April 1 Weekly Open Thread: Don't Open That Door!
We've all seen it played over and over in hundreds of movies and TV shows: The hero or heroine is trying to escape from the bad guy, monster, zombie, alien, TV critic, etc. They rush to a car -- either theirs or any random car sitting nearby which miraculously almost always has the key left in the ignition -- and start it up. . . .only to find it won't start! After thumping the steering wheel and looking at the approaching fiend a couple of times, the car miraculously starts just as the bad guy reaches it! Saved! (loud clip, btw)
I'm not entirely certain when this particular cliché got started. Some have argued that it all began with Double Indemnity when the director, after his personal car didn't start on the set, decided that a little more drama was required and had the actors pretend to have difficulty starting the car a couple of times before really turning it over for real and speeding away. This made sense to me growing up because, let's face it, anyone over the age of 30 or so remembers when cars quite often did have trouble starting. This scenario has gradually changed as cars have become far more reliable and the idea of, say, a Honda not starting up is kind of unthinkable.
I wonder what they did before cars. Did they jump on a horse and it would refuse to go anywhere for a few seconds?
There are several other auto-related clichés, of course, such as their proclivity to explode on contact, but this one stuck out to me as it seems to reflect on real-world changes in car manufacturing. What other car themed cliches have changed over time? As always, use this to discuss anything else car-related.