Sunday, August 2, 2015

MELS 1962 GIFT-CARNIVAL $15,000 IN PRIZES

1962 Thunderbird Hardtop 390 special V-8 Cruise-O-matic
Welcome back to Kip Pullman's American Graffiti Blog!  Today's post features a drawing worth $15,000 in prizes.  You could win a RCA transistor radio, a beautiful fur stole, an RCA Victor color TV, a $1,000 diamond ring or the grand prize...  a brand new 1962 Ford Thunderbird. So enter today.  Oh, wait, the drawing has ended. Sorry. Maybe next time. By the way, we do have some old lawn furniture that we've been trying to get rid of, so if your interested let us know. 

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AND THE GRAND PRIZE WINNER...
SAN FRANCISCO FIREMAN WINS NEW THUNDERBIRD

San Francisco Ford Dealer, Al Schlesinger delivers the keys to his new car to Al Williamson of 270 Drake Street as acting mayor, Harold Dobbs and Mel Weiss look on. Williamson was the top prize winner in a recent merchandising promotion conducted by the Mels Drive-in Restaurants.  He is a veteran city employee with nearly 23 years of service to his credit.


~ FIN ~


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Sunday, July 26, 2015

WAY BACK: MOVIE CREWS FILM SCENES IN DOWNTOWN AREA, JUNE 29, 1972


Hey, fellow Graffiti-addicts! Today's post is a 1972 newspaper clipping from Petaluma, CA's local paper, Argus-Courier. It details the night filming that was taking place downtown for a film called American Graffiti. Includes a pic of the coupe with a camera and tow bar attached.  (Thanks to Craig Counsell and John Furrer for sharing.) 

(Click image to enlarge)
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Sunday, July 19, 2015

WAY BACK: A NEW GENERATION LOOKS BACK IN GRAFFITI, L.A. TIMES JULY 29, 1973


Hello fellow Graffiti fans. Welcome back to your one and only Kips American Graffiti Blog. A couple of days before the premiere of American Graffiti on Aug 1, 1973 the principle film critic for the Los Angeles Times, Charles Champlin released a glowing and insightful review about the film in the newspaper. No one could have given the film higher praise and as a result, quotes from Champlin's review were constantly used in press books and ads for the film (such as the one above).  I recently unearthed a copy of Champlin's original Graffiti review. For your reading pleasure I present to you the full film critics' article as it originally appeared in the L.A. Times on July 29, 1973. To miss it is to miss something quite special!

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Click on article to enlarge

During his 26 years at The L.A. Times, Champlin served as the paper's principal film critic from 1967 through 1980.  Throughout his career, Graffiti remained on Champlin's Top 100 American Films list. He wrote several books on film including a coffee table book titled, George Lucas: The Creative Impulse: Lucasfilm's First Twenty Years (1992).  In honor of his film coverage and criticism, Champlin received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2007.

Charles Champlin (March 23, 1926 – November 16, 2014)

 ~ FINI ~


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  • Charles Champlin's Top 100 American Films. Cal State LA University Library. http://web.calstatela.edu/library/mmc/100/1champlin.htm. Retrieved 7/18/2015
  • A New Generation Looks Back in "Graffiti." Los Angeles Times. San Francisco Public Library. http://sfpl.org/ Retrieved 7/16/2015

Sunday, July 12, 2015

WAY BACK: IT'S '62 AGAIN at TAM HIGH, Aug 2, 1972


 Hello fellow readers of Kip's American Graffiti Blog! As I continue on my quest to bring you rare info and artifacts, I stumbled upon this little jem of an article in the San Francsico Chronicle archives.  Although most of Graffiti was filmed in Petaluma the sock hop scenes were filmed at the boys gym at Tamalpais High School, 700 Miller Avenue, Mill Valley, CA. Director, George Lucas and company filmed all the sequences at the gym in one full day.  To learn more keeping reading, Sam!

Click on image to enlarge



Thursday, July 2, 2015

WAY BACK: S.F. CHRONICLE 1972: NOSTALGIA - - ON SOUTH VAN NESS


"Heeeeeeey," as The Fonz would say. Welcome back to Kip Pullman's American Graffiti Blog. Our latest post is an article I came across while combing the archives at The San Francisco Public Library. As it turns out, American Graffiti made the news several times a year before it was first officially released in theaters. Making a movie is always big news and so when a director named George Lucas was filming some movie with the odd working title, American Graffiti at the local Mels Drive-in at 140 South Van Ness in San Francisco you can bet the press was there. The following article was first published in the San Francisco Sunday Examiner & Chronicle (in what is known to locals as the Pink Section) on July 3, 1972. That's forty-three yrs ago. WOW that was a long time ago!
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Click on image to enlarge
  
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Sunday, June 28, 2015

WAY BACK: 1979: SONGS OF INNOCNECE & EXPERIENCE: THE BLAKEAN VISION OF GEORGE LUCAS

Welcome back to KIPS' AMERICAN GRAFFITI BLOG.  It's time to take your head out from under the hood of your hot rod and dig this examination of your favorite movie from a unique perspective. Today for your reading pleasure I've posted an examination of American Graffiti like no other.   Published in 1979 and written by B. H. Fairchild, Jr. the author compares George Lucas with visionary painter/poet William Blake. It's quite fascinating and recognizes Lucas' American Graffiti as a vision of the universal mythological depths that are at the heart of the experiences of all people, all generations and all cultures that must endure change.  ENJOY!

