I have the TV on the History Channel. They're playing "The Cars That Made America". According to the narrator, when Henry Ford learned that it was said, "Half the babies in America were conceived in the back seat of a Ford [Model T]" he was offended and ordered the back seat areas reduced in sized to discourage such goings on.
Is that true?
I question the veracity of this and other statements in the program. For instance, they said that Henry never drank alcohol and never "caroused". I suppose the no drinking comment is accurate, but it seems they don't know about Evangeline.
There's a Baptist liberal arts college here in the Twin Cities that forbids its students to have sex while standing up because it might lead to dancing…..
I think You have the story reversed.Another story out there is that A Catholic Mayor had the back door of Bar's locked at Night so all patrons had to come in the front door.
It's a very old joke. That's why it's "reversed."
Speaking of old jokes,that program is becoming nothing more than a joke!! With 3,247 experts giving their slants on who what how and when one would think they could at least get the cars in the right order!! It's not Chocolate!!!!!!!! Bud.
I also watched that program and there were a lot of "wrongs" that I saw. They didn't even use the correct era cars for the show.
There's so much bunk in that series I'm even surprised they spelled peoples names correctly. It's often done and unless you're "in" you'd never know. Who recalls the Henry Ford/Cliff Robertson TV Bio? HF brings his first engine home & runs it in the kitchen. It has a quite obvious Briggs & Stratton flywheel on it. (and, no, Cohan/Cagney's wife was not named Mary. Changed to add drama. Cohan even saw the pic before he died & approved it. It's done every where).
To a creative person, the temptation to take artistic license with a film and thus "improve" it, is difficult to resist. -From a non-creative historian concerned with a high degree of accuracy, the result is often dry, dull and tedious. -Whenever a movie is created, dialogue absolutely must be invented, else all you'd have is script consisting of a relatively short list of direct quotes. -Come up with a workable script and someone is sure to object, "Henry never said such a thing!" -And so, one necessarily deals with shades of gray and we, who are familiar with the lore of the Model T Ford, will seldom be satisfied with the end result, nor are we likely to completely agree with one another.
True, some inaccuracies are black & white in nature and you shouldn't see a 1928 Model A posing as a 1927 Model T. -But deadlines, actors' schedules and economics being what they are, sometimes you just have to make do with the props at hand, unless you're willing to do things like pay union workers to stand around for days, waiting for every piece of the puzzle to come together perfectly. -True, there are often glaring, obvious mistakes which could be easily avoided if only the proper consultant were at hand to correct the director; but will the director care more about completing the project on time and on budget than whether a car should be painted red or black, or whether it should have gas or electric lamps?
All things considered, I thought the Cliff Robertson version of the Henry Ford story was pretty good. -Sure, there were some genuine clams sprinkled here and there along the story, but I think the effort pretty much captured what the man was about. -I don't think anybody was pretending the piece was a documentary.
In one of The History Channel's features, a friend of mine "raced" his 1913 White (with the radiator name-plate temporarily removed) against a 1909 Alco to reenact Henry Ford's famous race against Alexander Winton, which took place in 1901. -The correct cars were not available and this not being a Steven Spielberg production, computer-generated imagery wasn't in the budget.
My friend, the proud owner of a magnificent, Dennis Gage-type handlebar mustache, wore a cowboy-outlaw bandana over his lower face... and the television audience was expected to make the mental leap that this was because Mr. Ford didn't want to inhale a lot of road dust. -Of course, this was really only because Henry didn't have a Yosemite-Sam mustache. -On a budget, there's only so much one can do (and my friend sure wasn't about to shave off his cookie-duster for free). -You can watch the video clip here (at the 2:50 point):
Kind of an excuse to lie. Like I said if you're not in you're out as far as facts go. We'll just re-write it and most will be none the wiser. Plus it will become fact in the majority of watchers conscienceness. Like stone's JFK, "they'll buy what I sell them".
