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The Top Ten Car Rules for Great 1960s and 1970s Television

After many years – decades even - of viewing some of the finest spy/thriller shows to hail from the ITC empire I feel that I have identified the vital ingredients behind their success.

10) An Imaginative Use of Number Plates

What does it matter if the same prop background vehicles – Peugeot 403, Borgward Isabella, Mercedes-Benz 220S “Fintail” – surface every week? Simply apply another fake number plate and the viewers really will believe that this week’s exciting adventure unfolds in Switzerland/France/Italy/” Somewhere Abroad”.

 

9) Cars Will Often Change Model in Mid-Chase

Hopefully, by this stage in the proceedings, everyone will be so engrossed in the gripping plot that they will fail to notice cars gaining or losing a pair of fins or an extra set of doors while en route to the “Border Crossing”. Speaking of which –

 

8) All Border Crossings Should Be Made from Cardboard

This will save on your hard-pressed budget but the clever use of over-acting extras waving plastic rifles (3/6d from all good Woolworths outlets) and shouting “foreign” phrases (‘Stopski! Is a good option) will add to the dramatic tension. This will also draw attention away from the location in the middle of Black Park.

 

7) A Clever Mismatching of Car Exteriors and Interiors

It does not matter if Simon Templar embarks on this week’s adventure from behind the wheel of a Volvo P1800 or The Baron pilots a Jensen CV8 – the interior should be a mock-up of a Ford Corsair V4, a Fiat 1500C or even a Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud.

 

6) Ensure The Stock Footage Is At Least A Decade Old

Virtually any adventure of this week’s International Man of Mystery may be enhanced by stock footage of an exotic location. The fact that Robert Vaughan and the rest of The Protectors will suddenly be travelling in a Rome street fille with 1955 Fiat 600s and 1100-103s is a mere detail. Alternatively, PR footage from a motor manufacturer is an option but try to ensure the guest vehicle matches the on-screen car.

 

 5) Undercrank That Camera

Staging a chase involving some agreeable but not blisteringly fast saloons, such as a Ford Zephyr 4 Mk. III, may prove challenging to a lesser TV company. By judicious use of undercranking, you can make a Vauxhall Victor FC 101 appear to be travelling at approximately 265 mph.

 

4) Make Good Use of The Studio Car Park

Be it Elstree or, on occasion, Pinewood or Shepperton, a Fiat 600 Mulitpla and Warren Mitchell speaking in a very strange accent will transform the car park into a typical Italian street scene. Alternatively, why not use that white Citroen DS19 and an extra in a Gendarme uniform to evoke the charm of Montmartre? The possibilities are almost endless, and anyone who notices various examples of the Hillman Super Minx or the Wolseley Hornet in the backgrounds is merely being hyper-critical.

 

3) Commission the Finest Theme Music

The show should open with a tune from Edwin Astley -

John Barry -

or Ron Grainer -

that will linger in the memory for decades to come.  It will also distract from such trivial errors as a Singer Gazelle appearing in a World War II flashback and a Moskvitch transforming into a Ford Prefect post-explosion - (See Video Below) or signs reading ‘Give Way’ or ‘Stevenage 10 Miles’ in “Vienna”.

 

2) A Splendid Car Will Enhance the Image of Any Show

This is of great relevance with a programme as monumentally awful as The Adventurer -

 

1) Have That White Jaguar 2.4 Mk. 1 and Red Renault Dauphine Primed and Ready

You never known when either – or both – will be called upon:

Most importantly, all these programmes, regardless of budget, offer more entertainment per minute than several Hollywood epics we could mention. Who could resist television that offers a car chase as spectacular as these:

 

 

 

 

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