Green Cadillac

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Green Cadillac[1]
In The Dark
Original Broadcast Date
Joe Frank
Serious Monologue, 28 minutes
Preceded by: Smile
Followed by: When I'm Calling You

A few years ago I saw an ad in the paper for an estate sale.

Green Cadillac is a program Joe Frank produced as part of the series In The Dark. It was originally broadcast in 1993.


Joe buys a '1948 Hudson Super Six Club Coupé in its original metallic gold color with a huge 300 cubic inch flathead 6 engine' at an estate sale in Bethesda (Maryland).[1] The following evening, a parked car whose brakes fail collides with it. It's never the same again. 6 years later, unused, he has it towed to a friend's, where it sits for a couple more years, when the friend's wife tells him it has to go. Joe takes it to his mechanic friend, Howard, makes a deal that, after Howard fixes it up, Joe'll sell it and split the proceeds with him. Driving it around the weekend after Howard had finished, a fellow, Billy, runs after him, wants to buy it, says he'll look just like James Dean.[2] First Billy takes it to the service manager at the dealership at which he works, who points out all the rust on the undercarriage. Billy goes crazy with disappointment, damages the car. The check Billy writes for the damages bounces and he disappears. Joe sells the car to a junk dealer for $200.

7:00: Joe, now working as a salesman at a used-car dealership, buys a 4-year-old Honda from a guy, Brooks, who comes to sell it to the dealer, for $5,000. A week later, driving on MacArthur Boulevard,[3] cops arrest him because the car is stolen. Someone at the DMV had forged a title. Joe has no car and is out $5,000.

9:10: A few days later Joe sees Brooks on the street, calls the cops, who do nothing. He confronts Brooks, who brushes him off.

10:30: Joe sees Brooks again the next day. He's parked a late-model Peugeot, gone into a diner. He left the keys in the car so Joe steals it, parks it in a garage a mile away, calls the diner, talks to Brooks, who tells him it's stolen: he can keep it.

11:40: Joe, driving a car his boss had lent him,[4] sees Brooks on the Friday before Halloween with a new Lexus. They end up on a chase out US 50 into Maryland. On an off-ramp they get into a fight. Exhausted, they make friends.[5]

16:40: Some months later, Joe is waiting at a bus stop, where he's supposed to meet Brooks, who was selling his beat-up '68 Cadillac, still owed him $500.[6] A homeless Native American in a wheelchair asks Joe to buy him some Wild Irish Rose.[7] In the store around the corner Joe has to wait while a guy tries to pay with a check (not allowed) and a panhandler (also a shoplifter) converts his change into bills. Joe gets angry at the delay, worries that he's missed Brooks. When the Native American can't find $2 to pay for the 'wine' Joe tips his wheelchair over, dumping him on the sidewalk, spilling his wine. Joe gets on a bus. As it leaves, he sees Brooks pull up in the green Cadillac.

Legacy Synopsis

Joe buys a classic car and tries to sell it years later. Joe working as a used car salesman buys a stolen car and then chases the guy who sold it to him. Joe buys whiskey for an Indian in a wheelchair.


This is an incomplete record of the music in this program. If you can add more information, please do.

Additional credits

The original broadcast credits state: "[C]reated in collaboration with Jack Cheeseborough. Recorded and mixed by Jerry Summers. Special thanks to Farley Ziegler and Jennifer Ferro."


Perhaps I'd make friends with Brooks, but I wouldn't give him a car - just me? Arthur Peabody (talk) 16:23, 7 March 2022 (EST)

I've lived in Bethesda, driven all these streets. Arthur Peabody (talk) 16:48, 7 March 2022 (EST)

External links


  1. This is a large car, aimed at families, not people who want fast cars. Hudson, owner of Detroit's largest department store, funded its founding. It made less-expensive cars. Minneapolis's Dayton department stores acquired Hudson's, becoming Dayton-Hudson, which started Target. Hudson Autos ended up part of American Motors, which Chrysler absorbed later.
  2. Dean never drove a Hudson in the movies, drove Porsches as his personal cars. Hudson made sports cars, but the Club Coupé wasn't one of them.
  3. a street in Washington DC and Maryland
  4. Remember what Joe did to the boss's car he borrowed in The Wire?
  5. Joe chases Brooks 'west on 16th street' - 16th is a north-south street (all numbered streets in DC are; lettered streets are east-west; streets named after states are diagonal). South makes the most sense of the subsequent route. 16th NW in Wikipedia They drive into Prince George's County, which is east of Washington, so there should be no driving west in this chase.
  6. Joe says the bus stop is 'at the corner of Marshall and Fifth', which is in northwest. The Native American mentions waiting for someone to push him to the VA to pick up his check. The VA is at Irving & North Capitol, roughly a half-mile east a half-mile south of Marshall & Fifth.
  7. a cheap, fortified, sweetened, 'wine', 'Richards Wild Irish Rose was introduced in 1954 and at its height sold about two million cases annually. The brand is available in 13.9% and 18% alcohol by volume and comes in both "red" and "white" varieties. The red is described as tasting like "cheap cherry hard candy" and the white like "crunchy milk and fake vanilla".' Flavored fortified wines at Wikipedia That the store had sold out of quarts and had only a single pint left could be a deliberate comment on the popularity of cheap, sweetened, fortified wines on skid row. The comment about the red 'flavor' reminds me of the line in The Kinks's 'Lola' about 'champagne' that tastes like cherry cola.