Friday, June 24, 2016

June Lockhart and her 1923 Fire Engine "Cordelia Delilah"

June Lockhart, the lovely actress best known as "Lassie's mother" from the long-running Lassie television series, had many other talents and interests aside from acting, a field which she regarded as "a hobby...like other hobbies; only this one I get paid for." 

Hobbies were Ms. Lockhart's passion and they were fueled by her insatiable curiosity about everything. Gold mining, lighter-than-air aircraft, antique motorcars, and the old West were all interests of Ms. Lockhart. Medical texts were her bedside books. She was also a member of an adult kite flying club. As one reporter for the Gettysburg Times put it : "Like another well-known  well-bred actress, Deborah Kerr, June is the antithesis of rigid. But the contractual - as well as scriptual - limitations of Lassie reinforced a staid image." Off the camera, June was a veritable contradiction of her most famous role. She was an educated woman who enjoyed breaking conventions and striking out to learn and try new things. From a young age she had a thirst for knowledge, and her acting career was secondary, undertaken merely as a lark. 

A 1923 Seagrave, just like June's

One of her most notorious passions was her love of old-time steam engines. Yes, steam engines. Her and her husband, architect John Lindsay, were both ferroequinologists ( the technical term for iron-horse enthusiasts ) so it's no wonder that she had to own one herself. The iron maiden she adored best was a 1923 Seagrave pumper fire engine named "Cordelia Delilah Lindsay", a gift from her husband after she discovered that CBS was going to put the "big red" up for sale and expressed a desire to own it. It had 24 cylinders and got two miles to the gallon. Power steering was installed so that June could drive it to work each morning at the studio. It's not surprising that she owned the largest parking space at the studio! 

This entry is a part of our latest series entitled "Did You Know?".....sometimes we just feel like sharing interesting fragments of television and movie history and now we have a place to do just that. If you have a hot tip that you would like us to share on Silver Scenes, drop us a line!

4 comments:

  1. What a hoot. I had no idea. Will think of her every time I see a fire engine. Interesting woman.

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  2. Fascinating. I really like that lady (and her whole family).

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  3. What fun! I had no idea that June Lockhart was a fan of steam engines. I've tried to interview her daughter Ann a couple of times, but it has never worked out.

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    1. It's always fun learning about some of the sideline interests of our favorite stars. Too bad about the interviews not working out, that would have been great to read.

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