Scrooged is a 1988 American Christmas comedy based on Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, and starring Bill Murray. Frank Cross is a selfish executive, and a modern-day Scrooge, who is visited by a succession of ghosts on Christmas Eve intent on helping Frank regain his lost Christmas spirit.
The movie, and our featured car, start with the Ghost of Christmas Past, the taxi driver, and his 1970 Checker Marathon taxicab.
There were several models of the Checker Marathon sedan, but we particularly liked the A-12 model, with a GM Chevy L65 Small Block V-8 350 cu. in. engine, manufactured Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA. It was a 4-door with tons of interior space and a lot of pep, for when the passenger said “step on it”. Sporting rear-wheel drive, and a three-speed gearbox, it was almost 17 feet long, weighed in at 3,500 lbs., and had a top speed around 100 mph.
There was even an eight-door “Aerobus” Marathon wagon, that offered seating for 12 passengers.
Checker taxicabs were the choice for New York City film makers. The size of the car, robust construction, and the lack of yearly changes to the styling all contributed to the Marathon’s popularity for movie production crews. Just about any film set in New York City in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s will feature a Checker Marathon cab. Interestingly, many movies set in the 1950s and 1960s still used Checker cabs built in the 1970s and early 1980s, simply because the bodies were indistinguishable from the 50’s to the 80’s.
“I get it now. And if you give, then it can happen, then the miracle can happen to you. Not just the poor and hungry, it’s just, everybody’s gotta have this miracle! It can happen tonight for you all! If you believe in this pure thing, the miracle will happen and you’ll want it again tomorrow! You won’t believe the bastard who say, “Christmas is once a year and it’s a fraud.” It’s not! It can happen every day! You’ve just got to want that feeling! And if you like it and you want it, you get greedy for it. You’ll want it every day of your life! And it can happen to you! I believe in it now. I believe it’s gonna happen to me, now. I’m ready for it! And it’s great. It’s a good feeling. It’s really better than I’ve felt in a long time. I’m ready.”
Filmed in Hollywood, not New York City, Scrooged had a $32 million budget and ultimately grossed $100 million worldwide. Regarded at the time as “mean” and “too sentimental,” today Scrooged is on many top Christmas movie lists, and surfaces year after year on television.
Thinking about building a replica with an american-made engine? Fraser has the right engine ready for you!