If I watch television before bedtime, it is for entertainment, to relax and unwind. My wife likes psychological thrillers and action movies, which are fine at the proper time, but at the end of a long day, I like something to take my mind off the headlines.
Sometimes, though, Hollywood’s mistreatment of cars sends my blood pressure into the attic.
For instance, after the big LSU-Alabama game (which did not relax me) I clicked the clicker and found a show I hadn’t seen in years: The Rockford Files.
Now, you know The Rockford Files. It was typical of dramas in the 1970s; perhaps it still is. It offered suspense, but there were enough humorous situations thrown in to keep the audience from mass depression.
Big, grinning James Garner played Jim Rockford, a low-rent private investigator who lived in a little trailer on the beach. He drove a Pontiac Firebird, a low, tight coupe that was totally wrong for such a big guy, but it was perfect for the car chases.
A few minutes into the show, the bad guys killed someone in a parking garage. They piled into their big, cream-yellow Mercedes-Benz sedan and peeled off. (Yeah, in a Mercedes sedan loaded with large American men, but that’s another story.)
For two seconds, the camera goes to a close-up of the rear tire to show it burning rubber as they flee. The thing is, in the close-up, the car has transformed into a Ford Mustang.
Mustangs have two doors, not four, and a hint of the Mustang scoop in front of the rear tire is visible.
The wheel cover no longer is body-colored; it is now a Mustang wheel cover. Even if it were the same color as the car’s paint, it would now be green, because the Mustang is dark green. Moreover, the formerly blackwall tires now are whitewalls.
Oh, and a final thing: the concrete of the parking garage floor has been replaced by the asphalt of a highway – outdoors!
Those two seconds end, and the entire car is shown speeding away in the garage. Again, it is a yellow Mercedes sedan.
I cried more than I had during the bowl game.
“What in the world?” I screamed at the 35-year-old program. “Do you people not know what you’re doing?”
“It’s only a TV show,” my wife said in commiseration.
“Only a TV show!” I replied. “Only a TV show? I’ll bet that when the credits roll, they will have somebody listed as the editor. That person just gave editing a bad name. All they had to do was film the Mercedes’ wheel, or leave out those two seconds of footage entirely. Why do cars get no respect in Hollywood?”
“They can’t hear you,” she said, fully accustomed to the one-way conversations I have with the television about its mistreatment of automobiles. It’s also her reply when I tell drivers who are risking everyone’s lives and cars that they are unfit to be on the road.
But that’s another story.