The Legend-News

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Monday, 2003 July 28 : Volume 6, Number 14 Latest⇒

What We Got Here

Let's see: this issue of The Legend-News should have been published last week, but we skipped that publication date; the next scheduled skip date (the fifth Monday of a month) was 29 September; so since we've skipped a date, then this must be the issue of 6 October. My, how time flies, as does logic, out of the window.

Here at TechRen Enterprises, Home of the Midwest's Greatest Superhero™, we've been busy networking in our search for outside employment. Ed.'s title of "Man of Leisure" is being modified to "Part-time Man of Leisure", as he has actually acquired a part-time job "merchandising" for Hewlett-Packard. "Merchandising" means "schlepping promotional brochures to office supply stores and making sure that the demonstration printers are working". A not-terribly-demanding job, but at least it'll get his butt out of the house.

We're also staring at maps, plotting a course for Convoy 2005, and we've got questions for you about that (see the article). The classic LA-to-Jersey route isn't the only option that we have; we can make this a really scenic tour, if necessary.


The Yellow Menace

According to several news stories, the British are bracing for a new invasion. But the invaders aren't the Luftwaffe; they're yellow ducks, green frogs, red beavers and blue turtles. A division of this flotilla is also headed for the eastern coasts of the United States and Canada.

The First Years Rubber Duck In 1992, a container ship travelling from China to Seattle, Washington encountered a storm near the International Date Line, at a point halfway between the Equator and the North Pole (that's 45 degrees north latitude, 180 degrees east/west longitude). A container, containing 29 thousand bath toys, was lost overboard. Since that accident 11 years ago, Curt Ebbesmeyer of Beachcombers.org has been tracking the progress of the toys as they travelled north along the coast of Alaska, through the Bering Strait, across the Arctic Ocean, and south into the Atlantic Ocean.

The ducks and other floating animals travelled more quickly than expected, due to their being driven along by not only the ocean currents, but by the wind. Because the toys have been floating, exposed to the sun, they're no longer their original colorful selves but have been bleached white.

The presence of the toys was first noticed in the mid-1990s, when they began to appear in Hawaiian waters, and along the Pacific Northwest coast.

The First Years, Inc., based in Avon, Massachusetts, is the company for whom the toys were manufactured. They are offering a reward of a $100 United States Savings Bond for the first duck to be found along the coast of New England. Anyone finding a duck should report it to at The First Years' Parents Service Center at 1-800-317-3194. First Years will pass along to Ebbesmeyer the locations of any toys found, aiding him in his research of tracking ocean currents.


Convoy On DVD

Amazon.com is now taking pre-orders for a Region 1 DVD release of The Motion Picture CONVOY, to be released on 19 August.

The manufacturer of the disc is listed as "Triumph Marketing, L". We don't know who they are — they don't seem to have a web site — but we're hoping that this is a DVD of the complete movie. David Frederick reports that another disc, currently available through Cheezyflicks.com, is a copy of the United Kingdom release from Warner Brothers, and is missing several minutes.

Visit David's Convoy Movie Site for more information on the best truckin' movie of 1978.


Meanwhile, Back At The Critter Ranch

New Critters On The Block. Pade Albin, location unknown.

Want to be listed as a fan of C.W. McCall on the Big List A' Critters? Send a message to us at critters@techren.net, giving your name and 20; and if your message makes it past our spam filters, you will ceremoniously added to the only list of C.W. McCall fans in the whole wide world. You'll feel better for it.

Chris Doyle bought a Jeep, as you may remember from our last issue. Well, he went and got it dirty.

Chris Doyle's used CJ-7 before
Before
Chris Doyle's used CJ-7 after
After

A recent discussion among the subscribers to Other Wild Places concluded with the determination that real men (and ladies; we'll not be discriminating here) bolt their CB antenna to their vehicle. Magnetic mounts are used by ratchetjaw wannabees; and anyone who uses double-sided tape to adhere an antenna to their roof will probably regret it.

