Little Gems - The Adventures of HAL 5
The film opens with the arrival of a plane at a small airport (similar to an old makeshift R.A.F. airfield). In amongst the passengers are two small children Moira and Charles. They run to their uncle when they see him (he is the local Vicar). They have come to stay with him and their grannie. The time appears to be not long after the war as several R.A.F. pilots are leaving. The Vicar meets a man called Cooper whom he used to play football with some time ago. In the distance another man called Dicey calls to Cooper to get a move on. Both Dicey and Cooper are leaving the R.A.F. for civilian life. Squadron Leader Dicey has bought a small farm, whilst Cooper (not sure of his rank) has taken over a chain of garages. We also learn that the Vicar is Vicar to the local parish which all three men now belong to. Dicey owns HAL 5, the registration of an old little car. Occasionally we see HAL 5's face appear on front panel in front of the radiator. The car needs some repair work as the accelerator gets stuck and almost causes Dicey to crash into a gate. HAL 5 is very fond of Dicey and does his best to help.
Dicey arrives at his recently purchased farm and meets Ben a local farm hand who is happy that he is being kept on to work the farm. Ben has a small dog called Thunderbolt. When Dicey takes ownership of a small tractor, he is less than pleased to discover that the cost is £40 more than he originally agreed with the garage head, Mr. Goorlie. Ralph the young mechanic is only conveying the invoice from Mr. Goorlie whom Dicey dealt with. Mr. Dicey has to find £40 from somewhere so Ralph suggests he sells the little car to the local garage. HAL 5 is not very happy about the prospect of being parted from Dicey and sheds a tear or two. Mr. Goorlie who is the head mechanic of the garage is a nasty piece of work and he will only give £40 for the car. Reluctantly Dicey hands over the money to prevent the tractor being repossessed.
Back with the children, we find that they are busy repairing the roof. Some local boys who initially look like roughiens (later turn out to be quite decent chaps) remove the ladder and then scarper when the Vicar shows up. Charles is not very happy with them and shakes his fist. The Vicar pursues them and leaps over a high gate to intercept. The boys are very impressed with the leap and ask the Vicar if he would coach them in athletics as they do not have anyone at the moment. The Vicar agrees to the idea but he has a lot to do and must get back to his work. At the moment the priority is to find a car.
The Vicar and the children go into the village to buy a second hand car. At the garage, the little car HAL 5 is put up for sale and Mr. Goorlie states that he wants £150 for it but after a little bartering, he accepts £100 (still a £60 profit for a morning's work). Ralph is very unhappy with this outcome as he knows the car is a little faulty and that Mr. Goorlie has taken the Vicar for a ride (pardon the pun). Mr. Goorlie tells Ralph to get on with his work. Whilst he is working, Ralph accidently trips Mr. Goorlie just as a customer enters the shop. Mr. Goorlie is furious but calms down when he realises that the person who entered the garage is in fact the new manager of the garage chain, Mr. Cooper (friend of both the Vicar and Mr. Dicey). Mr. Goorlie tells the manager that he has been unable to sell a car in weeks although he has in fact just that day sold one. Again Ralph is both shocked and annoyed at Mr. Goorlie but what can he do. Ralph wants to stay in the village and so must have a job.
The car HAL 5 has problems right from the word go and for some reason unknown to the Vicar, every time the car drives passes Netherwood Farm, it veers to the left as if it wants to go down that specific road. The car eventually has more urgent problems on a hill and so has to be taken back to the garage. The Vicar is told the car will need a new bore (even though it had one only two months ago when it used to belong to Dicey). This extra work costs another £10 plus time for the repair to take place (a week). Eventually the Vicar gets the car back but within a day it is having problems again. The Vicar, Grannie and the children go out on a picnic and it a lovely day. After eating the Vicar says that he must go and get on with his work. Some distance away, Ben receives a nasty bang to the head and knocked unconscious. Dicey finds him and takes him home. He then calls the Doctor and the Vicar as Ben is asking for him. The Vicar receives the telephone call informing him of Ben's condition and so he rushes to see him. On the way HAL 5 still tries to turn left at Netherwood farm and again breaks down on a hill. This time the Vicar is very angry especially as this is on a serious errand. He gets out of the car and runs to the farm. On arrival, he finds that Ben is not dying but was in fact mumbling about getting flowers to the church for the Vicar. The doctor hears of the breakdown of HAL 5 and offers to tow him to the garage.
