Posts Tagged ‘Tony Curtis

12
Mar
12

THE PERSUADERS, TONY CURTIS AND RODGER MOORE AKA JAMES BOND IN COOL CARS? WHAT’S NOT TO LIKE?

It’s always fun to “discover” another star car show for me, and while youtubing I saw a video of Roger Moore being “reunited” with a yellow Aston Martin.  That lead to several hours of “finding” the 1970’s series called many things, but it was mainly known as “The Persuaders”. If you just want a look at the two signature cars, just watch the top video.

Here are the facts ala Wikipedia: It starred Tony Curtis as Danny Wilde, and Roger Moore as Brett Rupert George Robert Andrew Sinclair, 15th Earl of Marnock, referred to through most of the series by his courtesy title of Lord Brett Sinclair, two international playboys.[5] Sinclair is an English aristocrat who attended Harrow and Oxford before serving as an officer in a Guards regiment and then becoming a Grand Prix driver and race horse owner. Wilde is an American who grew up in poverty in the Bronx before serving as an ordinary seaman in the US navy and then making (and losing) several fortunes on Wall Street, at least one of them in the oil industry.[6] Both are jet-setting, London-based multi-millionaires at the time of the series.

Much of the humour of the show derived from playful observations about the differences between British and American customs. The show ended after one season, in consequence of failing to make an impact on US TV, thereby releasing Roger Moore to star in the popular Bond films.

The cars (and the reason the show caught my attention!)

Aston Martin DB persuaders roger moore

The protagonists drive signature cars: Danny Wilde drives a Red left-hand-drive Ferrari Dino 246 GT, Brett Sinclair drives a UK-registered Bahama Yellow right-hand-drive Aston Martin DBS with V8 wheels and markings. As with Simon Templar (Roger Moore’s character from The Saint television series), Lord Brett Sinclair’s car has personalised number plates of his initials; Templar’s were “ST 1”, Sinclair’s are “BS 1” (Except for one scene in the episode “The Gold Napoleon” where the car had its original UK registration number PPP 6H instead). In fact, the true owner of the plates at the time, Billy Smart, Jr permitted their fictional use.[10] The Aston Martin from the show was sold by the factory after filming ended, via HR Owen in London, to its first private owner. It was restored to a very high standard in recent years by the Aston Martin factory and is still in private ownership in the UK. Danny Wilde’s car bears Italian registration plates, 221400.MO (the ‘MO’ component represents the city of Modena, which happens to be the headquarters and manufacturing base of Ferrari). The exact whereabouts of the Dino today is unknown but it is reliably believed to be alive and well in Italy with a private owner.[11]

Here’s the video of the reunion of the Yellow Aston Martin and Sir Roger Moore. Fan boys are the same around the world, putting together events to relive their favorite shows!

This clip I added just because of the fun and jousting in several languages Curtis and Moore are having with trying to

perform and promote their show while struggling with French, Italian, German etc.  Even a funny out take where Roger Moore shows his English stripes when it comes to Germans!  Take a look!

This scene is the classic “American roughing it” vs the “British with class” bit.

The series creator wanted to sell the show in the United States, and to try and help that sale, he wanted an American star.

Even though it’s a fun concept and did very well in Europe – the Persuaders went head to head with “MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE” and only lasted one season.  As all TV from this period watching it seems like everything is moving at half speed but there is a fun chemistry between the two stars. Below is a fun fight scene that gives you a taste of the show. Enjoy!

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17
Jul
11

“The Great Race” IS my favorite car movie and “Prof. Fate” had the best GADGET cars ever! The Hannibal 8!

 

The Fabulous Fates and the Hannibal 8!

OK, I may be biased, but the amount of stars and future stars in this film, along with the amazing race footage of classic cars will always keep this movie in the top ten comedies and top ten of my favorite car films of all time.  Watch it once for the story and the comedy, then watch it again for the amazing footage of turn of the century cars really being pushed to the limit and driven hard! This film was an homage to all the Keystone Cops and Buster Keaton era car stunts that all of the world had seen and enjoyed in their youth at the dawn of movies, and they did a “bang up” job! Hats off to the stunt men on this film too!

Jack Lemon’s performance as Prof. Fate,  along with Peter Faulk (aka Columbo) as Max his dimwitted assistant are the highlight of the film.  I got a chance to spend some time with Mr. Lemon and asked about the film and he obviously enjoyed every minute of filming, except the second day of the pie fight.  (The first day was fun, then they had to put on the costumes from the day before covered with old merengue and  pie crusts. He said the smell was horrendous!)

BEST PIE FIGHT EVER OF ALL TIME!

Luckily all of the original screen used cars are still around, and had been hidden away for many years before SCC member Jerry W. bought them, and had them put on display at the Volo museum.

The actual Professor Fate Great Race vehicles,  now owned by a StarCarCentral.com member  are on display for the first time in nearly 4 decades!   Three vehicles from the famed Warner Bros. movie, The Great Race with legendary stars Jack Lemmon, Natalie Wood and Tony Curtis and a cast of thousands!  The Great Race was one of the most expensive and advanced movies of its time.  Its production cost in 1964 was $8 million. These Professor Fate vehicles,  untill now, had not left the borders of California since their construction in 1964.  After their release from Warner Bros. they became one of the prime attractions at the world famous Movie World museum in Burbank, where they were on display until the museum closed its doors in the late ‘70’s.  The cars, along with the rest of the Movie World collection, did not see the light of day for nearly 3 decades until 1993 when a portion of the collection was offered for sale at an elite auction and that’s when our Jerry purchased the trio for his private collection. 

The Hannibal 8 custom built by Warner Bros at a cost of $150,000 ($150,000 in 1964 is equivalent to over $1 million today).  All hand constructed, it is a true work of art.  Powered by a Corvair 6 cyl and 3 speed manual transmission; all 4 rear wheels are powered and chain driven.    The car remains in its original un-restored condition as when it was used on the movie set.  Still fully operational this beauty does actually run and drive!  It was assigned a VIN, has a title and can be registered.  Original documents include full history and Warner bros title from 1964.

All Original Hannibal 8 Dash!

As this was long befor CGI, everything had to be made so it actually worked!  Scissor lifts, smoke screens, firing cannon, these cars were really a tribute to the car/prop builders that worked on the film.

high speed rail car and rocket!

The Rocket Car  is actually functional!  Special effects include gas nozzles inside the prop rockets provide flames for propulsion effects. It drives and rides on rails and is powered by a Corvair 6 cyl but with an automatic transmission. It is in its original un-restored condition as when it left the film set.  In the film, Prof. Fate and his assistant Max try to break a speed record on rail, but go airborne in a hilarious fashion.

Then there is the NOISE seeking Torpedo, complete with its screen used trailer!  This torpedo is originally fitted with an electric motor and actually floats!  The rudder turns side to side as does the “hearing apparatus”.  Again, in true “good guy, bad guy” fashion, Prof. Fate’s attempt to stop the Great Leslie in his speedboat, but  instead it comes after Fate and Max to end badly once again for the villians!  Only a big budget comedy could have ever created something like this just for a quick gag! How great that they are all together! 

Jerry was glad to be able to display these at the Volo Museum, but with a VIN number and registration I want that Hannibal 8 back here in California and lets start driving it, Jerry!  The cannon sure would help in traffic!

Yeah, I know, Tony Curtis had a cool car too, “the Great Leslie” had a pretty white car, but until I meet an owner who wants to come out and play with the SCC, only Jerry’s Prof Fate vehicles will get their own blog! MAX!  PUSH THE BUTTON!




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