Valentine’s Day Sweets
Happy Valentine’s Day from Movin’ On!
The Movin’ On art department has been at work, yet again, to bring our fans something sweet.
We love you all! Enjoy this delicious Valentine’s Day confection.
Happy Valentine’s Day from Movin’ On!
The Movin’ On art department has been at work, yet again, to bring our fans something sweet.
We love you all! Enjoy this delicious Valentine’s Day confection.
In answer to a question posed in our Facebook page feature, “Ask Barry Weitz”, Barry laid out what a typical day might be like during production on Movin’ On:
Let’s say the production schedule is such that we have a day shoot…12 hours… relatively easy stuff… a couple of long dialogue scenes with Sonny and Will and then a rather complicated chase scene with our trucks. The director has rehearsed the dialogue with the actors that morning and made some script changes based on what the location suggests and what the other cast members can handle. I’ve watched the rehearsal, made some suggestions, and released the script supervisor to type up the changes and get them to the various cast and crewmembers. Keep in mind that most of the crew has only read the previous version of the script. They are ready to “rock and roll”, but after the changes we need to update the crew and get them on the same page with the director and actors. As it’s an early call, the caterers have put together breakfast for the cast and crew and we go off to the truck for a delicious burrito and coffee, and to get the rest of the cast and crew up-to-speed.
Once final rehearsal and blocking of the morning dialogue scenes are done, shooting begins. When I’m satisfied that all’s going well, I’ll drive to the chase scene location. I’ll meet with the stunt coordinator, drivers, and additional production crew to see if the “chase scene” is ready for the director and cast when the morning’s work is completed and it’s time to move on. As we had a flawless crew, all would naturally be in order and the conversations and decisions of our earlier production meeting would be coming together like clockwork. Satisfied with the progress, I might drive back to the office and perhaps meet some of the local casting options that our 1st. Assistant Director has assembled. I’ll make necessary casting decisions, and then meet with the location people to discuss what the next week’s locations look like and what problems they may be encountering trying to get the right look for the next episode.
Then it’s time for a meeting with the Unit Production Manger for a review on how the costs of the episode are going. Happy with that conversation, and curious to know how shooting is going…. and not having the pleasure of cell phones… I’ll drive back to the location and watch the First Unit do their thing. I’m probably driving while First Unit is taking lunch, so I hope they put aside something for me.
After we wrap the dialogue scenes the whole company: actors, crew, makeup, props, costumes, catering, and craft services – all move on to the chase location, joining the stunt drivers and show trucks.
I love watching the drivers move our monster trucks around like sports cars. I’m fascinated how our gaffers, grips and camera people rig camera mounts and lights on our Kenworths and chase vehicles. And I’m always surprised to see the sound guy hidden in the sleeper in order to record Will’s and Sonny’s off the cuff dialogue that’s always heard so clearly in the final print. The stunt comes off beautifully. I’m thrilled and promise to buy a round of beer when we all return to the hotel later that day.
Back at the office (again), I call the editors in LA to check how the previous days dailies looked, and was there anything additional that we need to film to make a particular scene work. If so, I would get those notes to our director and production crew and schedule a time to have that work done. Finally, the department heads and I will have conversations about the next days work.
I’ll often eat in the office while on the phone to LA or talking to the department heads. If not, I may join one or more of the crew for a bite. In any case, we’ll gather at some watering hole later where I’ll make good on my promise to buy a round. We all raise a glass and toast another day of work well done!!!!
Then I crawl into bed!!!
I had written of Robb Mariani in a previous blog. Robb is the creator of American Trucker, a series that ran on the Speed Channel. In my September 2016 blog I described how, at his first trucking show, Barry had met Robb. Now Robb has written his version of not only meeting Barry, but of the historic nature of Brad Wike’s Southern Classic Truck Show itself. In his Overdrive Magazine article, Robb recounts how five legendary trucks, icons of movies and television, assembled for the first time ever on a hill in Lincolnton, NC. Now, and forevermore, that hill will be known as “Hollywood Hill”.
