I came across Dead Heat on a Merry-Go-Round (1966) late one night and missed the first half hour or so, which was a pity. Don’t miss it if you are a student of 1960s design and style or a fan of the lanky and accomplished James Coburn. He’s a smoother, more rugged version of Jimmy Stewart with less of the “aww, shucks” affect of the latter. Coburn plays a clever con man who has a con for everyone including the gals he runs into.


Dead Heat on a merry-go-round
Originally uploaded by jovisala47

The film takes place in a couple of different locales – Boston and Los Angeles – and features great visuals of men’s and women’s dress.
Also front and center are iconic design examples of 1960s infrastructure and the lived environment: bright yellow school buses, LAX airport (exterior and interiors), hotel lobbies and TWA airliners.


PDVD_093 site of robbery
Originally uploaded by herbynow


PDVD_251 THE GANG
Originally uploaded by herbynow

In the film, you’ll see examples of the following: a Western suit (see above), corduroy trousers, a grey suit contrasted and paired with an indigo blue oxford cloth buttondown, an astrakhan collar car coat and 3 piece suits with shallow vents. You’ll also find period waitress uniforms and TWA stewardess uniforms.

Below is a YouTube tribute to one of the actresses in the film, Camilla Sparv, who gets tangled up with the elusive Coburn.

Coburn starred in other films such as Duffy (1968) and Our Man Flint (1967), a take on the James Bond franchise.

Additional links
TCM clips from the movie
Amazon On-Demand preview
IMDB profile of movie

2 thoughts on “1960s style: Dead Heat on a Merry-Go-Round”

  1. Always a Coburn admirer. He could play suave, evil, slapstick, snarky, make you love him or hate him…and always looked sharp. "The President's Analyst" is one of the few movies I'll try to schedule time to watch

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