Archive for the cars Category

The Cavalcade and Nerd Lunch assault the Tallahassee Auto Museum Part II

Posted in blogging, cars, nostalgia, pop culture, random with tags , , on July 20, 2011 by Paxton

A few weeks ago, I visited Carlin Trammel (of Nerd Lunch) in Tallahassee for an historic meeting of bloggy awesomeness.  Together we witnessed the random awesomeness that is the Tallahasse Auto Museum, inhaled Double Downs at a local KFC and talked about all things nerdy (Star Trek, Star Wars, super hero movies, blogging, etc).  Yes, a nerd connection was made.

Anyway, on Monday I discussed all the awesome cars Carlin and I peeped in the museum. On Tuesday, Carlin posted his recollections of our trip to the museum. I’m continuing the week long look at my sojourn over to the ‘hassee by revealing to you all the other randomly epic crap that was crammed into the “auto” museum that had nothing whatsoever to do with cars.  You will be amazed.

Let’s start with…

Fisher Price Grand Piano
Pianos. Yes, this place had a collection of about 10 pianos. This particular one looks like a Fisher Price toy made for a giant baby. I swear my 10 month old son has a piano very similar to this (only “normal” baby size).

awesome gold piano
Here Carlin is checking out the re-DONK-ulous gold piano that would be the perfect centerpiece to any room. And it is flanked by two tasteful life size gold lions. In my mind this is the piano that God is playing when you enter the Gates of Heaven.  And he’s playing the theme to the movie Chariots of Fire.  Or The Sting.

From pianos we move to…

Mego Wizard of Oz
Dolls.  This place also had an entire section of collectible dolls.  Amongst the Barbies and Skippers there were a few choice, geeky items.  Here is a nearly full set of Mego’s 1976 Wizard of Oz figures. They are only missing a few Munchkins figures and the Witches Castle and Munchkinland playsets.  I am in love with this set.  It was this set that put Mego on the map and allowed them to get the Marvel and DC licenses to create their World’s Greatest Super Heroes line.

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The Cavalcade and Nerd Lunch assault the Tallahassee Auto Museum Part I

Posted in Batman, blogging, cars, movies, pop culture with tags , , , on July 18, 2011 by Paxton

I have met so many awesome bloggers in the nearly 5 years since I started the Cavalcade.  Every one of them has influenced this site in some way.  In the last few years, I’ve even been able to team up with some of the bloggers I admire most in some fun team ups. Last July I hooked up with Shawn Robare of Branded in the 80s to talk about Unofficial Movie Trilogies.  Last summer I was asked by Rondal Scott to contribute content for his blog Strange Kid’s Club.  And the awesome blog crossovers just keep coming.  Earlier this year, Carlin Trammel from Nerd Lunch asked if I wanted to meet up somewhere and do a blog crossover.  After several months of working out schedules it finally happened and the Holley household traveled to Tallahassee for a “meet-and-geek” between Nerd Lunch and the Cavalcade of Awesome.

The question was…what do we do?  We decided to check out an “auto museum” off I-10.  I put “auto-museum” in quotes because…well, you’ll see.  I had seen this particular “auto museum” in my travels to Destin, FL to visit my brother-in-law.  They heavily advertise the fact that they have a Batmobile from the movie Batman Forever.  So, this seemed like an appropriate place for two pop culture nerds to join forces.

As soon as I drove in the front gates to the museum, I knew this place was going to be special.  Just inside the gate, to the right, was a nearly life size model of the Batmobile…and a buffalo.  A GIANT, decidedly NOT life size buffalo.  And I discovered that if you take a picture from a certain angle, it actually looks like the buffalo is driving the Batmobile.

Buffalo driving the Batmobile

I know, right?  LEGENDARY.  So I know this place is going to rock even though the outside looks like some random office building.

Tallahassee Auto Museum

That ordinary exterior did well to mask the awesome-ness that was hidden within. Shall we go inside?  Yes.  We shall.

First of all, here are the intrepid explorers, me (left) and CT (right).  We were unprepared for what lay ahead.
Me and CT

And what are we standing in front of? Why gentlemen and gentleladies, that is the Elvismobile.

Elvismobile 1
Check it out in all of its pink glory. Now, understand, Elvis never actually drove this vehicle, the car is just a subtle and classy homage to the King of Rock n Roll. The entire body is lined with rope lights. There is a giant hooka pipe with a skull on top sitting in the middle of the driver’s console.  The door handles have been replaced with pistols.  There’s a trailer caddy hitched to the back with SIX generators used to power a video projector that can show movies on the side of a building.  Like I said.  Subtle and classy.

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The Real-Life Legend of the Cannonball Run

Posted in Cannonball Run, cars, movies, pop culture, TV shows with tags , , on March 13, 2007 by Paxton

Cannonball RunIf you’ve been watching American Idol the last few weeks you’ve no doubt noticed the numerous promos for a show called Drive. It’s an action series about a secret, illegal road race and the people that participate in it (some of them, possibly, under duress). The show starts on April 15 and is produced and written by Tim Minear (one of the main contributers to the tv shows Angel and Firefly). The promos are vague, but in my mind, it looks like a cross between Cannonball Run and Death Race 2000. These promos got me thinking about the Cannonball Run movies and how much I enjoyed them. It also got me thinking about how I heard those movies were based on a real race. Well, I did a little research, and this article is the result. So if you are at all curious about the origins of the movie Cannonball Run, then read on, dear sir, for the ride starts here.

