In case you just tuned in, I’m doing a little fact-checking as I go through Scotty Bowers’ “Full Service.” This will be fairly tedious except to a research drudge.
After digging through The Times, old phone directories and other resources looking for information on gas stations in 1940s Los Angeles, we are finally ready for a nice, juicy Hollywood encounter – on Page 2 (I warned you this would be slow and tedious).
Our first prominent name is Walter Pidgeon (d. 1984), a Conveniently Dead Person Who Can’t Sue, just like “Kate, Spence, Judy, Tyrone, George, Cary, Rita, Charles, Randolph, Edith, Vivien.”
Here we go:
It was a lovely, clear sunny day and I wasn’t expecting much traffic. In that kind of weather folks usually headed for the beach; they weren’t going to spend much time riding around in hot, stifling automobiles. I resigned myself to a potential day of boredom.
When Russ returned at about noon I spent a while chatting with him. Then, just as I was about to leave, a shiny Lincoln twodoor coupe drove up. It was a big, swanky, expensive car. Only someone rich and famous drove something like that. Russ was busy in the office so I said I’d take care of the customer. When I approached the car the driver’s side window slid down revealing a very handsome middle-aged male face that I was certain I had seen before.
Now wait a minute. Let me get this straight:
“In that kind of weather folks usually headed for the beach; they weren’t going to spend much time riding around in hot, stifling automobiles.”
“When I approached the car the driver’s side window slid down revealing a very handsome middle-aged male face that I was certain I had seen before.”
Do you see what’s wrong here? It’s warm weather — so hot that “people weren’t going to spend much time riding around in hot, stifling automobiles” and yet the individual in question (soon to be revealed as Walter Pidgeon) was motoring about Los Angeles with the windows rolled up.
i.e. “the driver’s side window slid down”
The only way this would be possible is if the car had air conditioning.
Do you think the average car had air conditioning in 1946?
It seems unlikely, but let’s check.
Photos of Lincolns in the 1940-1948 model years are available on the Lincoln-Zephyr Owners Club (thanks folks! Beautiful cars), although there’s nothing about air conditioning. In fact, I can’t find any reference to air conditioning in the Lincoln models earlier than the 1950s. If any car enthusiasts care to shed light on the question, please do.
But this story already sounds suspicious.