Thunder in Carolina

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Thunder in Carolina
Directed by Paul Helmick
Produced by J. Francis White
Written by Alexander Richards
Starring Rory Calhoun
Alan Hale, Jr.
Connie Hines
Music by Walter Greene
Cinematography Joseph C. Brun
Edited by Rex Lipton
Release dates
Running time
92 minute
Country USA
Language English

Thunder in Carolina is a 1960 stock car racing movie starring Rory Calhoun, Alan Hale, Jr., and Connie Hines. The picture was written by Alexander Richards, directed by Paul Helmick, and contains remarkable 1959-vintage stock car race footage.

Filmed at a number of small dirt ovals in the South, the script is based around the NASCAR Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway in Darlington, South Carolina. All filming was done in 1959 with much of the footage taken during the actual event. A film car was entered to capture on-track sequences and Rory Calhoun actually ran some laps during the race. Calhoun drives a two-tone 1957 Chevrolet, with a blue body and white top, while his friend-turned-competitor "Les York" is in a 1959 Oldsmobile.

The movie is clearly a "B" grade production in terms of budget but Thunder In Carolina managed to capture much of the sound and fury of the era. The film was later marketed on home video as "Hard Drivin'" with a freeze-frame title spliced into the opening.


Rory Calhoun ... Mitch Cooper
Alan Hale, Jr. ... Buddy Schaeffer
Connie Hines ... Rene York
Race Gentry ... Les York (billed as John Gentry)
Ed McGrath ... Reichert
Troyanne Ross ... Kay Hill
Helen Downey ... Eve Mason
Van Casey ... Stoogie
Tripplie Wisecup ... Myrtle Webb
Carey Loftin ... Tommy Webb
Billie Langston ... Peaches
Ann Stevens ... Singer
George Rembert, Jr. ... Junior Thorsen
Olwen Roney ... Motel manager
Richard Taylor ... Higgins


Quentin Tarantino is a fan of the film.[1]


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