Here it is! The statement from the owner of the Documented Harold & Maude Hearse.
The reason I'm writing is to set the record straight in
regards to the status of the 1959 Cadillac Superior hearse used in
Paramount Pictures "Harold and Maude" From what I've been hearing
over the past couple of weeks, there are people out there that have
been wondering what became of this car. In short, I've owned this car
since 1975. Over the years that I've owned this car, I don't think
that I've ever thought that fans of the film might be interested in
knowing what became of it. And I know that I've never thought that
there were hearse fans out there that were interested!
For those that are interested, here is the story of how I became the owner of this car...
In January, 1971, a crew from Paramount Pictures came to my home town to film scenes for "Harold and Maude". I visited the location a few times and this is where I first saw this car. (I should mention that there was only one of each picture car on the set or at their motel at any time, including this hearse. There was only one.)
During the following weeks I would see their vehicles parked at the motel that they were staying at and I enjoyed one more visit to their set at another location. I was quite taken with my first "Hollywood" experience. It literally changed my life. Little did I know at the time that I'd wind up owning "that ugly black horror", spend the next few years of my life watching this movie over and over again and finally wind up spending 19 years in storage fees.
I saw the film on opening day and I was hooked. By 1975 I'd seen the film somewhere between 150 and 200 times. I'm not sure because I gave up counting. In 1974, I was sitting through multiple viewings of the movie with the best friend I ever had, Mike M. I decided that I was going to try to make out the license plate of the car on the screen. With Mike M.'s help, I was able to do so. Now, Mike M.'s father was a police officer and was nice enough to "run" the plates for me. When I got the results, I looked the person up in the phone book. Luckily the person was listed and I made a telephone call to introduce myself as a fan of the movie. As it turned out, this person was also a fan. Over the following months, we stayed in touch with each other. During one of our conversations, I was told that it was time to sell the car and the owner wanted me to buy it because the owner believed that I would take care of it.
Well, this was very exciting except for one thing. I didn't have the money to buy this car. I talked to my father about it. He knew of my passion for this movie and to my surprise, he was willing to go with me and get the car!
Oh, yeah! I forgot to mention a couple of other problems with my buying the car on my own - I wasn't of age to make the purchase and I didn't have a driver's license!
This is where I'd like to mention another friend of mine named Ronnie S. It was with Ronnie S.' help that I was able to enjoy the secret pleasures of driving my car. Ronnie S., who had his driver's license, would come to my house and we'd get into my car and pull out of the driveway with him driving. We'd stop at the end of the block and switch places and off we'd go! We'd do the same thing in reverse when we went back to the house.
After buying the car, I called the DMV to inquire about the car's ownership history. Unfortunately, they didn't have access to the records prior to 1972. But, fortunately, the first owner that they did cite was the production company for "Harold and Maude".
The letter that they sent me in response to this quiry is posted elsewhere on this site.
Between 1975 and 1977 the site of this car roaming the streets was a common one in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 1977, I stopped driving the car and in 1979 I had it moved to a storage facility. I've paid to store it since 1979.
I've been perfectly content to be private about my involvement with this car and wish I could continue to do so. But, I've decided that I need to address some of the misinformation that has circulated about this car that I've only recently become aware of.
I'd like fans of "Harold and Maude" and funeral cars to be aware that any claims or rumors that you may hear or have heard about the ownership or whereabouts of the '59 Cadillac hearse used in "Harold and Maude" that are contrary to any statements that I've made above, are absolutely false. I hope that my coming forward with this information will help to clear this matter up.
So, let me see, I've acknowleged my dad, Mike M. and Ronnie S. for there participation in this story. There are a few other acknowlegements I'd like to make to them. I'd like to also thank my father for being my father and for belonging to an auto club when I needed a tow. I'd also like to thank Ronnie S. and Mike M. for helping me push the car when we'd run out of gas and for helping me to wax it before going out to run out of gas. For anyone reading this, you haven't lived until you've had to push a car around that weighs over three tons or had to wax a car (with paste wax) that is 21 feet long! Thanks again Ronnie S., Mike M. and Dad! We wouldn't have gotten very far without you!
My very sincere thanks go out to Amy Shanafelt and Grim Rides for being interested enough in my car to provide space on this website to present this information and to the people who have written me in support of this project.
Please take me back.
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