Friday, May 26, 2017

Corvette Summer 1978

     This film is based on a novel by Wayland Drew first published in 1978.  An added subtitle was Corvette Summer: A Fiberglass Romance.  Kenneth W. Dantley Jr. is a senior in high school and he lives for automotive shop class.  The class went to a junkyard to pick out a car to restore for their project and Ken spotted a Corvette Stingray that was ready to be crushed.  He stopped the machinery and the class begins work on the car right away.  Everyone really pitches in and the car is amazing when they finish.  The teens take turns driving the car along the Burbank strip.  One of the drivers stops in to get sodas for everyone and when he comes out, the car is gone.  He had the keys in his pocket but the car was gone in a just few minutes.  The police say certain cars are at the top of the list to be stolen and Corvette is one of them.  Ken decides to go to Las Vegas after he learns the car is on display in one of the casinos.
     Ken is lucky to graduate because he devotes all his time to the Corvette.  He really has the car bug and he takes it personally when the car is stolen.  He doesn’t own a car, he has to hitch hike to Vegas and he doesn’t have money.  I was surprised to learn that this film has been mocked in Mystery Science Theatre 3000?  I have watched a lot of the Mystery films.  Sometimes the jokes from the mad scientist and his two robot friends sitting in the theater seats at the bottom of the screen make the movie bearable!!  Two Corvettes were used for this film and both were 1973 models.  There was a main car and a backup model. Dick Korkes of Korky’s Kustom Studios built both cars for MGM.  The main car was used for publicity and both cars were later sold to private parties.  The main car was sold to an Australian collector and modified to look different from the film.  The backup car remained in the US and was owned for a while by Mike Yager of Mid America Motorworks in Effingham, Illinois.  It was on display at the Motorworks and taken to car shows.  It was sold to a collector in late 2009.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

105 min, Adventure directed by Matthew Robbins with Mark Hamill, Annie Potts, Eugene Roche, William Bryant, Richard McKenzie, Kim Milford, Philip Bruns, Danny Bonaduce, Albert Insinnia, Jane A. Johnston.

Note:  Imdb 5.5 out of 10, 57% critic 42% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.6* out of 5* with 212 reviews, TV Guide 3* out of 5*.
Special Note:  Filmed in the Auto Shop, Burbank High School, La Crescenta, Los Angeles, Glendale, Norwalk, California; Las Vegas, Nevada.  The original mold for the car is part of the collection of America’s National Corvette Museum and displayed at the Corvette Americana Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.  The museum screens this movie regularly.  Mark Hamill was badly injured and had a broken nose in a car accident in Malibu, California just prior to production of this film.  He still has the scars and they are visible in both Star Wars films.  Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back of 1980 and Episode VI –Return of the Jedi of 1983.  Annie Potts was also in a car accident at this time and she has pins in her legs.  This car was converted to right hand drive so Ken could hang out of the curbside window to look at girls, plus it made the car more unique.

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