Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Step Down

Two makes of cars used to get kidded a lot on network radio shows in the late ‘40s. One was the Studebaker. Its wrap-around windows confused some people about which end was the front and which was the back.



The other was the Hudson, which invented a wonderful marketing gimmick starting in the 1948 model year with its “step-down” design. The floor of the car was six inches lower than the door sill. That made the car look sleeker than others in the hugely-competitive post-war years.

So it was that both cars got joked about in Tex Avery’s automotive opus “The Car of Tomorrow.” The Studebaker stand-in drove sideways. And the scene featuring the ersatz Hudson shows a man stepping down and, naturally, disappearing as he falls for three seconds before a crash and a camera shake (his hat remains twirling in mid-air briefly before dropping).



Eventually the step-down design didn’t help Hudson. The company merged with Nash in 1954—the same year Avery left theatrical cartoons for good.

Rich Hogan and Disney’s Roy Williams helped Avery with the car gags. The narrator in this one sounds a bit like Verne Smith, Ozzie and Harriet’s announcer, but I don’t know who it is.

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