Recently watched The Long Long Trailer starring Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball.  It centered around an engineer who traveled a lot in his work.  His wife urges him to buy a house trailer so she can make a home for him wherever he happens to be.

The movie was made in 1954 and was essentially an extension of the couples' mega-hit television show I Love Lucy, minus Fred and Ethel.  A romantic comedy with standard slapstick, lover's spats, and mild makeup kisses.

What sets the film apart were the visuals.  Released the year I was born, it was shot in color which, not all movies were in those days.  The husband (Arnaz) purchased a new Mercury convertible, now a magnificent classic, to pull the trailer.  There were many highway scenes filled with the distinctly recognizable cars of the era.  This was before the Interstate Highway system was constructed with its god-awful high-fives and mega-fuel stops.  I got a kick out of the simple two-lane roads and raggedy two-pump gas stations with one attendant who would wash your windshield and actually have a conversation with the driver.  There were full screen panoramic vistas mixed in with close-ups of the couple laughing and talking while rolling through the tree-lined country or idling on the main streets of the towns filled with shoppers and other motorists seeking a parking spot.  The scenes of the trailer being towed over the mountains are stunning, and eerily reminded me of a trip I once took up Pike's Peak.

There is a carefree sense of freedom in the film, especially in the scene where the wife snuggles up to her husband, who is driving, and they start singing.  There was a time when seeing young lovers sitting close to each other while rolling down the highway was quite normal.  Try that these days and you'll wind up getting pulled over, ticketed for not using a seatbelt and whatever else the man can think of, and consider it lucky if you don't spend several hours on the side of the road while a drug dog goes through your belongings.

I know, I know, the old vehicles weren't as crash worthy, and survival rates have gone up with the new regulations but, I can't help but feel pangs of regret at the liberties traded for safety; the loss of driving on an open road without fear and the inherent paranoia embedded in modern travel.  This is the only dark spot in watching old movies.  They show too much of what has been taken and probably never given back.

In fact, I doubt you could make an uplifting modern version of this movie.  Political correctness would dictate the couple be interracial.  Instead of an adoring young wife determined to make a home for her hard-working husband, the couple would be on a cross-country trek to ensure that transgender illegal aliens are allowed to vote without showing IDs.  Instead of buying gas for a classic American car they would stop and carry recyclable grocery bags to purchase vegan food while their electric vehicle's batteries are charging.

Somehow, it just wouldn't be the same.

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