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Studebakers as theatrical stage props?

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  • Studebakers as theatrical stage props?

    Elsewhere in the forum, there has been discussion of the recent live T.V. production of Grease (the broadway musical); especially the bullet nose Studebaker that made an appearance.

    This all reminded me of a more personal Studebaker/Grease connection.

    In June of 1983, our little town (Jefferson City, MO) staged a production of Grease. My older brother was in the cast, and the "Connor Boys" were responsible for building Greased Lightning. Since we were a Studebaker family, through-and-through, there was little doubt what we'd build.

    Talong a bit of artistic license, the end result looked a little like the love child of a '51 Champion and a '29 Ford roadster. The front end came from an actual '51 Studebaker. Maybe not the best choice when it came time to maneuver it. It was a bit wide...

    It had two, non-steerable, straight axles, so it had to be carefully pre-positioned so it wouldn't get caught on the legs (curtains) as we shoved it on and off stage.

    This prop was a lot of fun to build, but we didn't get a lot of shots of it. Here's the one picture I can get my hands on at the moment. It ain't the best, but it's better than nothing!
    Click image for larger version

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    So, do any of you have stories or pictures of similar Studes on stage?
    ~Matt Connor
    '59 Lark 2-door

  • #2
    Somewhere in Vern Edigers' Studebaker salvage yard in Halstead, KS there is a bulletnose the local high school used in Grease many years ago...
    The only difference between death and taxes is that death does not grow worse every time Congress convenes. - Will Rogers


    • #3
      I wonder about all those bullet-nose Studebakers that were used on the dance floors of the "Studebaker's" restaurant chain from the early eighties. I know a couple of them have come up for sale from time to time with specific mention they came from one of those restaurants.



      • #4
        When l was on the road selling for a local auto parts wholesaler, l called on the Harley-Davidson dealer in my city. The gentleman in charge of the service department was impressive - reminded me of actor Sam Elliott. What really got my attention, though, was a 4 foot square, straight-on rendition (in plaster-type material) of the front end of a blue '40 Commander/President, mounted high on the wall of the shop! You couldn't miss it! He was impressed with me because it knew what it was, but of course l had to ask him what the heck it was from and how come it was on the wall of a Harley dealership!!

        It turns out that in his spare time, he was involved with a local amateur theatre group, using his skills behind the stage, in this case, as a builder of props when they performed Arthur Miller's 1949 (yes l had to look it up) play, "Death of a Salesman". The play references the salesman's ownership of a Studebaker several times. Of course the service manager (l forget his name) took the prop with him after it was no longer needed and found a wonderful spot for it where lots of guys inquired about it.
        Last edited by STEWDI; 02-02-2016, 08:48 AM.
        Roger Hill

        60 Lark Vlll, hardtop, black/red, Power Kit, 3 spd. - "Juliette"
        61 Champ Deluxe, 6, black/red, o/d, long box. - "Jeri"
        Junior Wagon - "Junior"

        "In the end, dear undertaker,
        Ride me in a Studebaker"


        • #5
          Cool story about the plaster '40!
          ~Matt Connor
          '59 Lark 2-door