Autoball 1961

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    Eastbourne, East Sussex.

    M/S of several cars arriving at Kings Drive playing field; a crowd leans over a fence to watch; some men are seen getting ready for the autoball match between the Sussex and Surrey teams; putting on goggles, doing up overalls and getting into their cars.

    As the drivers and passengers get into their cars (there are no passenger doors) and move off to take up their starting positions, the commentator explains the rules of motor polo. M/S as one of the umpires, television actor Raymond Francis, rolls a large inflatable ball into the starting position; nice C/U of a man in the crowd filming the action with a cine camera.

    The umpire rolls the inflatable ball over the grass to the centre of the field to start the match; the cars all drive towards it. Several shots of the play as the drivers and passengers push the ball along from their cars and nudge it with the front of their cars. Commentator explains that usually only the passenger is allowed to touch the ball, but because of the high wind on this occasion, the driver can also have a bash.

    One of the cars gets the ball between two posts - a goal! M/S of the crowd looking on in headscarves, coats and gloves; it looks quite cold. More shots of the play, some shots are from one of the moving cars. M/S of two cars coming towards us; the passenger of one car and the driver of the other both hold the ball between them then spin the ball towards us. M/S of the crowd; a St John's Ambulance man looks on. Travelling shot as one driver dribbles the ball while smoking a cigarette.

    It looks to me like a scene from 'The Prisoner' TV series.

    Note: On file is more information about the rules of this game, the cars used (German-built DKW Juniors) and names of people taking part in the match.

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    British Pathé
    Issue Date:
    Media URN:
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Film ID:
    Time in/Out:
    01:42:14:00 / 01:44:42:00
    CP 337
    Sort Number:
    CP 337
  • Appears in...

    Sport & Leisure Historical Figures & Celebrities Entertainment & Humour
    Great British Outdoors Autoball Transport Sport & Entertainment
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Comments (1)

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  • The white car driving down the slope at 00:01 is an Austin Healey Frogeye Sprite.

    Interestingly, the ball they play the game with is emblazoned with the logo of Auto-Union - that company was the manufacturer of all the small cars being used, namely DKW Juniors.

    This is therefore probably a marketing exercise.

    jamied 23rd Jun 2012

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