'TWO LANE BLACKTOP'
The parking lot of the DFW Airport Marriott will be turned into a DRIVE
IN MOVIE THEATER on Saturday Night May 26th where we will take you back to
the early 70's when we will be showing the
classic 'road movie' Two Lane Blacktop. This
movie has become legendary for it's depiction of a cross country race
(much along the old Route 66) involving a 1970 GTO driven by Warren
Oates and a 1955 Chevy with singer/songwriter James Taylor behind the wheel.
The movie is stark and has minimal dialogue, and follows the '55 Chevy
that has Beach Boys drummer Dennis Wilson as 'The Mechanic' as they live
on the road in the Southwest going from town to town making their money by challenging
locals to impromptu street races. They encounter the GTO along the
way and a cross country race is suggested to Washington DC for 'pink
slips', where the winner gets the title of the opponents car.
Released in July of 1971, we will be showing Two Lane in 2018
on a huge 36' screen with a 5000 watt stereo system under the Texas
stars right there in the parking lot of the host hotel!
Free to all registered participants of Lone Star '36'!
Two Lane Blacktop
stoops to the hippy v. redneck politics of Easy
and it is a film that doesn’t do drugs—who needs such things
with the euphoria of cars, the road, and sweaters? The race they
engage in is supposed to be headed for D.C., but no one believes
they’ll get that far. Somewhere in Tennessee the Driver and the
Mechanic pick up a challenge with a side bet and the picture
ends—not with that race or a conclusion—but with the film of
Driver’s face jamming in the gate of the projector and beginning
to burn. You can say that’s an easy way out, but I think it’s
true to the harsh, deadpan poetics of this rare movie. - David
Thomson, New Republic
The strange and sometimes pathetic world of barnstorming,
hustling street-racing is explored with feeling by
director-editor Monte Hellman. - Variety
Oates gives a compelling performance and
musicians Taylor and Wilson supply the right degree of drifter
cool. - Philippa Hawker, The Age
This is not a film about narrative but loneliness
and life on the road, which it captures with a mysterious
brilliance. - Damon Wise, Empire Magazine
Their universe is one that's familiar in recent American films
It consists of the miscellaneous establishments thrown up along
the sides of the road to support life: motels, gas stations,
hamburger stands. The road itself has a real identity in
"Two-Lane Blacktop," as if it were a place to live and not just
a way to move. There may be homes and gardens hidden behind
those interstate terraces, but for the four people in this movie
-- the road, as the saying goes, is home. - Roger Ebert, Chicago
The '55 Chevy
is the most recognizable car from the movie, and the baddest
- we know
Here is a little background on one of the most famous '55 Chevys
There were three ‘55 150 model Chevy’s used in the film built by
Richard Ruth at his shop in North Hollywood, California for
Universal Studios. A stunt car, a car for exterior shots
and a car for interior shots. Power for the main car came
from a 427 big block chevy with aluminum heads, Weiand tunnel
ram intake manifold with two Holley four barrel carbs, through a
rock crusher M-22 Muncie 4 speed and Olds 4:88 rear end and cost
about $10,000 to produce. A fiberglass flip front end,
fiberglass doors and fiberglass trunk lid lightened the '55 for
racing. When production of the movie ended, one of the
'55's (the one used for interior shots) was sold to a studio
mechanic who removed the engine and put it in his boat. His
son dropped a 454 in the '55 and used it for a daily driver car
for school. The car passed through several hands before
being 'rescued' in Canada in 2000 by Two Lane Historian Walt
Bailey. Richard Ruth authenticated the '55 and a
combination restoration and preservation effort took place.
The car was returned to it's weathered primer gray appearance
and was sold in 2015 at the
Barrett Jackson Scottsdale Collector Car Auction. The other two '55's
were later used in the filming of American Graffiti. Of
these two, the stunt car was destroyed and later sold for scrap
and the other now black '55 survived.
TRIVIA FROM TWO LANE BLACKTOP
The 3 '55 Chevys showed up for the filming painted powder blue, but the
studio had them changed to gray primer to fit the persona of the racers
in the movie.
- The budget for Two Lane
Blacktop was $875,000, with filming starting on August 13th, 1970 in Los
Angeles and lasted for eight weeks with a crew of 30, 3 '55 Chevys and 2
- A notable quote from the movie was when James Taylor (The Driver) is
speaking to Warren Oates (GTO) "I don't believe I've seen you.
'Course there's lots o' cars on the road like yours, they all get to
lookin' the same. The perform about the same too ... "
- Most of the filming was conducted on sections of the old Route 66.
featured in the film covers many genres, including rock, folk, blues,
country, bluegrass and R&B. Stars and musicians James Taylor and
Dennis Wilson did not contribute any music. However there are some
notable tracks featured including 'Moonlight Drive' by The Doors, 'Stealiln'
by Arlo Guthrie, the orginal version of 'Me & Bobbie McGee' by the
song's author Kris Kristofferson and a song titled 'A Truckload Of Art'
written and performed by Terry Allen which briefly can be heard coming
out of the GTO.
- Near the end, with the racers
needing money, they make a stop in Memphis at the now closed Lakeland
International Raceway where vintage clips of period drag racing are
captured as part of the movie.
- in 2009, James Taylor was
reunited with the surviving Two Lane '55 that was used for interior
shots, taking place at Boston concert after which Taylor introduced and
screened 'Two Lane Blacktop' for the audience.
- in 2012, the film was
selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by
the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or
- This is the only time James Taylor acted in a movie, apart from cameos
as himself. He is the only main character still alive today.
- Kris Kristofferson was the first choice for the role of "The
Driver" played by James Taylor.
- Laurie Bird debuted in Two Lane, and would only star in two more films
including Cockfighter (1974) and Annie Hall (1977) before taking her own
life in New York in 1979.
- A drummer in real life for
the Beach Boys, Dennis Wilson gave his one and only acting performance
in Two Lane. He would die in a accidental drowning on December
28th, 1983 in Marina del Rey, California.
- In one of the notable lines of the movie, while trying to get a street
race at the local hangout, the local hot rod driver says "Let's Make It
50" and James Taylor playing 'The Driver' responds "Make it three
yards Mother#$%@# and we'll have an auto - MO - bile race"
- Warren Oates who played GTO, was never destined to be a traditional
leading man, but remained an in demand character player in Hollywood up
until his sudden death from a heart attack on April 3, 1982 at age 53.