Hey Mister, did you lose your dog?

Claude Akins, Frank Converse and Shadrac the dog

Claude, Frank and Shadrack

The hound is Shadrack.

Claude loved the dog!  Frank loved the dog!! I loved the dog!!! Yet, the director of our pilot, In Tandem, Bernie Kowalski knew the dog was going to be trouble one day. He warned me….. “Livestock can’t be directed, Barry”. It was only a matter of time….. Shadrack would take up way too much production time, actor time, script supervisor time…. and general well being….. way, way too much time to be worth it. Bernie was right. I remember Claude taking me aside and saying, “Thanks, Barry, Frank is a great co-star, but I don’t think I can handle the dog as another “co-lead”. That’s when Shadrack was gone. The idea of Shadrack was better than the reality of Shadrack. 

By the by, one of the reasons we selected Bernie to direct the pilot was that he had done “N.Y.P.D”, a series that starred Frank as a New York City policeman. I thought that Akins, Converse, and Kowalski would get on nicely. They did and the pilot was a big success, which allowed us to make the series, “Movin’ On”…. which makes us all smile!!

The photo is of Shadrack on his best behavior.

— Barry Weitz

Birth Of Main Titles

Dennis Johnson asked this question:

I wonder how the opening credits of the show came to be. The song, the split screens, even the font of the lettering is perfect. Very well done! I have never seen another show with such a great opening.”

Great question, Dennis. I’ve rarely been asked that.

It all started with the song!

Once Merle Haggard agreed to write and perform the theme song, I knew I wanted something for the Main Credits that evoked the open road, something that looked like our heroes were traveling down the highway….”big wheels rollin’…. Movin’ On”…. taking them and their big rig all across America.

The editors come up big!

Our editors came up with the split screen idea. It was perfect, depicting lanes on a highway – and movement, always movement. When those images and shifting lines were married with the song, it worked beautifully. For the font I wanted something that had a “bold military” feel that said strong and solid.  Again, I credit our editors. They presented me several choices and we selected what you see today. I agree, it’s a title sequence that “pops out” at the viewer.  Thanks Dennis for your enthusiasm. I’m very pleased that you like what we presented.

— Barry Weitz

Merle Haggard Comes On Board

Merle Haggard Keep Movin On album coverOnce I knew our pilot, In Tandem, had been picked up for series, I began thinking about music. I wanted to come up with a theme song that would work with the plans we had for the show.

I had known Merle Haggard’s music and thought the Bakersfield Sound…. steel guitars…. rough edged…. would be a perfect match for the show. Haggard had that sweet, earthy, gravelly sound in his voice that made me think of heavy trucks rolling through the night. I decided to contact Merle and see if he would be interested in writing and performing the title song for the series. I called him at his home and I told him what I wanted. He laughed and said he had never done anything like that…. but was intrigued enough to meet me and discuss my thoughts.

“So, where should we meet, Merle?” I asked.

“Well, Barry, I love bass fishin’…. so if you like fishin’…. why don’t you come up to Bakersfield and we’ll go out on my bass boat and throw some plugs at large mouth bass”.

What Merle didn’t know was that I loved bass fishin’ and had competed in bass tournaments around California and Texas.

So, I loaded my equipment in my truck, drove to Bakersfield and met Merle and his crew. We had a beer and went to the lake. I started catching fish immediately – hot as a pistol right out of the blocks, while Merle played with the boat and sang “Okie from Muskogee” to himself. I finally decided that since he’s the host, I’d better back off some…. let the star catch the fish. Well, Merle turns it up. Now, he’s on fire and bass are flying into the boat. Merle’s happy, so I start talking Movin’ On with him. He agrees to come to Los Angeles and see the pilot. Now, I’m the one who’s happy.

Merle sees the pilot and loves it. He agrees to write and perform the title song. The song is an instant hit and helps make Movin’ On a success. Merle’s music is a perfect complement to “Sonny”…. “Will”…. and their big, green Kenworth truck and keeps those Big Wheels Rollin’…..

– Barry

Movin’ On’s Beginnings

During the filming of The Seven-Ups we spent a lot of time at the Bronx Terminal Market. I watched the comings and goings of an endless stream of independent truckers…. dropping their loads…. and movin’ on to other jobs – anywhere in the country – anywhere that someone was willing to pay them to move their goods. It occurred to me that this world would be a great idea for a T.V. series. So, I sat down and created the characters of Sonny and Will and the beginnings of Movin’ On. Once the concept was sold to NBC and the script approved, we were on the way to production of the pilot. Of course, first things first. We needed to have a Sonny and Will. Who would that be?

Working on the concept for the series I had the actor, Ward Bond, in mind for Sonny. As I got deeper into writing the characters, I knew I wanted Frank Converse for Will. I was a big fan of the T.V. series N.Y.P.D. which Converse had starred in. So casting began and my casting director recommended that I meet with Claude Akins. The moment Claude walked into my office I knew he was Sonny and I made the offer to him immediately. He thought the role was wonderful and the possibility of shooting a series which traveled around the country would be challenging and very exciting. I flew to NYC where Frank lived, met with him and made the deal.

Once we had these two very fine actors the fun began. You see, they had to drive very big 18 wheelers and neither of them  had ever done so. In fact, Frank didn’t drive a car…. much less a semi. Truck driving lessons were on the schedule ASAP. Claude took to truckin’ like a fish to water. Frank…. not so much. So our “Movin’ On” adventure began in the cab of a truck…. with Claude and Frank getting to know each other and their way around a 10 speed manual transmission. But most of all, they started learning the characters – “rough and tumble” indy truckers named Sonny Pruitt and Will Chandler.

Barry Weitz

Christmas card 2015

Movin' On Christmas card 2015This is our 2015 Christmas card. It has been posted on Facebook since before the holiday, but as the website is new and still developing, it’s arriving here a little late. It’s here now for all to see. Better late than…. even later. The photo is a publicity shot taken around the time of In Tandem, the Movin’ On pilot and Movie-Of-The-Week.

It’s been a great year for Movin’ On. We are growing rapidly, like a snowman rolling down an unplowed grade.

  • The website is up and running. I admit it’s a little thin but I’m adding content every day.
  • The Facebook page has over two thousand likes.
  • We have started a Pinterest account.
  • Our first new legally licensed product is available at BigRigTees.
  • Episodes continue to stream on Hulu and Amazon Prime.

We promise that we will not rest. Next year we will continue providing fans with more quality products, provide more outlets to watch episodes, and to continue providing great content on the website and Facebook.

Thanks for all your support and a belated Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

Barry Weitz Interviewed in Trucker News

The Trucker News has printed a glowing article on the lasting popularity and recent resurgence of Movin’ On. Dorothy Cox, assistant editor at Trucker News, interviewed Executive Producer Barry Weitz about the show’s past and future. The article appeared in the December 15-31 2015 edition, online and in hard copies distributed to subscribers and at TA truck stops.

See the entire magazine online at: http://www.virtualonlineeditions.com/publication/?m=9293&l=1

Or link to a pdf of the Movin’ On article here: Movin’ On in Trucker News