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One of my favorite things September 30, 2007

Posted by Ron Warnick in Motels, Signs.
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Here is one of the most cherished sights of many Route 66 travelers — the neon of the Blue Swallow Motel sign in Tucumcari, N.M.

The sign was recently repaired after being damaged by a severe hailstorm this spring. As you can see, save for a slightly balky transformer in the “Motel” letters, it’s looking pretty great.

Do you know the road? September 29, 2007

Posted by Ron Warnick in Events, History.
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To coincide with the International Route 66 Mother Road Festival this weekend, the Springfield (Ill.) Journal Register published a quiz to test your knowledge of America’s most famous highway.

I gained Big Daddy status (barely) by getting 12 of the 15 questions right. The Springfield questions might trip up even the most devoted roadies.

A stroll through Seligman September 29, 2007

Posted by Ron Warnick in Attractions, Businesses, Towns.
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Here’s a video of the funky sights of the quintessential Route 66 town of Seligman, Ariz. You’ll see a lot of the Sno-Cap Drive-In, Angel Delgadillo’s barbershop and other businesses along the main drag.

Will there be a “Cars” sequel? September 28, 2007

Posted by Ron Warnick in Movies.
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I and some other bloggers have noticed a plethora of rumors that Disney/Pixar will make a sequel to its 2006 summer hit, “Cars.”

So I thought I’d e-mail Michael Wallis, who supplied the voice at the Sheriff of Radiator Springs in the animated film, and ask whether he’s heard anything about a “Cars 2.” He ran into some folks from Pixar during a tour for his Lincoln Highway book and asked that very question.

Here’s Wallis’ take:

No news has reached me regarding a CARS sequel. In August some of the Pixar team attended my very last Lincoln Highway signing event in San Francisco. Afterwards at dinner, I raised the sequel question, and all I heard was “wouldn’t it be nice,” and “maybe someday,” etc.

If there’s a sequel, believe me, the Sheriff will know. I’ll keep you posted.

So it sounds like Pixar is giving an answer similar to Al Gore’s when people ask whether he’ll run for president again:

Not very likely, but not completely discounting it, either.

He’s a Pinto man September 28, 2007

Posted by Ron Warnick in Events, Vehicles.
2 comments

The Springfield (Ill.) Journal-Register, previewing the International Route 66 Mother Road Festival this weekend, published a great story about car exhibitor Tony Peterson of nearby Staunton, who collects Ford Pintos.

Yes, Pintos. That car that safety advocates said was a fire trap. A model that contains as much infamy as the Edsel.

Peterson has nine Pintos. Peterson says with a straight face: “They’re probably one of the best-looking cars ever made. They’re a lot more stylish than a Mustang ever was.”

Then there’s this gem:

Peterson, however, disputes an assertion in Mother Jones magazine that as many as 900 people died because of faulty fuel tanks. The federal government, he said, documented only 27 cases of people burning to death in Pintos.

Well, that’s a relief. ;)

You can also read about Peterson driving a mint Pinto across the country only at night, because it tended to overheat.

It’s quite a story. Check it out.

“Route 66″ — a mini preview September 28, 2007

Posted by Ron Warnick in Television.
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I don’t yet have the first DVD box set of the first half-season of the “Route 66″ television show. It’s not going to be released until late October, and review copies haven’t yet been mailed.

However, the folks at Roxbury Entertainment sent a promotional DVD of one episode from 1960 — “The Swan Bed,” shot on location in New Orleans. Tod and Buz’s adventure with an ill-tempered woman, a nervous young girl, sinister smugglers and an epidemic was the third episode of the series.

I watched “The Swan Bed” on my laptop. Even while viewing it with a small screen and dinky speakers, it was apparent that Roxbury Entertainment transferred the original film footage to DVD. The picture was so sharp, you could see co-star Martin Milner’s freckles in several scenes. The sound was clear and didn’t have the muddiness of other TV shows from that era. If nothing else, putting these “Route 66″ episodes on DVD is a form of preservation.

And about halfway through “The Swan Bed,” I started to understand one big part of the show’s appeal. Film director Werner Herzog calls it the “voodoo of location,” and “Route 66″ had it in spades. I recognized several real-life places in New Orleans, including the Mississippi River, the riverfront, the city’s above-ground graveyards, a French Quarter neighborhood and a lightly disguised Cafe Du Monde coffee shop. “Route 66″ wasn’t just on a set; it was in the middle of real places and real people. It may have been fiction, but a dose of reality was always there.

I can’t wait to see the full offering of “Route 66’s” first half-season. Pre-orders for the four-DVD set can be taken here.

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