What is it?
April 16, 2008 8:52 PM   Subscribe

What is this machine glimpsed in the 1978 movie "Up in Smoke"?

It is seen for a split second about 30 minutes in during a street scene in Southern California. The man pictured next to the machine is not one of the characters.
posted by Mitheral to Grab Bag (13 answers total)
Isn't it just a mower with a catch bag swung around?
posted by Gucky at 8:54 PM on April 16, 2008

That was my first thought however; if it's a mower what is the purpose of the black unit under the handle between the wheels? Also the driven tires appear to be smooth, something I've never seen on a self propelled lawn mower. And the "catch bag" appears to have a white or grey substance within rather than the expected green/brown.
posted by Mitheral at 9:08 PM on April 16, 2008

This is a pure guess, but, based off of the roller thingee on the back, it looks like some sort of a powered, walk behind seeder, probably some flavor of homemade or home-retrofitted. I don't think I've quite got the correct name, but it looks right.
posted by stet at 9:25 PM on April 16, 2008

Slit seeder might be the proper name. BCS seems to have made one. I will note that an image search for "slit seeder" devolves into ask yahoo avatars very quickly. This is not a phenomenon I have any interest in investigating, however.
posted by stet at 9:32 PM on April 16, 2008

Looks like a small stump grinder.
posted by dws at 9:35 PM on April 16, 2008

Maybe a line marker?
posted by tellurian at 10:50 PM on April 16, 2008

I was thinking it was a power edge trimmer. It has a guide that looks like you push it along a curb and it cuts the grass right up to the edge of the pavement. I'm not sure its a line marker or a seeder because the bucket looks like a catcher not a hopper.
posted by JimmyJames at 12:14 AM on April 17, 2008

YEa looks like a power-edger to me. The guard's in the front to protect folks from the rocks/dirt clods that it stirs up.
posted by TomMelee at 4:56 AM on April 17, 2008

It looks like an older greens mower; here is a modern version. Those are essentially gas-powered reel mowers that cut putting greens very short and precisely and have a grass catcher in front.
posted by TedW at 6:14 AM on April 17, 2008

This one looks more like the one in your picture, but with the grass catcher removed.
posted by TedW at 6:20 AM on April 17, 2008

Last post, I promise; if you scroll down here you can see one with the catcher attached; this particular one is plastic, but in the 70's it would have been canvas as in your picture.
posted by TedW at 6:28 AM on April 17, 2008

It is a Tru-Cut commercial front-throw reel mower. Here is an older model and here's a new one.
posted by buggzzee23 at 8:49 AM on April 17, 2008

It is a Tru-Cut commercial front-throw reel mower.

It seems to me that the yellow handle and additional brace between the deck and handle are characteristic of McLane mowers, although it is probably not a greens mower but a powered reel mower.

(I know I said I wouldn't post here again, but I did a little landscaping in my youth, loved the movie, and this is such a wonderfully geeky and esoteric question that I can't keep away. I would happily concede that buggzzee23 might be right, though, so don't take my disagreement as a challenge so much as a friendly suggestion.)
posted by TedW at 6:56 PM on April 17, 2008

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