We had the privilege of showing a number of T's at and assisted living / old age home last year. True story, an elderly lady elbowed me and said " I was deflowered in a back seat just like that" She was referring to a Touring T. Kids say the darndest things LOL
I liked the "Chevy" hotrod. Sure looked a lot like a '55(?) Merc. That's getting pretty sad. Dave
While there were some errors that were apparent to us, I think, for the most part, they essentially got it right. I like the fact that it educated and exposed a lot of people, for the first time, to a very important chapter in American history and how the development of the Model T by Henry Ford had such a great influence on society. I was especially interested in the politics of FMC and the unnatural and harmful influence Harry Bennett had on Henry Ford to the detriment of Edsel. From what I have read, they got that right too. If the docudrama served to attract just one person to our hobby, it was worth it. Jim Patrick
I think my favorite was the segment on the introduction of the modern 1949 Ford. More modern than they intended, I suspect, since it was a '56 they showed in the segment.
I agree with Bob Coiro. Making a film is a business and filmmakers are very cost conscious. A great example of this is STAR TREK. The transporter was supposed to be a machine on the idea of the British series DR WHO. It was repeatedly delayed in being delivered. Finally in desperation, Gene Roddenberry "invented" the nonexistent transporter that required no props. Ya do watcha have to do.
Did anyone spot the engine with the magneto oiler on it?
The documentary footage is tolerable but the reenacted drama is just painful and poorly done-it is like watching very bad reality TV, manufactured artificial drama.
At the very least, even with bad acting and inaccuracies, it might be sparking interest within a viewer to want to own a Model T down the road. And that is a good thing.
With regard to Star Trek and science fiction...
The original Superman radio adventure series was first broadcast back in 1940 and the actor who voiced the man of steel was Bud Collier. -Now, here's the interesting part:
The show was a resounding success on-air, but Bud Collier was due for a vacation. -In order to keep the show running in his absence, the writers invented kryptonite. -While Collier was away, Superman suffered under the effects of the radioactive Kryptonian mineral to the point where he barely had the strength to moan and groan... and that pitiful vocal dialogue was voiced by a different actor. -Like Star Trek's transporter, kryptonite came into existence as nothing more than a practical, economical means to a commercial broadcast end.
Of course, as it turned out, kryptonite, quite by accident, became an important part of the Superman legend. -Now that Superman had an "Achilles' heel," his character became much more interesting.
(Sorry about my going on an off-topic tangent)
Well said, Ed. Even with the minor flaws I saw and that have been pointed out here, such as using the incorrect car for a given time, which most people do not notice, they got the general history right, which is the most important thing.
The development of the Model T, the personality and brilliance of Edsel and the squandering of that brilliance, the stubbornness of Henry, the difficult and heart breaking father/son relationship between Henry and Edsel and the harmful influence that Harry Bennett had on the old man and the Company in general, etc. Jim Patrick
What a crock some of this was!!!!!!! One talking head say's the model T never changed and you could not tell a 1910 model T from a 1918!!!!!! The next talking head say's Edsel looked at some prints and saw the Model A needed larger valves and just like that the engine went from 20 hp to 40.What a crock!!!!!!! If one studys the Model A engine you will see they both are flatheads,and both run on gas!!If one were to read pages 146-148 of Tin Lizzie by Stern they would see what the some of the changes were and who made the 40 hp!!!!!!!!!! Will spreading this much BS actually help our hoby?? Bud in Wheeler,Mi.
Lighten up. You're missing the forest for the trees (or even the leaves of the trees). Unimportant minor technical details that the majority of people have no idea about, do not trump the important historical details they got right in order to tell the story to those that had never heard it. Whether Edsel's valve suggestion happened or not, the story served the important purpose of illustrating Edsel's mechanical brilliance and that his father needed him more than he could admit. Jim Patrick
A couple of facts i thought were missing was while other auto makes were changing and re tooling every 2/3/4 years Henry avoided much of this expense and made vast amounts of money! The next thing is GM out selling Ford in 1927.After the last T in May 1927 Ford dealers had little to sell before 1928! If in only my mind i found little use in so much of the program being devoted to Henry and Edsel's trouble! My name is at the top of my post,so if i offend you please avoid them!!!!
