The Legend-News

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Monday, 2001 September 10 : Volume 4, Number 19

What We Got Here

The Regular Highway: items that we've mentioned before, and we're mentioning again;
Surfin' With The Rubber Duck: MP3s, real estate, and a bulldog Mack with a can on the back;
Old Home Café: at 62 years old, Leo Alton gets an adoptive son;
Song A’ Th’ Week: running at the mouth with "Ratchetjaw".

The Regular Highway
News that bears repeating

The C.W. McCall Tour 2002 is being planned for a long weekend over the sixth of June 2002. The tour will be a whirlwind visit to many of the Iowa and Nebraska sites that have been mentioned in the songs of Our Favorite Singer. Information about the Tour will noted in The Legend-News, and we'll post it on its own page. If you would like to be updated on the status of the Tour, send a message to tour_2002@techren.net and we'll add you to our list. And we've discovered that the Tourist Coordinator for Audubon County (hi, Lynn!) has discovered us. What this means for the Tour has yet to be determined. Stay tuned.

Alan Chafin can provide videotapes of the first Old Home Bread commercial with C.W. McCall. This one-minute commercial (which we described in a previous edition of The Legend-News) features Jim Finlayson as C.W., Jeannie Capps as Mavis, and Bill Fries as the voice of C.W. McCall walking his way through "Old Home Is Good Buns". If you'd like a copy of the commercial on VHS tape, Alan is providing them at cost. Send US$2.50 to T A Chafin, 4753A Westland Blvd, Arbutus, MD 21227-1332. If you'd like to help Alan defray the cost of acquiring the commercial (it wasn't free), send him another buck or two. Alan is still looking for tapes of the other commercials.

Time Life Records is currently promoting a compilation album, Country Classics: Great Story Songs. The songs on this album all tell a tale, "…including the all-time trucker classic, 'CONVOY'". The two-CD set is available on Time Life's web site, or you could just watch cable television until the commercial rolls around. Operators are standing by.


Surfin' With The Rubber Duck
If it's on the 'Net, it must be important

For those readers who are addicted to downloading large text files, someone's been posting C.W. songs to the newsgroup alt.binaries.sounds.country.mp3. The files were uploaded beginning late on Saturday night, so they might still be there.

Ever wanted to own a store in a small town? 201 1st Street in Pisgah, Iowa is for sale. For $70,000, you'll get 5,000 square feet, 1 bathroom, and the complete inventory of the store. As a bonus, it's located directly across the street from the Old Home Café. Now we're not exactly certain, but this building may have been the F.E. Miller Store, where C.W. bought an engagement ring for Mavis. (We've e-mailed the listing agent about this question, but he hasn't responded to our message.)

Ron "Sanity Challenged" Sparks alerted us to a story at Truckinginfo.com, "The Rubber Duck Goes To Germany". The story's about a week and half old, and you'll probably need to register (free) at the site to read the story. A summary: a German collector of "mean machines" commissioned a replica of the Mack truck driven by the Rubber Duck in the movie CONVOY, and shipped it home. The bad news: the hood ornament was stolen. The badder news: the story claims that the ornament was worth $1,800. Gee, he could have bought one for $65.00 if he'd just called Billings Artworks.

We had considered saving this item for the post-Thanksgiving issue, but hey, it's there now and who knows if it'll be there in December. The Rubber Duck delivers his load in "Once Upon A Christmas Eve". There's no credit to the author; but this page is one of many on Chris's Humor Page. (Thanks to Alan Chafin for the lead.)

In a story that's sort of related to the series that we've been running as the "Old Home Café", the town of Littleport, Iowa is willing to let someone destroy it for $150,000, according to the story "Iowa town seeks big Hollywood finish" in the Chicago Tribune. They want it blowed up real good.


Old Home Café
Back where it all began

Another story from the pile of articles which was sent to us by K.C. the Stealth Fan. This one's from the Omaha World-Herald, mid-1976.

'Dad' to Join C.W. in Future Episodes

Pisgah Native Will Go on Television

By Cindy Murphy, World-Herald Staff Writer

B.Q. McCall and C.W. McCall

C.W. (Finlayson)…with Alton, his "father."

Pisgah, Ia. — A 62-year-old Harrison County crane operator is about to embark upon a new career in television.

Leo Alton, chosen to play the part of C.W. McCall's father in upcoming TV commercials for Old Home Bread, never auditioned. In fact, he's never acted before.

He's retiring from his county job, which he has held for 26 years, in June, which is when the commercials will probably be telecast regionally.

So how did he land the plum part in the award-winning commercial created by Omaha ad man Bill Fries?

Fries noticed Pisgah native Alton in the crowd when CBS's Dan Rather did a television news report on Pisgah's rise to fame because of the commercial.

Actor-ad man Jim Finlayson, whose television name is C.W. McCall, was in Pisgah recently to do the latest commercials. He said Fries took one look at Alton, who was missing his teeth at the time of the filming, and said, "That's gotta be C.W.'s dad!"

Alton is modest about the whole thing.

"I'll try anything once. After all, they drove clear up to Woodbine (where he works) to ask me," he said.

Alton says the filming, was "hardly work at all. Just a lot of fun. Sittin' around and waitin' is the hardest part."

"He's a natural actor," Finlayson said of Alton. "In one part, he gets kind of put down by Mavis' momma and he comes back into the cab gummin' a donut. The look he gives is fantastic. Most professional actors couldn't dot it so well."

