- Written by webmin
Why do we stop and recognize this former child star of the “Our Gang” comedies? Because Jackie Cooper, who died this week, evolved from being a child actor to a power as an actor and Emmy-winning executive in Hollywood, plus a decorated Naval Reserve officer. He was also a big-time car enthusiast, having come of age at the zenith of the early West Coast sports car scene. Cooper owned one of the first four Austin-Healey 100S race cars brought into the United States. Just 50 examples of the 100S were built in total; the below photo shows four leaving the factory, with Donald Healey second from right. Cooper pushed his for a mile following an electrical failure at Sebring in 1955 and still finished the race.
That historic Healey is now in the Chicago area. The lead photo, however, is how I remember Jackie Cooper: Racing around Los Angeles as the star of Mobile One, a short-lived ABC series from 1975 about a TV news crew. It was one of my inspirations to get into this business. The car, from which the program took its name, is a big-nosed 1975 AMC Matador station wagon. Mobile One was produced by Jack Webb, who had introduced a big audience to an earlier, less ungainly version of the Matador via his more successful series, Adam-12.