Channel 19 – December 20081

These classics, new to dvd, won’t help the driver shortage
The Criterion Collection (, which compiles whistles-and-bells DVDs for serious movie buffs, has released two classic trucker movies, neither of which ever will be used as a recruiting film.

Thieves’ Highway (1949; $39.95) is a fast-moving Hollywood B movie about “wildcat” owner-operators (Richard Conte and Millard Mitchell) who risk their lives to rush the season’s first apples to market, only to be cheated by a crooked wholesaler (Lee J. Cobb). Highlights include a spectacular runaway-truck sequence and a roadside tire change that leaves a hapless trucker pinned beneath his load, legs kicking as four-wheelers drive past, oblivious.

Even worse off are the truckers in The Wages of Fear (1953; $39.95). Four desperate men undertake a suicide mission to haul two truckloads of nitroglycerin through the South American back country. The final 90 minutes present a hair-raising series of obstacles, including a rotted bridge, a rockslide and a rising lake of oil. Be warned that this is a French trucker movie: no funny troopers, no Jerry Reed, no happy ending.

Town loves its really big rig
Sparwood, British Columbia, is so proud of its long-retired Terex Titan that the Chamber of Commerce has put the massive earth-mover, now a tourist attraction, on its official logo. There’s even a 24-hour Titan Cam at this site.

Built in 1974, the one-of-a-kind Titan held a 350-ton payload. Its box could hold two Greyhound buses with room left over for two pickup trucks. The Titan is 22 feet tall and 66 feet long, with tires 11 feet in diameter.

“Maybe you put them on TV and cut off a thumb.”
– On the TV show Nevada Newsmakers, Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman suggests one way to deal with freeway graffiti artists

“I thought maybe I would win a hat.”
– Surprised trucker Mark Butcosk of Kreamer, Pa., who won a trip for four to the Daytona 500 in Volvo’s Race Day Get Away contest

“We can only imagine what trucker’s bottom might be, but it certainly sounds unpleasant.”
– “People’s Pharmacy” columnists Joe and Teresa Graedon, replying to readers who listed the many complaints cured by Listerine

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“I would do this for nothing.”
– Kenworth owner-operator and football fan John Krysak, who hauls equipment to all Atlanta Falcons away games

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