The Legend-News

Monday, 2001 October 22 : Volume 4, Number 22

What We Got Here in this edition of The Legend-News. C.W. McCall Tour 2002: get your compasses out, 'cause we got a map; Surfin' With The Rubber Duck: old home towns; Old Home Café: more on the filming of the first commercials to be made in Pisgah; Song A’ Th’ Week: "Bread Bash" from an Old Home Bread commercial.

C.W. McCall Tour 2002
Down and around and around and down

Okay, so we told you that we thought a group excursion around western Iowa was a neat idea. Visit the towns mentioned in the songs by C.W. McCall and meet other C.W. McCall fans.

And you thought that we'd occasionally update you on what we were planning to do. An itinerary, perhaps a map, maybe even a guide to the area.

Well, there's something that we've got to say.

Presenting… The Map! (gotcha!)

The circle tour
The proposed route of the western Iowa portion of the C.W. McCall Tour 2002. Click on the map for a larger version (JPEG, 240K). Thanks to Alan Chafin for the picking and the plotting.

Strangely, most of the Iowa towns which are mentioned by C.W. are given in the song "Sloan". Here's how you connect the dots:

  1. Audubon. The starting point, of course.
  2. East Nishnabotna River. This is the river that's actually near Audubon; see item 6.
  3. Darned if we can remember why we picked this spot. We'll tell you, as soon as we remember
  4. Red Line.
  5. Jacksonville.
  6. West Nishnabotna River. C.W. crawled this river in the song "Nishnabotna", but it's really too far from Audubon to be the correct river. But "East Nishnabotna" just didn't sound as well.
  7. Old 30, a.k.a. U.S. Highway 30, or the Lincoln Highway.
  8. Ricketts.
  9. Correctionville. Yes, there is a correction here.
  10. Sioux City.
  11. Sloan. Watch for dogs in the no-parking zones.
  12. Pisgah. Stop at the Old Home Filler-Up An' Keep On A-Truckin' Café. It's really there.
  13. Mondamin. Reach out and touch someone at the pay telephone, about four miles north.
  14. Magnolia.
  15. Woodbine. Gateway to Pisgah. :)
  16. Persia. Slow down when crossing the railroad tracks.
  17. Beebeetown.
  18. The middle of Pottawattamie County, the home of the Fairweather Lewis and Willard Clark.
  19. Exit 12 on Interstate 80. Whaddya mean, it's supposed to be in Iowa?
  20. American Gramaphone. Chip's company.

Now you're probably wondering, "How many miles is that?" And we say, "Dunno. About 20 inches." Okay, maybe 250 miles. For a one-day trip, that's not too bad. (And if you think it is, try driving from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma to Bloomington, Illinois in one day. 675 miles! That was Day 3 of Convoy 2000.)

We have more details to plan; this is just the start. Stay tuned.

Surfin' With The Rubber Duck
He did the lookin', so you don't have to

The Loess Hills, a real treasure. Chuck Offenburger, in the Des Moines Register of 28 August 1997, writes of the area in which he grew up, and stops at the original Old Home Café.

Siouxland and Loess Hills hospitality Tour Itinerary. A two-day excursion from Omaha to Sioux City, with a lunch stop in Pisgah.

The Dr. San Guinary WebLab. See the Video Archive for “Old Home Bread Sheriff” and “Old Home Bread - Mavis”.

Virtual Truck Route: Spotlight on C.W. McCall. You've probably read it all before, but any web site that links back to here deserves a mention.

How Fast Them Big Trucks Go by Kelly McCubbin. County music and trucking in the '70s. C.W. McCall wasn't the only truckin' singer out there.

Old Home Café
Back where it all began

From the Des Moines Register of Sunday, November 17, 1974. Thanks to K.C. the Stealth Fan for the xerographic copy.

Pisgah People IS Good People

By Gene Raffensperger; photographs by Carl Voss

C.W. and Mavis dancing
C.W. McCall and Mavis dance the "Council Bluffs Shuffle" with the "Pisgah Grip" for TV filming in Iowa.

Jim Finlayson, the businessman, lives in relative obscurity in Tyler, Tex., where he runs a small advertising agency. Among the Tyler locals he is just another face in the crowd, a guy in a suit and tie trying to make a buck.

Jim Finlayson, the amateur actor, is a folk hero in at least five upper midwestern states (including western Iowa).

Pisgah is here Up here he's the original "good ol' boy," known to his television fans as C. W. McCall, the country-talking, double-clutcher, who wheels his Old Home Bread semi to the drive-in theater at Pisgah or off the Honey Creek ramp on Interstate 29.

The object of his attention is not his invoices of rolls and bread, but the well-stacked Mavis, the gum-chewing femme fatale down at the Old Home Filler-Up and Keep on Trucking Café where she's the waitress.

Off camera, Mavis is Mrs. Jeanne Capps, mother of two daughters, and in Dallas, Tex., her home, she's just another pretty face. So far at least, no Dallas cabdriver has stopped and run to the sidewalk to ask Mrs. Capps for her autograph. That did happen to her in Omaha, Neb.

Then there's Sloan, named for the little Iowa town in Woodbury County. He's C. W.'s companion in the truck and an obvious favorite of Mavis'. Well, Sloan in as 8 1/2-year-old Golden Retriever whose pedigree name is "Champion Railroad Golden Spike, C.D."