These type of documentaries are not meant to be detailed 100% factual information about the cars and the people who built them.
Even if the attempt was made to have detailed information there would be those who would disagree about the content. You just can't please everybody and you never will.
The Cars that made America is a general history of the era when America was in the midst of a revolution in personal transportation and the cars that came from that. It achieved just that. No more no less.
I'm glad they are at least having a show for the general public that brings The Model T again to the average folks that are showing some interest in watching the show.
Even without motion picture news reels (since they did not exist), Ken Burns did a great job on The Civil War, told through Matthew Brady photos, period music, actors reading eye witness accounts, letters written home by the soldiers and interviews of historians such as Shelby Foote.
I wish Ken Burns would make such a documentary on Henry Ford. He does such a thorough job in researching his subject, I’m sure it would be accurate and compelling, told not with actors, but with the actual people with the help of news reels, photos, period music, the correct cars for the period, eye witness accounts or actors reading eyewitness accounts, and historical accounts told by knowledgeable historians. Jim Patrick
Ken Burns does not alter the facts (flat out lie) to make a story more interesting. Instead of OK ing it we should wonder why it's done. Make it more interesting? To who and why? There's no point,especially when just telling the story, to makeup facts. As I said before the average talking chimp takes stone's JFK as fact and it's wrong.
Some Ford dealers took money down on the new Ford. Others offered good deal on repair work. Some sold other makes on the side. Most survived while waitingfor the Mod.el A.
Well I came away from the show knowing that the Model T ford was the invention of the Dodge Brothers. As history shows show, it is all bunk.
Mass market TV documentaries are not for dedicated students of the subject. Instead look at them as light, fluffy gateway drugs for the uninitiated.
I myself watch a lot of varied documentaries online and the ones that catch my interest always lead to further reading on the subject, where the real knowledge comes from.
My favorite part was when Henry and Harry Bennett returned from some trip. During Henry's absence, Edsel and a team developed a prototype for a new and improved model T. As Henry goes on a rampage you see this new prototype in the background, partially shrouded in canvas. When you look closely, you can see this prototype is actually a Curved Dash Oldsmobile. Either Henry was crazed at the thought of Edsel taking the car back 20 years, or the people that made the TV program were cheap and reckless. It's only entertainment.
Sir,If you care to read pages 140-143 of Tin Lizzie by Stern you would find the who was behind the new car and what happned from George Brown who was there! I think Edsel was still too young to be involved as he is not mentioned.Bud.
Hi Kenneth (Bud?), No, you did not offend me and I apologize if I gave you that impression and hope I did not offend you. Your most recent post illustrates to me why I liked the program and you didn’t. You are obviously a dedicated and well read student on the subject and know much more about it than I do, so you are naturally more critical of the many inaccuracies there are. I, on the other hand, am not nearly so knowledgeable as you, so the inaccuracies are not so apparent, allowing me more latitude to enjoy it. I guess the old adage ’’ignorance is bliss’’, applies to me. . Jim Patrick
Sir Nope we are good and you think and i think.Your suggestion of a program with Ken Burns is spot on! Ford in about 1950 realized many of those who worked with Henry and built the company would be lost to time,so they made a huge study of people and the way they saw it happen! This is all on paper,film,and recordings! The history channel could have used this instead they decided to instead provide mostly BS! To tell the truth i really do not know how well Henry and Edsel got along,But Henry was no saint! I need to stop bitchen about it but they could have done much better!!!!!! Bud.
I sent an e-mail to Ken Burns today with the suggestion of making a documentary on “Ford”, as only he can. The Forum would be a great source of knowledge for him. It would be a worthy undertaking. I would sure like to see those 1950 eyewitness interviews organized and made into a documentary. Jim Patrick
Thanks Bob, I didn't know that. You are right - Superman's weakness made the program much more interesting.