John Wren found an interesting photograph. Although the light in the photograph appears quite bright, the time of day is actually after dark, and required a seven-and-a-half minute exposure. The relevance? The location is somewhere near the summit of Cold Bank Hill Pass, between Durango and Silverton.

Alan Chafin better known as "Skywalker" to the participants in Convoy 2005, sent us a report on a C.W. Sighting:

I was waiting for a showing of the new movie, "Pirates of the Caribean" at a small local theatre. There is a "radio service" that some theatres use to keep patrons entertained before the movie starts. It plays music, commentary, trivia, and a few commercials. Well, just before the lights came down, they announced a track from a "brand new CD released by Mannheim Steamroller and CW McCall called, 'American Anthem'." They then proceeded to play "America the Beautiful". What a wonderful surprise! And it sounded terrific on that outstanding sound system as well! I made sure to compliment the manager on a terrific theatre experience.


An Interview With C.W. McCall

Bill Fries, the real C.W. McCall, was interviewed by Cliff Abbott of Roehl Transport for the November 2002 edition of their CD newsletter, the Roehl News Network. (By the way, their name is pronounced "rail".) Roehl News Network is a bi-monthly publication for their drivers; its contents include safety tips, information on trucking-related issues, and interviews with, and the music of, country performers.

Thanks to Cliff Abbott, who conducted the interview.

Roehl News Network: Bill Fries was an advertising writer in 1972 when he created a fictional television character to sell Old Home Bread. From those commercials sprang a legendary recording career, and a name familiar to truck drivers around the world.

In this edition of the Roehl News Network, we're proud to have as our guest Bill Fries, who personified the character of C.W. McCall. Bill, how does a person go from an everyday job to a storybook career like you've had?

Bill Fries: Well, it's a, it goes back to a lot of experiences that I've had, growing up as a little kid in southwest Iowa.

RNN: You began your career working in advertising, right?

BF: Yes, sir, I'm an old ad man. We started out that, the first commercials that we did for Metz Baking Company up in Sioux City, Iowa led to the creation of a character that I wrote for him to lip-sync the words to my lyrics in the commercials. And dog-gone if they didn't take off and become really sensational around the Upper Midwest: you know, Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota, and so on.

RNN: So how did this successful ad campaign turn into your career as a recording artist?

BF: The record companies heard this, and they said "Why don't you make that into a record, and, you know, we'll distribute it nationally." So I said, "Hey, why not?" and suddenly my life was turned around, completely.

RNN: But that first album wasn't your most popular, was it?

BF: We did another album for MGM Records, and on that record was a little thing called "Convoy".

RNN: The big one.

BF: Yeah, it was a monster. I tell ya, there was a time when you could drive anywhere in the United States and plug in your radio — AM, FM, anything — and hear it.

RNN: How many copies did that album sell?

BF: It's sold now around twenty million copies worldwide, and it's been just a monster, you know, like you say.

RNN: And the song "Convoy" eventually led to a movie.

BF: Well, after the record was out, about two years later, MGM came to us and had an offer from a producer in Hollywood and said, "We'd like to use your song as the basis for a movie." And we said, "That's great! All we wanna do is write the music for it." And so they did, and they put out this movie called "CONVOY" which was written by an unknown scriptwriter who really didn't do the song justice. You know, I thought that it should a' been a lot funnier than it was. But anyway, Kris Kristofferson and Ali McGraw were in it, and it did quite well around the world.

RNN: Let's talk about your relationship with the trucking industry. How did you come to understand drivers the way you do?

BF: My dad was a trucker, and he used to haul flatbed semis all over the Midwest with prefabricated farm buildings on 'em. And I used to ride along as a kid; I learned a lot about trucks then, but I never, you know, got to be a truck driver. But I admire those guys out on the road, I'll tell ya.

RNN: They have a difficult job, don't they?

BF: They do.

RNN: Bill, do you know anyone who might have a message for our drivers?

BF: "Hi, there, this is C.W. McCall, and you're tuned into the Roehl News Network, and I just wanna tell all you truckers out there to remind ya to put on your safety first in everything you do. Ya hear? Now listen up!"

