Looking Back: 1978′s “Corvette Summer”
The year was 1978. Following in the wake of what would be one of the single-most impacting films of all time, “Star Wars” star, Mark Hamill was handed a script that by all intents and purposes, could’ve been easily dismissed. The film was “Corvette Summer,” a teeny-bopper summer popcorn flick that followed in the wake of other highway-based films like “Cannonball!,” “Mother, Jugs, and Speed,” and “Smokey & The Bandit.”
Hamill would play angsty teenage car lover, Kenneth W. Dantley Jr. who loses his mind over his high school shop class project car, a dilapidated third-generation Corvette. Devoting all of his time (although, reduced to a short montage), Ken redesigns the ‘Vette into possibly the gaudiest example of 1970′s customization. Trust us, it’s pretty over-the-top.
When Ken learns that his “tricked out” Corvette has been stolen, he begins a tireless search for it. His exploits (which include pouting and putting up “Lost Corvette” want ads on utility poles) leads him to Las Vegas, where he meets Vanessa, a teenage prostitute wannabe in an equally over-the-top windowless rape van, who offers to help him try to track the wayward ‘Vette down and snatch it back from the thieves.
There’s plenty of plot holes, pratfalls and exhaustively overused cliches as well, as Ken falls for the doting Vanessa and vows to save her from her chosen, although unsuccessful career. Danny Bonaduce makes a *gasp* cameo appearance as he was riding the “Partridge Family” fame train for a while longer. The biggest question comes as to why Hamill chose to accept this limp film as a followup to “Star Wars” when Harrison Ford went on to take a smaller role in “Apocalypse Now” and costar with Gene Wilder in “The Frisco Kid.”