Here is Robb Mariani’s article, including photos and a video.
I’m going to take a risk here. I’m going to break one of my rules because I’m so excited about Movin’ On’s future. I expect Producer approved DVDs of Movin’ On will finally be available in 2017. I also anticipate that the success of those DVDs will allow us to remaster In Tandem, Movin’ On’s TV movie pilot! If everything works out, we will be thrilled to present In Tandem to fans for the first time in over 40-years, at the quality you deserve.
We are also looking forward to new dramatic audio production of the classic shows. Some details are still to be worked out with our partner, Colonial Radio Theater, but if all goes as planned, fans, both old and new, will be downloading Movin’ On audio dramas and listening to them on the road in 2017. To be clear, these will be brand new productions of the existing episodes. That means new actors, sound effects, and except for Merle Haggard, new music. We hope truckers everywhere will enjoy content specially created with them in mind. I look forward to the day when a trucker can listen to Movin’ On at the wheel of his rig all day, then curl up comfortably in his sleeper at night and watch Movin’ On on DVD.
Because of Barry’s incredible experience and Brad Wike’s Southern Classic Truck Show, we are striving to arrange appearances for Barry and the Big Green Kenworth at a show or two in 2017. We are aiming for The ATHS National Convention in Des Moines, The Mid-Atlantic Truck Show in Louisville, and The Great American Trucking Show in Dallas. Maybe we’ll even make it back to Brad Wicke’s with the rig this time! Stay tuned for details.
Lastly, thanks to Bill, I’ve been in touch with a photographer in Astoria, OR who found a box of large format pictures he shot in 1974, when Movin’ On was in town. This means there are new, never before seen high quality images from the episodes filmed around Astoria. We are working to bring them to the fans.
Movin’ On has several new designs on hats, tee-shirts, kids apparel, and mugs! Click Movin’ On Zazzle Store to see “Amazen” Bill Bazen’s designed Movin’ On Kenworth products. We also have designs incorporating the Movin’ On Logo based on the Movin’ On belt buckle that was a gift from the producers to the film crew!
Back in the day, one of the art department film crew created an original caricature of Sonny & Will and the big green Kenworth and silkscreened it on shirts! Those shirts were given out as gifts to the entire crew. It’s a very different caricature than the one we all know and love but is wonderful none-the-less. This one is very kid friendly. We call it the “Kiddie Caricature”. Using Barry’s 40-year old shirt as our guide, we have reproduced the “Kiddie Caricature” on children’s apparel and offer it for sale at Movin’ On’s Zazzle Store!
Barry visited The Movin’ On Museum that Bill Bazen opened recently. The Museum is located at 14917 Creedmore Rd. Wake Forest, NC 27587. It is open Saturdays from 12 pm to 3 pm and Monday – Friday by appointment. Sorry, we are closed Sunday. For appointments to visit the museum on a weekday please email MOVINONFAN@YAHOO.COM or call Bill at 919-282-2372 and leave a message.
The extensive collection of Movin’ On items at the museum left Barry a little dazed. On the phone to me later in the day, Barry had a difficult time describing the emotions he experienced meeting Bill and finally realizing how deeply Movin’ On, his creation, touched people. Claude Akins had once told Barry that his part as Sheriff Lobo was a job, done for a paycheck; his role as Sonny Pruitt was for love, he’d have done it for nothing! At the Museum, Barry saw a letter Claude had written repeating the same story.
Barry is used to actors saying things like that. He believed Claude completely, but after all, Claude was in show biz. At the Movin’ On Museum, and earlier in the week at The Great Southern Truck Show, Barry was hearing from people – regular people who had been touched by his program. It’s a unique experience for a Producer to be told things like, “What you did was what made me want to be a trucker,” and “Your show made me proud that my Daddy was a trucker.”
Barry was deeply affected by what he saw and heard in North Carolina. Describing it to me he used the words inspirational, touching, tickled. Barry spoke of getting a little “weepy” when he touched items that he hadn’t seen in over 40-years.
