A family Jeep: Scott H. Keller provided this wonderful snapshot of his grandparents Dorothy and Ted Keller and their friend Lee Gross (far left), at "Tightwad Ranch," along the Rillito River on the outskirts of Tucson, Arizona. It brought back memories for Scott, although he doesn't know the exact date of the photo.
Colin Peabody and Mark Davis helped identify the license plate as an early-sixties Arizona commercial plate (2) (which anything other than a passenger car was required to carry.)
Scott says, "The Tightwad Ranch was a 20-acre ranch my granddad built in 1960 when he retired from the plastics business in Iowa, and I assume he bought the Jeep then. I don't know whether my granddad added those extra lights on the front, but my guess would be it came that way. In the photo the canvas top (or maybe that's a cover on it) looks tan, but I remember the top fading into a taupe-like color, and it eventually became tattered so he replaced it with an aluminum top.
"I grew up in South Carolina, but my sister and I went to Arizona to visit our grandparents every summer. My granddad taught me to drive the Jeep in 1967 when I was 12, and he taught my sister the next summer when she was almost 12. To start us off, he put it in 4WD and first gear so we could only go about 5 mph. They had their own private road to drive on, and the adjacent public roads were unpaved and lightly traveled, so we really couldn't get into too much trouble. I loved driving that Jeep, even though we were in Arizona with no a/c. You just had to wear shorts!"
Scott adds, "They had other cars with air conditioning for regular driving, so they used the Jeep primarily to drive on the many dirt roads in the area at the time, for runs to the feed and seed store, and for general ranch duties. I remember when I was around 14 I got my granddad's tractor stuck in soft sand on the side of a levee and he used the Jeep to pull it out.
"It had a top speed of about 45 mph on a level surface, maybe 50 mph going downhill. It had three forward speeds, and first gear had no synchromesh so you had to come to a complete stop to downshift to first. When I became a teenager my Tucson friends and I would run errands in it, and it was fun to take to drive-in movies. We thought it was so cool. We never put the doors on it as far as I can remember.
"My grandparents sold the ranch and the Jeep with it around 1974 when I was in college. We were heartbroken that they sold them, but they were getting older and the place was getting to be too much for them to take care of."
Thanks to Scott for the photo and his memories. I put it at the top of this page because I was struck by the similarity of the pose, to the next photo below.
This shot by Johann Klinger (3) gives us the title for the page. The picture was taken on May Day 1965 in Vienna, Austria, exactly fifty years before the day I posted it here on CJ3B.info.
The crowd watching the parade in Town Hall Square probably recognizes all the things this Jeep represents, but it took me a while to figure it all out. The inspiration is likely the very successful 1951 film Die Vier im Jeep ("Four in a Jeep"), about four soldiers from the four Allied occupying armies, patrolling Vienna in a jeep after World War II.
Why revive that film in May 1965? Because Austria was celebrating the tenth anniversary of the 1955 Vienna treaty ending that occupation, and re-establishing Austria as an independent country. (4)
That leaves the question: why is there a sign reading "Jonas" on the front bumper? Well, it so happens that the country was also in the middle of a very tight presidential election, and candidates were taking advantage of the May Day crowds. The winner three weeks later, with 50.7% of the vote, was Franz Jonas, whose supporters are also carrying a banner in the background of the photo. Apparently the highlighted "A" in the name Jonas represents "Austria." (5)
Four in a Jeep (German title Die Vier im Jeep) was a 1951 Swiss film in French and English. Guy Bellinger's synopsis from IMDB: "In post-war Vienna, occupied by the Allies, four sergeants (90K JPEG) representing each of the occupying nations (USA, England, France, Soviet Union) patrol in the same jeep (100K JPEG). They are given the mission to capture a prisoner who has run away from a Soviet war prisoner camp. But when they learn the truth about Karl, the runaway, and Franziska, his wife, they decide to help him instead." (6)
The beautiful Franziska is played by Viveca Lindfors, and the American sergeant is Ralph Meeker, best known for his appearances in the later war films Paths of Glory (1957) and The Dirty Dozen (1967).
Another politician who knew the power of the high hood to convince voters was Jorge Nehme, who held the mayor's position in a remote area of Brasil from 1964 to 1969.
