I guess an alternative title could have been “Railfanning through watching shows from the golden era of television,” which is to me shows from the 1960s-early 1980s. Wait, before you say that’s kind of pathetic, think about it. When you watch shows like Rockford Files, Mannix, McCloud, etc., you are seeing a slice of America from that era. You see what automobiles and trucks looked like, advertisements, architecture and sometimes rail action. A recent Rockford I watched, Gearjammers, Part II (second season), featured tons of rail action–a lone Seaboard boxcar spotted at a building, lots of Railboxes and SP boxcars, UP and SP bulkhead flatcars loaded with lumber and a scene at a dock where Rockford and Becker are hiding in a UP boxcar.
Here’s the car from which they doing their stakeout. I wish someone would do this car in HO!
The episode also had numerous scenes in industrial locations to give you a feel for what industry looked like in the mid-1970s. There was even a vintage Taco Bell that looked like this..
If you model what I think is the golden era of railroads, then these great shows offer you a wealth of information about how to capture these eras, from the autos, to the trucks and trailers, industries, businesses, advertisements, etc. Rockford Files just happens to be one of my all time favorites, but there many awesome shows from this era. (For another post explaining my use of “Golden Era” or even my take on “my” transition era, click here. I heard a lot from steam fans on the post!)
Here’s another site that might be helpful concerning scenes from Rockford Files. The one the link goes to, checks out the “Elmira” passenger station from that era. It is reportedly actually the ATSF depot in Pasadena, CA.
So if you model the 1960s-mid-1980s, enjoy some good shows and help yourself capture the “aesthetic” of your selected era.