Trip down memory cul de sac (with pics)

Every now and then I get an irresistible urge to investigate the source of vague and chimeric memories from yesteryear.

While discussing Bergerac's car in the pub the other night, I was suddenly reminded of a short-lived TV series, set in the wild west, where the heroes drove (to my mind) a similar car.

Firstly, I remembered that Australian actor Rod Taylor played one of the daring automotive duo, and the stalwart Claire came up with 'Dennis Something who was married to a Charlie's Angel one time.'

Our thanks go to The Bomber for coming up with the title 'Bearcats!' on foot of which we could begin our research.


Here are the boys themselves with the car, a 1914 Stutz Bearcat (replica). Rod Taylor, whom I always remember from Hitchcock's 'The Birds', played Hank Brackett, and Dennis Cole, which was the other chap's name, played Johnny Reach.

The show aired in 1971 (er, I think I must have seen the reruns) but was cancelled half-way through the first season due to poor ratings, probably because it was jostling with Alias Smith and Jones, a similarly pitched series. According to some, this was the last time the failing genre of the western was considered actively competitive.


This photo of Rod, dressed in old-timey clothes and pulling a lever in the Bearcat, rang another bell as I recalled his role in H.G.Wells The Time Machine in 1960. (He even made a documentary about rebuilding the prop in 1993)


Dennis Cole has had a rough time of it since those halcyon days. His son Joe, a roadie for Henry Rollins, was shot during a robbery in 1991. This was the basis for the Sonic Youth song JC, in the video for which Joe is played by Jason Lee (Scientologist and My Name is Earl star).

Dennis ended up selling real estate in Florida. At the end of last year he was arrested for domestic violence and is getting divorced again. The Jaclyn Smith thing lasted only three years (1978-81), but going out with one of Charlie's Angels at the height of their fame must have been pretty cool. A quick reminder of 'Kelly Garrett':


Oh, and while we're at it, here's the culprit that began this whole goose chase, Bergerac's car (a 1947 burgundy Triumph Roadster) :


.:: UPDATE ::.

Bearcats! theme tune

And, by special request, the 50 calibre mounted machine gun.