High School Yearbook Photo

"More than a place, the Shady Dell was and will forever remain a state of mind." - Shady Del Knight

"More than a place, the Shady Dell was and will forever remain a state of mind." - Shady Del Knight

Thursday, July 14, 2011









Oh God,

Hot Rods to Hell, the motion picture that featured the most clean cut, mother approved teenage hoodlums you'd ever want to meet. Take a look!

Kids misbehavin' with cars was a common spectacle in movies dealing with teen rebellion and delinquency. In Rebel Without a Cause (1955) James Dean chose to be a live chicken rather than a dead duck in a "chickie run" toward a cliff!

Boys love dragstrips and in this 1957 teen flick the boys also flipped for a Dragstrip Girl.

Dragstrip boys + dragstrip girls = Dragstrip Riot (1958).

The year was 1962 in the 1973 movie American Graffiti.
The George Lucas film classic culminated in a drag race on Paradise Road on the outskirts of town. It was John Milner
in his little Deuce Coupe (1932 Ford) vs. Bob Falfa in his
bad ass black '55 Chevy. At stake...bragging rights as the Fastest in the Valley!

In case you haven't guessed by now you're 
cruisin' through another installment of 

Summer Means Fun! 

Welcome to Part 8, another nitro burning, 
fuel injected, wheel standing, tire smoking 
post dedicated to America's obsession with 
the automobile in the 1950s and 60s! 

It was American Graffiti White Rose City style back in the 60s when I was a teenager. On warm spring and summer nights muscle cars in all shapes and sizes cruised the loop
in York, Pennsylvania.

Most of the clean machines that entered the lot at Gino's Hamburgers kept right on going. Few of them ever pulled
into a parking slot even if one was available.

Two reasons: 

1. Why take the risk of some clod 
dinging your door? 

2. Got places to go and people to impress. 

Hey, listen to what's playing on the dashboard radio! It's
Jan and Dean with their 1964 car classic "Hot Stocker!"

"Hot Stocker" - Jan and Dean 
(from 1964 album Drag City

To complete the double play, here's a track from the Jan and Dean album Dead Man's Curve/The New Girl in School which was released in the spring of '64 and ruled all summer long. It's the original of "Three Window Coupe," a song that was turned into a top 30 hit single by the Rip Chords. I like the J&D version better!

"Three Window Coupe" - Jan and Dean 
(from 1964 album  Dead Man's Curve/ 
The New Girl in School) 

The Beach Boys gave us many great car songs. "409" was their first, charting in October of 1962 as the original A side of "Surfin' Safari" which became a much bigger hit. Before Formula 409 became a popular household cleaner, the 409 cubic inch V8 Chevy was cleaning up at the dragstrip and wiping away the competition!

"409" - Beach Boys (October 1962, 
highest chart position #76) 

In 1960 Bobby Rydell boasted that he attended a "Swingin' School." In 1964, the Hondells, a studio-created group put together by surf rock songwriter/producer Gary Usher, dubbed their school "Hot Rod High" on the B side of their hit single "Little Honda." On their 1964 album Fun City USA, the Surfaris took the Gary Usher/Roger Christian penned car song out for a spin.  The following year the Surfaris performed their version of "Hot Rod High" on Shivaree, the Los Angeles based syndicated teen music variety show. (Note: Teri Garr, the blonde actress featured in Tootsie, Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Young Frankenstein, got her start as a go-go dancer on shows like Shindig, Hullabaloo and Shivaree. I'm guessing that the blonde dancer in this clip is Teri!)

"Hot Rod High" - Surfaris 
(1965, live on Shivaree

Don't go away! Plenty more classic cars 
and car tunes are coming up in Part 9 of 


Have a Shady day!


  1. Shady,
    They were the boys my Momma worried about! But oh so thrilling!

    Thanks for the memories~

  2. Sush - Do you mean those teenage punks (straight out of Central Casting) depicted in Hot Rods to Hell? (LOL) Or James Dean, perhaps? They were all rather clean cut back then, weren't they? I'm glad the post brought back some memories, dear friend Sush, and I very much appreciate your visit and comment. Have a great day!

  3. There were some great memories in this one old buddy but some of the clips at the beginning was even before my time or memory of the actors. I sure had fun going through all of them refreshing my rusty memory. Thanks.

  4. Odie - That's odd. I could have sworn you were one of the extras in that trailer for Dragstrip Riot! (LOL) Thanks for coming over for a visit, good buddy, and give Rocky a pat for me!

  5. Dana Andrews and Jeanne Crain, two of my favorite actors from the 1940s! They look like they were in a lot of trouble in that movie.

    I loved American Graffiti when it came out. Grease was great too. When I was a teen we had drag races with other kids a lot. I miss those big old cars. They were so roomy and comfy. It is hard to believe how very stupid teenagers are. (Well, the ones I knew.)

    I had never heard "Hot Rod High", but I remember Teri Garr from one of my favorite Star Trek episodes. I think Rod Sterling was in that one too. Thanks for the memories!

  6. Belle - Panned by critics, Hot Rods to Hell is the kind of movie that was so bad that it developed a cult following and is a hoot to watch. As it was in many teen exploitation films of the period, the older generation is portrayed as clueless and hopelessly square. The father, Dana Andrews, is such a rule follower that he is reluctant to drive above the 55mph speed limit even when confronted by the pack of thrill seeking teenage punks who torment Andrews and his family for miles with a game of chicken. Like so many other movies the bullies learn their lesson and back off as soon as Andrews stands up to them. It doesn't always go down that way in real life. Thank you for your comments, dear Belle!