The 1963 photo of his campaign vehicle was supplied by Flávio Albano Homer to the blog Almanaque Gaúcho. (7)
More CJ-3Bs with signs, but this time not a campaign event. This was a parade in San Juan, Puerto Rico on 27 July 1964, celebrating the twelfth anniversary of the establishment of the constitution of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, approved by voters on the island and ratified by President Truman in 1952. (8)
In the large copy of the photo (370K JPEG) you can see the crowd is more interested in what's coming next, as the Jeeps driven by stoic-looking agriculture students display signs with inspiring slogans such as:
"Future farmers raise animals of high yield and quality."
"Future farmers develop leadership."
"Future farmers are trained in agricultural mechanics."
Just a couple of years earlier the Jeeps had been put to more practical use as Puerto Rico was hit by flooding. This photo taken by Torres, at Puerta de Tierra, San Juan, is dated 18 November 1962. (9)
The Big Flood in the Netherlands was in 1953 when a huge North Atlantic storm surge burst through the dykes, and over 1800 people died. (10) This photo was taken the following year, when Queen Juliana was touring flood-damaged areas. I would love to find a side view of her royal CJ-3B with its modest fender skirts.
See more on Queen Juliana on CJ3B.info, in Jeeps on Saba Island, and more on the 1953 flood in Police Jeeps of The Hague.
Another Queen, another continent, another high hood. I don't actually have much information about exactly where or when this was taken, but it clearly shows Great Britain's Queen Elizabeth II during her visit to India in early 1961.
Hidden behind the Queen seems to be Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.
Prime Minister Nehru had rated a more lavishly decorated Jeep a few years earlier when he appeared in front of thousands of school children at National Stadium, New Delhi on his 68th birthday, 14 November 1957. (11)
This Jeep (right) was decorated out of sadness rather than joy, as it carried an urn containing the ashes of the Late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, in a funeral procession to Anand Bhavan, the Nehru-Gandhi family home in Allahabad, India, on 9 November 1984. (12)
Another funeral, this one in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, in November 1961, apparently for victims of violence following the assassination of dictator Rafael Trujillo earlier in the year.
I have reversed the photo by Robert W. Kelley, which was scanned backwards in the LIFE photo archive. (13)
But wait a minute, where's the Jeep in this photo? In the large copy (240K JPEG) you can see police cars and even a police bus in the background, as the Policia Nacional keeps an eye on the threat of further violence (160K JPEG).
But meanwhile, their Jeep seems to have run out of gas.
Other of Robert W. Kelley's photos from this trip appear in an article in LIFE magazine, 1 December 1961, (14) which describes Dominicans looting Trujillo family mansions, while American warships stand offshore to prevent a possible Communist coup.
Different problem, same solution. A Jeep carrying equipment for a team measuring the effects of radiation from atomic bomb tests in the Pacific, lands on Enjebi Island in 1964. Tiny Enjebi is part of the Enewetak Atoll in the Marshall Islands (see a map of the Pacific, 100K JPEG).
The original caption written by the team from the University of Washington's Applied Fisheries Laboratory: "And they're off, almost. The fine, white beach sand made sticky going even for vehicles with four-wheel drive. The jeep, with a little scientific help, made it up onto firmer ground. Pushing were Ralph Palumbo, left, and Rich Billings. Gary Lewis was still perched on the M-boat. The thick regrowth in the background was typical of that found on most of Engebi." (15)
The photo by James O. Sneddon comes from the Lauren R. Donaldson Collection (16) at the U. of W. Libraries, which documents the radiological testing in the area from 1946 and 1964. The scientists were determining the effects of radiation on the islands' flora and fauna, and assessing the recovery from exposure with the passage of time.
The collection also includes the famous and amazing photo of the second nuclear test explosion Test "Baker" as seen from Bikini Atoll, 25 July 1946 (230K JPEG). The bomb was suspended 90 feet below a landing craft to create an underwater explosion, and surrounded by surplus WWII vessels to evaluate its effects on a naval fleet. (17)
The Jeep, which appears to be a U.S. Navy CJ-3B, was photographed again by James O. Sneddon during the 1964 survey, with the caption: "The jeep helps to illustrate the height of the vegetation near the Engebi Island blockhouse. Messerschmidia and Scaevola were from 8 to 15 feet high on much of the island." (18)
Jeeps have been a potent tool for many purposes since World War II. We can only hope that military Jeeps are increasingly used to study the effects of violence, rather than spread violence, and that dictators' Jeeps are increasingly used to protect rather than brutalize their populations.
Thanks to Federico Cavedo for finding all these great examples of Jeeps at work and play. -- Derek Redmond
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