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The same 6-volt alternator as used on the movie cars

The plan was to put this 1929 Ford Model A into the lobby of the local theater to highlight my involvement in the movie LA Confidential.  The car belonged to a local alternator customer who was more than excited to help out.

Here Is What The Car Looked Like In Place 

Those were the exact words of the local theatre manager in Manhattan Kansas when I asked him if I could put a life sized car in the lobby of his theater. The year was 1997 and I had worked on the antique vehicles in the upcoming movie release LA Confidential. All of the vintage police cars along with the 1950 Chevrolet that Danny DeVito drove, all had my 6-volt alternators and cooling fans installed on them.  The original plan to to have a movie premier in Kansas City because that is where James Elroy lived who wrote the book the movie was based off of.

I had an alternator customer in the Kansas City area that had a 1940's Packard Limo and I had arranged to have him pick up James and deliver him to the premier. James got called out of town at the last minute so I had to come up with Plan B. I decided to put a full sized car in the movie theater closer to home in Manhattan Kansas and explain my part in the movie.

So after I explained to the theatre manager what I wanted to do he hesitated for a while then said..."we have never had a full sized car in our lobby before but it might be interesting...can you find one that will fit?" I had an alternator customer in Manhattan Kansas with a 1929 Ford Model A Roadster that had the same alternator installed as I had used on the movie cars, and because the alternator fit on the left side of the engine it would make for an easy display.

The Doors And Door Hardware Had To Be Removed To Get The Car Inside The Theatre

I measured the doors of the theatre three different times and finally determined the only way the Model A would fit is if we took the doors off along with all of the hardware off of the door frames and then there would be only two inches to spare. It would be close.

Moving in day was on a Thursday during the afternoon matinee. With the doors and hardware off we carefully drove the Model A onto the sidewalk and aligned it up as best we could. Then we pushed it into the theatre by hand with barely an inch to spare on either side.

Not Much Room For Error...

One inside the car owner who was in his early 70's took advantage of an opportunity of a lifetime. He started his car and drove two laps around the snack bar and lobby before parking it in the display area! The grin on his face was a mile wide. He had clearly been waiting his whole life for an opportunity like this. The theater manager, the door repair guy, myself and about a dozen bystanders stood with our mouth open in amazement. Nobody saw that coming.

Two Laps Around The Snack Bar Ought To Do it...!

He Never Expected To Have His Car In the Lobby Of The Local Theater

I got the display setup in the lobby, while the doors got put back on the hinges, and the hinges back on the door frames, and all was good. The premier went off without a hitch. The theater manager and I took pictures of the display and I wrote a story that described my part in the movie. We sent that into the national theater trade magazine and the Manhattan Kansas theater won a marketing award for the best local promotion of a movie.

As for of the highlights of the movie was seeing those six police cars coming over the hill at night with the lights and siren blaring full blast.  I could not have asked for a better testimonial for my 6-volt alternators. They clearly did the job and put an end to dead batteries and dim headlights.

I explained in the lobby display that I invented a 6-volt alternator and that my alternator will fix the common problems of hard starting and dim headlights that are commonly associated with antique vehicles. When I explained that to the movie patrons before the movie, most had kind of a glazed look on their face and it was clear they had no idea what I was talking about.

After the movie it was a different story. When those same movie patrons saw my 6-volt alternators in action it was an "aahaw" moment and they finally connected the dots. Many of those same patrons stopped by after the movie to look at the Model A a little closer, and ask more questions, as they now understood what my alternator did. Mission accomplished!

A Real Life Sized Antique Car In A Movie Theatre Draws A Lot Of Attention

The locals had no idea I worked on cars for the movie studios. This being my fourth such project it was time to educate the locals and have a little fun. Hopefully by looking at these pictures you can understand what is was like to put a full sized antique car in a movie theater.

Taking The Doors And Hardware Off Again To Get The Car Out

Yes It's Close... Go Slow....!!

This Is What He Was Looking At...

We Made It...That Was Fun

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About Me

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Since 1987, Fifth Avenue owner, Randy Rundle, has been making antique, classic and special interest vehicles more reliable and fun to drive.