November 22, 2006


GumballRallyDVD.JPGMy all-time favorite movie: The Gumball Rally.

The premise: teams of drivers try to be the first to motor from New York City to Long Beach, Calif. Some use the brutal, demon speed that only Ferrari can provide. Others pose as highway patrol officers. One turns himself into a human bullet on a souped-up motorcycle. Another agrees to drive a Rolls Royce across country just so he can participate, only to watch the paint strip in a duststorm.

The race starts innocently enough. Tycoon Michael Bannon (Michael Sarrazin)gets bored during a meeting and picks up a phone. He says only one word to the person on the other end of the line: "Gumball."

From there, the race is on.

I know, I know. It sounds like "Cannonball Run."

Trust me; this is no Dom DeLuise vehicle. There is no Captain Chaos in this movie.


For one, it stars Raul Julia as Franco, the Italian race car driver who is easily distracted by the female form. Tim McIntyre, who played a great Allen Freed in "American Hot Wax," plays Franco's teammate, Smitty, who arranges for a mobile pit stop for them in the back of a semi-tractor trailer. And Gary Busey plays Gibson, the Camaro-driving, whistle-blowing loon who enjoys propping up his car on two wheels during rush hour traffic. Two years later, Busey would go on to great acclaim in "The Buddy Holly Story."

In addition to the great quote in the headline of this post, there was also this great one: "Fifty-five is fast enough to kill you, but slow enough to make you think you're safe." If anything tells you about driving during the ridiculously earnest-yet-decadent 1970s, this is it.

I always swore that if I got enough money I'd do two things: build a house with a moat that had dolphins swimming around it, and host my own Gumball Rally. (Give me a break; I was 11 when the movie came out.)

Okay, so I'm 0-for-2. But there's still time.

I mention all this because I just saw this video at YouTube of Team Polizei competing in Gumball 3000, an contest.

The team - whose Web site proclaims their 2006 victory thusly "Enemiesz Dealtd Annihilatory Death Blowen; Szabotagen, Treczhery Obercome Fur Viktorie!" - gets a police escort through an Italian city at high speed.

The 2007 route starts in London, makes its way through Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Istanbul, Athens, Dubrovnik, Vienna, Berlin and back to London.

One day... one day...


Posted by Jeff at November 22, 2006 04:00 PM | TrackBack
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