Speedtrap (1977)

Oh for the era that Joe Don Baker was a sex symbol. Yes, it really happened, it was not an imaginary story. This 1977 film — which suggests the volcanic coupling of Baker and Tyne Daly — is evidence.

An insurance company calls in private investigator Pete Nobeck (Baker) to solve several car thefts that have baffled them. You have a decent cast on hand — Richard Jaeckel, Timothy Carey, Robert Loggia, Morgan Woodward (Cayman from Battle Beyond the Stars!), Lana Wood — and direction from Earl Bellamy, who mostly worked in TV but did also make Walking Tall Part 2.

This was released in Japan as the sequel to Gone In 60 Seconds from 1974, which makes no sense at all, as it has none of the same characters.

Also, speaking of Joe Don’s husky charms, there’s a scene where he as a one night stand with Lana Wood’s psychic character New Blossom. Originally, that character was named Mira and played by Dianne Marchal, who also sang the film’s theme song “Speedytrap.” For some reason — probably to get a PG rating in the U.S. — the Wood scenes are much more chaste. Foreign markets got the Dianne Marchal nudity that we never knew we were missing.

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