The characters created by Fries, truck-driving C.W. McCall and truckstop waitress Mavis, grew into celebrity status and Fries, who does C.W.'s voice, was launched into a recording career with MGM records that hasn't quit. Fries has adopted the name 'C.W. McCall' for professional use.

Finlayson, who lives in Texas, said he has been flabbergasted by the C.W. and Mavis craze that has hit the Midlands. He and actress Jeannie Capps are constantly amazed by the popularity of the two characters when asked to do pubic appearances, he said.

The "love affair" with Pisgah began in April 1974, Finlayson said, when the first Texas film crew visited the town. This was their third visit.

Pisgah, which has a population of 290, hasn't been the same since then, either, according to Phyllis Hinkel, who runs the Old Home Fill'er Upd and Keep on Truckin' Café, on Pisgah's main street.

She said business has increased by at least three times since the commercial began and she is constantly being asked if she is the real Mavis.

Mrs. Hinkel said she and her husband Darlyd were persuaded to change the name of their restaurant. It had formerly been Hinkel's Café.

Also in town for the latest commercials was another new character to be introduced soon — a black toy poodle. C.W.'s hound, Sloan, will be sharing the spotlight.

Sloan and the Poodle from Pisgah

Sloan with poodle…Texas film crew in Pisgah.

A trivial fact about Leo Alton: he was a 1933 graduate of Little Sioux School, according to Judy Wallis White's history of Little Sioux Township, Harrison County, Iowa.

When Alan "Skywalker" Chafin and Ed "Silversmith" Floden visited the Old Home Café while on their way west for the start of Convoy 2000, they almost met Leo; he had been in the Café only a few minutes earlier. Call it a Non-Brush With Greatness.


Song A’ Th’ Week
Words without music. Call 'em poems.

We hope that you've been doing your lip exercises, 'cause you're gonna need to be limber in this song.

Ratchetjaw
(C.W. McCall, Bill Fries, Chip Davis)
From the album Rubber Duck

YEE-HAW! Merciful sakes alive! You wanna be one a' them CBers, you gonna learn how to ratchetjaw! Pay attention now; I'm only gonna explain it to ya once.

You gotta go runnin' amuck in a pick-'em-up truck Chattering teeth
With one a' those fancy sidebands?
Get four-on-the-floor and two on the door
Get a power mike in yer jaw-hand
Prepare to strike when ya key the mike
'Cause ya never know who's a-listenin'
Some clown insists on a 10-36
This here's what you give 'im:

"Four, good buddy, I made me a study
An' I figger it's the dark a' the moon, son
It's half-past spring an' a quarter ta fall
An' the big hand's a-settin' on noon, son
Now if the fish don't bite and the almanac's right
And the groundhog sees his shadow
A 10-36 goes tick-tock-tick."
And that's what I call ratchetjaw!

Gotta git ya a base, out there at yer place
With a forty-foot pole on the chimney
With a thousand watts in yer flowerpots
And a ree-mote line in the biffy
If ya feel a twitch when ya throw the switch
Ya gonna dim all the lights in Wichita
Gonna send out a wave ta make the government rave
And this here's whatcha tell 'em all:

"Yeah, four, good buddy, yer comin' in cruddy
But yer walkin' right through my wall, boy
Yer carrier's cool, you makin' me drool
You were definitely battin' my ball, boy
You hittin' me round about fifteen pound
You cut me up like a bandsaw
But what the heck, it's just a radio check."
And that there's how to ratchetjaw

[CB conversations. They're overlaid, as if you're listening to a party line.]

[Woman's voice] Breaker, breaker, breaker, breaker. We lookin' for that one Buffalo Roy out there. Buffalo Roy, what's your twenty? Where are you anyway, Buffalo Roy? Are you out there? Come on in there, Buffalo Roy. 10-4.

[Man's voice] Lissen, you. Shut up on all them breakers. One breaker's enough. [words missing]...channel all the time. Can't hear a damn thing anybody's sayin'.

[C.W.] Buffalo Roy? That's a dumb handle.

Wanna feel some pain? Just turn up yer gain
Get a fearful earful a' garbage
Ta suppress a belch, just hit yer squelch
You can cut out all the carnage
You wanna have fun, you son-of-a-guns
Just get on the press-ta-talk switch
You gonna amuse 'em an' really confuse 'em
With a little ol' thing called ratchetjaw

Yeah, let them suckers think yer a trucker
Say stuff they can't understand, son
Just bounce up-an'-down while yer toolin' around
Gonna sound like a truck-drivin' man, son
Just tell yer beaver that you gonna leave 'er
You catch her on the bounce-around
If she comes back with a smart-off crack
Say "X-Y-L, it's show-an'-tell. We definitely got us to go now.
Keep yer pants on honey, hang onto the money
Yer X-Y-M's gotta blow now
Eighty-eight, thirds, and feed my bird
An' all them numbers upon ya all
If speed don't kill, then CB will."
And that's what I call ratchetjaw

[More CB conversations.]

Breaker, breaker, breaker, breaker, breaker, breaker, [repeated almost ad infinitum, punctuated by bouts of laughter]

[Man's voice. Begins deep, slowly rising to Shirley and Squirrely squeakiness.] Yeah, 10-4, we got ya, breaker. Come back on that? Say, what kind a'... s'not? some kind a' cotton-pickin'... you puttin' me on, aren't cha? Yeah, you puttin' me on, aren't cha? [Laughter] 10-4. 10-4.


The Legend-News is Copyright 2001 TechRen Enterprises. How much rubber could a rubber duck duck if a rubber duck could duck rubber? Film at 10. Thanks to Bill Fries and Chip Davis for the words and music.