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Movies & Television: Police, Fire & EMS Vehicles

Not from TV or movies, but it's from two computer games from the early 90s: the VGA remake of Police Quest: In Pursuit of the Death Angel (PQ1 VGA) and Police Quest 3.

In PQ1 VGA, your cruiser has what looks like an AeroDynic on it with two lights that wig-wag in the rear. The bars are only lit in scenes where you needed to use the siren. This game is set in California, yet no amber anywhere or California Steady. They did a pretty good job of capturing the look of a lit up Aero, IMHO.

apreview.ibb.co_jQ2AHR_PQ1_VGAScreenshot1.jpg
At the Lytton County Jail with suspect.

apreview.ibb.co_eE5mrm_PQ1_VGAScreenshot.jpg

High-Risk Traffic Stop for drug dealer suspected of murder. Note: only two officers.

In PQ3, the Lytton Police Department seems to have switched to JetSonics. Again, no amber or California Steady. Strangely, they seem to use two-door patrol cars for Sergeants. Probably because it's the same sprite as your unmarked car. Makes no sense when you're transporting your first arrest of the shift to the lockup (5150 case that tries to stab you...unless you use your trusty PR-24). Like PQ1 VGA, the bars do light up in scenes where they're used (e.g. traffic stops). They do a pretty good job of replicating a lit JetSonic.

aimage.ibb.co_h7no46_PQ3_Screenshot2.jpg

Series creator Jim Walls (retired CHP) during the intro or if you did something that got you killed.

aimage.ibb.co_iNPqHR_PQ3_Screenshot1.png

At Lytton PD garage. The unmarked and marked cars' models look strangely similar...

aimage.ibb.co_h8KPcR_PQ3_Screenshot.jpg

Traffic stop for speeder.
 

Jarred J.

Archive Expert
Silver Supporter
IDK they are both so identically dim it doesnt matter...
 

JazzDad

Just Another Faceless Member
Silver Supporter
"... to outrun death."

What choppy editing (PSA #2).

Ambulance with windows that open.
 

Jarred J.

Archive Expert
Silver Supporter
no A/C in the 70s...

i bneed one of those battey cutoff ignitions/ sirens.
 

CrownVic97

Veteran Member
You're kidding me! Those are actual siren models?! I always thought that they just used some sound editing to make the tones sound "futuristic".
NOPE! Real deal, man ;)

Apparently the vintage ones are getting hard to find in Australia from what I've heard. Could be wrong though.
 
Only in Australia.... I need to get a nice ute and put one of these on and cruise around whatever Canada's equivalent to the outback is. Saskatchewan, maybe? Nah, not wild enough and not every single animal or piece of vegetation is dangerous and/or venomous.

Fun fact about the Mad Max series of movies: They're not action movies, as many think, but very well-edited documentaries of the day-to-day life in the Australian Outback. Some Aussie buddies of mine told me that, so it must be true. They said that the only inaccuracies in the documentaries are that "Acca Dacca" (AC/DC to us), isn't being played everywhere and that nobody drinks VB (Victoria Bitter). Also, Tim Tams and Jaffa Cakes are never seen nor is Vegemite, although some experts claim that in the opening scene of Mad Max, Max is washing his hands with it. The documentaries showed the daily routine of bogans very accurately, though.
 
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Just saw this light in a 1977 movie Crater Lake Monster. I thought Signal Stat at first, but when there is a closeup I'm not sure what it is.

Crater Lake Monster-2.JPG


Crater Lake Monster-3.JPG

Here is a video snippet of it rotating.

 

CrownVic97

Veteran Member
Grote 7622 without the retaining band. No mistaking that beacon design.
 
Already posted one from the Hill Street Blues intro, but here's the intro from the very early Season One episodes. The sirens at the beginning are different. You can hear a few different sirens at the beginning.


Yes, even the intro to Night Court had warning equipment visible in it. Very brief clip of an NYPD Aero. Side-note: Dan Fielding is one of my personal heroes ;) .


