APRIL MOVIE THON 2: The Van (1977)

April 15: King Yourself! — Pick a movie released by Crown International Pictures. Here’s a list!

The song in this movie, “Chevy Van” by Sammy Johns*, is a lie, because the protagonist of The Van, Bobby (Stuart Goetz), drives a 1976 Dodge B200 Tradesman customized by George Barris.

As for me, I grew up with two Ford Custom vans, one a basic panel van that I used to be a landscaper and the other a fully customized one with tables and chairs and shag carpeting. Yeah! 9 miles to the gallon!

Crown International Pictures took what worked for American-International Pictures and their beach party movies and added sex and drugs. This movie comes from the days before AIDS, before women truly being characters with agency in movies (well, not all the time) and even before Porky’s.

What it does have is Danny DeVito as Bobby’s friend Andy. And such well-known vans that two of the automobiles from this movie, Straight Arrow and Van Killer, were released as toy cars.

Bobby wants Sally (Connie Hoffman) but she’s already dating tough guy Dugan (Steve Oliver). So he tries to get with Tina (Deborah White), who is way too good for him, before racing Dugan and rolling his van. He survives and moves on vanless.

Director Sam Grossman only directed this film. Writer Robert J. Rosenthal also wrote The Pom Pom GirlsMalibu Beach and Zapped! while Celia Susan Cotelo was also a writer on Malibu Beach.

If you liked this, I can also recommend Van Nuys Blvd. and, of course, Supervan.

*Nine other songs by the artist are in this: “Early Morning Love,” “Jenny,” “Rag Doll,” “Hang My Head and Moan, “Country Lady,” “You’re So Sweet,” “Peas in a Pod,” “Bless My Soul” and “Hey, Mr. Dreamer.”

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