Monday, March 25, 2013


Wolfman holds up some popular vinyl in 1973, the same year he appeared in American Graffiti.  Albums include: Wolfman's self-titled album (1972), The Deliverance Soundtrack (1973) & "You Don't Mess Around with Jim" by Jim Croce (1971-72).

American Graffiti is saturated with wall-to-wall oldies from the 1950s & early '60s and most fans of the film can instantly identify the songs heard while watching the film. However, most fans aren't aware of the names of the songs that were written into the script but never made it into the film. Here I've compiled a list of 8 songs that were written into scenes in the second draft of the script titled, ROCK RADIO IS AMERICAN GRAFFITI (SAGA OF THE LOW RIDERS) dated May 10, 1972 but for various reasons didn't make the final soundtrack. I've included the dialogue as it was written in the original script, some of which may not have been in the film. For more on these subjects please see my article, THE AMERICAN GRAFFITI SOUNDTRACK dated Dec. 9, 2010 and the Nov. 8, 2010 post, WRITING GRAFFITI. Some of the original songs that humorously underscore the subject of each scene may have worked better than the ones that replaced it but I'll let you decide. All songs mentioned can be heard on You Tube or purchased through any music service. Enjoy.


 John pulls alongside the Studebaker and the girl in the front seat rolls down her window.

You wanna ride around with me for awhile?

  GIRL # 1
I’m sorry, I can’t I’m going steady, I just can’t.

Song in Script: “FEVER” by Little Willie John (1956), Peggy Lee (1958)
Actual Song Used in Movie: “WHY DO FOOL FALL IN LOVE” Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers.

Terry is out again in the stream of taillights, flashing through the small town. He passes some kids on the street and waves - - they stop, seeing it’s Terry.  They shake their heads in amazement.

 A car pulls alongside and the driver yells over - -
Toad - -?  Is that you in that beautiful car?
Jeeze, what a waste of machinery…
 The car takes off - -

Ah, suck gas bozo --

Song in Script: HAPPY, HAPPY BIRTHDAY BABY by The Tune Weavers (1957), Elvis Presley (1958).
Actual Song Used in Movie: “RUNAWAY” by Del Shannon.

 John’s coupe crunches to a gravelly stop in front of an auto wrecking yard.

Why are we stopping here?
I wanta look at the cars.  It relaxes me.

Song in Script: “IT’S JUST A MATTER OF TIME” by Brook Benton (1959)
Song in Movie: NONE.  (There is no music during this scene.)

The radio blares and we see all the hoods sitting super low in the car, their eyes just visible over the windows.  The Wolfman is giving the phone operator a bad time as she tries to get him to accept a collect call.  All the Pharaohs are amused. 

You tell her, Wolfman!  He’s my man.  When I graduate I’m going to be a Wolfman.  You know he broadcasts out of Mexico someplace…

No he don’t. I seen his station.  It’s just outside town.  XERB right on the building.

Song in Script: “WESTERN MOVIES” by The Olympics (1958).
Actual Song Used in Movie: “JOHNNY B. GOODE” by Chuck Berry


 John cruises around the lot until he finds a space among the rows of dazzling cars.

(into intercom)
One ten cent Coke…Is ice extra?  All right, ice…..

Thanks for nothing.

Song in Script: “IN THE STILL OF THE NIGHT” by The Five Satins (1956).
Actual Song Used in Movie: “WHO WROTE THE BOOK OF LOVE” by The Monotones. 


Terry pulls into the parking lot and stops.  He looks up at the flashing liquor sign and considers his battle plan.
Do you have ID?

No… hey, but no sweat.  What’ll it be?
Beer, little wine?

If you could get some Old Harper, I’d give you a French kiss.

Old Harper, rrright!

Song in Script: “TEENAGER IN LOVE” by Dion & The Belmonts (1959).
Actual Song Used in Movie: “MAYBE BABY” by Buddy Holly.

 The trio is standing on a busy street corner.

I’m going over to Burger City

You think Laurie’s there?

I’m not looking for Laurie!  I don’t care where she is…you wanta come?



Well, make up your minds

No thanks, we gotta - - report the car missing.
Song in Script: “DONNA” by Ritchie Valens (1958).
Actual Song Used in Movie: “PARTY DOLL” by Buddy Knox

Scene: 65; THE “COME ON IN” BAR – 
 A half a dozon people are standing around in the parking lot behind bar.  Debbie is sitting on the hood of  a  car, swinging her legs and chewing gum.  The people all seem to be watching something on the ground behind the car.  Coughing is heard, then gagging, and the unmistakable sound of someone being sick.

You cold, Lottie?  We’ll go in a minute.

Maybe we should move him.  Staying on his hands and knees like that…
(she grins)
He looks like a dog, doesn’t he?  Looks like old Ginger.

Sicker than a dog, that’s for sure.

Song in Script: “POISON IVY” by The Coasters (1959).
Actual Song Used in Movie: NONE.

Scene: 70; INT. RADIO STATION – 
 Through the maze of glass, shifting like prisms, he sees the station manager sitting by the mike - - howling!  Then he laughs and howls again, starting to sing an insane song called “Bluebirds on My Dingaling” pounding out the rhythm on the console. 

He backs away, leaving the Wolfman who’s on his feet now screaming out the end of the song, dancing by himself in the little glass room from which his voice radiates out through the night and around the world.

Song in Script: ‘BLUEBIRDS ON MY DINGALING” by Unknown. (May be a fictitious song.)
Actual Song Used in Movie: “HEART & SOUL” by The Cleftones.

