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The Essex Chicken Patrol

We were taken by the graphics that the Walter M. Murphy Motors Company chose to use in order to promote Hudson’s new-for-1929 model, the Essex “Challenger”. They’re posed here in front of the Pasadena, California City Hall with three models in uniforms that were apparently color co-ordinated to each car. Perhaps Murphy hoped that buyers would associate the image of a tough banty rooster with the lower priced car and assume that it was equally feisty.


Evidently, the Hart Players (below) thought enough of the Challenger to use this spiffy roadster for their official car. Notice the acting company’s name on the sidemount cover in the picture seen below. They were parked in front of Warner’s Egyptian Theater, at 2316 E. Colorado Boulevard also in Pasadena, when this photo was taken in 1929. The Harold A. Parker Studio was originally responsible for all of these shots, and they came to us courtesy of the The Huntington Library.

5 responses to “The Essex Chicken Patrol

  1. Pasadena City Hall still exists and is in use after a major seismic retrofit and handicap access modifications. The Egyptian Theater was still around a few years ago. The building is still there but I think the marque was removed and the location repurposed.

  2. Walter M Murphy was a Pasadena business, located at 285 West Colorado. They had been a Hudson-Essex dealer since 1920, as well as providing bespoke coachwork for luxury makes such as Duesenberg, Hispano-Suiza, Isotta-Fraschini and Lincoln.

  3. 285 W. Colorado Bl. in Pasadena is now part of the Ruznak Auto Group. I think the building associated with address is in the back and is part of the service dept. for Mercedes Benz. There are some other interesting buildings that are part of the Ruznak group. One building has a bronze Nash Motor Cars plaque over the door just West of the 285 address. It is now a showroom for Jaguar, Rolls Royce, and Bentley. In the past people have told me that Walter M. Murphy Body Works was located on Pasadena Ave., which would be on the East Side of the 710 freeway. I was told that the building was razed many years ago, probably to make way for the freeway. I believe the Bohman & Schwartz building is still standing in Pasadena on Walnut?

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