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More about that Diet Mountain Dew commercial April 16, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in Music, Television.
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Longtime readers of this site probably have seen a muddy-looking but still-invigorating Diet Mountain Dew commercial featuring an altered version of Bobby Troup’s “Route 66″ by John Lydon, aka Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols.

A high-quality version of the ad recently was uploaded by the AICP Show, which honors art and technique for those working the advertising world. Because the footage here is so much better, it becomes apparent Route 66 shield pops up everywhere and is a lot more noticeable.

1997_MountainDew_Route66.mov from AICP SHOW on Vimeo.

According to AICP’s archives, the Diet Mountain Dew commercial was made in 1997 by HKM Productions for the BBDO New York agency. The director was Michael Karbelnikoff, who still is doing commercials and the occasional feature film, including “Mobsters.” The AICP Show honored the ad that year for production design.

According to the archives, there was a 60-second version of the ad that I still haven’t seen. And, according to my Shazam app, Lydon’s recording of “Route 66″ is not available commercially.

“Route 66″ available on Hulu today April 14, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in Road trips, Television.
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The first season of the critically acclaimed 1960s drama “Route 66″ and part of the second season are free to watch today to the Hulu online platform.

Shout! Factory, which acquired the rights to the series in late 2011, pledged to make the television show available for streaming online, in addition to releasing all four seasons in a DVD box set.

Hulu created a landing page for “Route 66.” Those with a Hulu Plus account can watch the first 58 episodes on televisions, smartphones and other devices. However, those without an account can watch those episodes on a PC for free, with commercial interruptions.

If you’re new to the series and aren’t sure where to start, the first very episode, “Black November,” remains among the most-praised among aficionados.

The Emmy-nominated “Route 66” co-starred Martin Milner and George Maharis as chums traveling in a Corvette convertible from town to town, looking for adventure. Although the “Route 66″ program seldom was ever shot on the Mother Road, it remains a major reason the real U.S. Highway 66 became such a major part of pop culture.

I interviewed Maharis in 2007 about the “Route 66″ series. Maharis now is about 85 years old. Co-star Martin Milner has been in poor health for years and was unavailable for an interview.

UPDATE: Tom Chen at Shout! Factory said some, but not all, of the episodes from “Route 66′s” second season have been uploaded to Hulu. The rest of season two will be uploaded later. But for now, Shout! Factory is promoting the availability of “Route 66′s” entire first season. The story has been updated and clarified to reflect that.

(Hat tip: Home Media Magazine)

Fundraiser launched for proposed Route 66 television series April 12, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in Road trips, Television.
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Steve Brown, host of PBS-TV’s “The Real Desert, with Steve Brown” and longtime Route 66 enthusiast Jim Conkle in recent days launched an IndieGoGo fundraising campaign for a 13-part documentary about Route 66 for the network.

Here’s the video for the campaign:

Brown and Conkle hope to raise $66,000 by June 6. The price tag sounds steep, but Brown explained why:

We need to produce it to broadcast standards in HD or better quality, with closed captioning (that alone will run $8,000) in order to meet national PBS requirements. On our recent shoot of an episode of The Real Desert, with Steve Brown, the insurance alone ran $655 – for the weekend, and that’s just for general liability.

It costs a lot to take a small crew out for two weeks or more on the road, and post production and editing, and then there’s distribution and promotion. But the end result is regional distribution with a strong likelihood of national distribution on PBS, as well as international distribution through a host of other channels, with additional content available online and on mobile platforms.

This funding, while it will not cover all of the expenses, covers the bare bones basics on the road, and allows us to recruit sponsors over the next six months to fully cover production costs. Neither Jim nor I will get paid from this support. We do hope to eventually get paid through production and distribution of the show, as well as a little from the tour accompanying it.

If we do not reach our full goal, the funding still provides us with the resources necessary to get the project underway, recruit sponsors both from the eight states along the route, as well as other corporations, foundations, and organizations.

The campaign launched Wednesday. As of noon Friday, it had raised about $430.

I’m skeptical whether Route 66 needs 13 episodes. That’s a lot of time commitment for television viewers. “Billy Connolly’s Route 66″ was fewer than four hours long, for example, and I thought that was about the upper limit for that sort of project.

And in the YouTube age, short and tightly edited videos can reach millions of viewers — even more, if it goes viral — for not a lot of money.

Brown’s original plan was six episodes. If the campaign doesn’t reach its goal, many he can go back to that for a leaner look at the Mother Road.

Then again, I could be proven wrong. It’s happened before.

Southwest Missouri station puts Route 66 segments online March 18, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in Businesses, Gas stations, History, Motels, People, Television, Vehicles.
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Years ago, KY3-TV reporter Ed Fillmer, a native of the Route 66 town of Marshfield, Mo., shot segments about Route 66 in Missouri.

