APRIL MOVIE THON 2: The Speed Lovers (1968)

April 18: Vroom — A movie mostly about cars.

William F. McGaha, co-wrote, directed,  produced, and stars in this as Scott, a young car racer who will remind you that he deserves to be on the track to the point that you will absolutely hate him. So yeah, he can do anything except make you love him in this movie.

What this movie does have is a great theme song, “Speed Lovers” by Billy Lee Riley, and also an appearance by the band Randy Little and the Holidays, who rock out two numbers, “You Love Everybody” and “A Living Doll.”

Scott Clayton, the character that McGaha plays, is the son of a famous mechanic and being asked to fix a big race by Atlanta organized crime figure Pinkerton Bentley (David Marcus), who plies him with sodas and go go dancers.

Fred Lorenzen — The Golden Boy, Fast Freddie, The Elmhurst Express and Fearless Freddy — plays himself and at the time, he was a majorstar in NASCAR, winning the following races from 1962 to 1967: the Atlanta 500, the World 600; the Volunteer 500, the Western North Carolina 500; the Mountaineer 300 and the Old Dominion 500 in 1963; the Southeastern 500 at Bristol; the Atlanta 500; the Gwyn Staley 400 at North Wilkesboro; the Virginia 500 at Martinsville; the Rebel 300 at Darlington; the Volunteer 500; the Old Dominion 500 and the Charlotte Motor Speedway National 400 in 1964; the Daytona 500; the Virginia 500; the World 600 and the National 400 in 1965; and the Old Dominion 500 and the American 500 in 1966 and Daytona 500 Qualifier in 1967. In 1963 alone, he made $122,000 in winner’s prizes, a figure which would be $1.2 million dollars in 2023 money. That’s kind of like having Michael Jordan show up in your regional Florida movie.

McGaha would go on to make Bad Girls for the BoysThe Shrink and one of the oddest biker movies ever, J.C., which yes, is about a motorcycle riding Jesus. He wrote this with Fred Tuch, who went on to be an art director for the shows Manimal and Galactica 80 as well as the art director for Pennies from Heaven, the storyboard artist for Mannequin and an illustrator on Blue Thunder.

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