The Vicar returns to see Mr. Goorlie and demands his money back. Mr. Goorlie will only give him £20. The poor (weak minded although low on cash as well) Vicar accepts this. Charles calls Mr. Goorlie a cheat and Mr. Goorlie goes to strike the boy. The Vicar twists Mr. Goorlie's hand causing him to back off, showing what a big bully Mr. Goorlie really is.
Mr. Goorlie then tries to move the car but it will not start. He gets annoyed and kicks it, at which time the car starts the engine and tries to run him over. This is the first instance of seeing that HAL 5 can operate on its own. Mr. Goorlie then gets Ralph to put the car round the back of the garage, hoping someone will steal it and he can claim the insurance on it - a real nasty piece of work and a big bully (just in case you hadn't quite got the message by now).
Later on in the day, the Vicar runs into Mr. Cooper, his old friend and tells him about the problems he has with a car he purchased from one of his garages. Mr. Cooper is very surprised to learn that the car is actually old HAL 5 and that he has not seen it on the garage books. He intends to sort it out the next time he is in. Later that day, Moira is playing with her Uranium detector (she never leaves home without it). She spies old HAL 5 and runs to see the car who is now in a very bad way having been left outside in all weathers. She tells the car that Mr. Cooper will soon sort out the problem but while she is talking to HAL 5, she is overheard by Mr. Goorlie who then furiously fires Ralph believing him to have told Mr. Cooper.
The next day Ralph, Ginger and the other village boys are preparing for the cross country race and the Vicar is there training them. They all study the route planned for the race. The Vicar then starts the race and the boys begin the run through the village. Meanwhile, Mr. Goorlie decides to do away with the car as this will remove it from the garage and it will not therefore not appear on the books. He is still fearful that Mr. Cooper will find out about his deceptions. He drives the car way and on to the road which goes leading past Netherwood Farm. The boys' route leads towards the road where Mr. Goorlie is driving down and Titch the small boy is lagging behind the rest of the runners. A very nervous Mr. Goorlie is not paying attention to the road and nearly hits Titch. He swerves the car and crashes into the Netherwood Farm sign post. The car then wants to go down to see Mr. Dicey. Mr. Goorlie has no choice and decides this may not be a bad idea since he could ditch the car. The race, however is to end at the farm and hence there are lots of people about. Mr. Goorlie brings the car to a halt and then tries to leave it but unfortunately for him, he runs into and knocks down grannie. She cries for help and soon everyone comes looking for the intruder who assaulted poor grannie. Mr. Cooper hides under a farm truck and evades the villagers. He then catches himself on HAL 5 and goes round the front to give it a good hard kick. The HAL 5 car responds by driving him into the water, the noise of which brings the Vicar, children and Mr Cooper along. Goorlie tries to squirm his way out by lying yet again. He insists that the sale went through too quickly and that he simply forgot to put it on the books. Ralph tells Mr. Cooper the truth about Goorlie. Mr. Cooper fires Mr. Goorlie on the spot and reinstates Ralph. Dicey realises that he useless at farming and so leaves the farm to be run by Ben while he works for Cooper in the garage where he is happiest. In no time at all, HAL 5 is restored to perfection. Dicey, the Vicar, Charles and Moira all go for a lovely long drive in the countryside with HAL 5 who is a very happy little car.
And so ends a wonderfully produced little film. Beautifully shot with no special effects or expensive sets needed (film makers - take notice of how this CAN be done). They certainly do not make them like this anymore. Anyone having any memories, comments or were part of the production team or actors, please get in touch at the usual address as we would love to hear from you.