  7. Hi Shady, I logged many miles on that York loop. Unfortunately, it was in a MG not the Cobra you have pictured. I don't know why, but I thought Harrison Ford drove the 55Chevy in American Graffiti. Didn't stop at Gino's, but went to the drive in with at car service out past the White Rose MC. I think it was called Avalon?? It was like the drive in of the movie. Have a good day.

  8. Hi, Jerre! We'll have to check with our friend Belle. She's the expert on all things Harrison Ford! (LOL) Yes, Avalong (sic) Dairy Drive-in was the next stop on the circuit and I'll be mentioning that in an upcoming post. Thanks for driving thru, Jerre, and have a great day!

  9. I'm glad you mentioned American Graffiti! I've said it before and I'll say it again, great film and soundtrack!

    Thanks for your lovely comments my friend!

    Emma x

  10. you had me at James Dean. It just doesnt get any better. I actually had a poster of him in my bedroom as a teen. I would probably still have it up but I think my husband would get jealous :)

  11. Emma - American Graffiti does have an excellent soundtrack of classic oldies. I'm sure you know that the movie launched the careers of many of today's stars and superstars including Harrison Ford, an oft mentioned name on this blog. Thank you very much for coming to call, dear friend Emma, and good night to you in Dublin!

    Amber Blue Bird - I currently have a thang for Pee Wee Herman but that's a story for another day. You might remember that actor Sal Mineo (seen with his fingers crossed in that clip from Rebel) was also one of the rising stars of the day and, along with James Dean, also died young (murdered at age 37). Thank you very much for stopping by, dear friend Amber, and have a delightful eve in Connecticut!

  12. I truly enjoyed reading this. Great playlist.

    P.S. I love James Dean!

  13. Ashton - Thank you, dear friend! I'm glad you could relate to the post and the music. James Dean was a 20th century icon who is still a hit with many ladies in the 21st. Busy as you are it means a lot to me when you find time to visit, Ashton. Thanks again!

  14. Hi dear friend. I so agree with Sush, those were definitely the boys that I was warned about in my teens! LOL! But what fun. James Dean certainly did it for me at the time! Wasn't he just too gorgeous! Such a shame that so many stars of those times died so young. Like our friend Belle, Dana Andrews was certainly one of my favourite actors back then.Once again, thanks for the memories Shady. Keep 'em coming!

  15. Thisisme - You are right. Many charismatic young stars died too soon. In Rebel W/O a Cause alone there was James Dean, Sal Mineo and Natalie Wood. I am also constantly reminded of Judy Tyler, the young starlet who was Elvis Presley's love interest in Jailhouse Rock. Judy perished in a horrific auto crash just as the movie was being released. I didn't realize until recently that I had also watched Judy every week on the Howdy Doody Show. While still a teenager in the early 50s she was cast as Princess Summerfall Winterspring on that kiddie program. Thank you very much for your comments, dear Thisisme!

  16. you have me wanting to buy a hot rod

  17. Israel - The formula is simple. Buy hot rod, get girl. Remember, though, that you need to learn all of those stunts like spinning donuts, figure 8s, and playing chicken with other motorists. Since all that's very dangerous, the best way to harness your machismo and show off your skills is to join the Jack Kochman Hell Drivers. I have a post about them coming up in a few weeks so stay tuned, my friend!

  18. Wow! Those movie clips had me reminiscing the Trail, Lincoln and Stony Brook Drive-Ins and the dusk to dawn shows during the holidays. Yeah, "409" has got to be one of the definitive Beach Boys songs, wasn't as familiar with Jan & Dean as you are. You're right, Gino's was a place we just drove through and rarely parked. For parking and eating and finding some nearby ladies to meet there was Avalong Farms with its carhops. And it was only a mile or two from the famous and eerie "Land of the Toads".

    Have a great weekend!

  19. Ron - Yowza, yowza, yowza! Who can forget the misadventures on Toad Road, and don't get me started about the Trail Drive-in. Why, I'll have you know that I actually watched a movie there one time! (LOL) Russ Meyer movies and Nat'l Bo: brother, that's pleasant living! Thanks so much for your comment, good buddy, and have a safe and happy weekend yourself!

  20. What a fantastic post, Shady! You have me laughing again! One favorite line was from the "wayward" teen daughter in Hot Rods to Hell saying, "What if he's like dad?". I read this was the first movie appearance for Mickey Rooney, Jr. (1st out of only 3 movies) Also, found the terms "dungaree doll" and "nerve cracking" quite humorous. ;-) I was most happy to hear my favorite song, "Green Onions", by Booker T and the MGs, playing in the Paradise Road video. Over all, besides "Green Onions" I have to say my favorite song listed is The Beach Boys' "409". Thank you, Shady, anxious to see what comes next from your magic hat!

  21. Cindy - You won't have to wait long to see what comes next. It's only seconds away as I write this! (LOL) You are very sharp for noticing that Mickey Rooney, Jr. was in that flick. Remember Eddie Fisher's "Dungaree Doll" record? One of the few times that Eddie rocked and I loved it. Hot Rods to Hell was a great generation gap movie. The complex mother-daughter dynamics were explored along with old squares vs. cool kids. Of course the real villain was rock "n' roll which turned all of those nice young boys into punks. Thanks so much for your kind and very astute comments, dear Cindy!


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