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Car 54, Where Are You? (TV Series 1961–1963) Poster

(1961–1963)

Trivia

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The theme song to the show: "There's a hold-up in the Bronx, Brooklyn's broken out in fights / There's a traffic jam in Harlem that's backed up to Jackson Heights / There's a scout troop short a child, Khrushchev's due at Idlewild! / Car 54 where are you?"
For the black-and-white location shots, the green parts of the normally black, white, and green patrol cars were painted red so as not to confuse the local populace.
NBC wanted to buy part ownership of the show in exchange for it being renewed for a third season. Creator Nat Hiken refused and the show's sponsor, Proctor and Gamble, tried to take the show to CBS, but the network had no room on its schedule. Hiken had become burnt out on the show due to its single camera set-up, which required more time. He also had constant problems with Joe E. Ross, who had trouble remembering his lines. Hiken gladly ended the show and never worked on another series again.
William Faulkner's favorite TV show. He reportedly would visit a friend's house on Saturday nights to watch it.
Al Lewis joined the cast as Officer Leo Schnauser beginning with the 13th episode of season 1. Prior to that he appeared in episode 7, Car 54, Where Are You?: The Paint Job (1961), playing Al, the owner of Al's Garage where he would repair and repaint stolen cars for a car theft ring.
The large circular object on the dashboard between the two officers is an auxiliary fan, in the days before cars had air conditioning.
Idlewild was the original name of the airport in New York City, before it was changed to John F. Kennedy International.
The show was filmed at the Biograph Studios in the Bronx, New York. The studio was originally built in 1912 by American Mutoscope & Biograph, which is still in existence today. The Biograph studio facilities were sold several times through the years, until it burned down in 1980.
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Real-life NYPD squad cars of the period had white roofs and trunk lids and green bodies, with all or parts of the fenders painted black. The cars on the black and white TV series seem to follow this striping design except for the black fenders.
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Joe E. Ross was on a track, "The OO OO Bossa Nova", on the Milt Jackson album "Jazz and Samba". He contributed the "OO OO"--his "catch phrase" on this series.
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Gerald Hiken, who had the recurring role of Katz the butcher, was a cousin of series creator Nat Hiken.
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Capt. Block's first name was Paul in early episodes; thereafter it was changed to Martin.
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Paul Reed always got an acting credit in the second season, even for those episodes in which his character, Capt. Block, did not appear.
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Al Lewis and Fred Gwynne would go on to star together in The Munsters (1964).
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The sponsor intro after the opening credits ("Tonight's episode is brought to you by . . . ") is spoken by Fred Gwynne.
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The real-life husband of Beatrice Pons had the same last name as the actor who played her on-screen, two-comedy-series TV husband. Pons was married to David Ross from 1937 until his death in 1991. She and Joe E. Ross played husband and wife on The Phil Silvers Show (1955) (MSgt. Rupert Ritzik and Emma Ritzik) and Car 54, Where Are You? (1961) (Officer Gunther Toody and Lucille Toody).
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The round object on the dashboard of Car 54 was a certified speedometer, used in all NYC police cars in those days, which were certified by the Police Department at least annually. These were used in lieu of the speedometer that came with cars, and whose reading were used in speeding cases in Traffic Court.
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Spoilers 

The trivia item below may give away important plot points.

Al Lewis first appears in Car 54, Where Are You?: I Won't Go (1961) as Al Spencer; a city employee trying to evict an old woman from a condemned building.
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See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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