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Midweek Matinee: Screw Drivers of 1940

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Yet another film that could be summed up with “don’t drive like a jerk.” But this one introduces the “screw jay,” which proves that jaywalkers can be jerks, too.

All photos are frame grabs from video below.


At the risk of scaring you away, we’ll lead with what we dislike most: The gent on the left is primary narrator, Lew Lehr. You might recognize his name (or maybe confuse it with Bert Lahr, who played Zeke and the Cowardly Lion in the 1937 version of The Wizard of Oz), but assuming you’re of a certain age – our certain age – you’ll instantly recognize his face, and especially his voice. Which is why we also suggest turning the volume down as the narration adds little and is truly irritating.


Now, to what we like: Everything else. Despite the scratches, the movie-within-a-movie image quality is quite nice and numerous carspotting opportunities abound throughout.


Given that this was filmed primarily in Los Angeles, the street scenes, cityscapes and billboards are interesting.


Even the traffic signals are cool. What can we say?


Our main character, Mr. Screw Driver himself, causes vehicular mass hysteria in what appears to be a very nicely turned out California Yellow 1939 Pontiac DeLuxe Eight Cabriolet.


Downtown is gridlocked but what the heck is that car in the center of it all with its oval-and-slash-style grille? Beats us: please chime in with your best guesses.

Film is missing its last few seconds but we get the point.

Public domain archival footage courtesy of the Internet Moving Images Archive, in association with Prelinger Archives.