Granada Matinee: Granadas on Film and Screen
as noted by Tony Lucio
Cheers – all – (1982-1993)
After each episode’s introductory joke scene, when the opening theme begins, just before the title credits and the “Cheers” logo fill the screen, we see a beautiful black 1975 4-door Granada Ghia pass by the bar, right in front of the camera. These cars may be forgotten today, but for 11 years the most popular show in America featured a Granada front-and-center in every episode!
Seinfeld – episode 62 “The Parking Space” (1993)
In this episode, Jerry convinces George to borrow his dad’s car, a baby blue 1978-80 4-door Monarch, so the gang can all go to the mall. There are no regular parking spots available, so they talk George into taking up the handicapped space “just for a few minutes”. Well of course a few minutes turns into many… when a handicapped person cannot use the space and is injured as a result, an angry mob waits for the driver of the illegally parked car. Of course Jerry, George and Co. don’t dare to confront them, so the pristine Monarch meets an unfortunate demise when the mob trashes it instead.
So ends this bittersweet appearance in America’s #1 TV show of the 1990’s. Of interesting note is that the producers removed the Monarch badges from the fenders (the trunk badge is only briefly seen once, and missing later). Unlike the Cadillac that George’s dad buys as a replacement, his Monarch was never really featured or heavily mentioned as such on the show before or after. In fact, while chewing out George about the total uncovered loss of his Monarch, his dad says “Eight years I had that car, not a scratch on it. Eight years! Beautiful Mercury… I special-ordered that bench seat!” This is of course impossible! Given the episode’s airdate of 1993, an eight-year-old car would have been a 1985 or 86 model, and the Monarch was several years absent from the American market by then. In reality his Monarch would have been 13 to 15 years old, so it’s likely the producers just grabbed an old car, removed its badges and banked on the fact the general public wouldn’t recognize, notice or care about the discrepancy.
Man on the Moon (1999)
a scene where Andy and his girlfriend are walking down a street, and
a red 2-door 75-77 circles around twice. It’s notable as one of
the few cars used in this scene.
Malibu Express (1985)
a funny T&A b-movie from the 80's called "The Malibu
Express" (It's something of a serial wannabe James-Bond
detective flick, but actually a fun self-depreciating movie). Anyhow
the main character is a likeable doofus of a private investigator,
and when his red (!) Delorean breaks down, he borrows his friend's
sweet black '77 4-door Granada Ghia to stay on the job. It has
several good scenes in the movie, but gets made fun of by the Beverly
Hills set, and then gets shot up by a couple of muscle-bound
meatheads later on, much to the detective's distress.
Everybody Hurts (1993)
The famous award-winning music video for the song Everybody Hurts by R.E.M. features a baby-blue 4-door 1975 Granada. The setting for the video is a huge traffic jam, and selected motorists’ thoughts are captioned in contrast to the song lyrics. The Granada can first be seen and recognized only by its window profiles in the background behind the band’s car. Toward the climax of the song it takes center stage as lead singer and front man Michael Stipe actually gets out and climbs up on its front bumper.
The hit 1999 PC and Playstation game "Driver" has several cars that are based on Granadas and Monarchs! To see them you need to get to New York, which is the last stage in the game. As you may know, many driving games "fictionalize" the cars up a bit so they don't have to pay licensing fees to the manufacturers (except in cases like the GTA series, where no manufacturer of sound mind would ever let their cars be used). In Driver there are many boxy 2-door cars, but in the New York stage they all have front grille, bumper, headlight, taillight and gas cap textures lifted directly from photos of a Granada. From the side however, the textures are different to make it "not-a-Granada, but close enough" (the textures applied actually seem to be from a pickup truck!). The programmers did at least make the proper light panels flash for brake and turn signals, but unfortunately there is no way to drive these cars, not even with cheat codes.
The use of Granada textures also produces some interesting fake, “what-if” cars in the game too. There’s an imaginary station wagon with Granada taillights, and a Torino/T-Bird with a Granada front end. There’s also a 4-door taxi in the game with the window proportions and taillights of a Monarch (it could also be a Dodge Diplomat or similar, but this car IS drivable later on).
Grand Theft Auto III & Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (2001, 2002)
The controversial and popular Grand Theft Auto 3 and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City has another fictionalized 70’s era 2- door car, called the "Idaho". The front and rear ends are probably inspired by a 70's Buick Electra, but the greenhouse and window profiles don’t quite match the corresponding GM designs of the era. In fact, the vinyl roofline, opera window shape and rear windshield curve look very much inspired by a 2-door Granada! Most of the game is played with a default camera view from the top down, and certain angles make the rest of the car strongly resemble Granada... at least enough so that's the car I always use...