The Legend-News

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Monday, 1999 June 7 : Volume 2, Number 20
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Previously, in The Legend-News

In January of 1976, “Convoy” reached number one on the Billboard popular and country music charts. C.W. McCall fever was sweeping America, and “Convoy” was arguably the most over-played song on the Top 40 list.

In 1978 the “trucking craze” was still going strong. To the real truckers this infatuation meant little, because the 55 mile per hour speed limit was still in effect.

But to the general public, trucking was entertainment. On television there was “Movin’ On” (1974 to 1976), which chronicled the adventures of Sonny Pruitt and Will Chandler. At the movies you could see “White Line Fever” (1975), “Truck Stop Women. (1974), “Smokey and the Bandit” (1977), and of course the favorite movie of this web site, “Convoy” (1978).

Truck Directin’ Man

When you think of truck movies, “cheap” and “cheesy” are the usual adjectives that spring to mind, but “Convoy” wasn’t either. It wasn’t a terrific film, and the acting was a bit lame, but it had a Big Name Director: Sam Peckinpah, best know for his 1969 bloodfest “The Wild Bunch”.

The plot of “Convoy”: The Man, in the form of Sheriff Lyle (Ernest Borgnine), busts a trucker with the handle of “Spider Mike”, thereby incurring the wrath of the just-trying-to-do-our-job truckers lead by “Rubber Duck” (Kris Kristofferson). The storyline somewhat parallels the original song by C.W. McCall, including a climactic armed confrontation between the truckers and the National Guard. As they say in the Great White North, “it blowed up real good”.

To distinguish between the original song and the movie’s version, the movie version is called “Convoy (new version)”. And the song as presented in the movie isn’t the same as the song on the soundtrack album, Music From the Motion Picture “Convoy”. The “extra” stanza is included below; it’s the one that begins “Texas dawn and the charge was on”. It was probably omitted because with that stanza, the song doesn’t flow as well and the final two lines are a repetition of the final two lines of the preceeding stanza, “New Mexico on I-four-oh”.

But as movies go, “Convoy” isn’t a waste. It’s not a great Peckinpah film, but it does have heroes, villains, trucks, cops, and explosions; everything that goes into the making of a good motion picture.

And if you notice any physical resemblance between Kris Kristofferson and Frank Converse (Will Chandler of “Movin’ On”), well, that’s just a coincidence.

Song A’ Th’ Day

The revised adventures of the Rubber Duck.

Convoy (new version)
(C.W. McCall, B. Fries, C. Davis)

From the album Music From The Motion Picture “Convoy”.