You couldn't take Pelham 123 even if you tried

I read (I believe it was in Jim Dwyer’s book Subway Lives) that the MTA does not run the No. 6 train from Pelham at 1:23 because of the movie The Taking of Pelham 123.

Is this true? Do municiple services take movies this seriously. Are there any other examples of city or state governments that worried about copycats?

Has anyone ever seriously tried to hijack a NYC subway train? That seems to be a lot of work.

I wouldn’t worry too much since Robert Shaw and Martin Balsam are both dead.

And for the benefit of those of us who never saw the movie, what was the reason for hijacking a subway train? Is it really so hard to get to South Ferry that you have to resort to hijacking a subway train that was originally headed for Central Park North?

What would be the evidence they changed it? It’s not like the 6 runs every minute. (I should know, I used to live on it.)

In the film, the subway train was hijacked and the passengers were held for ransom. Martin Balsam was a disgruntled former MTA motorman. Robert Shaw was a brilliant psychopath who called the shots. There were two others in the gang (Hector Elizondo was one of them).

Walter Matthau was the cop trying to crack open the case.

It’s a pretty interesting movie.

Well, if the people here can’t answer your question, I’d imagine that the folks at the SubTalk Message Board may be able to help. I’ve spent my share of time at (and several other people’s shares as well), and have never seen anything about this. I’ll go take another look at their section on the Pelham line in a minute.

Well, I checked, and doesn’t mention the fact in its section on the Pelham Line, or in its description of the movie (which does provide other, equally mundane trivia). Neither does the IMDB mention it in its trivia page on the movie (although they do mention that the MTA did make them pay $75,000 for insurance against copycats). Looks as if it’s just an urban legend. I’d imagine that they don’t run a train at 1:23 for perfectly mundane reasons and someone extrapolated a more interesting explanation.

The city of NY was so paranoid, that they required the film’s producers to take out hijack insurance. If someone did attempt to hijack a subway car as a result of the movie, the insurance would have paid (amount unknown). This was a requirement to use NYCTA facilities for the filming.

Incidentally, the fourth guy was played by Earl Hindman, the guy who played the unseen Wilson on Home Improvememnt. All the hijackers were in disguise for the movie, so you still didn’t get to see his face.

Urban legend. I thought as much. I read the book many moons ago. We were discussing the movie at work and someone mentioned the fact that there were no Pelham 123. I think Jim Dwyer did mention this, but I don’t remember if he said that this was a fact or that many people believe this is a fact.

I’ve been searching all over for my copy of the book. It’s probably in a box, under a box, behind a box in the closet.

Earl Hindman was in an episode of “Law and Order” last year and was quite visible.

Haing seen the movie recently I can attest that the cast included a bunch of assorted travellers in the car that was hijacked, with all kinds of different reactions. Fair enough, some work for some nice actors.

In the credits they weren’t given names but parts. That is, the characters were referred to as “Black Woman”, “Spanish Man” etc. One was called “Homosexual”. Now whichever one that was I would love to know. Weren’t no nellies on that train honey, far as I could see!

I think it might indicate how acceptable public behaviour has changed in some regards. Although Hollywood still sees “Spanish Man” as a reasonable character description, I fear.

Was that a hijack? Talk about your irony…
[sub]I helped hijack the hijacking thread[/sub]

Jerry Stiller gets to deliver one of the great lines in filmdom in this movie: Stiller and Shaw are talking about what a good guy Mathau is. When Mathau has left his command post and is in the car racing up and down the streets, Shaw asks for to speak to him. Stiller, at a loss to explain why he (Mathau) can’t come to the 'phone, says “Well, even great men have to pee.”

A trivia question: What TV show is the Mayor watching when he first gets the news of the hijack?