Sunday, June 12, 2016

Classic Telefilm

Shelley in a still for the telefilm Death Car on the Freeway, 1979

Shelley starred in her very first telefilm Death Car on the Freeway back in 1979. It was directed by stuntman-turned-director Hal Needham who also directed Smokey and the Bandit and later, The Cannonball Run. The film also starred - to name a few - George Hamilton, Peter Graves, Frank Gorshin, Barbara Rush, Dinah Shore, Abe Vigoda, Morgan Brittany and Hal Needham himself. It's one of the most impressive teleflicks to come out of that era. It has the right balance of action, drama and suspense; and it keeps viewers glued to the screen. It would be great if it were finally released on DVD. But the film can be seen with a fun commentary track made by the Trust Fund Challenge boys at:

Trust Fund Challenge #20: Death Car on the Freeway (1979)
(highlight the link, right click
and choose "Open Link in New Tab" option)

The Trust Fund Challenge boys version is very clear - all the facial expressions made by the characters can be clearly seen - making viewers appreciate it even more. But to correct a comment they made - Shelley did the telefilm way before she was cast as a Charlie's Angel, so it wasn't a planned move by the ABC network to push/promote Shelley's Angels casting. In fact, the film was one of the pieces viewed by the Angels producers when she was being considered for the part of Angel Tiffany Welles. So it was like the Farrah Fawcett poster of sorts. It was released (in this case, aired) at exactly the right time.

screen captures from the telemovie

The Trust Fund Challenge boys made a lot of funny comments during the course of the film; but in the end, they loved it. Death Car on the Freeway has stood the test of time and has taken its place as, truly, one of the all-time classics of television. Get a copy if you can. It's a film you're guaranteed to see over and over again.