Lights, Camera … Cars!
Luminaries of the screen and stage are the prior owners of several vehicles from The JBS Collection. In addition to being famous, these celebrities obviously had great taste.
Without further ado, on with the show!
One Talented ‘Tramp’
Charlie Chaplin is near the top of any list of all-time great comedic actors, and he was also a filmmaker and composer. His onscreen persona “The Tramp” made him world-famous, and his films include The Kid, Modern Times, and The Great Dictator. His career ultimately spanned more than 75 years.
Chaplin previously owned our 1936 Packard Twelve 1407 All Weather Cabriolet via Charlie Chaplin Studios. However, that’s not the Cabriolet’s only claim to fame. It also appeared in the Academy Award-winning blockbuster The Godfather: Part III, as well as the hit 1980s TV series Remington Steele starring Pierce Brosnan and Stephanie Zimbalist.
A Tough Act to Follow
James Cagney was an actor, dancer, and nothing less than a cinematic icon. Known for playing tough-guy roles in films including Angels with Dirty Faces and White Heat, he also won an Academy Award for his part in Yankee Doodle Dandy. The American Film Institute ranked him eighth on its list of greatest male stars of the Golden Age of Hollywood. In Orson Welles’ estimation, Cagney was “maybe the greatest actor who ever appeared in front of a camera.”
Strike Up the Band!
Bandleader Benny Snyder likely purchased our 1925 Ahrens-Fox Firetruck from the Nashua, New Hampshire fire department. Snyder was a friend of Boston Pops Orchestra conductor Arthur Fiedler, himself a fan of fire equipment. The vehicle still had the “Benny Snyder Orchestra” legend on its hood when a later paint job was stripped and refinished.
Wayne Newton and Red Skelton
Stars Swap Cars
Wayne Newton is a singer, actor, and all-around American institution known by the nicknames The Midnight Idol, Mr. Las Vegas, and Mr. Entertainment. Red Skelton is an entertainment legend most famous for his national radio and television shows between 1937 and 1971, especially as host of the The Red Skelton Show.
In addition to fame and fortune, Wayne Newton and Red Skelton also appreciated fine cars. Newton once owned our 1972 Mercedes-Benz 600 SWB and traded it to Skelton for Red’s Rolls-Royce. Jack Boyd Smith, Jr., founder of The JBS Collection, was personal friends with Red and Lothian Skelton and purchased the car from the Red Skelton Museum in Vincennes, Ind.
The Mercedes-Benz 600 line was popular with other high-profile car enthusiasts, too. The shortlist of big names to own one includes Pete Townshend, Queen Elizabeth II, Aristotle Onassis, Elvis Presley, Yul Brynner, Eric Clapton, and three of the Beatles.
From celebrity ownership to the loving care of The JBS Collection, these cars have been on quite a journey. We like to think they enjoyed the ride.