The popular Sanford and Son portrayed the life of Fred G. Sanford and his son, Lamont, living in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles, California. Redd Foxx starred as Fred, while Demond Wilson played his son. Many loved the show was it was based on Steptoe and Son and All in the Family. This American sitcom was about the life of a widower and junk dealer and his son. The race-based attitudes in the show reflected the changing politics of the time. Sanford and Son lacked drama, but no one could forget the beat up Ford F-1 truck used on the show. This 1951 truck was crashed by the owner, an actual junk dealer, in 1997.
Perhaps the most famous police drama in history is Dragnet. Starting as an American radio series, it turned into a television and motion picture series. The show enacts the cases of Los Angeles police detective, Joe Friday, and his partners. Low-line Fords provided Friday with his ride. When the show returned as Dragnet 1967, Fords were still used, including a 1967 gold Fairlane sedan with pie-pan hubcaps and twin rear antennae. With 16 total seasons and 762 episodes, Dragnet can never be forgotten.
CHiPs was an American drama series about the everyday lives of two motorcycle police officers of the California Highway Patrol. This show is remembered got its extreme freeway pileups, flips, fires, and cars. Appearing on the show, Larry Wilcox, Officer Jonathan Baker, had a 1977 blue GMC pickup. Erik Estrada, Officer Francis Poncherello, owned a Pontiac Trans Am with ’71 Firebird trim plates. The show ran for over six seasons with one TV reunion movie in 1998.
A less popular T.V. sitcom was My Mother the Car. This show aired in 1965 and only lasted one season. Attorney David Crabtree, played by Jerry Van Dyke, purchases a 1928 Porter. This car actually turns out to be the reincarnation of his deceased mother, Gladys, voiced by Ann Sothern. She talks only to David through the car’s radio. He takes the car to a body shop for a restoration so that his family will accept the car. The rest of the series is about a fanatical collector, Captain Manzini, who tries to acquire the valuable automobile. The car used in the show was actually a 1925 or ’24 Ford Model T Touring that was originally customized by Norm Grabowski.
Known for their music, The Monkees were an American rock band that started their careers in 1965. The group was made up of Peter Tork, Micky Dolenz, Davy Jones, and Michael Nesmith. Many remember the music, but no one could forget the car. Regarded as the Monkeemobile, the Pontiac GTO was modified and built by Dean Jeffries. There were actually two identical 1966 convertibles. One was built for the show, “The Monkees”, the other was to tour the car-show circuit. The circuit car featured exaggerated proportions, a tall windscreen, a parachute, and third row seats. At the end of the show, the cars were offered back to Jeffries for $1,000 each however, he declined. The television car was in Puerto Rico as a hotel courtesy car until the hotel went out of business. It was then sold for $5,000 and is currently with a private car collector in Northern New Jersey. The other car was auctioned for $360,000 and now belongs to a private collector in Michigan.