The Legend-News

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Monday, 2012 February 6 : Volume 15, Number 2
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What We Got Here

Our Man in Ouray: News from the San Juan Mountains. Video McCall: C.W.-related moving pictures. American Spirit / The Real McCall Bundle: Complete your collection. Over the Double Nickel: “I Sold It On eBay”. Previously, in The Legend-News: “Today’s History Lesson: The Union Pacific Railroad”. Old Home Café: “Bypass”.

Our Man in Ouray

I received a call from Bill Fries on last Tuesday evening. Fortunately, the pizza which I had ordered (sausage, onion, and garlic; I would have skipped the garlic, but the lady across the room said “GARLIC!”) wouldn’t be arriving for an hour. So I talked to Bill for about twenty minutes, within we discussed the weather, the business economy, the San Juan Odyssey, the one-hundred-and-fiftieth anniversary of the Union Pacific Railroad, and a “project”.

The weather

In Ouray, the weather has been cold and snowy at 8200 feet in the Rockies; in other words, typical mid-winter. Here in McHenry (“The Heart of the Fox”, according to the water tower) the temperatures bounce around the freezing mark, but most of the snow has melted or sublimated. “Winter” lasted for about thirty days.

The business economy

The V&S Variety store in Ouray closed over one year ago. Bill told me that a new business is opening in that building, but it will be a hardware store. V&S was the place in town to buy C.W. McCall tapes, CDs, and videos of the San Juan Odyssey multimedia show. And the Red Mountain Inn, which was located in the same building as the Main Street Theater, is also closing; the future of the summer showings of the San Juan Odyssey is not yet known at this time. (Want to buy the building?)

San Juan Odyssey

Bill’s multimedia show, San Juan Odyssey, may be getting a facelift. He told me that the original video, which was shot back in the mid-1970s, doesn’t reflect the current look of the area and of the towns in the San Juans. He said that he and Chip Davis are investing in high-definition video equipment, with the intention of reshooting the SJO in a modern widescreen format. This new version will be all video, and no still photographs — unlike the previous presentation.

Union Pacific 150th Anniversary Contest

Back in 1970, Bill wrote a song, “Great Big Rollin’ Railroad” for the Union Pacific Railroad. His inspiration was the 100th anniversary of the driving of the Golden Spike (an interesting topic on its own). A television commercial was made, and it became very popular; and the UP is running a contest to remake the commercial. If you’ve got some free time, enter the contest. No, Bill is not rewriting the song; this contest is entirely the idea of UP.

On UP’s contest page, you can view the original commercial. Click on the Song History link at the bottom of the page, and read Bill’s recollection of the creation of the song.

The “Project”

Heh. You thought that I’d tell you about some Top Secret operation? Nuh-huh. No way. Get outta town. Fuhgeddaboudit. When the time comes for you to know, I’ll tell you. Trust me, you’ll be delighted.

Video McCall

Two Crispy Critters sent in items about videos.

Greg Lucke suggested that I look at the site of Toluca Films. I did, and found a preview for Silverton Express The Motion Picture, which will be released in 2013. The preview is little more than scenes of The Silverton on its run from Durango to Silverton, with a soundtrack of “The Silverton” by C.W. McCall; but the mere thought of a Silverton train movie has me interested.

You can also see the preview on YouTube, on the Silverton Express page and on ROCKMEWOODY’s channel.

Greg also reports that he’s hoping to spend a few days in Ouray this summer; he last visited in ’98.

David Frederick (Convoy The Motion Picture) pointed me to a video from a syndicated ’70s show, Pop! Goes the Country, hosted by Ralph Embry. This particular episode featured C.W. McCall, Billie Jo Spears, and Conway Twitty. Twitty performs “The Race is On”, “Touch the Hand”, and “This Time I’ve Hurt Her More (Than She Loves Me)”; C.W. McCall performs “Convoy”; and Billie Jo Spears performs “Blanket on the Ground”.

Ralph Embry also has a short interview with C.W. McCall.

There is no date given for this particular episode; based on the popularity of “Convoy”, it was most likely recorded in January 1976.

