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New public service announcement about Route 66 November 7, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in Attractions, Route 66 Associations, Television.
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This video landed in my email inbox this week. It aims to promote travel on Route 66:

And this message:

This project has been in the planning stages by the Route 66 Chamber of Commerce for over two years, and this is the first of several PSAs that will target the U.S., but will also be made available to overseas Route 66 Associations without narration, so narration in their language may be added. […]

This was truly a ‘grassroots’ effort that included Route 66 Roadies with Joe Loesch doing the voice-over and Jim Hinckley assisting with the script. Locals also provided the Model A Ford truck and the special edition Mustang convertible. Former Carthage Mayor Jim Woestman provided the authentic Missouri U.S. 66 metal sign and Red Oak II near Carthage was the background for most of the video, while other scenes were shot on old 66 in Kellogg Lake Park and on a segment just East of Carterville, MO. The 30-second ad is heavy on Americana, Friendly Folks and Nostalgia, and clearly shows that even today, visitors on the Mother Road are still “Getting their Kicks on Route 66″!

Ron Hart, Director of the Route 66 Chamber of Commerce, was the producer, cameraman and editor of the high-definition commercial which will be made available to state Route 66 associations to have aired on local and regional broadcast TV and cable systems, while additional copies will be sent to national networks. According to Mr. Hart, “I am not aware of any PSAs ever being aired specifically to promote travel on the Mother Road, and the Chamber will track hits to its website and note increased traffic once the commercial begins airing. I believe it’s time to utilize every form of media to promote Route 66, including social media, billboards, television, travel publication ads and newspaper submissions. I encourage every Roadie to share the YouTube link with their friends and also with their local TV stations, and I will be happy to mail them the broadcast-quality ads, or they may download the ad from our ‘dropbox.'”

(Screenshot from the Visit66.com PSA)

Los Angeles station gives major time to Route 66 November 5, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in Attractions, Motels, Restaurants, Road trips, Television, Towns.
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KABC, the major affiliate of ABC in Los Angeles, in recent days gave a lot of time examining Route 66 in the region in its “Eye on L.A.” show.

Here is the San Bernardino to San Gabriel Valley segment:

Monrovia to South Pasadena:

The Arroyo Seco to downtown segment:

West Hollywood to the end of the trail:

You can read the online versions of the stories here.

It’s my understanding that Kumar Patel at the Wigwam Motel in San Bernardino lobbied the station for months to do a story about Route 66 in the Los Angeles area. Apparently someone listened.

London combines charity road trip with TV production September 19, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in Road trips, Television, Vehicles.
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Here’s something you don’t see every day — a British television company aims to raise more than $400,000 for a cancer support group and gain a television series at the same time by using a journey on Route 66 in an electric car as the backdrop.

It’s called “Route 66 — The Ultimate Challenge,” and it’s scheduled to begin from the Santa Monica Pier on Sunday.

From the news release:

Jamie Branson, Chairman of View TV Group, is joining forces with his colleagues at Only Motors – a production company within the Group – to drive from LA to New York via the famous Route 66. The idea is to make 12 TV programmes in just 12 days.

The event, which was dreamt up by Branson, kicks off with a flight from London on 21st September 2014. Once in the States, the crew will steer across the star spangled continent, stopping off to make various TV features every day. […]

“We’ll be covering 4,000 miles of tarmac in not just any car – it’ll be an electrically powered motor. But the real test is completing more than 100 scenes of film shoots while we’re out on the road and at our pit-stops.”

The itinerary — with stops at landmarks — is here.

Teen with rare aging disease is touring Route 66 September 18, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in People, Road trips, Television.
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Sammy Basso, an 18-year-old Italian boy afflicted with progeria, a rare genetic disease that ages him prematurely, is traveling Route 66, and a subsidiary with the National Geographic Channel is documenting the journey, according to the Bloomington Pantagraph.

The folks in Pontiac, Illinois, in typical fashion, rolled out the red carpet for him:

Basso, his family, best friend and film crew arrived in Pontiac Monday evening and had dinner with Mayor Bob Russell, said Pontiac Tourism Director Ellie Alexander. The mayor allowed Basso, who understands and speaks English, to gavel that night’s City Council meeting to order.

After the meeting, Basso, his crew and city officials went to Chautauqua Park where Russell presented Basso with a key to the city and proclaimed Monday as Sammy Basso Day. After Basso received other gifts, the Vermilion Players presented their Route 66 musical review.

“Sammy said ‘Pontiac is such a beautiful country,'” Alexander said.

According to the African-American Holy Angels Catholic Church in Chicago that hosted Basso a few days ago, the Standbyme.tv documentary will air on Christmas Day in Italy, then later in English in the United States. Basso also is scheduled to meet Amish people in Illinois, an authentic Native American chief and members of various other American cultures during his journey.

Progeria typically causes death through heart attack or stroke from hardening of the arteries. It’s uncertain how much time Basso has left, but progeria patients often die by their early 20s.

UPDATE 9/18/2014: Basso was in St. Louis to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at a Cardinals baseball game. According to KTVI-TV’s report, his Route 66 journey will end at Santa Monica on Sept. 30, when he will receive “a special surprise.”

(Image of Sammy Basso and his mother Laura by Tatiana Zaghet via Flickr)

“Route 66″ performed on Indonesia TV September 14, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in Music, Television.
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Bobby Troup’s estate got another dose of cha-ching Friday. On a show called “Rising Star Indonesia,” contestant Reyna Qotrunnada performed his best-known song.