Yesterday, the Springfield, Mo., station put those segments online. The video cannot be embedded, but I’ve provided direct links and descriptions of them.

Some of these videos date to the 1970s. I recommend you watch them; they’re not only well-done, but you’ll probably see a slice of history you haven’t seen before.

An interview with Glenn “Wrink” Wrinkle, longtime owner of Wrink’s Market in Lebanon, Mo. The market was celebrating its 50th anniversary during the segment in 2000. Wrinkle died a few years later, and the market is closed despite fitful attempts to keep it operating.

An interview with Thelma White, longtime co-operator of Whitehall Mercantile in Halltown, Mo. She co-founded the Route 66 Association of Missouri. White died in 2010.

A history of Route 66 State Park and the evacuated town of Times Beach, Mo. The Steiny’s Inn converted into a visitors center for the park is still there, but the bridge closed some years later, making it more difficult to use the rest of the park. The segment was shot in 1999.

A look at McDowell’s Garage in Strafford, Mo., which opened in 1924 and was still operating when the segment was shot. This looks like one of the 1970s segments.

A look at closed gas stations in the Missouri Ozarks, including one owner in Phillipsburg who had s a still-operating gravity-fed pump.

A look at old travel courts in the Ozarks, including the Abbylee Court and the still-operating Rest Haven Court.

A look at the “Route 66″ television show and Corvettes.

UPDATE 3/18/2014: The station added another segment — a 1990 interview with Harold and Pauline Armstrong, longtime owners of the Wagon Wheel Motel in Cuba, Mo. The Armstrongs died a few years ago, but Connie Echols bought the property and restored and improved it.

(A screen capture of Glenn Wrinkle from the Wrink’s Market segment.)

A word from our sponsor March 16, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in Television, Vehicles.
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Here’s a 1961 television spot — nearly two minutes long — for Chevrolet.

Have you seen the USA — or Route 66 — in your Chevrolet?

And the folks who made that ad somehow wondered years later where psychedelia came from.

UPDATE: Apparently the link I had was taken down. However, I found a duplicate version.

A report on Route 66 in mid-Missouri February 25, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in Motels, Television.
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The Ozarks News Journal produced this short video that looks at the past and future of Route 66 in mid-Missouri, particularly the Lebanon area.

Ramona Lehman, co-owner of the Munger Moss Motel in Lebanon, plays a significant role in the clip.

Route 66 PKG Vimeo 720p from Ozarks News Journal on Vimeo.

(Image of the Bob and Ramona Lehman at their Munger Moss Motel by the Missouri Department of Tourism via Flickr)

Route 66 roadies’ memories of Jay Leno February 7, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in Books, People, Television, Vehicles.
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In case you missed it, Jay Leno logged his last night Thursday as host of NBC’s “The Tonight Show” after 22 years in the chair.

You can watch the entire episode online, but here’s his emotional and graceful goodbye:

Even though Leno is known as a car nut, not many roadies can claim they had dinner with him and hung out in his humongous garage. But Sal Santoro and his buddy Bob Walton got to after the publication of their “Route 66: The People, The Places, The Dream” in 2012.

The Bradenton Herald interviewed Santoro, who lives in nearby Manatee, Fla., about the experience:

Leno spent the better part of a Saturday with them, interviewing them about the book for an eight-minute segment posted on jaylenosgarage.com. They also got to check out Leno’s private collection of more than 100 cars and 80 motorcycles, and he treated them to a pizza lunch. That’s when Santoro broke Leno’s pepper mill after furiously trying to grind some black pepper onto a slice.

“It’s electric — there’s a button at the top,” Leno pointed out after an embarrassed Santoro was left holding the broken mill in two pieces.

Santoro gave Leno a replacement a few days later when they were invited back into the green room following a taping of “The Tonight Show.”

“He was wonderful to us,” Santoro said. “A real regular guy. A true car guy.”

Here’s the Jay’s Garage interview:

Leno also met author Jim Hinckley when he was promoting his “The Big Book of Car Culture” in 2011.

Laurel Kane, co-owner of Afton Station in Afton, Okla., said Leno called her on the phone in 2013, inquiring about the station’s collection of Packards. He promised to visit the next time he was in Tulsa.

Now that Leno has all this time on his hands, maybe he’ll take a road trip.

UPDATE: Per Michael Wallis, I forgot one. Kansas Route 66er Dean Walker appeared on Leno’s show in 2007. Alas, there doesn’t seem to be any footage available of this leg-turning event.

(Image of a ticket to “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” by Sherry Ezuthachan via Flickr)

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