American Spirit / The Real McCall Bundle

American Gramaphone still has a bundle deal on two albums, The Real McCall: An American Storyteller and American Spirit.

The Real McCall: An American Storyteller is a re-recording of fifteen classic C.W. McCall songs (and all of his songs are classics, aren’t they?), plus a new song, “Comin’ Back For More’, the story of Al Packer, who wasn’t picky about his food.

American Spirit is an “Americana” album, with Aaron Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man”; “Battle Hymn of the Republic”; “Home on the Range”; and spoken word pieces by C.W. McCall.

Over the Double Nickel

“I Sold It On eBay”

In a previous Over the Double Nickel, I mentioned that I was working on ridding myself of a tremendous amount of stuff that I’d collected over the years.

Back when I had money — before those Wall Street a**holes decided to see how much fraud they could perpetuate — I bought a lot of things that were valuable to me, at that time. Years passed, and those items became less valuable. They were consigned to boxes, stacked in the basement, and every couple of years I’d rearrange the pile and investigate just what the heck I had in those boxes.

Usually I’d find books, old magazines (Anyone looking for the first 217 issues of Starlog? Make me an offer.), comic books (mostly DC and Marvel), odd toys (when did I buy a Slinky?), and office supplies that I should have used up years ago.

I’ve been placing many of these items up for auction on eBay. I’m not making a lot of money after all of the fees and postage. But at least some of the books and such that I have are finding new owners who (I hope) want to read them. I could have tried to sell them at a used book store, but I’ve found that those stores — especially one big chain whom I will not name — offer less than ten percent of a book’s current value. What I would get for my books wouldn’t pay for the gasoline I’d use driving to those shops.

While checking out a few boxes last week, I found eight old computer games for the Apple II. I bought my first Apple II (a IIe) in 1983, and I used an Apple II almost exclusively for the next ten years. Then the Macintosh finally met my needs, and I substituted an SE/30 for my then-current Apple IIgs.

So, for the past ten years or so, I’ve rarely used an Apple IIe. Sometimes I’d pull one out and set it up to play one of those old games; but most of the time, my IIe and IIgs sat on a wire shelf in the back room of the basement, gathering dust. I finally gave them away, together with a lot of software, back in 2008.

Then I found those last eight games. I haven’t found any other Apple II software, so these games are the last vestige of my old computer life. They were expensive when I bought them: probably $30 to $40, in mid-1980s dollars. I figured that I could get maybe three bucks a piece for them on eBay, not including shipping. So I listed seven of them: four individual games, plus one package of three related games.

I didn’t see many views on the first day, but then someone placed a bid on one game. That was unusual; in most auctions that I’ve watched, no one bids until late in the week and then just before an auction ends there’s a flurry of activity as the bidders try to be the last person to place a bid on an item.

Not this time. I’ve been seeing new bids every day, and today (Sunday, February 5) is only the third day of the auction! It will not end until Thursday, and I already have bids on every game. As of 6 p.m. Sunday (2400Z in real hours), the total of those five bids has risen to $152.01. Please note: the total of my opening prices was $20.95.

Apparently, Apple II games from the 1980s are in big demand; better check your basement. I might need to buy an Apple II again.

— Ed.

Previously, in The Legend-News

From the 2007 August 25 issue of The Legend-News.

Today’s History Lesson: The Union Pacific Railroad

The Union Pacific Railroad, headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, is the largest railroad network in the United States.

Union Pacific logotype The Union Pacific Railroad was incorporated on July 1, 1862 in the wake of the Pacific Railroad Act of 1862. Under the guidance of its dominant stockholder, Thomas C. Durant, the first rails were laid in Omaha, Nebraska. They were part of the railroads that came together at Promontory Summit, Utah, in 1869 as the first transcontinental railroad in North America. Subsequently, UP took over the Utah Central extending south from Ogden, Utah, through Salt Lake City, and the Utah & Northern, extending from Ogden through Idaho into Montana, and it built or absorbed local lines that gave it access to Denver and to Portland, Oregon, and the Pacific Northwest. It acquired the Kansas Pacific (originally called the Union Pacific, Eastern Division, though in essence a separate railroad). It also owned narrow gauge trackage into the heart of the Colorado Rockies and a standard gauge line south from Denver across New Mexico into Texas.