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Copyright 2002 EBSCO Publishing


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Saturday, June 6, 2015

MELS & MUSTANGS

The 2015 Mustang retains its classic look: Long hood, short rear deck, fastback roof, tri-bar taillights, & shark-nosed grill
 
Way back in the Fall of 2014 when Ford Motor Company wanted to introduce it's new line of Mustangs to the automotive press they decided to begin their International Auto Drive each morning at Mels Drive-in located at 8585 Sunset Blvd in West Hollywood,  California (CA.) It seemed only natural to match a classic with a classic: The Ford Mustang was first introduced in late 1963-64 and Mels, of course has been around since 1947. I recently spoke with Mels Drive-in co-owner, Steven Weiss (pronounced Weese) and he recalled the event with enthusiasm.  "Ford Mustang brought out auto writers from across the country and Europe and put them up in a hotel down the street from our Mels drive-in in West Hollywood," Weiss explained. The restaurant at the West Hollywood location normally stays open 24 hours a day but during the course of a week it was closed to the general public three hours each day from 6am to 9am during which time the Ford Motor Company photographed, filmed, and promoted the 2015 Mustangs under the tantalizing glare of the restaurant's neon lights  "They lined up twenty-four brand new Mustangs, all different models, engines and color types in our parking lot. It was fantastic!," Weiss recalled.  


Each day a different group of writers had their chance to test drive the new vehicles. They'd bring them in, give them a speech about the new line of Ford Mustangs as the press devoured the delicious classic American style breakfast at Mels. "The excited writers would get in the cars and drive all over the city on a route planned for them," Weiss recalled. It took most of the day and driving through the city is often stop and go traffic, but the drivers were able to stretch out and reach high speeds on the freeway in the San Gabriel Mountains bordering LA.  After a day of driving they'd reach the end of the course located at Peterson’s Automotive Museum in LA. At the famous museum the press were treated to dinner to top off their exciting day.

 The LA Times had this to say about the 2015 Mustang's driveability: 
The GT and its V-8 still proves the old muscle car adage: There's no replacement for displacement. This is the Mustang's valedictorian and the one to pick if you consider white-knuckle driving an athletic endeavor.  There's meaty torque everywhere during acceleration, but it's predictable and approachable. Our GT tester had the six-speed manual transmission with an easy clutch and a straightforward shifter.  The GT is surprisingly lively and fun on tight roads. Though wider, higher and a little heavier than before, the power and size of this car are perfectly matched.  Our loaded $44,290 tester had the optional performance package that included larger wheels, wider tires, a stiffer suspension setup and larger front brakes. This combination helped the GT stay planted and flat through hard cornering.  But the GT's engine growl -- half the fun -- loses something in translation through the exhaust. Like an opera singer in a ski mask, this Mustang doesn't roar like a 435-horsepower car should.
 "They put together these great videos of the event which they later posted on the internet," said Weiss. Below is a 30 second clip of footage that highlights both the new Mustang and Mels. It is slick, cool and way too short.  Not sure if this was ever made into a TV commercial for the new Mustang but it certainly works as both a promotion for the car as well as the classic-style restaurant.


2015 Ford Mustang at Mels Drive-In


Below are a few pix of the 2015 Mustang from the event. 
Please click on photos to enlarge.

The 2015 Ford Mustang GT parked at Mels Drive in on Sunset Blvd. In Hollywood, CA
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They lined up twenty-four brand new Mustangs, all different models, engines and color types in our parking lot.
- Steven Weiss.
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Base prices start at $23,600 for the V-6, $25,170 for the EcoBoost four-cylinder, $29,170 for the EcoBoost Premium, $32,100 for the V-8 GT and $36,100 for the GT Premium.

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/cars/article2297648.html#storylink=cpy
 

A 435-hp 5.0-liter V-8 matched with a six-speed manual transmission
 On the freeway in the San Gabriel Mountains bordering L.A.


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NOTES
  • Gelinas, Gabriel. [first 2 Photos of Mustangs at Mels.]  Guide Auto Web. 2015 Ford Mustang. A Brave New World.  http://www.guideautoweb.com/en/galleries/26639/2015-ford-mustang-a-brave-new-world/?im=21  
  •  Mustang. Car and Driver website. http://www.caranddriver.com/ford/mustang. Retrieved 5/22/2015.
  • Jordan, Michael. 2015 Ford Mustang Review, Automobile website.http://www.automobilemag.com/reviews/driven/1409-2015-ford-mustang-gt-premium-review/
  • Undercoffler, David. FIRST DRIVE; New Mustang aims to please everyone; In the 2015 model, Ford blends 50 years of history with demands for modern powertrains, technology, safety and styling. Los Angeles Times. [Los Angeles, Calif] 18 Sep 2014: B.1. Retrieved June 2015
  • Weiss, Steven. Personal conversation with Steven Weiss 5/26/2015