The Video Vault: Road Runners

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Road Runners

Outlaw Hot-Rodders To Law-Abiding Gearheads
USA (circa 1952)

This is 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.

This film shows us an alternative for boys like Mel: drag racing—a 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.

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