RNN: We sure appreciate your call, Bill.

BF: All right! Thank you now.

RNN: Here's another C.W. McCall classic you might remember.

("Wolf Creek Pass" is played.)


Convoy 2005

Since last issue's announcement of a sequel to Convoy 2000, to be known as Convoy 2005 (ain't we imaginative?), the Convoy 2005 Tour Directors (a/k/a Alan and Ed.) have been considering exactly what is it that C2K+5 (that abbreviation is Alan's contribution) will accomplish. Obviously, a coast-to-coast journey of some sort is the ultimate goal; but what to do along the way? And, most importantly, what route shall we take?

The classic route begins on I-10 east of Los Angeles, then follows the basic route of old U.S. 66 to Chicago. In Convoy 2000, we did take a slight deviation when we continued east on I-10 to Phoenix, then north to Flagstaff and I-40; the "correct" route would have taken a turn at I-15, to Barstow and I-40. So we already have a history of not following the bible.

But if the goal is just to make a trip across the U.S. of A., then there are many ways to route the Convoy. We've received suggestions that we pass through Omaha, Nebraska; Ouray, Colorado; maybe even Cincinnati, Ohio.

In Convoy 2000, we attempted — and failed, honorably, in our opinion — to maintain a schedule by which other C.W. McCall fans could join our little convoy as we passed near their home towns. For Convoy 2005, we need your input. So, if you would, please answer the questions below and send your response to convoy2005@techren.net. We'd like to have C.W. McCall fans, as many as possible, join us for a stretch along the highways of America.

Now, we realize that C2K+5 is twenty-two months in the future, but if we're to make this a success, we've got to begin our planning now. We could be big.

Convoy 2005 is tentatively scheduled for the week of 5 June 2005.

The Questions

  1. Where do you live?
  2. If Convoy 2005 passes near your town, for how many miles could you join the convoy? Between what towns would you like to travel (for example, Grand Island to Lincoln, Nebraska)?
  3. Would you join us for more than one day?
  4. What type of accomodations would you like, if we made an overnight stop in your area?

We'll publish the results in a future issue of The Legend-News.


Old Home Café: The Next Generation

Episode XXI

Another hot August afternoon sat on Pisgah like charcoal briquette in a barbecue grill, scorching any meat that dared challenge it. And although the sky to the east was a clear blue with wispy clouds, the western sky was rapidly darkening.

Standing at the window of the Old Home Café, Jon could see an occasional brillant flash from the far southwest. The radio, tuned to KOIL, crackled every few seconds. Rain and lightning were reported in Omaha, and they were heading northeast. In about an hour, Pisgah, forty miles away, would see its first rain in thirteen days.


Song A’ Th’ Week

Yeah, this was the Song A’ Th’ Week for 17 March, but it's just so appropriate for our lead article in this issue, "The Yellow Menance".

'Round The World With The Rubber Duck
(C.W. McCall, Bill Fries, Chip Davis)
From the album Rubber Duck

[On the CB.]
Breaker, one-nine, this here's the Duck again. You got a copy on me Pig Pen, c'mon? Ah, negatory, Pig Pen, there ain't no way out 'cept for that one Atlantic Ocean. Now listen, drop them hogs off in Omaha and get over here in a short, 'cause it definitely looks like we got us a problem.

Bears to the left; bears to the right
We didn't have no place to go.
They had us backed up clean to the shore,
And them cab-over Petes don't float.
I says, "Pig Pen, I got me a good idea.
Them Friends a' Jesus gonna save us!
"So praise the Lord and Mister Ford,
And follow that micra-bus, ten-four.

[Chorus]
Yo ho ho, and a thousand trucks
Gonna take a bath with a Rubber Duck
Yo ho ho, and a lots a' luck
'Round the world with the Rubber Ducky!

