The Legend-News

Monday, 2003 August 11 : Volume 6, Number 15 Latest⇒

What We Got Here

Dead Duck?

C.W. McCall is dead! Yes, you heard that correctly: but what you heard may not be what you think you heard.

Crispy Critter Doug Pierce invaded our mailbox earlier this week, seeking confirmation of a story which was told to him:

My mom insists that 2-3 weeks ago she heard some DJs on WMBI here in Chicago with a news item that CW had passed away. They then educated a young dj person on staff who he was, discussed the recent American Spirit cd, and even played "Convoy" on WMBI the Christian station!! I pointed out that it does mention the "…friends of Jesus…" in the song, so it was ok.

But the real question is: did he pass away recently or have any health issues? I surely hope the rumors of his death have been greatly exaggerated. Also, I would think such a significant event would light up the OWP mailing list.

Now I must admit that I've been pretty busy for the last couple of weeks, and some notable news may have escaped my notice. But if the Rubber Duck had passed away, I'm pretty sure that I would have informed by people who are closer to the source than I. But not a word reached my ears. Was this radio report true? Had C.W. McCall departed this mortal veil?

For those of you who don't live near Chicago: the "MBI" of WMBI is the Moody Bible Institute, a Christian organization located on the Near North Side of Chicago.

My first act was to send a message to Bill Fries, inquiring if he was aware that he was deceased. While I awaited a reply, I found a contact address for WMBI and sent an inquiry to them. Then I began to search the Web for information. An event of this magnitude must have been reported by someone!

Then I found it. Unbelieveably, the news was true. C.W. McCall was dead, and I didn't know it. I found his obituary in the Tryon Daily Bulletin. But something seemed odd: "Dr." C.W. McCall? Born in 1918? Died in Asheville, North Carolina? Wait a minute… this was a real C.W. McCall, not The Real C.W. McCall!

[2012-04-26: the link to Dr. McCall’s obituary is no longer online. But I found the obituary of a woman who worked for him. — Future Ed.]

I checked my mail again. There was a message from "William Fries" in it.

Dear Ed:

Give that radio station my phone number and I'll do a "live" interview.


Well, that definitely answered the question. The Rubber Duck hadn't asked for his last channel break: he was still kicking in Ouray, Colorado. But if Bill was alive, then what of WMBI's report of his demise?

As of Sunday evening (10 August), I've only received an automated reply to the questions which I sent to WMBI ("Please know that we will respond to your e-mail as soon as possible"). I hope to report, in the next issue of The Legend-News, their explanation for this journalistic gaff. Perhaps they'll hire a fact-checker or two.

The Facts: WMBI: Radio for the heart of Chicago! 90.1 FM & AM 1110

Meanwhile, Back At The Critter Ranch

New Critters On The Block.

Want to be listed as a fan of C.W. McCall on the Big List A' Critters? Send a message to us at, 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.

Convoy 2005

Another coast-to-coast road trip is being planned for the week of 5 June 2005. The route is being plotted, and it will not be the same as the path used for Convoy 2000. One change is a "detour" to points further north: a visit to the San Juan Mountains and Ouray, Colorado, home of C.W. McCall! Here's a picture of the route, courtesy of Alan "Skywalker" Chafin, chief navigator:

Proposed route for Convoy 2005
The proposed route for Convoy 2005. Click on the image for a larger version.

This route travels further north in its western section than did Convoy 2000; hopefully, the weather will be much cooler. The blue/black squares indicate the daily stops; the trip will take 6 days, mostly on Interstate highways.

Want to join Convoy 2005, for a few miles at least? You don't need to make the entire journey. Help us plan our stops along the way! Please answer the questions below and send your response to We'd like to have as many C.W. McCall fans as possible join us for a stretch.

  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?


Old Home Café: The Next Generation

Episode XXII

Travelling salesman once were ubiquitous. Wal-Mart didn't have a store in every small town in America 'way back then. If you wanted to buy some of that "big city" stuff you had to order it through the Sears Roebuck or Monkey Wards or Penneys catalog, and a couple of weeks later you'd pick up a package at the Post Office. No trips to the local shopping mall were necessary; heck, the local shopping mall hadn't even been invented.

Or you could wait for the Fuller Brush man, or the Hoover vacuum man, to pass through your town. He'd knock on door after door, inquire for the lady of the house, and if invited in would demonstrate his wares. Brushes for your hair, your dog's hair, your horse's hair, and even brushes for scrubbing the floor. If you had carpeting — a large rug would suffice — the Hoover man would show you how well his product could suck the dirt, dust, and detrius out of any floor covering. And then there were the Bible salesmen, but that's a story for another time.

In 2003, door-to-door selling was dead. If you wanted something, you could pick up a phone and order it, or find a store on the Internet; or you could drive to a mall, somewhere. That's why Jon Bach was surprised on that Wednesday afternoon, when Harry Pastor entered the Old Home Café and announced "you need an Auto-Dog!"

"An Auto-what?" asked Jon. He wasn't certain that he'd heard correctly. The words "auto" and "dog" had never, in the history of mankind, been uttered adjacently in the same sentence.

"Auto-DOG!" said Harry, loudly. So loudly, that Larry — who was in the kitchen with the radio blasting — stuck his head out through the serving window to see what was the noise. "The most perfect, automatic, hot-dog preparation machine that was ever invented!"

To be continued…

Song A’ Th’ Week

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

'Way out in Colorado
In the Camp Bird Mine
Down deep in the darkness
On level nine
Where the water trickles
An' your blood runs cold
There's a lonesome miner
Still lookin' for gold

He's way down deep…
In the Camp Bird Mine

He never sees the snowfall
Never knows the spring
'Cause its eternal midnight
Where he does his thing
He never feels the sunlight
Doesn't need the moon
He's had his lamp a-burnin'
Since 'ninety-two

He's way down deep…
In the Camp Bird Mine

Way down deep…
Way down deep…
Way down deep…
Way down…
In the Camp Bird Mine

They say you never see 'im
You just know he's there
But you can hear his hammer
In the devil's lair
Where the silver sparkles
An' your blood runs cold
There's a phantom miner
Still lookin' for gold

He's way down deep
In the Camp Bird Mine

Way down deep…
Way down deep…
Way down deep…
Way down deep…
In the Camp Bird Mine

Next Issue. 25 August. Maybe some day we'll get back to that "first and third Monday" schedule, if'n the part-time day jobs don't keep getting in the way.

At Old Home Café, Harry Pastor begins his attempt to sell an Auto-Dog to Jon Bach. Hilarity may ensue.

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, where "deficit" is a way of life. 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. "No one muscles in on my territory, you overstuffed hamster!"