Cast & Crew
Racecar owner Skid Wilson urges driver Tony Lango and mechanic Red Baker to keep his racing "jalopy" in prime condition because he has been raking in money by winning at the track. Skid is curious when he reads that a new car has entered the race as the "Mahoney Meteor," and that the owner is listed as Terrence Aloysius Mahoney. Skid sends his girl friend, Bobbie Lane, to learn more. Meanwhile, Mahoney, also known as "Slip," and his pals, Horace Debussy "Sach" Jones, Chuck and Butch, are testing the broken-down jalopy in their neighborhood in New York City's Bowery. Sweets shop owner Louie Dombrowski begs them to move their noisy work elsewhere because it is ruining his business, but Slip reminds him that he will pay Louie's rent if he wins the jalopy derby. In the back of Louie's store, Sach, while helping Professor Elrod Bosgood with an experiment, concocts a liquid that explodes when dropped on the floor. When Bobbie emerges from the smoke, the boys conclude that the formula makes women magically appear. Bobbie flirts with Slip and takes an interest in his car, so he gives her a pass to the next day's race. The Mahoney Meteor is so slow during the race that the other cars pass it repeatedly, until it boils over and Slip crashes the car into a wall. Sach attempts to help his friend but ends up chasing his hat all over the race track instead, which causes a massive pile-up. Later, the boys sulk over their loss at Louie's. Slip puts Sach to work waxing the floor while he tries to talk Louie into fronting them money to fix the jalopy and enter the next big race. Sach, meanwhile, puts some of his secret formula into the waxing machine and it literally flies through the window and into the sky. This inspires Slip to use the liquid in the gas tank of the jalopy, and in a test drive the car completes the track circuit in an astonishing eleven seconds. Having observed the test drive, Skid and his friends try to extract information from the boys, and Sach mistakenly reveals that he put a special additive into the gas tank. Slip and Sach report the good news to the Professor and get to work mixing up a new batch of the liquid. When Sach throws some on the floor, Bobbie reappears with an invitation to Skid's pre-race party. Once the group arrives at the party, Skid sends Tony and Red to search their laboratory for the secret formula. After Tony and Red fail to find the formula, Skid takes the boys and Louie hostage in another room. Sach purposely drops some of the formula and he and his friends escape in the smoke. When they return to the lab they mix up another batch but are soon assaulted by Skid and his thugs, and a fistfight ensues. After Louie calls the police, Skid, Red and Tony seem to disappear. Once the police leave, the thugs return and are only satisfied when Sach's new formula proves ineffective. Sach later realizes he left out a crucial element of the formula: seltzer water. On the day of the big race, Skid is confident that Slip will lose. Once the race begins, Slip's jalopy putters around the track until Sach arrives. After pouring the liquid into the gas tank, the car's speed accelerates, but this time, in reverse. With Sach clinging to the side, Slip outraces the other cars by driving around the track in the proper direction with the car in reverse. When Slip wins the race, Skid tells Bobbie she will have to return her new fur coat. At a celebration at Louie's shop, Sach purposely spills some liquid after which a beautiful woman appears and leaves with Slip. Sach pours some more to create his own dream girl, but a bespectacled woman for the Professor appears instead. After Sach follows them out the door of the shop, Louie tries to create his own woman, but bursts into tears when nothing happens.
Edmond Seward Jr.
Allen K. Wood
Jalopy was the 29th film in the steadfast Bowery Boys film series, which cranked out 48 likeable low-budget Monogram Pictures B-movies in all between 1946-58. The plots usually revolved around a reliable formula involving a group of tough but good-hearted street kids living on New York's Bowery who got involved in a variety of neighborhood hijinks and usually tangled with local underworld types in the process. Jalopy has the distinction of being the first Bowery Boys film to be released under Monogram Pictures' new spruced-up unit, Allied Artists.
Jalopy is filled with good zany action from start to finish, and Bowery Boys fans will get a kick out of the high-octane shenanigans that play out on the racetrack. Racing sequences were shot on location at the Culver City Speedway in California, which doubles for New York--despite the noticeable palm trees in the background.
By Andrea Passafiume
The opening title card reads "Allied Artists Productions presents Leo Gorcey and The Bowery Boys in Jalopy." Scenes at the racetrack reveal signs posted around the track advertising for businesses in Venice and Culver City, CA. For more information on "The Bowery Boys" series, consult the Series Index and see the entry for Live Wires in AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1941-50.
Released in United States Winter February 15, 1953
This was the first film in the "Bowery Boys" series that took the approach of taking those ever-youthful delinquents and finally presenting them as adults. This move rejuvenated the prospects for the sagging series for another five years.
Released in United States Winter February 15, 1953