I don’t expect you will get weepy when you visit the museum. Maybe only the baby’s father feels that way. But, if Movin’ On reminds you of family, pride, and long ago good times, perhaps you will have to fight back one or two tears.
Barry Weitz is not a man who tears up. He also doesn’t let his emotions show. This week has been an exception. True, he did not tear up, but for the first time since we began collaborating, Barry’s emotions were evident. He expressed his gratitude to me for reviving Movin’ On. He was effusive in his thanks and appreciation.
What brought this on? Barry is, for the first time, understanding the deep meaning that Movin’ On has for people. Barry visited Brad Wike’s Southern Classic Truck Show in late September. The visit was an afterthought, a short road trip with his wife to fill a Saturday afternoon. Meredith and Chris of Freewheelin’ mentioned that the original Movin’ On Kenworth would be at the show. By chance, Barry was in Charlotte, forty minutes away from Brad’s farm so he went over with no expectations. What Barry found in Brad’s lush field, in addition to many amazing trucks, was his past. Barry also discovered that his past is tied to the people that he made Movin’ On for – but now has he met them face to face.
Barry arrived unannounced and asked for Brad. Understandably, Brad was busy and didn’t like the idea of going back to the entrance to speak to some unknown visitor. “There are two-hundred people that want to see me,” Brad explained to his assistant over the phone. “You’re going to want to see this one,” Brad’s assistant told him.
How right she was. Once Brad understood that the Creator of Movin’ On was standing before him he could not have been happier. He was looking upon a hero of his childhood. He was remembering his father on the roof of their home in 1974, twisting the antenna to pull in a better picture on their TV. It was 8pm Tuesday night – Movin’ On was starting.
Barry wanted to see the Kenworth. But first Brad had to introduce Barry to another of the Movin’ On faithful, Robb Mariani. Robb is the Executive Producer of American Trucker and was attending the show with his Cobra rig. On Robb’s website, Movin’ On is listed as one of his all-time favorite trucker movies, TV shows, and songs. Brad knew Robb would be as thrilled as he was to meet the man who had propelled trucking into the pop culture 40-years ago.
Robb explained to Barry how important Movin’ On had been to him. It’s why he got into trucking.
Finally it was time to see the big green truck. I imagine Barry must have forced back a tear or two as he gazed on the truck, climbed on board, and sat behind the wheel. The look of joy on his face, looking out through the S. Pruitt side window says it all. The big grin and thumbs up are there to hide the deeper happiness.
The rest of the day Barry was told how important Movin’ On was to people. Every one wanted to thank him and tell how the show impacted their lives. Sure, Barry enjoyed seeing the truck after forty-years, but what really stuck with him were the fans. For the very first time Barry understood how what he had created affected people. They aren’t just an audience anymore. They are not percentages on a Neilson rating. They are people who appreciate what Barry and his team did. They are grateful and after many, many years they were able to express their thanks to the man who did so much for them.
Barry and I appeared on Sirius/XM Radio Road Dog channel’s Freewheelin’ with Meredith Ochs and Chris T. I was fortunate to be in studio and met the co-hosts and staff. It was a fantastic experience.
Meredith, Chris, Noa, and Ash could not have been more welcoming and charming. They were genuinely interested in the show. Chris remembered watching as a child. Meredith and Chris kept us on air almost a full hour and asked great questions. We had the chance to talk to several truckers who called in from the road. Every one of them had fond memories of the show and expressed thanks to Barry for creating a TV show that spoke to them. Most of the truckers insist that Movin’ On motivated them to get into the trucking business and is cause of their life-long love of trucks.
Barry and I had a blast!
A result of appearing on Freewheelin’ with Meredith and Chris was that we heard that the original, restored Movin’ On Kenworth was to be at Brad Wike’s Southern Truck Show in Lincolnton NC. What luck! Barry happened to be only 40-minutes away in Charlotte.
