Wednesday, March 9, 2011

HOT WHEELS, CHEMOSPHERES & CHROMOITES


by David J. Schow

Future cars!  “The Duplicate Man” is the only Outer Limits to feature them, since the space-sled got cut out of “The Man Who Was Never Born.”

First up is Henderson James’ stylin’ set of wheels, with not one, but two phones on the dashboard.  The car is a landmark George Barris custom dubbed the 1963 Buick “Villa Riviera,” originally built for use in the movie For Those Who Think Young with Frank Sinatra.  Wildcat engine, half-landau top conversion, brushed stainless steel trim, extended hood, fenders, and fins … and the taillights from a Nash Rambler, installed upside-down.  In its original white paintjob, it was also featured in an episode of Perry Mason.

Then it was repainted, according to the book Barris Kustoms of the 1960s (MBI Publishing, 2002), with “35 coats of translucent Cherry with Fire Frost Pearl, and given a Congo Pearl white alligator-hide vinyl top.”  The interior featured white leather trimmed with walnut panels, a four-speaker stereo music system, a tiny (removable) Sony television, and a two-line phone hookup with Candy Red and White Pearl headpieces.  (Both these photos are from the book, which also features the Villa Riviera on the cover.)

The briefly-seen police vehicle is a Ford Mercury concept car from 1955, called the D-528.  An abundance of background on it can be found here.


Information on the Chemosphere House (designed by world-famous architect John Lautner) can be found all over the internet.  Start here.


As previously discovered (or realized) on this very site, the “Imwarf” in the space zoo is a clever retrofit of the top half of the Chromoite from “The Mice.”  Here’s Wah Chang’s sketch of it, spotted hanging in the Project Unlimited shop in 1964 by Bob Burns.



And those Megasoid claws?  Recycled from the Calco Galaxy aliens in “Fun and Games.”

7 comments:

  1. Great info, David J!

    I can't decide if the car stuff is more neat-o, boss, bitchin' or outta sight!

    This whole involvement on the WACT site has made me feel younger than I would have admitted to feeling back then... Which is...a time paradox I'm not comfortable thinking about...

    um...what year is this?

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  2. Wow David! Generally, I'm OK with newer cars (the Nissan Maxima is my favourite of all time, for lots of absolutely silly reasons), but if I could have a Buick "Villa Riviera" I'd be totally groovin' (how's that Ted?). I didn't get up to the Chemosphere House while in L.A. I kind of regret it, as The Duplicate Man is one of my all-time favourites, but perhaps next time.

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  3. Really ginchy, JimBar.

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  4. Um, For Those Who Think Young had Nancy, not Frank.

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  5. Nancy, to be sure. I was quoting the book in a hurry.

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  6. Paging Larry Edmund's employees . . . . please pick up the white courtesy phone.

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  7. Bill Ryan was the last known owner of this car (which was housed in Connecticut), who passed away in 2009.

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