I was remembering my first car, and some adventures worth sharing. Then I realized that I had already written a blog post about this. So here it is, a repeat from November first, 2010:
I was a senior at Manual Arts High School when my father coaxed me into bying a Crosley automobile. You may know that Crosley made appliances like refrigerators and sewing machines, but I bet you did not know they made cars. Well I mean to tell you that it was small--tiny! It must have had some kind of sewing machine motor, and it looked like an oversized appliance of some sort. The windows were small enough that only a toddler could climb into the car (or out). The door handles were smaller than those used on a refrigerator. They could have been left overs from a tool box or a shed. Everything about this car seemed to say it was cheap and miniature. But it was a car, and more importantly it was my car.
At that time my father was a clerk in the Hollywood Post Office, and he had exposure to a lot of the craziness that was Hollywood in the old days. One advantage for me was the fact that he easily obtained tickets to popular radio shows. [Now you need to know that I am a very old guy, and in the old days many radio shows had live audiences for applause, laughter (none of that canned stuff), and sometimes for participation.] On the sidewalk of Hollywood Boulevard it was common to trade tickets with strangers for different radio shows. I traded a ticket to "Queen for A Day" for "House Party". House Party was the Art Linkletter show, and it was top notch. We saw experimental TV shows (which weren't very desireble because large cameras prevented the audience from seeing much of the action). The "Martin and Lewis Comedy Hour" was one of the premium tickets, and I saw a couple of those shows. Actually they taped this show in front of a live audience, but the tape was only an hour, so we usually were in the studio an hour and a half to get the useable portion and edit out the zany stuff that was adlibbed.
When I took some friends to see some radio shows, we didn't have any parking problems because of my tiny car. As long as I could get the nose of the car into a prospectrive parking place, we would simply lift the rear end and carry it over to the curb to complete the job.
In time things wore out on my Crosley, and one of the crucial things was the door handles. The pin that held the handle in place came loose and fell out on the passenger side of the vehicle. So to compensate we just borrowed the driver's handle to reach through the window and open the passenger door. We would "make do" in this fashion, promising to get it properly fixed some day. Well the inevitalbe happened one day. We were driving along Vine street when I heard something make a jingling sound. That little piece of music was actually my driver's side door handle bouncing in the street. I immediately recognized the sound and made a U-turn. Yep, there it was lying in the grove of the streetcar rail. Here we were, trapped in this tiny car seeing our only way out awaiting destruction when the next streetcar would come by. Perhaps the conductor would not see the door handle and I would be responsible for the derailing of the car! Well we were in Hollywood, where many strange things were seen every day. We called to a man walking by and asked him to retrieve the door handle. I don't know just how many strange people and things he had seen that day, but comparatively speaking this request was probably not the strangest. He retrieved it and we were saved!
When the clutch went out (of course it was a stick shift) we had to make do for that too. All we needed to do was push the car a little bit by hand, jump into the car and quickly slip it into first gear. After that I had to listen to the whine of the gear to estimate when it was right to shift into second and then third. It's amazing how little grinding there was and how efficient the shifting was without a clutch. I know, only you other old guys out there can understand about cars that have a clutch.
A new problem developed when football season was finished. The players had scheduled 7th period PE in order to play football. But when the schedule was over, these bruisers got out of school an hour early. They had a lot of fun looking for this tiny car, lifting it, and putting it between trees or on someone's lawn. When I got out of school I would have to go search for my little bug.