Initially, the innovative Corvair was manufactured and marketed as a 4-door sedan.
The compact Chevrolet Corvair was designed to compete with Volkswagens in the US market.
The 1960 Corvair went on sale on October 2, 1959, and was the first American compact sedan with a rear-mounted, air-cooled engine, unit-body construction, three-across seating, and the availability of an automatic transmission. Only four-door sedans were available at first, then came the 2-door coupe, convertible, 4-door station wagon, passenger van, commercial van, and pickup truck body styles.
Though inspired by Volkswagen’s four-cylinder engine, Chevrolet engineers used Porsche engines as a guide.
To stay competitive with the VW Beetle, the new Ford Falcon, and Plymouth Valiant, Chevrolet chose to cut corners right where it showed: on the interior. The basemodel 500 was particularly drab. Everything inside was gray, both the fabric and vinyl upholstery and black rubber floor mats. The 700 models came with three interior colors from which to choose. Extra-cost options on both the 700 and 500 models includedthings we take for granted today, like sun visors for both driver and passenger, armrests, or a cigarette lighter.
The Corvair sales took a significant upturn when the Monza coupe debuted at the 1960 Chicago Auto Show.
Though the Monza would rewrite what everyone’s idea of a Corvair was an alternative to the typical front-engined American family cars of the period.
The death knell for the Corvair came when Ralph Nader’s 1965 book “Unsafe at Any Speed” claimed that the car’s design that incorporated swing-axle suspension created a far greater risk of the vehicle rolling, which he described as “the one-car accident.”
Even though the suspension had been redesigned for much better handling and safety, the damage was done. Nader’s book became a best-seller, but in the consumer’s mind, the reputation of the Corvair was tarnished forever. Chevrolet ceased production of the Corvair with the 1969 model.
My husband Will Zeilinger and I co-write the Skylar Drake Murder Mysteries, a hardboiled detective series that takes the reader to 1950s Los Angeles and other areas of the west. GAME TOWN is the fifth and final book of the series.
Nothing strikes fear in an author’s heart more than plagiarizing one’s self. Especially when writing a series. This fear turns into terror when there are two people writing multiple books or a series. Plagiarizing might include duplicating a name, scene, dialogue or even a character. This is a big no-no.
What’s more frustrating is remembering who is related to whom, who’s married to who, who’s kids or pet belongs to which family, and most of all who’s in a relationship with who. When writing multiple books or series, this can become mind boggling.
Will and I made the mistake of plagiarizing a name we used three books earlier and nothing can be more embarrassing than when a reader or fan brings it to your attention on Goodreads! We had to figure out a way to keep this from happening … again.
We decided to use a family/genealogy chart to plot out who is who, locations, plots and subplots and 2-3-word descriptions.
During our research, we found various styles of family charts. We tried several styles, the third style worked beautifully for us. This is especially useful when one of us is working on a different section of the book and needs to find a particular location or relationship without interrupting the other.
Its like a road map, it can get you where you want to go when you get lost.
You can download this particular chart or print it out at https://www.vertex42.com/ExcelTemplates/family-tree-template.html.
Here is a sample of the Game Town book chart.
The results, The Skylar Drake Murder Mystery series, SLIVERS OF GLASS, STRANGE MARKINGS, DESERT ICE, SLICK DEAL and GAME TOWN. And yes…we are still married!
The genre of novels that seems to endure are the spy thrillers and stories of behind-the-scenes government scandals. Here are some very interesting and I’d even say, “watershed” novels about the cold war that have colored our vision of the past and the future. After researching some, I’ve made a list of just a few of the more influential titles and included a short synopsis of each:
First published in 1958, Our Man in Havana is an espionage thriller, a penetrating character study, and a political satire that still resonates to this day. Conceived as one of Graham Greene’s ‘entertainments,’ it tells of MI6’s man in Havana, Wormold, a former vacuum-cleaner salesman turned reluctant secret agent out of economic necessity. To keep his job, he files bogus reports based on Lamb’s Tales from Shakespeare and dreams up military installations from vacuum-cleaner designs. Then his stories start coming disturbingly true. (Goodreads)
A piercing exposé of American incompetence and corruption in Southeast Asia, The Ugly American captivated the nation when it was first published in 1958. The book introduces readers to an unlikely hero in the titular “ugly American”—and to the ignorant politicians and arrogant ambassadors who ignore his empathetic and commonsense advice. In linked stories and vignettes set in the fictional nation of Sarkhan, William J. Lederer and Eugene Burdick draw an incisive portrait of American foreign policy gone dangerously wrong—and how it might be fixed. The Ugly American reminds us that “today, as the battle for hearts and minds has shifted to the Middle East, we still can’t speak Sarkhanese” (New York Times).
