East Coast Films

Cast: Johnny Hines ("Blue Streak" Billings), Faire Binney (Betty West), Edmund Breese (Chuck), Warner Richmond (Judd Skerritt), Frank Losee (Sheriff West), Henry West (Hiram Smith)


"Blue Streak" Billings is a race car driver and a good one. He has just won the 250 mile Speed Classic at Altoona, and immediately afterward heads straight for Westwood to see his girlfriend, Betty West.

Although Westwood is described as a town that is "automobilious," Betty's Comet dealership is not very successful. She has apparently sold only one car, and that was to the wealthy Hiram Smith. Unfortunately, his car keeps breaking down right on Main Street for everyone to see, which, obviously, isn't helping Betty sell more cars.

However, there's more to this than meets the eye. Betty's father is the sheriff, and Hiram wants to beat him out in the upcoming election. To do so, he has enlisted the aid of the unscrupulous Judd Skerritt, who runs a rival car agency. We soon learn that Hiram has "doped up" his Comet so townsfolk will think it is a poor quality automobile thereby helping Skerritt sell more of his product. To add one more twist to the plot, we are told that Judd is "eyeing Betty with a view to consolidation."

"Blue Streak" tells Betty he is going to "put the Comet over in Westwood," but she warns him that it is a futile endeavor.

Two weeks later, a title tell us, the town has been "shattered" by the daily appearance of a driverless car racing through the streets which they have dubbed "The Speed Spook." This speedster, which is black with a large white, wavy stripe down the side and sporting a siren on the hood, is a rather "spooky" looking apparition as is skids around corners and breaks local speed laws before disappearing into nowhere.

We soon learn, however, that the "disappearance" is behind a vine-covered gate off the side of a lonely road outside town. Behind this is a secret garage where "Blue Streak" and Chuck, his mechanic, have developed "The Speed Spook." The appearance of a driverless car is achieved by a compartment directly behind the engine and in front of the driver's seat where "Blue Streak" sits. The hood is in two section ­ the front part covers the engine, the back part covers "Blue Streak."

"Blue Streak" attends a "bathing party" at Hiram Smith's, and, while there, Hiram and Judd try to convince him to come over to their side in the election. Of course, "Blue Streak" declines. Without the popular race car driver's support, Hiram and Judd realize more drastic measures must be taken to win the election. Judd says he has an old printing press hidden in the old brick arsenal and can print up ballots there the night before the election. Since Judd is the chairman of the Election Board, he assures Hiram that "stuffing the ballot box" won't be a problem.

The night before the election, Hiram has a big rally in a circus tent at the ball grounds. "Blue Streak" sabotages the evening by putting "pasteboards" with "Elect Hiram Smith" on them in the sandwiches and slipping in another set of humorous slides in Hiram's slide show. "Blue Streak" then announces that Sheriff West is outside with edible sandwiches.

Before the rally is over, "Blue Streak" gets in "The Speed Spook" and rides by the ball grounds throwing out flyers which read, "An Open Challenge to Westwood. Don't Waste Your Gasoline Tonight. Tomorrow at 3 p.m. I will ride through the streets of Westwood and hereby challenge the sheriff and every automobile owner and representative to try to catch me. If you lay any traps, I will not appear. Speed Spook."

Later that evening, "Blue Streak" finds the old arsenal where Judd and a thug crony are printing the illegal ballots. He climbs up a tree a' la Fairbanks and on to the roof where he observes the pair through a skylight. When the thug goes outside for a moment, "Blue Streak" drops to the floor and fights with Judd. During the fight, Judd is pushed back against the printer leaving a perfect imprint of the ballot on the back of his white shirt. However, the thug returns and "Blue Streak" is overtaken.

The next morning, "Blue Streak" remains behind tied up on the arsenal as Judd and his crony head for the election to stuff the ballot box with 2,000 additional ballots. "Blue Streak" manages to escape by using a tank that is in the arsenal. He drives straight through the brick wall of the arsenal and mows down several trees in his race to get to "The Speed Spook."

With 3 p.m. nearing, "Blue Streak" wants to make sure Betty is the one to catch "The Speed Spook" thereby assuring the Comet's reputation. Betty and Judd are the only two in pursuit, but, when Betty catches "The Speed Spook," Judd heads for the river to dump the ballot box and eliminate any incriminating evidence.

"Blue Streak" races "The Speed Spook" through a field and then down a railroad track to head Judd off. He climbs a tree, and, when Judd passes under, "Blue Streak" drops down into his car, knocks him out, puts him in the regular driver's seat of "The Speed Spook" and heads back to town.

Back in town, the crowds gather around "The Speed Spook" and "Blue Streak" exposes Judd's guilt using the imprint of the ballot on the back of his shirt as the telling evidence.

When someone asks what kind of car "The Speed Spook" is, "Blue Streak" opens the hood to reveal a Comet 6 engine, and, of course, the success of Betty's Comet agency is assured.

As the rains begin to fall, "Blue Streak" and Betty climb inside "The Speed Spook" and disappear into the distance.

Click here to read the commentary on "The Speed Spook"

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copyright 1999 by Tim Lussier, all rights reserved