Barry showed up unannounced at the show on Brad’s farm. Once Brad realized that the man standing before him was the creator of Movin’ On he couldn’t contain himself. He escorted Barry all around the show, introducing him to everyone including Robb Mariani, the creator of American Trucker on the Speed Channel. Robb was as floored as Brad had been. He could not believe he was shaking hands with the man who had created one of his favorite TV shows; the man who to a large part was responsible for his love of trucks and his career as a trucker and television producer.
Brad and Robb then led Barry over to the big green Kenworth. Paul Sagehorn, who restored the truck, had the same reaction as everyone else. It was like magic. Could they really be speaking with one of their heroes? Paul had Barry autograph the sign he carries with the truck. Then Barry climbed up into the cab. His huge grin and big thumbs up don’t tell the whole story.
Barry was very moved. He had to force back a few tears. Anyone would have under the circumstances. It’s a rare day that a man understands that his work has meaning. One almost never meets the people and hears their stories about how they were affected by what you did. It’s an emotional moment most of us never experience. If a tear or two had appeared in the corner of one of Barry’s eyes, I think we would all understand.
My first impression of Jerry Malone was actually an impression of his big-rig. I later found out it had a name, “The Boss”. It was a beautiful truck and everyone on our crew, including the usually jaded teamsters, was very impressed. Even cooler than Malone’s truck was the fact that he loved our truck too. He couldn’t stop talking about how much he loved the colors and the graphic arrow design.
Jerry was quite a character. Obviously, he was enthusiastic about trucks and he was like a kid in a candy shop around all the rigs we had assembled for the “Christmas Race”. He was also very knowledgeable and helped us a lot when it came time to stage the race. He worked very closely with our stunt team and also advised our camera department how best to capture the action.
There was never any doubt that Jerry would drive his truck in the race, but what I came to realize very quickly was that Jerry needed to be a character in the episode so I instructed the writers to expand the part of the race favorite who goads Will into entering the race. Jerry was a natural. He plays it smug and aloof, with just the right amount of condescending bullying — exactly the opposite of the real Jerry Malone.
Jerry was a perfect fit for Movin’ On: whether in front of the camera, behind the scenes, on his feet, or behind the wheel.
Thanks to Bill “Amazen” Bazen for connecting with actor Earl Billings and getting Earl to share a great story. Earl Billings played the heavy in the episode “No More Sad Songs”. The basic plot is that Sonny and Will unknowingly carry a small time hustler’s loot to Pensacola. The bad guy, Phillip Michael Thomas, promises his boss that he has everything under control but the boss sends Choo-Choo along with him to make sure either he gets his loot or someone pays with their life. Earl Billings, as Choo-Choo, is a very believable enforcer. Ironically, Earl’s story shows what a sweetheart he is in real life. Here’s Earl’s story with an introduction from Bill, and followed by Barry Weitz’s memory of the episode:
I have a special treat for our Facebook group members today. Mr. Earl Billings, who appeared in the episode “No More Sad Songs” has agreed to share with us his memories from 1975 of working on the Movin’ On production. This is an exclusive interview for Movin’ On fans. As we all remember, Earl’s character was named Choo-Choo and he was Mr. Flick’s bodyguard and henchman. Take it away Earl!…………..
There were two things that have stuck with me after all these years. One had to do with the episode’s guest star, Phillip Michael Thomas, and the other with Claude Akins, himself. I had seen Phillip’s work on TV, so I knew who he was. This was long before “Miami Vice” when he became a household name.
I had brought my then wife up from New Orleans where we were living at the time to the location, which was in Mobile, I believe. The night before we began working, the three of us had dinner together and Phillip asked had I read the last scene, the capture scene. During our escape with the loot we drive off the uncompleted freeway into the Gulf. I said that I had read it and thought nothing of it because it was a stunt and all we had to do was surface from the water and get captured. The worst that could happen was that we would get wet.
All week Phillip kept asking me, “Have you met or seen the Stunt Men who would double us?” I said no, that was not my worry. The day of the scene, I went into my dressing trailer and among my clothes was a full wet suit to wear under my wardrobe. Being ex-Navy, I knew that the wet suit was to help us float. There was a knock on the door. It was Phillip holding up his wet suit and frantically asking, “What’s this for?” I explained it was for our safety, in case something happens. He screams, “LIKE WHAT?”
