Summershandy

What's the history on auto Venetian blinds?

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As always having the thirst for knowledge, I can't find any information on these blinds. Lots of modern pictures of owners who currently have them in their classics but, can anyone shed more light on this so called option? Maybe you had a grandfather who had them in their car when you were a kid? Maybe even you had them in your classic as a teen? I'm trying to find if this is just a modern fad or truly a retro accessory. Thanks for the history lesson!

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Posted (edited)

It seems to be real popular with the west coast Low Rider guys, I am sure it has to do with living in a place that sun is abundant pre air conditioning, keeping the sunlight out of a car while sitting in it. 

Edited by John348 (see edit history)
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I believe offered as a factory option on 46-47 Packard.  I've seen the accessory book and one installed - slats fit the curved shape of the rear window.

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Made me think of the famous scene with Brando/Stieger in On the Waterfront (1954). I can't remember if the were in the Cadillac or the DeSoto taxi.

onthewaterfront3.jpg

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24 minutes ago, GregLaR said:

Brando/Stieger in On the Waterfront (1954).

 

Thanks guys....I always knew of the quote, "I could have been a contender" but never knew where it was from. I really need to brush up on my classic films! I still wonder who was the fellow behind the idea of these in a car.

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Reminds me of an elementary school joke. How do you make a Venetian Blind? Poke him in the eye.

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Posted (edited)

I worked in a gas station in the late sixties. One of our customers was an old man who drove a shiny black 1950 Cadillac with a venetian blind in the back window. It's the only one I remember seeing back in the day. He hardly used the car, we might fill it up once or twice a year. We would see it only in the summer and only on sunny days.

Edited by Rusty_OToole (see edit history)

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They were very popular, especially with high school kids, when I was growing up in the 1950's.  I believe Buick offered them as an accessory during the 1940's also.  I grew up in the Washington DC area on the Virginia side.

 

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You are right John. I just don't recall if that scene was in the DeSoto cab or in Johnny Friendly's Cadillac.

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GregLaR,  John Friendly was driven around in a  black 1954 Pontiac Chief 4 door sedan.

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All this info made me do some digging....looks like the car John is speaking of is actually a '54 Chevrolet and the taxi scene was a '50 DeSoto Custom.

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Back in 1940 my Dad bought a new 40 Pontiac Special Six two door Touring Sedan. He immediately sent the car over to some custom coachwork place in Pasadena Ca. to be modified. You see my mom and little sister didn't like sleeping in a tent while we were on surfing trips, so the car was converted so that the rear seat folded into a bed which extended into the trunk area so my mom and sister could sleep in the car. My mom made side curtains for the windows, but the backlight had venetian blinds ( we just called them blinds ). Later, in 1950 my oldest cousin bought the car and seemed to have a lot of fun on dates.

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Ugh!

Right again John.😉

I should probably watch the movie again before I post any further....

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1 hour ago, Pfeil said:

Later, in 1950 my oldest cousin bought the car and seemed to have a lot of fun on dates.

 

haha that's an awesome!

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I seem to remember seeing a boat-shaped car with those blinds in the rear window. Maybe 1920s.

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the blinds in photo appear vertical ( closed ) not horizontal for drivers vision to see out.

Director likely wanted to exclude distractions out side of car. 

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1 hour ago, Hans1 said:

Director likely wanted to exclude distractions out side of car. 

 

The producer skimped on the set giving the director only half a cab to work with and no background. This would have meant the scene would be shot and out the back window you would have seen the studio, not a moving street background. At the suggestion of one of the crew members venetian blinds were thrown in the back to cover up the window. Oddly, a special feature on a DVD has film critic Martin Landau commenting on the brilliant decision for the blinds and how it only helped the mood of the scene.
 

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21 hours ago, GregLaR said:

You are right John. I just don't recall if that scene was in the DeSoto cab or in Johnny Friendly's Cadillac.

 

7 hours ago, Summershandy said:

 

The producer skimped on the set giving the director only half a cab to work with and no background...

 

 

Here's the taxi with obvious blinds:

 

747956191_Taxi1.jpg.769a2017795da1f24ddea59b58ba7320.jpg

 

and here's the Pontiac (not Chev as you can see the end of the Pontiac hood trim).  Enough of the back window is visible to tell there are no blinds.

 

Pontiac.jpg.8418f0027394bba5e41427ec970a5e95.jpg

 

So I'd say the scene is in the taxi.  And I think it's the real car, not a mock-up - at least it looks that way in this pic:

 

436562174_Taxi2.jpg.85d62398f392f8928954e3d836415a94.jpg

 

Although the blinds may well have been closed to block the view out the back window.

 

Finally, are we sure the taxi is a DeSoto?  The rear window and trunk don't look right - nor does the front end, especially the hood badge:

 

1415890979_Taxi3.jpg.4e15d7b89ee7d662a9c5c28543cb27d2.jpg

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20 hours ago, Pfeil said:

...Later, in 1950 my oldest cousin bought the car and seemed to have a lot of fun on dates.

 

My dad had a 61 Plymouth wagon when I was dating - had a lot of fun with the back seat folded down.  ;)

 

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1 hour ago, CHuDWah said:

not Chev as you can see the end of the Pontiac hood trim

 

You're right....it's a '53 and not a '54 Pontiac. I was merely quoting from a site and should know better LOL

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I have seen pictures of a special DeSoto taxicab body that was cut in half diagonally and fitted out for use as a movie prop. The same body was used in dozens of movies over a 10 year period. Behind it was a movie screen, they could project film taken from a moving car to make it seem like it was driving down the street.

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