Yeah, we drove on the water like diesel whales
Sank about a hunnert-and-ten of 'em
I says, "Pig Pen, they just didn't have no faith
"They definitely gone ten-seven."
By the time we got into that Piccadilly Town,
'Bout half of 'em was lost at sea
I says, "Break one-nine for a ten-thirty-three"
What we got was the cotton-pickin' BBC

I say, Fabersham. Looks likes the Americans have got themselves another bloody Convoy.

[Chorus]
Yo ho ho, and a thousand trucks
Gonna take a bath with a Rubber Duck
Yo ho ho, and a lots a' luck
'Round the world with the Rubber Ducky!

Good heavens! Look at them all! Half of them are sinking in the Thames! Hello! Some of our truck chaps are assisting them. Good show, actually. Oh, well, ten-four and all that rubbish.

Well, we crossed that Channel like snakes on glass
And stormed the beach about dawn
I says, "Grab your shifters and punch 13
"We all goin' truckin' on the Autobahn.
"Now, Pig Pen, this here's the ultimate slab
"'Cause there goes a Mercedes truck."
He says, "Break one-three for the Strudel Machine
"Ya just blew the doors off'n the Duck. How 'bout it?"

Oh, zehn-vier, Rubber Duck. Ve are receiving you vall-to-vall, but the schpeed limit on za Autobahn is triple-nickels. You travel too schlow, Rubber Duck. We gonna see you around. We gone. Wiedersehen.

[During the next verse, the chorus (the singers, not the words) is heard in the background. What they're singing is what's printed in the tiny little letters. No, I am not making this up. That's what they're singing.]

Well, we stopped for a coffee in West Berlin
Dumb, dumb, dumb. This is
The British had hundred-mile tea
dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb.
I says, "Pig Pen, from here on it's wall-to-wall bears."
Dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb,
Says, "Bash the Wall; we gonna see."
Dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb.
Well, them big red bears must'a been in the bush
Dumb, dumb, dumb. This is
'Cause we didn't see a one all day
Dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb,
So we raked up the leaves and we shook out the tree
Dumb, dumb, dumb. This is
'Til they finally had something to say
Dumb, dumb, dumb.
You got it..

Comrade Duck: you have been given until daybreak in Murmansk to get your cotton-pickin' trucks out of the U. S. S. of R. You will copy!

Well, we shot them rigs through salt-mine city
Dumb, dumb
With a hammer and a sickle on down
Dumb, dumb
Then we hit the fan through the Sea of Japan
Dumb, dumb
Tooled into Transistor Town
Dumb, dumb
I says, "Pig Pen, this here must be the place,
Dumb, dumb
"'Cause everybody's eatin' with sticks."
Dumb, dumb
He says, "Ten-Four, this here is CB land
Dumb, dumb
"'Cause my channel knob just went crick."
Dumb, dumb

Ah so, Lubba Duck. You have a nice day today, betta day tomollow. We catch you on frip-frop. This one Kamikaze Ozzie; we gone. Sayonara.

[Chorus]
Yo ho ho, and a thousand trucks
Gonna take a bath with a Lubba Duck
Yo ho ho, and a rots a' ruck
'Round the world with a Lubba Ducky!

[On the CB.]
Ah, ten-four, Pig Pen, what's your twenty? Australia? Mercy sakes, ain't nothin' down there but Tasmanian devils and them Q-alla bears. What's that? No double-nickel limit? We gonna be there in a short, Pig Pen. This here's the Rubber Duck, ten-ten and doin' it to it like Pruitt used'ta do it to it. We gone. 'Bye-'bye.


Next Issue. August 4.

Yes, we'll actually attempt to corral enough words to fill an issue, even if we need to make up the entire thing.


The Legend-News is published fortnightly — unless the fortnight is the fifth Monday, in which case it's published fortnightly-and-a-half — by TechRen Enterprises, laughtrack enhanced for your enjoyment. Contents Copyright 2003 TechRen Enterprises, except for anything that we borrowed from someone else. Thanks to Bill Fries and Chip Davis for the words and music. "Whiskey Man's my friend, he's with me nearly all the time."