WILLIAM GREFE WEEK: The Checkered Flag (1963)

This was William Gréfe’s first script and when the original director got sick, it also became the first movie he’d direct. Shot on weekends, as Gréfe was working a full-time job as a firefighter, this is the tale of a rookie race driver named Bill Garrison being conned into murdering Rutherford, an older and richer rival, thanks to the machinations of an evil wife.

Consider this: there’s plenty of stock footage of races and several musical numbers with the ending kind of, sort of taken from Freaks. It’s not the best car racing movie you’ve ever seen and probably may vie for the worst, but at least it’s the start of Gréfe’s career as one of Florida’s top exploitation directors.

“Miami” Joe Morrison, who plays the young driver, would go on to be in Sting of Death and Racing Fever, while Evelyn King, who played the conniving Bo Rutherford, went on to be in a lost movie called Scream, Evelyn, Scream! As for Rutherford, he was played by Charles G. Martin, who shows up in plenty of Florida productions, such as Flipper and Gentle Ben.

You can watch this on YouTube.

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