From one of my favourite movies. Each of the three had different intro sequences, and The Naked Gun 2 1/2 and 33 1/3 seemed to use different beacons:


From the TV show that the movies were based on:

 
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Here's are a couple of episodes from Season 5 (1992) of COPS set in Philadelphia. The Philly episodes were some of the best in the entire series, IMO. Plenty of Streethawks. Scroll to 15:40 in the first link to see a Sergeant using a Powercall/Warble while responding to a call. Scroll to 14:20 and then 18:10 in the second link to see a call with the same Sergeant using a Powercall/Warble. IIRC, there's a chase in the Philly episodes where the warble tone is used for the entire chase. I'll edit this post if/when I find it. When I saw these episodes, it was the first time I'd ever heard this tone and I've loved it ever since. R/B Streethawk+Powercall/Warble = Awesome!

http://l23movies.com/watch/dBrZPXld-cops-season-5/episode-18.html
http://l23movies.com/watch/xRleXRld-cops-season-5/episode-16.html


Any and all of the episodes in this season and the other early seasons are such goldmines for classic lights and sirens! Also it's nostalgic to see how policing was done in the old days.


EDIT: Also wanted to add the intro to Police Quest 2. You can see half of a JetSonic in the first part of the intro. Well, an EGA graphics JetSonic. It was a pretty good rendition for 1988. That and the Roland MT-32 version of soundtrack of this game is outstanding and the intro itself is pretty good.


Best game in the PQ series, IMHO. Tricky and it's very easy to get killed or lose the game some other way, but still a very enjoyable game if you don't mind parser-based input (e.g. having to type "OPEN DOOR" to open a door).
 
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And here's yet another fresh off the presses! From the movie Ronin. Great movie with outstanding car chases. Skip to 1:50 to see some 90's French National Police vehicle lighting and hear a French Hi-Lo. It's short-lived, though.

 
Alright. From the long running UK TV series "The Bill" (derived from the nickname of the Police, the Old Bill).


The siren tones are dubbed over. (although the siren itself is real "Met Sound")
 
Alright. From the long running UK TV series "The Bill" (derived from the nickname of the Police, the Old Bill).


The siren tones are dubbed over. (although the siren itself is real "Met Sound")
I posted the openings to The Bill from 1988-1996/7 on this thread. Back when the openings were enjoyable and not nearly as flashy and outlandish. I never got tired of seeing a Rover SD1 racing up to the screen with the focus being on its beacon. Same applies to each successive vehicle and its lighting. The pilot to The Bill was called "Woodentop", another nod to a police nickname, as you know (but the Yanks likely won't ;) ). I'll add that I was always was a fan of Sergeant Cryer and DI Galloway and especially of the barbs they'd hurl at each other.

As a side-note, do you know the make/model of the siren that's used in the older openings? They'd use that tone when responding to 999 calls or when in pursuit.
 
It's from the old "Met Sound" siren box (that's it's actual name) and the modern variant, of which I used to own one, is a Stirling SS2H4 more commonly used by Essex Police on their IRVs/Area cars.

As for characters, Sgt Cryer, Galloway, Roach, Burnside, Carver, June and Tony were always my favourites. And of course in the later versions, Reg and Des were classic.

Vehicle wise, I loved the early-mid 90s Ford Sierra with the rotator lightbar on top (still used by the Met and various other UK Police well into the late 00's) They used to have a Sierra Cosworth with a Single rotating beacon on top used as the Area car from around 91-93 in the series.

They still used the "Met Sound" on several vehicles in the Met for quite some time.
 
It's from the old "Met Sound" siren box (that's it's actual name) and the modern variant, of which I used to own one, is a Stirling SS2H4 more commonly used by Essex Police on their IRVs/Area cars.

As for characters, Sgt Cryer, Galloway, Roach, Burnside, Carver, June and Tony were always my favourites. And of course in the later versions, Reg and Des were classic.

Vehicle wise, I loved the early-mid 90s Ford Sierra with the rotator lightbar on top (still used by the Met and various other UK Police well into the late 00's) They used to have a Sierra Cosworth with a Single rotating beacon on top used as the Area car from around 91-93 in the series.

