The Road Runners

Time for some vintage cinema... all twelve minutes of 'The Road Runners' in living monochrome. This short 1952 film is floundering in the public domain begging for an audience. I'd bet it has one with the visitors of this web site. Give it a broadband minute to load up, then hit the play button.

This film is not only about the infancy of hot rodding, but it's also inadvertently about low dollar film making. It's not just because it's black & white film stock, but maybe more because it has no dialogue. There is a narrator, a few sound effects, and elevator music that plays throughout. It reminds me of the sort of educational films we were subjected to in grade school. Still, despite the low tech approach, this mini movie is well stocked with righteous old hot rods and speedy situations.

The premise is sort of like this... Mel is an arrogant rich kid who burns up the road in a new Buick convertible. He feels the need to overtake a modestly hopped up 36 Ford and promptly gets another of those pesky traffic tickets. He is drawn to the Santa Anna drags solely to seek revenge upon the 36, and instead finds himself being dusted off by that very same 'jalopy'. This does not set well with Mel's pride, so he throws his all into claiming bragging rights as the king of the hot rods.

Mel ditches the Buick and finds a 32 Ford highboy, which the narrator refers to as "a heap of junk". He then goes on a self taught journey to cook up the hot rodding recipe on the flathead V8 under the hood. But being a punk, he can't make it happen without help. So he seeks out the Road Runners hot rod club and there's that devilish 36 again! Net result is a trip to the dry lakes, and the Punk becomes a Prince as the competition and the fruits of his labor create a new and improved Mel.

Or something like that... try not to laugh too hard at the situations, because it's an actual 50's time capsule on film. After all, they were trying to fix these hot rodders up with a legal race experience before they soured the whole deal on the streets. The footage of the hot rods is great, even if the characters are a bit milquetoast. Enjoy...