Hey kids! It's time for another one of those 50s corporate-sponsored educational comics! And that means we all get to play the fun game of spotting the things that were totally awful, and the things that were probably good ideas that we should have kept on doing. Can you tell the difference?
Yes, it's the story of Tommy, the greatest car thief in the whole US of A. Why, he could grab those car keys out of anyone's hands and before you could say "stop thief", he'd be zooming off to the chop shop to collect his $50. No? No, this is a driver's ed comic sponsored by B.F. Goodrich Tires? Darn. Let's join Tommy and his family enjoying some quality time down at the auto races. WHAT? WHAT WAS THAT? AUTO RACES ARE LOUD? YES THANK YOU I'D LIKE SOME.
Skip Morgan drives with his head as well as his hands! That makes for a crazy lookin' steering wheel, but results are what count in stock car racing, young man.
Wow, Tommy's dad knows Skip Morgan! Suddenly Tommy's dad seems about a million times cooler and more awesome!
"Maybe you'd like to look at my racing car. I call her "Whizzer" because... well... you get into those long marathon races, and you can't really stop to, you know, visit the facilities, and so sometimes you just have to answer the call of nature right there in the... just kiddin'. It's called that because it goes real fast, okay? Dang, you're gullible, kid."
Their family ride home is interrupted by the joyriding antics of a carload of "teen-a-cide" bound teeners headed straight for the graveyard - or a paddling! Is it time for Dad to start spouting off statistics on teenage auto accident rates? It is!
Jeez, Dad, using the AAA to score points in your family bickering. This family doesn't need driver training, it needs marital counseling!
It's that confusing time that comes in every teen's life when he overhears his parents discussing auto insurance rates.
What with all these cars and roads and new suburbs and the automobile becoming a vital part of American life, seems to Mom that the schools ought to be teaching driver's ed! Why that might cut accidents in half! But you know how hard it is to get people to DO things. And then once they're doing them, it's hard to get them to KEEP doing them. But that's another story.
Leave it to Mom to come up with the solution - get Skip 'Speed Racer' Morgan to teach Tommy how to drive like a maniac for fun and profit!! No, wait, that came out wrong.
The next day our cast of characters are all assembled in front of Dad's B.F. Goodrich station. Is this the same B.F. Goodrich station - the same Tommy, even - from our last tire-sponsored educational comic? It's hard to tell. One thing's for sure. Tires.
Oh boy! Wait til the gang hears I took driving lessons from racing champ Skip Morgan, who told me to drive like a sleepy grandma! They'll flip out!
You're not going to let him get away with that? You're not going to chase him down, force him off the road, beat him savagely with a tire tool, spend the next thirty days in the clink until your lawyer can weasel you out, and spend the rest of your career trying to live down that one moment you let that ever-present rage inside you boil over into primal, unstoppable violence? Well, okay, I suppose.
"Most accidents are caused by bad drivers - like this COMPLETE JACKASS SPEEDING THROUGH A RED LIGHT." Now THAT'S a tire-tool beating we can all get behind. However, remember car manufacturers are making new cars the safest and sturdiest in history, building in more safety factors like more powerful motors! Now, if you want things like crumple zones, safety glass, air bags, and standard seat belts, you'll have to wait twenty or thirty years and twenty or thirty class-action lawsuits.
Uh-oh, we've hit a stretch of bad road. If only we had a president in the White House who would spearhead some sort of interstate superhighway construction program!
It's my understanding that people are sending pleading little notes and making plaintive phone calls, trying to get the road people to build more roads. Here's a tip: try paying them 25 billion dollars, that might get you some road action there, buddy.
Skip Morgan has some interesting films about motoring he'd like to show Tommy. In the first one we see how the motorcade slows down to make the left turn towards the triple underpass, just before the shots ring out in Dealey Plaza.
Here Tommy learns how to diplomatically call attention to his mother's deficiencies in parallel parking. Don't sweat it Tommy. EVERYBODY SUCKS AT PARALLEL PARKING. That's just how it is.
You're fine with the mechanical aspects of driving, Tommy, but you need to learn to look out for the other fellow and allow him - or her - to careen wildly at varying rates of speed across several lanes, driving like a drunken idiot or someone having a seizure of some kind. It's called "sportsmanship" and you must have it! Now: another film.
I don't have anything funny to say about this sequence; this is actually good driving advice. Who says you can't learn anything from educational comics?
By the way did I mention that B.F. GOODRICH LIFE-SAVER TUBELESS TIRES can't be beat? I did? Let's talk more about tires tomorrow!
Remember brakes stop your wheels, but tires - which are attached to your wheels, which are controlled by your brakes - stop your car! So both things I said are true and interconnected and why am I even bringing this up except to keep you thinking about tires! B.F. Goodrich tires to be precise!
Wow that's some good tire saving advice there, "don't drive over sharp rocks". Gee thanks. What's next, "Don't shoot handguns at your tires?" "Don't set your tires on fire?" "Keep tires away from acid and/or molten lava?"
Now there's a shock, Dad, who owns a B.F. Goodrich station, using B.F. Goodrich tires on his own car. What did you expect, Toyo? Firestone? Michelin?
And while Tommy's been watching movies and getting lectured about tires, Mom's been making some phone call civic duty action progress and it looks like Sis will be able to learn Driver's Ed in high school, rather than being tutored privately by a hunky race-car driver! Unless that's what she wants, of course. And I think that is what she wants, judging by her expression. That's the most excited I've ever seen anyone get over Driver's Ed.
All right young man, remember, I won't ask you do to anything that's against the law. Unless I do, in which case I'm deliberately trying to trick you up! Or maybe I'm a bank robber who stole this uniform as part of an elaborate scheme and you're now my accessory! Now shut up and drive!
Well, it looks like all the kids will be getting expert driving instruction in high school, except for Tommy here, who now begins to worry if his ad hoc casual driving education won't be up to the standard his fellow teens will be getting, as bored Miss Whoever shows them "Signal 30" three days a week!
Do they still show the bloody-gory highway safety films in high school Driver's Ed classes? Do they still have high school Driver's Ed classes, or have budget cuts eliminated them entirely? Should all our teens be seeking out stock-car drivers for private lessons? Say, where is our hero Skip Morgan anyways?
Why Skip is right here and he has home movies he shot of Tommy without Tommy's knowledge or permission! Kinda creeped out, aren't you Tommy!
Gosh, there I am driving in my driving test! And there I am buying reefer from Eddie down on the corner in front of the drugstore! And there's me and Cindy getting high behind the filling station! How much did you say you wanted for these films, Skip?
And here's where Tommy correctly let the car on the right have the right of way at an intersection. That's IF both cars stopped at the same time, of course. Otherwise, the auto that stopped first has the right of way. However, if both drivers are in a festive mood, a charming, hesitant little stop-start-stop dance may be performed until both parties are either pleasantly amused, or exasperated beyond belief. We can see this festive mood expressed here by the whimsical hand motions of Sis and Skip, combining their love of safe motoring with their love of modern dance.
And still Tommy wonders. WHERE THE HELL IS MY LICENSE?
Ya-Hoo! Tommy's a legal licensed driver and can now drive by himself solo anywhere he wants to go by himself!! Or he can pile Mom and Dad and Sis and Skip into the car and they can go around the block three times. Wheeeeeeeeeeeee. All across America teens are learning the rules of the road and setting out onto America's endless highways and byways, and B.F. GOODRICH is there to help with the tires that make it all happen. Happy motoring on the highways of travel AND the broader highways of American life, 24 lanes in both directions, no stopping until we run out of oil! Which will never happen! Tires!
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