In this classic, John le Carre’s third novel and the first to earn him international acclaim, he created a world unlike any previously experienced in suspense fiction. With unsurpassed knowledge culled from his years in British Intelligence, le Carre brings to light the shadowy dealings of international espionage in the tale of a British agent who longs to end his career but undertakes one final, bone-chilling assignment. When the last agent under his command is killed and Alec Leamas is called back to London, he hopes to come in from the cold for good. His spymaster, Control, however, has other plans. Determined to bring down the head of East German Intelligence and topple his organization, Control once more sends Leamas into the fray—this time to play the part of the dishonored spy and lure the enemy to his ultimate defeat. (Goodreads)
It is interesting to note that each of these novels was later made into a motion picture. Our Man in Havana with Alec Guinness (1959), The Ugly American with Marlon Brando (1963), and The Spy Who Came in from the Cold with Richard Burton (1965).
As is the case with most things a writer encounters, great fiction will always be thrilling but many times the reality is scarier and more strange than we could ever write.
My husband, Will Zeilinger and I co-write the Skylar Drake Mysteries, a hard-boiled detective series that takes the reader to 1950s Los Angeles and other areas of the west. Our new book, GAME TOWN, is set in Hollywood and exposes a scandal that rocks the toy industry in Los Angeles. GAME TOWN is the fifth and final book of the series.
Ending the Skylar Drake Mystery series was a heartbreaking decision for us. After all, the series has been in our lives for five years. It was difficult to end the relationship not only with Sky but his partner Casey Dolan, FBI Special Agent Olivia Jahns, and their secretary Lory Carrington. However, the time was right to let them find their own way.
So, the question we had to face was do we do a sequel or spin-off?
Doing a sequel would bring back the characters and more glimpses of 1950s Hollywood. Spin offs, re-orienting the characters we fell in love with and the villains who pushed the twists and turns of each book are still possible. I think it’s important that as writers and creators we assure our readers that everything turned out okay for the characters and they moved on.
For now, we have no plans for a sequel or spin off.
Some series can standalone. Others may be ruined by a sequel because the readers wanted to remember the characters the way they were.
Whatever the future holds for those in the Skylar Drake Mystery series it’s been fun creating great characters, clever plots, fun subplots and making up the twists and turns, and devious red herrings too.
What’s in the future for us? We’ll be writing more books, short stories, and more separately and together.
For now, we are a little depressed. We understand that this is par for the course when ending a series. And the best cure for the depression, they tell me is to move on and keep writing. So, stay tuned…there is more to come.
GAME TOWN is the fifth in the series and yes . . . we are still married!
Website: Janet Elizabeth Lynn
Website: Will Zeilinger
Throughout the 1950s, short local television programs popped up all over the airwaves. The majority were only fifteen to thirty minutes in length. Some of the programs were musical, comedy, or children’s radio programs that were ported over to the TV screen.
As in the transition from silent movies to talkies, moving from radio to television wasn’t always easy. The talent sometimes did not possess “screen appeal.” Unless a program was sponsored by a large corporation, the cost to produce a program was prohibitive. Studio time, talent and crew were all expenses that had to be worked into the budget, so most early television programs were limited to fifteen minutes in length.
Who knows? Maybe that was the seed for Andy Warhol’s famous statement, “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.”
(1949– ) Television pioneer Cliff Edwards,also known as “Ukelele Ike,” hosted and began with his own radio program in the 1930s. He brought his musical talents to the new tiny screen in 1949. You may have heard his voice in many cartoons. Remember Jiminy Cricket in Walt Disney’s Pinocchio?
(1950–1954) was a western television series that showed clips from old westerns, or told tall tales for a primarily children’s audience. The star and Roy Rogers sidekick, George “Gabby” Hayes hosted the show that ran on NBC at 5:15 p.m. Eastern for fifteen minutes.
(1950– ) Classical pianist turned jazz pianist Hazel Scott hosted the music series. She was the first African-American woman to host her own TV show. It starred Hazel Scott, and featured Gloria Lucas.
(1956– ) Her first big hit song, “Life Is Just a Bowl of Cherries” in 1951. She made her debut as a regular vocalist on Stop the Music (1949). She was a consistent guest performer on all the best variety showcases, including Perry Como and Ed Sullivan‘s shows, and managed to hostess her own variety program, The Jaye P. Morgan Show, accompanied by her singing siblings “The Morgan Brothers” (Duke, Bob, Charlie and Dick.)
(1957– ) Beginning in June 1948, Cooley began hosting a variety show on KTLA-TV in Los Angeles, California. It was broadcast from the Santa Monica Pier Ballroom. The show became a mainstay of television in the area, and won local Emmy awards in 1952 and 1953. Some notable guests included Frank Sinatra and Dinah Shore.
Other well-known stars had their own short television programs as well, including Dinah Shore, Patti Page, Jonathan Winters, Walter Winchell, Jo Stafford. Tony Martin and, Vaughn Monroe.
Gradually, the most popular programs grew in length to thirty-minutes and ultimately, to the sixty-minute format we know today.
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