Okay, that’s the trivial stuff. Thank you, Wikipedia!

The important date is ‘1869’, when on May 10th of that year the Union Pacific and Central Pacific Railroads met at Promontory, Utah with the driving of the Golden Spike. One hundred and one years later Bozell & Jacobs, an advertising agency which is headquartered in Omaha, Nebrasaka, campaigned for the account of the Union Pacific. Bill Fries, then a creative executive at Bozell & Jacobs, wrote a song as a presentation to get the UP account for B&J.: “Great Big Rollin' Railroad“.

If you want to sing along to this pre-C.W. McCall ditty, download the MP3. (Thank you, Union Pacific website. Please don’t sue me.)

Great Big Rollin’ Railroad
(Bill Fries, Richard Proulx)

We’re a great big rollin’ railroad
One that everybody knows
We were born of gold and silver spikes
A hundred years ago

We’re a million miles of history
A-shinin’ in the sun
We’re the Union Pacific
And our story’s just begun

From the Great Plains of Nebraska
To the California seas
From the summits of the Rockies
To the mighty redwood trees

We’re a thousand wheels of freight train
Hear the diesel engines power
We’re the Union Pacific
Doin’ ninety miles an hour

Bound from Omaha to Portland
Through Cheyenne and Laramie
We’re a-headin’ west for Boise
On the mainline to the sea

’cross the flats at Salt Lake City
On to Vegas and L.A.
We’re the Union Pacific
And we’ve got the right of way

From the green fields of the prairies
To the blue Pacific shores
We deliver your great cargo
And come rollin’ home for more

On the backbone of our nation
You can see us make the climb
We’re the Union Pacific
And we’re gonna be on time

From the green fields of the prairies
To the blue Pacific shores
We deliver your great cargo
And come rollin’ home for more

On the backbone of our nation
You can see us make the climb
We’re the Union Pacific
And we’re gonna be on time

In December 2006, the Omaha Ad Club placed “Great Big Rollin’ Railroad” as number 5 on its list of the 100 greatest moments in Omaha advertising. Sixth position was awarded to some bread commercials.

Old Home Café


The Old Home Café advertises itself as being “on the corner of US 30 and Iowa 30”, a location which can’t be disputed. But for the record, the Café isn’t located “on the mighty Lincoln Highway”. While US 30 — which follows, for most of its length, the original route of the Lincoln Highway — passes in front of the Café, the Lincoln Highway actually runs south of the Café, through the middle of Hayden. Effectively, the Lincoln Highway bypasses the Old Home Café.

That’s because, when the Lincoln Highway was originally laid out, it used existing roads; new roads would not be built until the route of US 30 was determined. The existing roads usually ran along “section lines”, which were roads located between large tracts of land. The Lincoln Highway in Hayden is known as “Lincoln Highway”, and it lies about one-quarter mile south of the intersection of US 30 and Iowa 30. Iowa 30 is also known as Main Street; it lies to the west of the Café.

From the east, as you approach Hayden, you’ll see a sign for County Highway 9 and a red, white and blue sign that says “Lincoln Highway”. Turn south, travel about one-half mile, and you’ll find another sign telling you to turn right. Do that, and you’ll be driving through beautiful downtown Hayden in a couple of minutes.

After passing through Hayden, and about one-half mile west of the town limit, there’s another Lincoln Highway sign with a right-pointing arrow. Turn north, and in less than an eighth of a mile you’ll be back at US 30.

The Legend-News is published monthly by TechRen Enterprises, hold the mayo. Copyright 2012 TechRen Enterprises. Send subscription requests, unsubscribe demands, complaints, kudos, suggestions, news and other contributions to Almost everything in The Legend-News has been written by Ed. Floden, except for the stuff that he blames on someone else. “I would have my secretary do it, but she’s dead.”