They still used the "Met Sound" on several vehicles in the Met for quite some time.

How common are the Met Sound siren boxes in general? I reckon that they'd be fairly scare on this side of the pond. I've always loved that distinct yelp, at least in part because it reminds me of The Bill. That and the Thames Television ident card. I'd imagine that the same applies to the Stirling SS2H4 with regards to rarity in North America. It's funny how the Commonwealth Realms always seem to withhold some of our best items from each other, unless one's willing to go out of their way and pay a large price. For example, getting something as simple as Walker's Crisps here is surprisingly tricky and costly. One has to go to a specialty shop. The same applies to many Aussie and Kiwi items. I have to have Tim Tams on hand at all times, but they're surprisingly costly. Those are but two of many small examples. Thankfully, this curse doesn't apply to all items. This has enabled me to stock my cupboards with all sorts of wonderful items. I don't know what I'd do without my Nando's sauces. I will add that it's while it's certainly not impossible to get a Full English here, getting one with black pudding is somewhat more difficult. White pudding is almost unheard of, so full Irish Breakfasts are a rarity.

Ah yes, the Ford Sierra with the rotator lightbar. I'm also a fan. Did they not also drive Vauxhalls in the later series? Maybe you could help me with this. I'm trying to remember the model of a Rover that had an emergency fuel tank. It had a lever where you could switch from the primary tank to the emergency tank. Really a clever idea and I never understood why it never caught on in general.

How could I forget about Burnside and Jim Jim?! They're also two of my favourites. The Bill itself was brilliantly cast; much like Hill Street Blues. Always liked Taffy from the earlier series as well. One of the few Welshmen that I could actually understand ;). That must have been intentional with regards to casting. Had they cast someone from say, Swansea, God forbid, we wouldn't understand much of what Taffy was saying. Then again it'd be unlikely that someone from Swansea would even want to be cast as a Constable ;) . My apologies if you're Welsh and especially if you're also a resident of Swansea. If that's the case, I'll spare you my comments about Jack Army. Yes, Jack Army, we all know who you are. Enough already.

This all being said, it's always a pleasure to run into a fellow member of the Commonwealth on the forums.
 
Might've been the Rover 800 or the Rover P6 with the reserve tank, I'll have to look it up. I know the old Land Rovers have them.

Yeah they switched to Astras in the later series, and BMWs. It's funny because they used deliberately altered flash patterns on the lightbars so as not to be mistaken for actual Met.

Met Sounds are incredibly rare, they're like our version of the GE Powercall. SS2H4's aren;t too rare, I know SVLights had quite a few knocking about a while back (where I got mine) and I only had to pay about $60 including shipping to get it to the States.

 
Here's one from Japan. This is an advert for the Nissan Safari or something (???). Presented in a way that only the Japanese could (read: inexplicable). Your guess is as good as mine. Hell of a flashy commercial though. Or whatever it is.

 

Jarred J.

Archive Expert
Silver Supporter
It's an advertisement for a gun cleaning mat in a box....
 
California has had the steady-burn red requirement at least for more than 50 years. I'm not sure about when the alternating rear amber came into effect or when they made the requirements concerning sound output on sirens.
Interesting note. Watched some old reruns of Rescue 8. Model 17 on the roof, some really fast tunnel flashers on the roof, and a B&M stuffed under the front bumper. No steady burn.

 
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Interesting note. Watched some old reruns of Rescue 8. Model 17 on the roof, some really fast tunnel flashers on the roof, and a B&M stuffed under the front bumper. No steady burn.

Seems that the under-the-bumper B&Ms were common on LAFD rescue trucks. Lou Farah has one of the original panel truck rescues, but not a '58 like this one. When he got his panel truck rescue truck the B&M was fender-mounted. The truck has since undergone a total restoration both inside and out; and the B&M S8B has been returned to its rightful place under the bumper. Pix of the restoration can be seen on the Professional Cars International FB page.
 

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