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Old 01-08-2011, 09:31 PM   #1
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"The Long, Long Trailer"

Picked up our 1974 28ft Argosy this fall. Rehabbing it this winter. Maiden voyage this June. When telling people about out purchase, several of them said “Oh like the movie ‘The Long, Long Trailer’.”
So we had to watch it. Walmart.com ‘movie, ship & tax’ $7
My wife and I both agreed, we should have had a drink first.
However, one thing I noticed in the movie was the extra wheels, (see pic) they sold to him as part of the hitch installation.
Question: Was this the old school way of weight distribution?
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Old 01-08-2011, 09:46 PM   #2
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That was a "Watson Dollie" used in the movie....

Mr. Donald R. Watson, inventor of the "Watson Dollie", claims it was killed by government interference with the tire manufacturer, who wasn't interested in doing $1,000,000 worth of research and testing on the 13" tires used on the dollie and simply quit producing them.

Mr. Watson was also the inventer of the steerable trailer, which idea he sold first to Airstream. Airstream produced only one prototype, and dropped R&D when they were sold to Beatrice Foods Co.

Mr. Watson then sold his idea to Jayco who produced three prototypes before dropping the idea. Mr. Watson and his son then began producing the steerable travel trailers themselves but produced only ten [10] and ran out of funds. Bankrupcy ensued and Mr. Watson retired. He and his son still hold the patent to the steerable trailer and it can be viewed, drawings and all @ PatFT Redirect. Do a patent number search for #3876240.
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Old 01-08-2011, 11:56 PM   #3
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Here is me hitching our 26' Pan American up to the family car, a '48 Nash Ambassador in 1952. These and a version called a 'slimp' wheel were common back then. We were 'forced' to by this one in Texas on our journey from Michigan to California on Rte 66. 'Forced' because the weight of this trailer and contents were making it difficult for my dad to control the car.
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Old 01-09-2011, 12:25 AM   #4
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Jim Hensley used one on his first "house" trailer back in 1955. It only lasted about 40 miles before the tires blew...

Here's the story

The Jim Hensley Hitch Story | Hensley Arrow and ProPride 3P Inventor | ProPride, Inc.


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Old 05-08-2011, 06:46 PM   #5
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Mr. Watson was also the inventer of the steerable trailer, which idea he sold first to Airstream. Airstream produced only one prototype, and dropped R&D when they were sold to Beatrice Foods Co.
I have some photos of that trailer on a hard drive somewhere that crashed. Hope I can still get the photos off. It was several years ago I appeared for sale some place. I corresponded with the fellow who owned it and was selling it.

Haven't thought about it in some time. But he had photos of the exterior and IIRC the interior of that trailer. Good photos. ??? Maybe someone else has them also.

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Old 05-08-2011, 10:06 PM   #6
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Here is me hitching our 26' Pan American up to the family car, a '48 Nash Ambassador in 1952. These and a version called a 'slimp' wheel were common back then. We were 'forced' to by this one in Texas on our journey from Michigan to California on Rte 66. 'Forced' because the weight of this trailer and contents were making it difficult for my dad to control the car.
As further comment on my post here I remember clearly (I was 14 at the time) that the 'dolly' was sold to us at a towing supply business in Texas along RTE 66, could have been Abiliene. The 'dolly worked perfectly for dad but he was handicaped by not being possible to back up with it between the car and trailer. We took a wrong off ramp in LA (the first semblence of any freeway we had ever traveled) and found ourselves pulling up a steep residential street. We were partially through the first intersection when dad realized that the street that we were on ended at the top of the hill. The only way out was to turn left onto the intersecting street. To do this dad had to back down (hill) to be able to make the turn. The 'dolly' locked up between the trailer and car. Dad had mom, my brother and I, stand safely on the side of the street. He chocked the trailer wheels, jacked the trailer off of the dolly and towed the dolly to the bottom of the hill to the left and left it beside the street. He then returned the car to and reconnected the trailer and towed it down to where he had parked the dolly and reconnected everything up. As you remember, I indicated that this was a residential area so we drew an appreciable audience. When 'The Long Trailer' reached the theaters a year or two after we all went to see it. I had never seen my parents laugh as hard at anything before. I guess they could 'relate' to the story.
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Old 05-09-2011, 12:03 AM   #7
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@Fresh Air: I think you may be thinking of Amarillo, 'cause Route 66 went right through Amarillo, but was a couple hundred miles from Abilene. They're both flat and windy, though, so there's not that much difference!
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Old 05-09-2011, 05:04 PM   #8
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@Fresh Air: I think you may be thinking of Amarillo, 'cause Route 66 went right through Amarillo, but was a couple hundred miles from Abilene. They're both flat and windy, though, so there's not that much difference!
I knew that it wasn't Abilene the moment I typed it. Thanks.
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Old 05-09-2011, 06:56 PM   #9
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... We were partially through the first intersection when dad realized that the street that we were on ended at the top of the hill. The only way out was to turn left onto the intersecting street. To do this dad had to back down (hill) to be able to make the turn. The 'dolly' locked up between the trailer and car. ...we drew an appreciable audience. When 'The Long Trailer' reached the theaters a year or two after we all went to see it. I had never seen my parents laugh as hard at anything before. I guess they could 'relate' to the story.
Neil
That probably wasn't funny at the time, but its a great story now
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Old 05-10-2011, 12:53 AM   #10
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That probably wasn't funny at the time, but its a great story now
No it definitely wasn't I think there was a scene in the movie where the trailer appeared to loom very large over the rear of the car. Lucy kept looking at it like it was the headless horseman was coming for her. Mom uttered, "I know that FEELING!"
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Old 05-10-2011, 01:56 AM   #11
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Neil, did you folks continue to trailer, or were they pretty much done after that?
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Old 05-10-2011, 11:15 AM   #12
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No it definitely wasn't I think there was a scene in the movie where the trailer appeared to loom very large over the rear of the car. Lucy kept looking at it like it was the headless horseman was coming for her. Mom uttered, "I know that FEELING!"
Neil
I know, it takes a bit of time to get used to looking up while driving and seeing the face of the trailer and the giant blue MAERTSRIA looming so large in the rearview mirror.
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Old 05-10-2011, 11:17 AM   #13
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If you notice in the movie too, he had to operate his trailer brakes by hand with a lever.
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Old 05-10-2011, 07:35 PM   #14
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If you notice in the movie too, he had to operate his trailer brakes by hand with a lever.
Yep, so did dad. I think trailer brakes were so effective that I believe he did all the stopping with just the trailer.
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