few owners who didn't shy at driving for two hours to get there. In fact, I had done it so many times it now felt like no big deal at all. However, other car owners did not feel the same way. They worried about overheating and breaking down, possibly for good reasons.
But I refused to give up and in the end was able to pull it off with the help of Providence, which once again seemed to provide me with just what I needed, just when I needed it.
After watching many hours of home filmed footage of SCTA 50's meets, I had a good idea of what I wanted to depict. I set out on a real hunt for some of the rare articles I would need to really bring the scene to life: Such as the SCTA timing tower, the SCTA black board, and of course the famous "Crocker Timer" machine. Believe me when I say this: Finding the later was no picnic. The SCTA itself didn't have any left and neither did any of the museums I was referred to. But by a miracle of God, I did finally locate one. Complete, with all three clocks!!! So imagine the surprise and excitement when I showed up at the SCTA meet last fall, hauling a Crocker Machine in the back of my truck!!! Everybody wanted to "gander" at it !!
Another item was the SCTA timing tower. I got lucky on that one, since it turned out that one of my closest SCTA friends still had one of the two towers sitting in his backyard! My task was to then film it in such a way that it could be later inserted into the scene. The Tower actually never left the backyard as it was not moveable.
Another item was the timing board. This one we built from scratch to match the original SCTA timing board down to the smallest details . Special thanks To Jerry Mull for volunteering to build it. Special thanks to Jim Miller for then helping me fill it with accurate information. Although the shot only lasts a mere few seconds, if you were to pause it and really looked at all the classes and times recorded on it that day, you would find that they were derived from the SCTA book of records for that year. It was very important to me that all the information on that board be 100% accurate. I took the scene very seriously. We bumped Johnny's time up a bit, cause he is after all the hero and legend !
Finding cars to stage the scene was extremely difficult. We had only a very limited number. Special Thanks to the L.A Reelers for landing their car club nostalgia roadsters for the scene and to all the other impromptu participants who joined the shoot at the very last minute. You guys saved the day!
The music I picked as well the way I shot the scene give you a "you were right there, amidst them" feel that I absolutely love. You will feel like you are back in the fifties, amidst the young hotrodders, waking up next to their fast machines and then getting up to get their cars ready to do their run, as the sun rises over the dry lake. You will see them push roadsters and also see Johnny do a quick run across the lake, and pass the Crocker Timer Machine, breaking his own record. His time is then recorded on the black board. The scene ends with a very cool Coca Cola moment.
Getting special clearance from Coca Cola is a very difficult thing as they are very picky about who they associate their names with, and for the little no budget indie filmmaker it is usually impossible. They requested a lot of material to be submitted, including the entire script for their review! Coca Cola remains one of the two largest brands and hardest to get as far as films go. Well, another miracle happened and they must have fallen in love with the script and the concept of DEUCE OF SPADES because they did sign the release and allowed me to use their brand name and depict their product!! This was really a big deal. Let's face it, it is not a fifties movie if it doesn't have Coca Cola in it!! I was able to then show my hotrodders drinking Coca Cola at the end of a hot day of racing, which made for a lovely closing shot.
All in all one of my favorite car scenes in the film. I was truly honored to be able to resurrect the good ol' days of dry lake racing and hope that the scene and the film might inspire many to return to the dry lakes with their nostalgia cars and attend the SCTA monthly meets.
I look forward to seeing you there!