Other than for that fancy handle, Sloan looks like a mutt and has the disposition of a teddy bear. Sloan's owner, Sara Lynn Jung, of Dallas, brought him to Pisgah recently and there was a mob scene with kids scrambling to scratch his ears and slap his back.

Sloan, the dog
Sloan, C.W. McCall's dog in the TV commercial, was a favorite of children in Pisgah.

One boy yelled, "Hurry up, Mom, it's Sloan."

The mayor of Sloan, Iowa
Mayor Arthur Long of Sloan attended the Pisgah affair and presented a spiked collar to C.W. McCall's dog, Sloan. The dog, named after the town of Sloan, "has brought [much] recognition to our town," said Long.
Bill Fries
Bill Fries, an Omaha advertising man, is the creator of C. W. McCall and Mavis and is the voice of C.W. in the bread company commercials.

Bill Fries, the Omaha advertising man who wrote the scripts and was the voice of C. W. in the first six Old Home commercials, now has written three new ones, all all were shot recently in and around Pisgah, a town made famous when C. W. and Mavis went to the drive-in theater there on their first date (actually, there is no drive-in at Pisgah, population about 260).

The first commercials were shot near Irving, Tex., and the folks there paid little attention to the characters or the film crews.

Well, Pisgah paid attention.

About 500 persons turned out to watch and be a part of one of the scenes in which the setting is the semi-annual Pisgah Volunteer Firemen's Ball.

Fries invited all those present to become extras in the dance sequence. About 200 signed standard release forms and were paid $1 each to take part.

Fireman's Ball
Setting for the TV commercial was a fictitious "Pisgah Semi-Annual Volunteer Firemen's Ball." About 200 townspeople "attended" the dance.

While the film crew ground away with overhead shots, the crowd danced and watched as the crew shot closeups of C. W. and Mavis doing what Fries described as the "Council Bluffs Shuffle" with the "Pisgah Grip."

Earlier, Finlayson's arrival on the set (the cement slab and little bandshell in the Pisgah Park) was the signal for a round of cheers and a call for a speech.

"It's good to be back in Pisgah, my second hometown," grinned Finlayson. "You folks keep Mama occupied tonight so I can have a little time with Mavis."

Privately, Finlayson and Mrs. Capps confessed they are amazed at the attention they draw when they appear in the territory covered by the commercials. "We don't know how to act," said Finlayson.

People treat us like we are national celebrities." He added: "You know an old ad man could go through his whole career and never hit one like this. This is like hitting a wildcat oil well."

C.W. McCall chats with Ron Photo, head of a country music band, called "Ron McCoon of Fort Calhoun and his Nucular Power-Plant Boys" in the TV commercial.

The shooting went on into the night and some of the bystanders sat on picnic tables and sipped beer. Parents brought their kids, cameras and sandwiches, and Leo Alton, 60, who runs a dragline for Harrison County, took the afternoon off to help set up the lights and his wife helped string up crepe paper and decorations for the dance scene.

Wearing his bib overalls, a flannel shirt and a billed cap, Alton was placed in a scene shot in the truckstop cafe. He was at the counter facing Mavis. Just the back of this head was seen. The shooting took four hours.

"You get paid for that?" he was asked.

"Nah, I ain't figuring on it," he replied.

Writer Fries assured all who did get in the commercials they would be paid the standard $1. He also told the crowd, "I'd like to tell you people that I think Pisgah is the nicest town in the world. You've just been wonderful to us…"

As C. W. says in one of his lines at the dance at Pisgah, "…Fun City …Yeah!"

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

Bread Bash
(Bill Fries, Chip Davis)
From a commercial for Old Home Bread

Sing it like Old Home Filler-Up An' Keep On A-Truckin' Café, and you'll be close enough.

Well it was ten p.m. and we wuz goin' t' town
Yeah, Mavis an me wuz-a truckin'-on-down at th'
Semi-Annual V.F.W. Ball …in downtown Pisgah

They had colored lights strung-up-fer mood
They'd spiked th' punch an' they'd catered the food …from the
Old Home Filler-Up-An-Keep-On-A-Truckin' Café
Fun City… Yeah…

Now Mavis wore a dress about t' set 'er free
Had musk-oil on-'er… like t' set me free… and she wuz
Wearin' a ten-dollar orchid I'd bought 'er at Th' Greenhouse over t' Des Moines…

A-course Mother wuz there makin' Old Home sand-wiches
Checkin' on Mavis, an buggin' th' band — which wuz
Roy McCoon outa Fort Calhoun an 'is Nucular Power-Plant Boys

We did the Council Bluffs shuffle with th' Pisgah Grip …and then a
Old Home Boogie …with-a Real nice dip …she wuz
Soft as a 8-pack-a-Old Home Hamburger Buns
I-sez-I-think I'm in LOVE…

An then we trucked on home She said she had a nice time
I said so-did-I an-then-she Kissed me good-night at-the
Old Home Filler-Up-An-Keep-On-A-Truckin' Café
Old Home is a ball.

The Legend-News is Copyright 2001 TechRen Enterprises. "She's not the descendent of a long line of mystical warriors; she's the descendent of a toaster oven." Thanks to Bill Fries and Chip Davis for the words and music.