Philadelphia Daily News - December 19, 1980

Judge Doesn’t Take Phillies ‘Flasher’ Series-ly


UPPER DARBY (UPI) – "Phillies Fever," the infectious disease that swept the Philadelphia area when the Phillies won their first World Series in more than 75 years, has been invoked as a defense under law.


UPPER DARBY District Justice Michael Cullen was called upon recently to decide whether John Thorn, who painted his 1967 Buick in the Phillies' red and white team colors, broke the law by going one step further and adorning its roof with a red flashing Phillies cap. Not guilty, ruled Cullen, by reason of Phillies fanaticism.


In a lengthy opinion that began, "In October 1980, the miracle happened," Cullen ruled the heart-stopping, come-from-behind Phillies victories were reason enough for Thorn, 18, to transform his car.


"Our Commonwealth has but two baseball teams," wrote Cullen. "Most of the members of our General Assembly come from the East. In my wildest imagination, I cannot believe any of them would wish me to punish John Thorn."


THORN HIMSELF was baffled by the charge, which said Thorn's car, with its flashing red light, was too similar to a police car and violated the Motor Vehicle Code. Thorn said, however, he merely parked the car outside his Delaware County home in Drexel Hill and took another car to work.


Blessed by judicial sanction but none too reliable, the car was consigned to the scrap heap.  But Thorn’s sports loyalty lives on.



He said he is thinking of painting his new wheels green in honor of the Philadelphia Eagles – “but no light bulbs this time.”