bill Macy, Conrad Bain, Adrienne Barbeau, Rue McClanahan, and Esther Rolle. The first spin off from the hit show All In the Family, Bea Arthur's character, Maude, was written to be Edith Bunker's cousin.
Topics covered included adultery, alcoholism, bankruptcy, mental illness, menopause, and pregnancy, all quite controversial for 1970's television. Look for a Baltic Blue 1959 Thunderbird Hardtop in traffic on a bridge in both the opening and closing sequences of the show.
(1962; B&W)—Beverly Garland stars as Ellen Winslow, wife of oil company executive Jerry Winslow (played by Skip Homeier). They live what at first appears to be a good life in Oklahoma City. They have a nice home, a spiffy 1960 Buick Convertible, nice furniture, great clothes, the whole package. But soon after this movie starts, it's apparent The Winslows aren't the happily married couple people might think they are. Jerry has a mental problem, and likes to abuse his wife, physically as well as mentally. After knocking her around a bit, he advises her he's going to get a divorce. We discover that Jerry isn't the successful oil executive he used to be, and things aren't so hot for them financially. When Ellen borrows money from her friend Ruth to pay the bills and seeks employment for herself to help out, it puts Jerry over the top.
Ellen runs out of the house and drives off in the Buick. Later, she responds to a message from Jerry's boss, who tells her Jerry has taken 4 weeks off without permission, and if he isn't back at work on Monday, he's fired. Desperate to save her marriage and her husband's job, the emotionally battered Ellen starts looking for Jerry, a search which would reveal Jerry's dark side, and expose her to more physical and emotional abuse.
Ken Tobey plays Cliff Kane, the man who gave Ellen a job—and unknown to Ellen—also has a connection to her husband's past! Hannah Stone stars as Ellen's friend, Ruth, who forces Ellen to deal with her problems in this dark psychological drama, which thankfully has a happy ending. Filmed on location in Oklahoma and Northwest Arkansas in 1961, this black and white movie is reminiscent of Psycho in its direction, and holds you to the very end. The acting is good, although the production was done on a tight budget, which is apparent.
Look for a Colonial White 1959 Thunderbird Convertible with white top sitting at the curb behind Ellen's Buick at the beginning of the movie.
This movie had its first official television broadcast on OETA (Oklahoma Educational Television Authority) on Saturday, October 8, 2005.
View the movie poster for Stark Fear
The Twilight Zone
(1959-1964; TV Show)—An actor by the name of Gerald Reagan (Howard Duff) is working in his office studio set and enters the twilight zone when he becomes a character in a film, by the name of Arthur Curtis, only to discover he's happier with his movie family than he is with his real life.
His nasty "real" wife drives a 1959 Convertible. She probably didn't treat it any better than she treated him. David White (Larry Tate from Bewitched) co-stars. This episode, a part of which is shown at left, is titled A World of Difference and it originally aired on March 11, 1960.
(1987)—Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello go back to the beach, reprising their roles as Frankie and Annette (how's THAT for creativity!) This time, they're middle-aged parents with rebellious kids. This parody of their sixties movies features a bevy of friends including Connie Stevens, Jerry Mathers, Bob Denver, Barbara Billingsley, Tony Dow, Pee Wee Herman, and Edd "Kookie" Byrnes.
An Acapulco Blue 1960 Thunderbird Convertible is the preferred mode of transportation. Hey, what else are you going to drive when you go back to the beach?
Dennis the Menace
(1959-1963; TV Show)—Several Thunderbirds have been spotted on this show over the years, one in particular that comes to mind is a Corinthian White 1960 Hardtop without fender shields parked on the curb in Dennis' neighborhood. This classic television show originally aired from 1959-1963 and starred Jay North as Dennis, Herbert Anderson and Gloria Henry as his parents, Joseph Kearns and Sylvia Field and the neighbors next door, The Wilsons ("Hey, Mr. Wilson!") Gale Gordon ("Mr. Mooney" from The Lucy Show played Mr. Wilson during the final season. Inspired by the comic strip, Dennis is always trying to help others, usually with disastrous results! Poor Mr. Wilson...
(1963)—Doris Day and James Garner team up with Polly Bergen and Thelma Ritter in this hilarious remake of 1940's My Favorite Wife, which starred Irene Dunne and Cary Grant. This movie was in production in 1962 starring Marilyn Monroe and Dean Martin, titled Something's Got to Give, but Miss Monroe died before finishing the movie. The scenes that were filmed at the time of her death would be the last ones featuring Marilyn Monroe on film. Dean Martin didn't want to continue the project without her, so the script was rewritten for Miss Day and Mr. Garner, and became a big success for the studio. The plot consists of a wife who is marooned on an island for five years, only to be rescued on the very same day her husband has her declared legally dead and remarries. (Wouldn't you know it! What are the chances?) Three Thunderbird sightings occur in this movie. Two white 1960 Thunderbird Hardtops and a light blue 1961 Thunderbird Hardtop. One of the 1960's is parked at the Monterey Inn, and Miss Day parks next to the 1961 at the Beverly Hills Hotel. The other 1960 is shown in a traffic jam when Miss Day leaves the Beverly Hills Hotel, in a metallic blue 1963 Imperial Convertible. The Imperial gets run through an automatic car wash with Miss Day going along for the ride—with the top down!
(1961)—This Walt Disney offering stars Brian Keith, Hayley Mills, and Maureen O'Hara. Mr. Keith drives a 1960 Thunderbird Convertible, light blue with black leather. It is in a several scenes, with a few very good shots.
Hayley Mills plays the dual role of identical twins that were separated as infants. Once the twins figure out what happened, their divorced parents become the object of a scheme by the twins to be reunited. The twins switch identities, so that they can each get to know the other parent.
To their dismay, it is soon announced that their Father is about to remarry a pretty young girl, with a low tolerance level for children. Guess who wins in the end. You might call this a "feel good" movie from the sixties. (The Thunderbird appears in the video at right at 5:11.)
(1957-1966; TV Show)—Paul Drake drives a 1960 Convertible on most of the episodes this season. The car appears to be Raven Black with a Black and White Vinyl interior, but since the show was filmed in black and white, who knows for sure?
(1968)—Harvey Keitel made his film debut, and Martin Scorsese made his directorial debut in this quirky, black and white film about an Italian-American youth growing up in New York City. A 1960 Thunderbird Hardtop is prominent throughout, with shots of power window switches moving the windows, silhouette shots of the car, etc. In fact, the Thunderbird is really one of the stars, since it seems to get a lot of film time. A somewhat dark movie that actually started out as a student film titled I Call First. (Content advisory: Rated R)
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