~ FIN ~


Wednesday, March 13, 2013


I was surfing the Internet, specifically the incredible, Goleta Air and Space Museum a while ago and I came across some pix of a familiar looking plane.  It was a white DC-7C prop plane with orange and white stripes.  As it turns out the said plane was the same one that was used for the final scenes in the 1973 classic, American Graffiti.   How did I know it was the same one seen in the film even though it didn't have Magic Carpet Airlines painted on the side?  Well, as I learned, apparently planes are assigned a license or registration number that is displayed prominently on the side of the aircraft and remains with it for its entire life regardless of how it is used or how many times it changes hands. The number makes it easier to track its history compared to automobiles.  Movie car fans know what I’m talking about. The serial number of the DC-7C featured in Graffiti was N5903.  Because this particular aircraft, built in 1956, was somewhat rare, aircraft enthusiasts and aficionados would occasionally snap a pic of the airplane when it was spotted in a particular airport.  Thus, we are blessed with some really cool photos of the 4-engine plane. And, so, your buddy, Kip is here to provide you with an incredible pictorial history of this beautiful aircraft. Dig it baby!  Please note all of the pix on this particular post are published with the permission of the photo owners.  So don’t be a "Dick" and steal these. If you want to borrow or use a particular photo, please write and ask for permission. Thank you for not smoking and have a nice day.

Although there were hundreds of classic cars featured in George Lucas’ masterpiece, American Graffiti, there was only one plane in the film. It is featured at the end of the story and it is the transportation that lifts Curt, (Richard Dreyfuss) out of the restricting and limiting confines of his small hometown and into the great wide-open future. The company which loaned the prop plane was named, Magic Carpet Air Travel Club.  Lucas once told writer, Larry Sturhahn that for the filming of this pivotal closing scene, they had specifically sought out a prop plane but they weren't easy to find.  Eventually the crew found a few airlines who would lease the plane if their name was prominently displayed on the side of the aircraft in the film. The choices included Air West, Air California, and Magic Carpet.  

"I decided to use Magic Carpet, but it wasn't written in the script," Lucas recalled.  He kept to the agreement but couldn’t pass up the opportunity to slightly alter the name to make it more fitting to the story and so the Magic Carpet Air Travel Club became Magic Carpet Airlines for the movie. "I thought it was appropriate, and that's one of those things that when fate gives it to you, you make the decision," said Lucas. The amended name was painted on the left side of the DC-7C. The aircraft was parked at Buchanan Field Airport in Concord California (Contra Costa County) where the final scenes of the movie were first filmed on August 3, 1972. Legend has it that on the first attempt to film the prop plane taking off, it got a flat tire on the runway and filming had to stop and a second-unit returned the following day to film the take-off, once the tire had been repaired.


Our future movie plane began it's history as a commercial passanger plane in 1956 for Braniff International Airways. The once popular airlines was in operation from 1930 until 1982. 

In November 1969 the future movie plane was bought by Club America, Inc.  This picture was taken in 1970 at the William P. Hobby Airport in Houston, Texas.

Stepping out in style. Members of the incredible power trio, Grand Funk Railroad exit the DC-7C which they leased from Club America. Inc. in the Spring of 1971. At the time of this pic, these guys were one of the hottest touring hard rock bands on the globe. Although "We're an American Band" remains their most iconic tune, one of my favorites is "Sin's a Good Man's Brother," from the band's 3rd album, "Closer to Home."  
This pic taken at the Chicago Midway Airport in late-1971 shows the future movie prop plane with Grand Funk Railroad's name painted on the side.  Soon after this pic was taken, the 4-engine plane was bought by Magic Carpet Air Travel Club.
Bill Larkins took this beautiful photo (Click on photo to enlarge) at the Buchanan Field Airport in Concord, CA the day after filming American Graffiti had completed in August 1972. Bill told me that they repainted the left side only with the new film name, "Magic Carpet Airlines."  The actual name of the plane was on the right side, "Magic Carpet Travel Air Club," Their address was P.O. Box 20456 Sacramento, CA.  The Chief Pilot for Magic Carpet Travel Air Club at the time was Capt. Frank Lang.

The aircraft was sold to T & G Aviation, Inc in 1976 and by 1980, when this picture was taken, the plane was being used as a bomber to help drop chemicals on forest fires in the Los Angeles and southern California area.

This photo taken at Chandler Memorial Airport in Arizona on 10/11/1984 is the last known photo of the proud old aircraft before its demise.  Two years later on 10/09/1986 the plane flew it's last flight at the Dakar-Yoff airport in Senegal (the north-western coastal portion of Africa.) The DC-7C was taking off and once the gears had retracted the #4 engine stopped and the propeller feathered, the plane lost altitude and ditched off Dakar.  The three crew members died and the only passenger on the plane survived injuries.

From commercial passenger plane to movie star, to firefighter, the classic 4-engine, DC-7C (N5903) had a good 30-year run and will forever remain an important part of film history. Trivia Fact: The steps that led to the plane in Graffiti were mounted on a post-1962, late-model truck. To avoid conflicting with the early-sixties time line a white Ford van (1964 model?) was parked in front of the truck to hide it from the cameras.  
   ~ FIN ~
  • Aircraft Accident Douglas DC-7C. Aviation Safety Network.
  • Airliners.Net.
  • Douglass DC-6 & DC-7C Tankers. Air & Space Museum.
  • Sturhahn Larry. (1999) The filming of american graffiti. In Kline, S. (Ed.), George Lucas interviews (conversations with filmakers series). University Press of Mississippi.