April 20, 2003


One of my favorite movies ever is a 1976 car race flick called The Gumball Rally. The story line involves a loose and diverse group of car buffs who race from Wall Street to the dock of the Queen Mary in Santa Barbara. One guy races a motorcycle. Two elderly British gentlemen drive ragtop Astin Martin. Two guys use a police car with switchable logos. The acting, by Michael Sarazin, Tim McIntyre and Raul Julia, is outstanding. Gary Busey makes an appearance as a - if you can believe it - crazy stunt car driver, is probably one of his best performances.

In the movie, the plans for the race start when Sarazin, as the bored corporate executive, leaves a board meeting, picks up a phone and utters one word into Tim McIntyre's ear: "Gumball..."

My favorite line is when Raul Julia as the Ferrari race car driver Franco Bertollini rips off the rear-view mirror at the beginning of the film and throws it back over the trunk of the car. He then utters a line that could very well read as my eptitaph:

What's-a behind-a me is-a not important!

The movie was modeled on the highly illegal Cannon Ball Baker Sea-to-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash that took place 30 years ago, and which has done so sporadically since then. The race was conceived by a "Car and Driver" writer and promoted in the magazine. That writer went on to do his own version of the film in the crap-filled Burt Reynolds "Cannonball Run" flicks.

I say all this to tell you that Gumball 3000 is under way, with drivers heading from San Francisco to Miami.


Posted by Jeff at April 20, 2003 05:50 PM | TrackBack