Trucker pulps: ‘Flatbed Annie & Sweetiepie’ and the pulp formula

In a few hours we used to count as “therapy time,” Comics on the Brain sat down and watched the TV movie “Flatbed Annie & Sweetiepie: Lady Truckers.”

We didn’t watch the 1979 extravagnza of CB culture for no particular reason either. As you may recall, a few years ago we uncovered the existence of a series of trucker-themed pulp magazines, and we openly wondered what exactly you could write so many truck stories about.With that in mind, we steeled ourselves for an hour-and-a-half of awfulness featuring the likes of a remarkably cute Annie Potts, Harry Dean Stanton and Kim Darby.

You can watch the whole thing over on Netflix if you want, or you can check out the trailer right here. Whichever you do, you’ll definitely agree just how cute Annie Potts is.


Despite the cornball delivery in the trailer, “Flatbed Annie & Sweetiepie” turned out to be … well, OK. It wasn’t great by any means. There was a lot of confusing parts, as thoroughly detailed in this review on youtube.

But beyond the mediocrity of the film, it did clue CotB in on just what kind of story threads you could expect to exploit when you’re writing a trucker pulp story.

  • THE FINANCES: Your trucker should always be struggling to make ends meet.
  • THE MAN: The trucker is a rebel, a free ranger. People try to make him follow the rules, but he doesn’t.
  • THE LAW: In some way, whether because of debts owed, loads being hauled, a terrible mixup or rules being broke, the trucker is often on the wrong side of the law, despite his heart of gold.
  • THE VEHICLE: A trucker’s Superliner is his lifeblood. He worships it and would never allow it to be harmed. He may be late on his payments, but if it gets a scratch, he stops everything to buff it out.
  • THE CB: The CB is the secret link the trucker has to the world around him. He can use it to get help, get info or get something off his chest. That last bit is particularly important, as it allows for story exposition and character development.
  • THE TRUCKERS: Every trucker has a sacred bond with his fellow truckers. When one needs help, they all come running.
  • THE LOAD: Whatever you’re hauling is everything. If you can’t get your load to the receiving dock on time, you aren’t a trucker.

If your trucker story touches on each of those ideas, and manages to throw in a decent plot as well, then you’ve got yourself a genuine story of the long-haul life.


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