On numerous occasions my feature stories about the infancy of the American auto industry have contained snippets about the brand names of flesh and blood – Louis Chevrolet, Henry Ford, Horace Dodge, Ransom Olds, Walter Chrysler, etc. Most recently I penned an article that focused on this particular subject for Legends of America. I have long been fascinated by the dubious form of immortality attained by these men, and the stories about them that are obscured by the sheer size of the brand name.
The Chevrolet name, and the long and colorful history associated with vehicles wearing that badge, are an excellent example. Resultant of the car, and the international recognition of the brand, Louis Chevrolet, the Swiss born mechanic who was instrumental in establishing Fiat in America, was a champion race car driver, and who was a mechanical whiz kid with a lengthy list of innovations to his name, has been overshadowed.
By no means am I in the league of these immortals. Nor do I foresee any imminent danger that the brand will obscure the man. Still, what began as a joking comment now seems to be taking on a life of its own.
Jim Hinckley’s America started as a video project in the fertile imagination of award winning producer Norm Fisk of Diamond Valley Productions. While that project was temporarily shelved resultant of approval for a couple of major videos Norm had in development, Jim Hinckley’s America took off.
The logo (at the top of the blog) and the name on are on the trademark trail. The automotive features being written for Legends of America morphed into a limited partnership that includes the sale of our prints, with international shipping.
Shortly before this the idea was floated that, perhaps, there would be interest in tours of the Kingman area and Route 66 in western Arizona. So, Jim Hinckley’s America, the tours kicked off to test that market for viability.
An interview on a morning radio program in Alamogordo, New Mexico, led to the test marketing of a weekly radio program, Jim Hinckley’s America, that is available the following day on podcast (this mornings episode features Melba in Galena). Now we are discussing an attempt at syndication.
Yesterday I received a call from the producer at a cable network that included a request to discuss the possibility of test marketing a television program. As with the radio endeavor, no money has yet to change hands but what amazing opportunities for promoting the people and places along the back roads of America, and Route 66, that make road trips so delightful.
During the same period conversations with Gary at Baby Boomer Radio turned toward his latest endeavor, Route 66 Radio. Long story short, a series of five and ten minute programs profiling the history of places and communities on Route 66 is now under development. Would you care to guess what the title is?
Meanwhile, somehow, I found myself fielding requests for lectures on (insert drum roll) Jim Hinckley’s America and interviews. In September, in conjunction with a traveling Smithsonian Institute exhibit, I will be addressing a group in Kingman about the role the community has played in the development of Route 66. Of course this will include a few surprises such as the role Tom Devine, Andy’s father, had in the rerouting of the National Old Trails Highway in northern Arizona.
Yesterday I prerecorded an interview that will air on KTOK in Oklahoma City on July 5. Now the publicist is looking into a live interview when I drive to Joplin.
Then in October and November, I have been asked to speak before the Westerners, first in Flagstaff and then at a meeting in Prescott. The topics will be, in Flagstaff, the history of Mohave County in the first decades of the 20th century, and in Prescott, the good roads movement in Arizona.
In my spare time, when I am not working the job that pays the lions share of the bills, I write books, take pictures with my dearest friend, and visit with friends that seem like family on Route 66.
And speaking of books, the Route 66 historic atlas is moving forward but I can feel the deadline breathing on my neck. Meanwhile a fun little work entitled Route 66 Treasures with fifteen pieces of removable facsimile collectible memorabilia is due for release in October.
The Route 66 travel guide as a ways to go as the editorial process is only in the early stages. Likewise with the selection of material for illustrations.
To round out what is shaping up to be one crazy summer, I have been selected to represent Kingman at the International Route 66 Festival in Joplin, Missouri. These events always quicken the spirit as they afford an opportunity visit with good friends but this year will be very special.
I cannot provide details until after the festival. Still, if your a fan of the double six, or are curious about the roads magic and mystique, mark you calendar for the weekend of August 14, 2014 and make travel plans to be in Kingman on that weekend.
However, the day before I leave for Joplin on the 30th, I will be speaking about Route 66, and signing a few books, for Dale Butel’s next tour group from Australia. And the Sunday after I return, we will be having lunch with Wolfgang Wertz’s German Route 66 tour in Chloride.
Route 66 and the pursuit of a childhood dream to become a writer, what an incredible, crazy, fun filled, exhausting, exhilarating, hysterics inducing, time consuming, friend filled, odyssey!