Yes, her English during the song is a clumsy, but do remember it’s not her mother tongue.

But it seemed a lot of people in the audience recognized it. It’s amazing how “(Get Your Kicks on) Route 66″ has rocketed all over the world.

And lest you scoff at Indonesia, it is a nation of 250 million people. That’s a lot of potential Route 66 fans.

Questions for Clint Eastwood and his Tucumcari time August 23, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in History, Television, Towns.
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David Stevens, editor of the Clovis News Journal and Portales News-Tribune in New Mexico, in a column said he had a few questions for potential interview subjects about long-ago local issues. Stevens’ wish list had some urgency because all the people “are getting old,” he said.

One of those interview subjects would be actor Clint Eastwood, who spent time in the Route 66 town of Tucumcari, New Mexico,  to film the television show “Rawhide.”

  • I want to know about Tucumcari in 1959 when he lived there six weeks filming “Rawhide.”
  • I want to have lunch with him at Del’s and ask if the food was better then or now.
  • I want to know what he thought about Route 66 in those days, if he even had a thought about that historic highway we’d all like to revisit, complete with its neon lights and hotel rooms with garages attached.
  • I’d like to know if he remembers hearing about the 13-year-old Quay County boy walking into his parents’ bedroom that summer and shooting them with a deer rifle. Gordon Ellis’ father died a few days later.
  • And I want to know how actress Kipp Hamilton ended up hospitalized for two days after accidentally stabbing herself in the foot with a knife while filming.

According to a 2010 story in Route 66 News, Tucumcari was used as a base for five episodes of the TV western. According to an excerpt from a Quay County Sun article at the time:

Actors and technicians arrived in Tucumcari on Aug. 10, 1959, for six weeks of work, the Tucumcari Daily News reported.

The show’s stars included Eastwood, Eric Fleming and Sheb Wooley. Guest stars also popped in and out of town for brief appearances.

The paper reported scenes were filmed at three Quay County ranches. The cast and crew, about 65 in all, were seen regularly around town and became regular patrons at Del’s Restaurant.

Eastwood is 84 years old and has gained considerable acclaim — and Academy Awards — as a director in recent decades. His mother lived to 97, so perhaps her son isn’t at death’s door (in fact, he directed another film this spring). But Stevens’ point is made — the urgency for having these questions answered is clear.

Perhaps Eastwood or one of his assistants will read this and be happy to oblige at least two curious journalists.

(An image from “Rawhide” by Peter Renshaw via Flickr)

“Route 66″ casting director will receive posthumous Emmy August 10, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in Movies, Television.
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Marion Dougherty, who assembled casts for the acclaimed “Route 66″ and other television shows and movies, will receive a posthumous 2014 Governors Award at the Aug. 24 Emmy Awards, reported The Wrap and other media outlets.

The news site said:

Dougherty’s pioneering work in the casting industry made her the subject of the 2012 Emmy-nominated documentary “Casting By,” which premiered on HBO. She began serving as a casting director in 1949 with the NBC series “Kraft Television Theatre” and worked on shows that included “Naked City,” “Route 66” and “All in the Family.”

Dougherty, who was among the early champions for such actors as Robert Duvall, Warren Beatty and Jack Lemmon, died in 2011 at the age of 88.

Here’s the trailer for “Casting By”:

She also cast actors for more than 100 films, including “Midnight Cowboy,” “The Sting,” “Pretty Baby,” “The World According to Garp,” “Batman,” “The Killing Fields,” “Gorillas in the Mist” and “Full Metal Jacket.”

Dougherty got her start in casting for live television in New York City. That experience became valuable when Hollywood came calling, reported the New York Times.

Drawing on her experience in New York, Ms. Dougherty had a strong hand in reshaping the way Hollywood casts films as it moved away from the old studio system and its “cattle calls” in the 1960s. When she arrived in Hollywood she brought her index-card file filled with the names of promising actors she had spotted Off Broadway, in regional theaters and in summer stock. […]

After spotting a glimmer of stardom, she could be insistent. Juliet Taylor, a protégée of Ms. Dougherty’s perhaps best known as the casting director for more than 30 Woody Allen movies, recalled how her mentor had once struggled with the director John Schlesinger. Mr. Schlesinger wanted someone other than Jon Voight to play the Texan would-be hustler on the streets of New York in “Midnight Cowboy.”

“She adamantly disagreed,” Ms. Taylor said, “and kept badgering Schlesinger and bringing Voight back again and again until Schlesinger agreed that Voight was the better choice.”

For “Route 66,” Dougherty cast what turned out to be a veritable who’s who in Hollywood during the 1970s and ’80s: James Caan, Robert Duvall, George Kennedy, Ben Johnson, E.G. Marshall, Walter Matthau, Ed Asner, Lee Marvin, Tina Louise, Darren McGavin, Jack Lord, Kent McCord, Suzanne Pleshette, Anne Francis, Tuesday Weld, Susan Oliver, Robert Redford, Leslie Nielsen, Martin Sheen, Rod Steiger, Barbara Eden, Julie Newmar, William Shatner, Gene Hackman and Burt Reynolds.

“Route 66″ ran only four seasons and rarely filmed on the Mother Road, despite its title. However, the cultural and tourism impact of the show endures even a half-century later. Go here to read my 2007 interview with “Route 66″ co-star George Maharis.

(Image of an Emmy Award by NASA HQ Photo via Flickr)

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