Film and TV

Sure, Report to Dallas Was Made in the 1950s. But It's What Got Us in This Traffic Jam Today.

On Friday, when I directed your attention to the rare Dallas movies being screened on the Texas Archive of the Moving Image's Web site, I forwarded one in particular to Patrick "Car-Free" Kennedy: Report to Dallas, made during the 1950s by the Dallas Citizens Traffic Commission. I thought maybe he'd have something to say about the film, in which our stentorian narrators insists that "traffic is the lifeblood of the city. Slow down the traffic, and the heartbeat slows down. Stop it, and the city dies."

And, sure enough, Patrick has posted a lengthy review of this classic cautionary tale that resonates to this very day every time you drive downtown or along Greenville or Lemmon Avenues. Writes our favorite urban planner and transpo-policy historian:

My favorite part of the entire thing is how unaware this video and by extension transportation policy is still to this day of the logical inconsistencies underlying their theology. Got to move that traffic swiftly, BUT DON'T SPEED! Say wha?

So we design roads comfortable enough to drive at uncomfortably fast speeds then devote resources to regulation and enforcement of those streets.

Speaking of, one of the film's highlights is a reference to "a secret group of more than 1,000 men known as T-Men [who] are constantly on the alert to spot the speeder who thinks he isn't being observed." Coincidentally, this is around the same time Schutze began wearing tin foil. Some more stills from the movie after the jump.


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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky