Classic Hollywood on Wheels: I Drive Therefore I am... Free

[caption id="attachment_499256" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Here's a perfect illustration of the iconography of freedom. Marilyn Monroe displays a picture of Abraham Lincoln, The Great Emancipator, in a sleek convertible with the open road beckoning."][/caption]

Automobiles represent freedom.

Try and remember when you were a teenager yearning for your driver’s license so you could hop into daddy’s car and go, go, go. It didn’t matter where, you just wanted to burn rubber and escape into the far horizon.

The brilliant, exhilirating and touching American Grafitti, 1973, is the ultimate expression of American car culture. Almost every single scene takes place in a car.

Los Angeles was the first America city built to accomodate the automobile. And the movie stars of Hollywood’s Golden Age, most born dirt-poor, expressed delight in their sudden prosperity and fame by purchasing and posing with their dream machines.

Contrast cars with trains.

Trains and subways are an expression of the collective. Individual identity is erased. You are at the mercy of a state run system that turns the citizen into a small cog manipulated by unmotivated, inefficient government bureaucrats.

That’s why Progressives-Liberals-Leftists are obsessed with high-speeed rail. The freedom of the road is repellent to statists who want to regulate/control diet, education, light bulbs, health care, your very geography.



Need I mention that Nazis just adored trains AKA cattle cars. And hey, the Italians boasted that Mussolini made the trains run on time.

At a certain point, one must acknowledge the convergence of philosophy between post-modern liberalism and iron-fist facism. Both ideologies assert the power of the state as the final arbiter of human affairs. Hence, the government replaces G-d and family as the center of man’s universe. It’s no surprise that the Nazi party’s formal title was The National Socialist German Workers’ Party.

Anyhoo.

Hollywood produced great stars who proudly posed with their autos, symbols of glamour, affluence, and freedom.

[caption id="attachment_499160" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Silent film comedienne Mabel Normand shows off her custom built Mercer Runabout 22-72, equipped with fold-a-way makeup kit and vanity table. The car was a gift from Mabel's boyfriend, producer Mack Sennett, 1920. The night before their wedding Mabel discovered Mack in bed with actress Mae Busch. The wedding was cancelled. Mabel boozed, became addicted to cocaine and was involved in several high-profile Hollywood scandals. Her brilliant career tanked and she died at the age of 37."][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_499180" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Rudolph Valentino loved cars and spent hours tinkering with engines. He owned several very expensive custom built vehicles. Rudy proudly displays his Isotta-Franschini limousine, built to his exacting specifications, 1923. I'm reading Evelyn Zumaya's new, groundbreaking biography, “Affairs Valentino.” Along with details of Rudy's love of the automobile—and his horrendous driving—I'm gaining a whole new perspective on this remarkable figure of motion picture history. "][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_499196" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Rita Hayworth, b. Margarita Carmen Cansino, presents a distinctly unglamorous but fetching vision of the girl next door as she poses with her 1941 Lincoln Continental. When Hayworth first came to Hollywood she was painfully shy, could not look strangers in the eye and barely spoke above a whisper. Gossip columnist Louella Parsons confidently predicted that Hayworth would never make it in the movies."][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_499204" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Tasmanian-born Errol Flynn was expelled from school for fighting and seducing a school laundress. Flynn loved America, became a citizen and attempted to enlist at the start of World War II. An enlarged heart, malaria, reliance on morphine for chronic back pain, and venereal disease firmly classified him as 4-F. Known for his swashbuckler image and party-hard lifestyle, Flynn looks ready to cruise Sunset Strip in his seriously cool Auburn Speedster."][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_499220" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Robert Montgomery was born to privilege, but his father committed suicide by jumping off the Brooklyn Bridge leaving the family penniless. Montgomery was, no doubt, relieved to be able to afford this Cadillac Sport-Phaeton. An active Republican Montgomery was outspoken against Communist influence in Hollywood."][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_499228" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Jimmy Stewart was best when playing the everyman American. His 1938 Plymouth reflects this unpretentious personae. Stewart flew as a command pilot in a B-24 on numerous missions deep into Nazi-occupied Europe. Back in civilian life, he refused to publicize his heroic war record in order to garner publicity."][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_499244" align="aligncenter" width="248" caption="Director Josef von Sternberg, b. Jonas Sternberg, gave Marlene Dietrich this 1931 forest green Rolls Royce as a gift. Her chauffer, Briggs—perfect name—carried a set of revolvers to protect his famous employer. When Dietrich traveled to Europe, she sent her Rolls and Briggs in advance. David Niven notes in his excellent autobiography, “The Moon's a Balloon” that Dietrich supplied Briggs with a mink trimmed uniform, which, I suppose, qualifies Briggs as Hollywood's first metrosexual chauffer-bodyguard."][/caption]

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