The legend begins with Erwin George Baker. Baker was born in Indiana in 1882. Throughout the 1930s, he became an extremely popular motorcycle and automobile race driver. Cannonball BakerAmong the many accomplishments in his prestigious career; he won the first ever race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1909, placed 11th in the 1922 Indianapolis 500 and became the first commissioner of NASCAR. However, he gained his greatest notoriety in 1915 after a New York to Los Angeles drive which took 11 days and 7 hours. It was this intercontinental drive that earned him the nickname “Cannonball” after the famous Illinois Central railway car, “The Cannonball”. In 1933 he would make the cross country trek again, but this time, he’d do it in only 53 hours and 30 minutes, a record that would stand for almost 40 years. “Cannonball” Baker would pass away in 1960 as one of the most revered and popular automobile and motorcycle drivers of all time. He was inducted into the Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 1998.

Brock YatesFast forward to 1968. Brock Yates is an executive editor for Car & Driver magazine. He writes a scathing article called “The Grosse Pointe Myopians”, which critiques the auto industry, its management and its products which makes him infamous within the auto industry. Then, in 1971, Yates, along with fellow Car & Driver editor Steve Smith, decides to create an unofficial, and illegal, intercontinental road race. Inspired by the travel records of Erwin “Cannonball” Baker, the race begins in New York and ends in Redondo Beach, CA. Officially dubbed the Cannonball Baker Sea-To-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash, the race would serve as a celebration of the US national highway system and also a protest of the soon-to-be passed 55mph speed limit. Yates wanted to prove that careful drivers can safely navigate this country’s interstate system at high speeds in much the same way the Germans do with the Autobahn. Yates also believed that if Erwin Baker could complete the journey in a record time of 53 hours and 30 minutes over unfinished roads and horrible conditions, then a modern driver should have no problem doing it over the uninterrupted expanse of the national interstate system.

The first run of the Cannonball was made by Yates, his son and Steve Smith in May 1971. Since it was not widely publicized, no one else showed up. After that initial run, the Cannonball was held four more times throughout the ’70s. The race really gained some notoriety during the 1972 run, but after the 1975 run, Time Magazine published a series of articles describing the races thereby thrusting the event into the public consciousness. Although no accidents or serious injuries had been sustained in the five runs, Yates thought it was only a matter of time before the law of averages caught up to them as the number of participants grew with each race. Yates and Car & Driver decided to quietly discontinue the race in 1979. The record time amongst all five runs of the race was 32 hours and 51 minutes set by Dave Heinz and Dave Yarborough in the final Cannonball in 1979.

CannonballAfter the dismantling of the race, Yates wrote about his experiences in a movie screenplay. Before he could get the film made, he was beat to the movie theaters by two movies; Cannonball! and The Gumball Rally. He would rework his screenplay into more of a slapstick comedy picture and have it made as the original Cannonball Run. Did you know that Steve McQueen was originally the favorite for the lead role that eventually went to Burt Reynolds? McQueen died right before filming, and Reynolds said yes because he was in need of a hit after several misfires. The original Cannonball Run movie did so well it had two sequels; Cannonball Run II and Speed Zone! Needless to say, Speed Zone! did not fair as well with critics…or audiences.

In 1984, Car & Driver would decide to re-instate the Cannonball Run, but they renamed it One Lap of America. This time, though, they instituted a speed limit rule which penalized drivers for arriving at the finish line too soon. This was done to avoid any accidents or problems with the law.

Since the original Cannonball was discontinued, many movies and tv shows have celebrated the idea of an underground auto race. In 1975, Death Race 2000 created a darker, comedic version of the race where points were awarded for killing people with your car. In 2001, Rat Race would continue the road race tradition with a star-studded ensemble cast. Also in 2001, Yates would officially allow the Cannonball Run moniker to be used for a reality show called, what else, butWacky Races “Cannonball Run 2001”. It would be the precursor to the currently popular Amazing Race. Suprisingly, there are many movies BEFORE Cannonball Run that included a cross country vehicle race. It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World in 1963 would gather many tv/movie stars of the day and send them on a cross country search for treasure. Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines in 1965 would also include a star-filled cast but pit them in a wacky, international airplane race. In 1968 there was even a cartoon called Wacky Races that pitted many popular cartoon characters of the time in a large multi-vehicle, international race. It seems using the plot device of zany vehicle races has usually provided lots of fun filled plots for movies and tv shows.

This, of course, leads us to the show I mentioned in the beginning of this article, Drive. Check out an extended promo for the show here. It looks to be a more serious take on the Cannonball Run premise, whereas the participants are, for the most part, blackmailed into participating, oh, and they don’t know where the finish line is. It looks very intriguing and it has many actors I really like, so I can’t wait to catch it on Fox on April 15.

Well, there you have it. The story behind the Cannonball Run. Hope you found it as interesting as I did. I have to go back into training for the rest of the week so please pity me. Please.

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