In this town a speeding ticket is a death sentence.
The California Kid (1974)
Wednesday, March 6th
Film starts at 8:00pm
at Lady Jay’s: 633 Grand St, between Manhattan & Leonard, Bklyn, NY 11211
Free popcorn, Juke Box Meccanica, $2 Bingo for Prizes. PRIZES!
Don’t forget to visit the concession stand! This week’s menu of Chicken, Shrimp, Sausage Jambalaya & Jalapeno Cornbread by Happy Homesteader. A steal at only $8 a plate. Food’s on by 7:30, so come hungry and come early!!
The story takes place in 1958, and involves a town, Clarksburg, California, with a famous speed trap, in which a disturbed Sheriff Roy Childress (Vic Morrow), whose wife and daughter were killed by a speeder, turns bad, with a habit of deliberately punishing speeders by pushing their cars off the mountain highway in his 1957 Plymouth Belvedere.
Two Navy sailors on leave (one portrayed by Sheen’s younger brother, Joe Estevez), speeding to get back to base on time in a 1951 Ford Custom, are pushed off to their deaths by the sheriff. Soon after, a stranger arrives, driving a hot rodded black 1934 Ford three-window coupe. He provokes Sheriff Childress into giving him a speeding ticket on purpose, establishes his credentials with the sheriff as a hot rodder and potential speed maniac, with an explicit reference to the 3-window’s tested speed. He pays the ticket in front of Judge J.A. Hooker (Frederic Downs), and it is revealed he is Michael McCord (Martin Sheen), older brother of one of the sailors.
Believing his brother’s death was no accident, he does his own investigating, with the help of Maggie (Michelle Phillips). He finds a stripped bumper from his brother’s Ford at the impound yard, dented as if by pushbars. He checks out the lay of the land. Knowing how his brother was killed, he goes out to the Curve, testing its limits.
When Lyle Stafford (Gary Morgan), the younger brother of the town’s auto mechanic Buzz Stafford (Nick Nolte) is killed and his girlfriend Sissy (Janit Baldwin) badly injured by the sheriff after the duo go for a drive in a 1955 Mercury, McCord sees the pushbars on the sheriff’s car. When Buzz wants to kill the sheriff for revenge, McCord persuades him not to. Then the sheriff tries to run McCord out of town, and the stage is set for the climactic duel.
McCord then runs the speed trap, challenging the sheriff, who tries to run him off the road. McCord is ready, knowing his car’s limits for the curve, and the sheriff is a victim of his own obsession, going too fast to make the deadly turn. He drives off the cliff, while McCord manages to stop in the sand. – Wikipedia
Among the most significant hot rods of the 1970s was Pete Chapouris’ chopped 1934 Ford coupe, dubbed The California Kid.
It starred in a television movie, bucked the then-dominant resto rod trend, and played an important role in the founding of Pete and Jake’s Hot Rod Repair, one of the first modern professional rod shops.
Thanks to Hot Rod magazine’s Gray Baskerville, Chapouris met Rod & Custom staffer Jim Jacobs, who was pounding out his own chopped 1934 Ford coupe at the time. With similar tastes, the pair became fast friends and soon started their own hot rod business.
Pete’s hot rod gained its name from a 1973 ABC made-for-TV movie starring Martin Sheen. The movie, along with the motion picture American Graffiti from the same year, spurred hot rod enthusiasm and nostalgia, and reminded a generation how a hot rod should look and sound.
Pete bought the car for $250 with the top already chopped. He dropped in the Ford 302-cid V-8, FMX gearbox, and quick-change rear end from a previous rod, and had Manuel Reyes apply the prominent flames.
The car originally had a set of Halibrand mags, but they were swapped for red steelies with beauty rings for the movie. The movie producers also had the signature “California Kid” lettering applied to the doors along the belt line.
Today, The California Kid resides with Jerry Slover of Peculiar, Missouri, who acquired it in the 1986 purchase of Pete & Jake’s business. Jerry was one of P&J’s original customers and is a longtime hot rodder.
Movie producers changed the California Kid’s Halibrand mag wheels to red steelies with beauty rings.
The quick-change is gone in favor of a Ford nine-inch rear end, and several of the chassis parts have been replaced. After all, the car has more than 90,000 miles on it! Now reunited with another great hot rod, Jake’s Coupe, The California Kid has found a good home. – How Stuff Works
See you at the flicks!
Watch The Full Movie