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Batman’s Yellow Taxi Cabs on the Street in Chicago

Today’s feature image is a follow up to yesterday’s post covering Batman’s Yellow Taxi Cab on display at the Hotel Sherman in Chicago, Illinois. The photo contains six of the Yellow Cabs on Washington Street at the intersection with State Street in the City. A Marshall Field and Company store is at the top-left of the picture.

Two and possibly three of the cabs have a “porthole” at the front of the driver’s compartment roof. All of the taxies also have one of these sun roof units above the passenger’s compartment; the last cab at the top-right of the photo appears to have its rear “porthole” in the open position. All of the collapsible “Landaulet tops” in the photo are in the closed position.

Share with us what you find of interest in this 1940s image by Kaufmann & Fabry Co. courtesy of the University of Illinois at Chicago.

22 responses to “Batman’s Yellow Taxi Cabs on the Street in Chicago

  1. Great picture-brings back memories. When I was 5 in 1948 my mother and I were in a Chicago cab when we hit a pedestrian. First time I ever saw my mom lose her cool. Sadly, I don’t remember whether it was a Batman cab.

    • Gene,
      Yes indeed. Did Checker sell any Model A’s to private customers, like they did with the Superba and Marathon models in the 1960’s and 1970’s?

      • I don’t think so, Graham although the only known, restored example that exists today isn’t painted as taxi.

  2. I wonder what the body and running gear was for these cabs. I know middle 1930s DeSotos were widely used and had suicide doors (front opening) as do these cabs. Might these cabs be the old DeSotos in new dress?

    • Type in DeSoto “sky view”. And you’ll find a description of the Water’s co. And the early Skyviews. Coming from NY ; we had these checker’s aplenty after the war, but were replaced by the DeSoto Skyview’s in the late ’40s

  3. The iconic Marshall Field’s clock is seen in the second image. The clock is actually the second gracing the corner, replacing the “great clock” sometime in the early 1900s. If anyone spots a man dancing with his wife, please draw it to our attention.

  4. I remember those overhead wires. The city busses had two long antlers/antenna/prongs on top to touch the cables and get the electricity they needed to run. I see the front of a bus on Washington, but no wiring above it.

  5. I suggest none of these models had “landaulet tops” Note the one with the rear facing the camera. The licence plate and tail light are above the belt molding. I don’t think this folds down. I suggest they had a different model not shown here with a folding rear section. I suggest the “landaulet top” model had fabric of a different color than the body color. I don’t see any evidence of fabric in the above photo.

  6. Yes the vehicles are Checkers that were operated by the Yellow Cab Co. Cabs are usually referred to by the name of the company that operates them, not the manufacturer of the car. Private passenger cars are usually referred to as a “Ford” or “Chevy” unless identified by the owner of the car as Bill’s or Fred’s car.

  7. They sold a few to hotels and 1 survives in a private collection. Automodello is making a model of checker model a

  8. Love these street scenes! The older the better. Those traffic cops must have ingested a ton of CO over the years. Men wearing hats, some women with hats – and wearing dresses and skirts…refreshing change from slacks and jeans generation. Traffic all over the place but somewhat orderly. Most downtowns are now dead zones with little pedestrian traffic.

  9. In the extreme upper right hand corner, driving away from us, is a dark colored vehicle that sort of looks like a “Tucker”. Anyone know what it is for sure?

  10. A car nut my whole life I can remember wondering why all the N. Y. City cabs were DeSotos with the skylight. I was born in 1942 so I was only 6-8 years old. I don’t believe I ever saw a GM or Ford taxi.

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