THE CINEMOBILE

When Sheldon Leonard decided to film his Robert Culp-Bill Cosby starrer I Spy entirely on distant (non-USA) locations, he went to cameraman Fouad Said and had him design a completely self-contained vehicle that would hold not only the cameras and film, but the sound, grip, and electrical equipment as well--something they could load up, lock, and literally ship to anywhere on the globe with reasonable ease. From this came the first Cinemobile--a small, panel truck sized vehicle that was used to shoot nearly all of that successfule TV series. After that, Said took the idea and ran. Hollywood was again looking for ways to cut corners and the Cinemobile eliminated drivers and trucks--hopefully BIG trucks. By 1971, when we filmed The Honkers, the Cinemobile company was a going concern. Here are a few photos I shot of the Cinemobile we used in Carlsbad, New Mexico, on The Honkers location. Note: Even though the Cinemobile carried most of the equipment, we still had to have a Honeywagon (containing dressing rooms and restrooms) and a 40 foot truck and trailer that carried the props, wardrobe, and the extra lights & grip equipment needed for a large feature motion picture. The Cinemobile looked good on paper (the budget), but in reality it didn't eliminate that much. Eventually the Cinemobile faded into the Hollywood sunset. Nowadays, the producer, director, and almost every actor on a show demand their own private motorhome--this has done wonders for the Teamster's Union work roster.

This is the right side of the double-decker Cinemobile. Equipment was stored on the bottom level, while the crew rode on the top.

Left side showing more storage areas.

Upstairs passenger (crew) area looking toward front.

This is a Cinemobile ad that was in Daily Variety at the time we were shooting The Honkers - April, May 1971.

This is a pretty bad blowup from the Cinemobile advertisement, but it is a full shot of the double-decker vehicle.

Upper level crew area, looking toward rear where restrooms and darkroom were located.

Hot day on The Honkers set. Only shot I have of the Cinemobile's exterior. Note the upper deck windows above the lower level storage doors.

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