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Cadillac and a Harley-Davidson in a Mystery Movie Scene

Today’s feature image appears to be a Hollywood movie still taken on October 26, 1933 while filming in California, none of the actors are identified.

The automobile is an attractive circa-1930 Cadillac fitted with close-coupled convertible sedan coachwork by an unknown maker. The motorcycle is an older modified, repainted, and worn-looking 1929 or earlier Harley-Davidson JD model equipped with flat bars and what appears to be a chopped rear fender mounted on the front.

Share with us what you find of interest or can identify in this photograph found via Keith Sparks.

31 responses to “Cadillac and a Harley-Davidson in a Mystery Movie Scene

  1. The Cadillac has what I think are the nicest looking tail lights from the early 1930’s. They look like the Lucas Divers Bell style. Sure would like to find a pair. Bob

  2. Looks like Franklin Pangborn in the driver seat. The woman in the wedding dress looks like she just hit the MC cop with that bottle. Beautiful Cadillac. The same thing goes through my head every time I see one of these motor cars- “just once around the block”

  3. The only detail I can dig up on the license plate is that it’s a 1933 Southern California plate, having the second character of M through Z, the letters being coded by branch offices.

    From 1929 to 1935, the sole format was 6 characters in three pairs, the second character being a letter: 1A 12 34, after which the letter could also be the third character in this regrouped format: 10 A 123.
    That continued till at least 1940…with the exception of 1937, when this double-letter format was used: A/A 12 34, along with the single-letter 1929-1935 format.

    During this period, the 1929, 1931, 1933, 1935 and 1937 plates were orange on black.

  4. The house appears to have the small window for reading the electric meter to the left of the door…a feature that was phased out after the war.

  5. That is Franklin Pangborn Jr. in the driver’s seat. I remember watching a Bing Crosby movie short made in the early Thirties,
    where Bing wins over Pangborn’s girl and Cadillac in the end.

    • I agree with Evet. H-D introduced the front brake in 1928, and the last J era Harley was 1929, so it’s either a ’28 or ’29. The front fender is a bobbed front fender because it was formed, and relieved for the front fork (rear fenders were not). I also agree with Hugh M and believe that is Franklin Pangborn whose career seemed to fade quickly after ‘talkies’ took over.

  6. From a quick look at imdb Franklin Pangborn made about 20 movies in 1933. It might take some time to work out which one this is. I wonder if they used some footage in more than one movie.

  7. “Short” wheelbase and hood length suggest a 1931 370 V12 Phaeton by Fleetwood, rather than a 452 V16 Phaeton (or a 345 V8 Touring Fleetshire, which was badged LaSalle, except for at least one sold overseas as a Cadillac…)

    Hyman has a 370 FS now with good words and great photos; RM sold a 340 in AZ in 2018 for you to compare. Search Stock #6391 and Lot #138, since links are no-go here. AFA the film, no clue.

  8. Beautiful photo. The car has the appearance of a 1930 Cadillac Series 353 V-8 “Fleetway” All-Weather Phaeton, a Fleetwood catalog style that year. Hollywood actor William Boyd owned one, albeit his was finished in a different color scheme and had Woodlite accessory headlamps.

  9. I suggest this is Sweet Cookie 1933 and the actors are L to R: Matt McHugh (motorcycle cop), Pangborn, Nora Lane, and Marjorie Beebe in white dress.

  10. The car is a 1930 Cadillac Series 353 V-8 All-Weather Phaeton, a Fleetwood catalog style that year. It may have a broadcloth or ribbed broadcloth interior too.

  11. The car is a 1930 Cadillac V-8 Convertiable Sedan. A 1931 V-12 would not have the splash apron sill doors, the V-12 would have had a plain splash apron with two spears and a centrally located round courtesy light. Nice car and a great still.

  12. I love old pictures of the bygone days of Americas transportation. I do wish you would along with your other great postings of cars, add a few more motorcycles. Pre depression era there is rumored to have been over 100 American motorcycle manufacturers. I do love to look at them along with old buses and early models of freight haulers. I especially like the motorcycles. There used to be a truck called a Diamond Reo that some of us that are still above dirt remember, I would like to see more of these please and thank you for your efforts in showing us what you have already.

    • The REO stands for Ransom Eli Olds. Olds was the father of Oldsmobile. He built engines and chassis for Henry Ford to use in his Ford motorcars until Henry decided he could make them himself and save money. Mr. Olds made many automobile and truck models and was one of the first to introduce the set back front axle on trucks, which moved the weight of the engine over the front axle allowing more net weight to be carried in the bed of the truck. Today almost all trucks have a set back axle. Olds claimed to be one of the inventors of the assembly line and he built one of the first Diesel engines in America.

    • The name Diamond T came from a logo that had a “T” inside of a Diamond. The Diamond word was used to represent quality. The letter “T” stood for “Tilt”. Diamond Reo merged with White Motors, which acquired Freightliner Trucks which then became known as “White Freightliner”. Mercedes Benz bought out Freightliner and used the Freightliner name on Sprinter and Dodge vans. Freightliner now makes many of the Class A motorhome chassis. Having spent 8 years driving 48 states and Canada in a variety of Freightliners I have no idea why anyone would want a Freightliner chassis under a motorhome. The nicest truck I drove was a 1973 Peterbilt extended hood with a 350 hp Cummins and a 13 speed Road Ranger transmission. Now that would make a great motor home chassis! BTW the 262-350 hp Cummins that were used in class 8 trucks are 855 cubic inches not the 5.9 liter engines found in motor homes and pickups today.

  13. The H-D is most likely a 1928 as it has the rectangular dash ( ignition and light switches) and that definitely is Marjorie Beebe in white dress!

  14. That’s one rough-looking Harley. Trying to figure out why Cadillac rear door is open. Cop entered there, got beaned by Beebe? Nora Lane died at 45, suicide sad to say. She made a lot of movies, 80 plus I think it said. Harley has a tank shift left side, looks like.

  15. You all impress the Heck out of me . While I am a child of the 50’s, the older cars and bikes do interest me . Thanks for the history, what a great site.

  16. My dad had 1930-31 Cadillac sedan – I was less than 5 years old but remember those round taillights and the very nice instrumentation. Speaking of nice Cadillac taillights, how about the 1936 – Had that nice unique glass lens that protruded out in the center kind of like a ladies breast (if viewed from the side).

  17. Not only does that motorcycle look kind of rough, it doesn’t carry any law enforcement identification. The officer is in a clean, squared away uniform, quite a contrast to his machine. A modified, “bob job “type of bike wouldn’t be used by an active patrol officer. I’m betting that this was just a cheap beater used for the film. It might have been destroyed during the filming as a gag. Most movie goers wouldn’t notice the details.

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