Judy Garland’s great singing made the 1944 movie “Meet Me in St. Louis,” about the 1904 World’s Fair. The film debuted two original songs with enduring popularity. “The Trolley Song,” as in “Clang, clang, clang went the trolley…” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” now a part of the holiday music canon. The film also produced … Liza Minnelli, because Garland met her future husband, Vincente Minnelli, on the set (he was the director).
Anyway, it’s fitting that “The Trolley Song” was written for a film about St. Louis, because it was a great streetcar town longer than almost any other. In fact, Muni bought 70 PCCs from St. Louis second-hand in 1957 to finish the conversion from two-operator “Iron Monsters” to one-operator cars. Those St. Louis cars, numbered from 1101-1170, comprised two-thirds of Muni’s streetcar fleet. One of them, Muni 1128, was painted back to St. Louis red and cream livery and given back its St. Louis number, 1704, to operate during the 1980s in the Market Street trolley festivals, the proof of concept that led to the permanent F-line. Muni still has 1704 and eleven other ex-St. Louis PCCs in storage, and it’s hoped that red and cream livery will be seen on Market Street again.
In the meantime, take a look at St. Louis PCCs, and some Peter Witts too, in their native environment. Some great shots here: