The Legend-News

Monday, 2000 September 4 : Volume 3, Number 32

What We Got Here

Welcome to yet another edition of The Legend-News, the official newsletter of the Crispy Critters, a.k.a. the unofficial C.W. McCall Fan Club.

In this edition we're introducing two new sections:

Plus there's the continuing saga of Convoy 2000 as the trip from Shaky Town to the Jersey shore finally (!) begins; T A Chafin's tale of one night in Vegas; and of course, the Song A’ Th’ Week, a harrowing tale of a want ad.

Re: McCall

The Short Story: Bill Fries is the real C.W. McCall. In 1972, while working at an Omaha advertising agency, he wrote the words and Chip Davis composed the music for a series of television commercials for Old Home Bread. The star of the commercials was a trucker named C.W. McCall. Assuming the persona of the fictional C.W., Bill and Chip recorded six albums of music and toured the country in the mid-1970s. Bill is now retired and living in Ouray, Colorado.

Got a question for Bill? Send it to

Q. One of the video clips that we've seen is an appearance on The Mike Douglas Show in 1976, where you sang "Convoy". What can you tell us about that appearance?

A.Mike Douglas was one of a long string of appearances that MGM/Polydor had scheduled for me to make. In every case my biggest worry was simply remembering my own lyrics. Sometimes it was lip-synch with a recorded track, other times, such as the Johnny Carson Show, it was live with a band. I remember an overwhelming sense of "What the hell am I doing here?"

Q. Was Sloan based on a real dog?

A.No. But he was named after a real town: Sloan, Iowa.

Q. The home in Audubon in which you grew up: is it still standing? And if so, can you tell us where it is?

A.Yes. 103 Leroy Street, Audubon, Iowa. Last time I saw it was in 1996. The occasion was my 50th High School Class Reunion.

Q. How did the process of writing "Convoy (new version)" for the movie compare with the writing of the original song from Black Bear Road?

A.The only difference was working in all the new characters in the screenplay.

Q. What are your memories of the production of the movie "Convoy"?

A.While Sam Peckinpah was directing the shoot in New Mexico, Chip and I were busy writing new words and music for the score. I remember the post-production sessions in Hollywood as typical showbiz hype and jive. I felt the original concept of the song had been lost. But, for a couple of guys from fly-over country, it was fun. Sort of. Maybe not.

For more Q&A with Bill, see Two-Way.

Critter Comments

There's a mailing list that associated with the C.W. McCall: An American Legend web site. It's called Other Wild Places, and it's where you can discuss C.W. McCall and related topics with other C.W. fans. The discussions are interesting, to say the least.

In the past week, ALonDuv (a.k.a. Pam) told us about the way in which she met her boyfriend, Dale:

My name is Pam and my boyfriend's name is Dale. I wanted to share with you all how Dale and I met. We have both been C.W. McCall fans for a long time. Dale works for the Department of Transportation driving a snow plow with "weird blue lights" and on the side he's a "suicide jockey" driving fuel trucks on local weekend runs.

I had a profile posted on America OnLine and among other things in the "Favorite Artists" category I had listed a few of the more popular country artists and then put "And C.W. McCall (if anyone still knows who that is)."

Well, Dale was browsing through the Profiles and came across mine. He was surprised that there was another C.W. McCall fan out there who was not only female, but single. But being fresh out of a bad marriage he didn't feel like he was ready to get back in the dating scene. Luckily, his friend who was with him at the time took down my e-mail address and wrote and told me about Dale. We (Dale and I) started writing back and forth and after a few months decided to meet face to face.

Well, it's pretty much history after that. We've been exclusive for over a year now and both agree that our "fantasy" vacation would be to start from Utah, where we both live, and go east stopping to see all the towns and landmarks mentioned in the C.W. McCall songs.

As a side note, not only am I a C.W. McCall fan, but all my kids are too. My oldest son Brandon, who is 16, has most of the songs memorized. Oh, did I mention that he usually listens to Alternative Rock? My youngest son also wants to be a "suicide jockey" like Dale when he grows up.

— Pam

And Cougar tells of his real-life "Classified":

A true story...

I just got out of the rain. Ya see, I was sellin' my old CJ-5, Christine. Yeah, it had racing stripes, and dual pipes, even big ol' fat Commando tires! Too bad it's still August; there's no "Rocky Mountain September" in this tale.

The point bein' folks, is that I jumped right in her, and she purred! The when the new owner tried to start her, well... no way! I told him the carburetor's broke, the thermostat leaks. Here's the key to start her, don't pay attention to that black smoke, she uses a little oil, but out side of that, she's cherry. Oh, yeah: she ain't got brakes, the headers are warped, the soft top's ripped...

Well, thank goodness this guy only lived a block away, down hill. We pushed Christine out of the driveway and prayed the e-brake would stop her. We unloaded the spare parts out of my old truck. All that time I kept thinkin' 'bout "Classified". I can hear his wife now: "Where'd you ever get that Jeep?"

— Cougar

Oh, yeah: "Classified" is the Song A’ Th’ Week, down at the bottom of this page.

Convoy 2000: Day One (Part One)

Tuesday, 6 June 2000
06:37 and I'm out of the motel, tanking up at a local Chevron and then westbound for a mile to the eastbound I-way on-ramp and into the Wildwood rest area. There are a half-dozen trucks parked there, long-haulers of all sorts. I didn't see T A's Metro in the lot. I was early — the time was only 7:02 — so I parked near the restrooms and turn the CB to channel 13. Back at the start of this trip, we'd agree that 13 would be the Official CB Channel of Convoy 2000. We didn't want to bother the real truckers up there on 19.

About 7:55 T A pulled into the rest area and we exchanged stories of the road. I told him about my strange electrical problems, and he told me about his side trip to Los Angeles. Did I forget to mention that? Yeah, T A did spend Sunday in Las Vegas, but he had a reason to be in L.A. on Monday afternoon.

T A From LV To LA (Part One)

In our last exciting episode, we had left T A Chafin in Las Vegas, where he had decided to pause for a day. But on the previous night, he had an Experience...

Las Vegas

The Star Trek Experience. I had been hearing about it for years and it was, quite definitely, a stop I wanted to make in Las Vegas. Ed had some places he wanted to visit so I caught a cab and headed for the Hilton.

At $20.00 a shot, The Star Trek Experience is a bit overpriced, in my opinion. Admittedly, it's one heck of a ride but it's still just a ride. Oh, they have the "/mccall/museum" area you can walk through which has some costumes and props from the various Star Trek series but I saw as much when I went to the Star Trek exhibits at the Smithsonian and the Baltimore Science Centre. Oh, and you also get the "privilege" of being able to spend more money in the Promenade. There are a lot of video screens showing clips from various episodes and movies but you find out shortly that these are promos from tapes for sale in the Promenade.

They also have some "aliens" walking around to give the place atmosphere. A young man in a Vulcan costume held his character quite nicely but he didn't understand me when I said something to him in Vulcan. (I don't speak Vulcan, I just quoted a line from one of the movies.) The Klingons are another story entirely. One of them challenged my right to even go into the experience in the first place. I said, "Why should I answer to a p'tacq such as you?" He looked at me fiercely and said, "You swear well for a human." We spoke of things Klingon and he seemed to find me worthy. "Today is not a good day to die."

Anyway, when you go head into the ride, you are shown into a dimly lit room and lined up so you can enter the simulator in a more efficient fashion. I was curious as to how long the ride would be so I checked my watch. It has an electro-luminescent backlight, which makes it very easy to see as it's quite bright. Unfortunately, right at that moment the lights went out. My watch tends to stay lit for 2 to 3 seconds. It was bright enough that the "guides" thought I was using a flashlight to see how the ride works. They let me go through the entire simulation but pulled me aside when it was over and explained that they felt I had acted in an unsafe fashion and that I really wasn't welcome on the ride anymore. Of course, I was still welcome to spend money on the Promenade.

Anyway, after the Star Trek Experience, I took in one or two of the more dubious clubs in Vegas (Hey, I'm single.) and got back to the Casino Royale by 3 A.M.

The next day, Ed took off for Hoover Dam and elsewhere but I decided to just stay in one spot for the day. I went to my car to get a couple of additional things and I found it had been broken into during the night. I reported it to hotel security and we went back to the car to inventory what had been taken. Ultimately, all that had been taken was my radar detector and my digital camera, the one I was going to use to video the entire convoy trip. I moved my car to a better location and removed a lot more from the car for my last night in Vegas. I then hit the street.

I walked about 10 miles that night. I covered the entire strip twice from end to end, wandered through a couple of the hotels, saw most of the street shows they offered, and even got propositioned by a rather comely blonde. (No, I didn't accept.) I got back to the hotel about 2 A.M. and crashed for the night.

I got up the next morning, repacked my car, made a final check with hotel security to see if anything had been discovered or recovered (no) and, on the way to my car, did my only gambling my entire time I was in Vegas. I lost $1.65.

It was June 5, the day before Convoy 2000 was to start. I had to be in California the next morning and I was still in Nevada. I headed West and didn't look back.

— T A Chafin

Next week: Los Angeles

So far, we didn't have much of a convoy, there being just the two of us. Not that we expected anyone else to really make the attempt. C'mon: a five, six-day trip from California to New Jersey just for the fun of it? That's not exactly what your boss would want to hear when you asked for two weeks' vacation.

We were scheduled to depart at 8 exactly, but we decided to wait a while longer. Yeah, like we were really in a hurry. Besides, T A's schedule had quite a bit of slack built into it and a delay of fifteen minutes in starting wouldn't hurt us.


For the remainder of this story, I'll be referring to the participants by their CB handles. So grab a Post-It Note and write this down:

  • Silversmith = Ed. Floden
  • Skywalker = T A Chafin
  • Snoopy = Randall Clague

And we were glad that we waited. We were joined by one more member, Randall Clague a.k.a. Snoopy, a Marine who was stationed at Twentynine Palms. Snoopy had decided to do this trip the right way. Unlike Skywalker and I, who were actually driving more than 6000 miles on a round-trip journey, Snoopy had rented a Pontiac that he was driving to Atlantic City. From there he would continue to Baltimore-Washington International Airport and a flight home. A pretty good idea, and a lot faster than driving back home to California.

During the planning of Convoy 2000, Skywalker and I had discussed ways in which we could easily identify the vehicles of the participants. Pennants on the CB antennas, magnetically-mounted rubber ducks, and signs in the back windows were all considered and abandoned. We were trying to go as cheaply as possible, because neither of us was making any money on this event, even with Skywalker's official T-shirt concession. The final answer was pretty cheap: glass paint. That's the stuff that you see smeared on car windows, usually advertising "Car Under Tow" or "For Sale"? Yeah, and it was yellow. On the back and side windows we wrote "Convoy 2000 CB 13" and figured that anyone who understood that message was smart enough to pick up his mike and holler.

While we were preparing for departure we did converse with one of the truckers in the lot, a man named "Strikeout" (he signed the Official Convoy 2000 T-shirt). Like most of the truckers that we'd meet along the way, he knew of "Convoy" and C.W. McCall but was surprised that we actually knew the true identity of C.W. Heck, we knew where he lived.

Eight minutes after eight and one is-it-gonna-start-or-not? later, we left the rest area, eastbound and down. Only 3000 miles to go.

Next: Tilting At Windmills, and Why I'll Never Move To Phoenix

Song A’ Th’ Week

Continuing the Fries/Davis compositions from A to Z...

There are two kinds of used vehicles: those for which the seller wants too much money, and those which are a bargain. Then again, there are those vehicles that are worth exactly what you pay for them.

(Bill Fries, Chip Davis)
From the album Wolf Creek Pass

I's thumbin' through the want ads in the Shelby County Tribune when this classified advertisement caught my eye. It said, "Take imme-di-ate delivery on this '57 Chevrolet half-ton pickup truck. Will sell or swap for a hide-a-bed and thirty-five bucks. Call One-four-oh, ring two, and ask for Bob."

Well, I called Bob up on the telephone, he says, "Hello, this is Bob speakin'." I says "This here the Bob got the pickup truck for sale?" He says, "Yeah." I says, "Where are ya?" He says, "Fourteen east on County 12, turn right on the one-lane gravel road, you can park in the yard, beware of the dog, wipe your feet off, knock three times, and bring your billfold."

Well, I tooled on east on County 12, turned right on the one-lane gravel road, and I parked in the yard and a German shepherd come out and grabbed onto my leg. Then I knocked three times and wiped my feet, the dog let go and the screen door opened and Bob come out and says "Whaddya want?" I says, "Come to see your truck." He says, "Follow me. Come on, Frank." (Dog's name is Frank.)

Well, we all went past the chicken house, through the hog pen, down to the tractor shed, and then wound up in back of the barn in a field of cowpies. And settin' right there in a pool of grease was a half-ton Chevy pickup truck with a 1960 license plate, a bumper sticker says "Vote for Dick" and Brillo box full of rusty parts, and Bob says "Whaddya think?".

Well, I kicked the tires and I got in the seat and set on a petrified apple core and found a bunch of field mice livin' in the glove compartment. He says, "Her shaft is bent and her rear end leaks, you can fix her quick with an oily rag. Use a nail as a starter; I lost the key. Don't pay no mind to that whirrin' sound. She use a little oil, but outside a' that, she's cherry."

I says, "What'll take?" He says, "What've you got?" I says, "Twenty-eight dollars and fifteen cents." He says, "You got a deal. Sign here, I'll go get the title and a can full of gas." I put the nail in the slot and fired 'er up; she coughed and belched up a bunch a' smoke and I backed her right through the hog pen into the yard.

Well, Frank jumped in and bit my leg and I beat him off with a crowbar. He jumped on out and the door fell off and the left front tire went flat. I jacked it up and patched the tube and Frank tore a piece of my shirt off. Then Bob come out and called him off and says "You better'd get on out of here."

Conoco sign I went left on the one-lane gravel road, went fourteen west on County 12. Took two full quarts of forty-weight oil just to get her to the Conoco station. And I pulled up to the Regular pump and then Harold Sykes and his kid come out. He says, "I've seen better stuff at junkyards and where'd you ever get that truck?"

I says, "That's a long story, Harold. I's thumbin' through the want ads in the Shelby County Tribune when this classified advertisement caught my eye. It said, "Take imme-di-ate delivery on this '57 Chevrolet half-ton pickup truck. Will sell or swap for a hide-a-bed and thirty-five bucks..."

"Classified" can be found on the album C.W. McCall’s Greatest Hits.

The Legend-News is Copyright 2000 TechRen Enterprises. "TechRen" is short for "Technological Renaissance"; not that anyone really cares anymore. Thanks to Bill Fries and Chip Davis for the words and music. Stay Demented!