Monday, June 23, 2008

Thunder Was His Engine

It's the 50th anniversary of Thunder Road, the 1958 film starring Robert Mitchum that's about moonshiners running their illegal product in the mountains of Kentucky and Tennessee. Yesterday Gay Street was closed for a reenactment of the dramatic car chase scene from the movie, and I had a front row spot to grab a photo of the vintage 50s cars speeding toward us. Don't worry, they slowed down well before they got near the crowd. There was also a vintage car show in front of the Tennessee Theater, where the movie was being shown, and James Mitchum, Robert's son, came and talked to the crowd about the movie.
But why the big deal, you say? Why does Knoxville care? Well, I give you the ending lyrics of The Ballad of Thunder Road, the song written and sung by Robert Mitchum:

Blazing right through Knoxville, out on Kingston Pike,
Then right outside of Bearden, they made the fatal strike.
He left the road at 90, that's all there is to say.
The devil got the moonshine and the mountain boy that day.

And just for your edification, here's Bearden hill on Kingston Pike today, where you'll be lucky if you get up to 35 mph in the traffic jam:
Just sayin'.


Dusty Lens said...

Now I must go and ty to find that movie. Fun to see these old vehicles on the road. Classic chrome, not the plastic we have today. Oy, traffic jams... 'nuff said.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your visit to my blog this morning. I hope you enjoyed my post today.

I enjoyed reading your blog post for today and I thought the photography was good too. The car coming toward you in the top photo looks like a 1950 Ford.

My arthritis is still bothering me. I guess it don't go away. And I wanted you to know I was here. Kind of like "Kilroy" was here...remember those drawings everyone used to make?

Sailor Girl said...

Happy Birthday, Thunder Road! LOL!

Regarding your comment, that’s exactly how I feel when I see her beautiful funnel!! BTW, the Queen Elizabeth 2 has just departed Lisbon Port... But she'll return very soon again!! She loves Lisbon!

Petrea said...

Great post. I love the cars coming right at you. And I always love a little history with it.

Jim said...

The top picture certainly looks better than the bottom pic.

babooshka said...

I'm a movie junkie and love moive trivia, so this for me is a great post. I will be quoting those lyrics to anyone who comes my way.

Olivier said...

elle est très belle cette vieille voiture, très mythique.

it is very beautiful this old car, very mythical.

Benjamin Madison said...

Great cruise down memory lane. I learnt to drive in a car like the first one in the top photo.

Small City Scenes said...

Thunder Road--That was a way cool show. MB