To Law-Abiding Gearheads
a 1952 safety film (running time 12 minutes) featuring
the "Road Runners" Car Club at a
SCTA dry lakes meet.
The pretext is that outlaw hot-rodders
become law-abiding gearheads after a community organizes
a supervised race meet, much the same as authorities
try to do today. Teenager Mel burns rubber on city
streets with his girlfriend Thera at his side.
film shows us an alternative for boys like Mel: drag
way for adolescent boys to blow off steam and stay
out of trouble.
Drag racing courses were commonplace
on the outskirts of American towns in the fifties.
It was a way to get teenagers off the streets and
for landowners to get some money from unused acreage.
By the end of the film, Mel’s won a trophy and
Thera is nowhere to be found. And no wonder. Mel’s
traded in his snappy convertible for a souped-up heap
and is spending all his time tinkering with his car
and hanging around with his new friend Dave. What’s
in it for Thera? Nothing.
Let’s hope she went
out and bought her own convertible. Maybe that traffic
cop we saw in the beginning of the film will pull
her over. He’s
a better prospect for her than Mel.