They drove us to the location, which was under the unfinished freeway. A State Trooper and a Diver took us by boat out into the Gulf. For some reason, Phillip brought along a long tree branch. They shoot the stunt, the car going off the freeway. There’s a big splash and then Phillip drops the bomb. “Earl, I can’t swim.” The State Trooper looks at me, I look at the Diver, he looks at Phillip. And from way up on the unfinished freeway the Assistant Director says, “Okay, Phillip, you and Earl get in the water and count to ten, then let the stolen money float up and then you guys surface and that’s a cut.” Phillip sticks the branch in the water checking to see how deep it is but the branch doesn’t touch bottom. Pandemonium!
The Director wants to know what’s the hold up? The Diver and I finally got Phillip in the water and he was holding onto the boat for dear life. Then the Assistant Director called action and the Diver and I pulled Phillip under with us. I let the money go, the Diver pulled away, to stay out of the shot, and Phillip lost his mind. I’m trying to pull him to the surface and he’s fighting like a crazy man. I’m holding him up when the Director calls cut. The Diver comes back and we get Phillip into the boat and we hear the Director say over the bullhorn, “Phil, that was great, you really looked like you were drowning.” The State Trooper, the Diver, and I could not stop laughing.
I had been a fan of Claude Akins ever since “From here to Eternity” and didn’t know his name until “The Caine Mutiny”. During our shoot I got to ride in his trailer to a different location and we talked for about an hour. We talked about how we got started, family and how black actors were now getting good breaks in the business. When I told him that he was big star in black communities, he was taken aback until I told him that he played bad guys and we identified with his guys. They wanted the booze, broads and money, while the guy in the “White Hat” kissed his horse and rode off into the sunset. What the hell was that? His laugh was huge, and warm, and real, and he understood the compliment.
Earl also had something nice to say about Barry and Phil, “Weitz and D’Antoni are some of the best in the business. Great guys!”
I don’t have any special behind the scenes memories of “No More Sad Songs” other than that we never shot in New Orleans or Pensacola. There may have been some second unit done in New Orleans, but we never shot there with Claude and Frank. The opening shot of the New Orleans harbor was stock footage that we bought and cut in to “establish” the location.
I had a vague recollection of shooting in Mobile, AL. Bill “Amazen” Bazen confirmed that we did use Mobile to “double” for New Orleans and Pensacola. Bill also states, and I believe him, that we used Daphne, AL as the location for Aunt Bess’ house. Bill further states that in a later episode, “Sing It Again, Sonny” we again used Mobile to double for Nashville.
After viewing the episode… 40-years later, I’m comfortable talking about what just might be my biggest problem with the series as a whole. It has to do with edginess, or lack thereof. Our pilot, In Tandem, was edgy. It was raw. It was rough and it was tough. We made In Tandem to appeal to a 10pm audience. Network TV in the seventies was a different beast than today. Nowadays, almost anything goes at any time during prime time. In the seventies, raw, adult themed programs did not air at 8pm or even at 9pm. I created and always saw Movin’ On as a 10pm show but NBC wanted it at 9pm and that is when it ran in season one.
To accommodate the more genteel 9pm audience we had to take out a good deal of the edge and grit. In season two, NBC wanted us on at 8pm and all the edge went away. Did someone say Disney Movie? I was happy to have a show on the air, but I sure wish we could have had the 10pm show that I had imagined.
“No More Sad Songs” is an example of the soft, family style content we were forced into by our time slot. You may notice that “No More Sad Songs” is the second story of a precocious, gambling child. In season one we did an episode called “Roadblock” with Mackenzie Phillips. Mackenzie played a similar role to Maggie, the girl in “No More Sad Songs”. Maggie is younger, sweeter, and more innocent than Chessie, Mackenzie Phillips’ character. That’s the difference an hour makes on network television. My preference would have been, if we were doing another child older-than-her-years episode, to do it more like Jodie Foster in Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore. But I knew it would never fly with the network.
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