Little did I know, back in 1975, that in eight years, I would end up exactly one degree of separation from the biggest thing going . . . and a whole genre of popular music.
A whole 1970s cultural moment, as it were.
C'mon, c'mon, good buddy, put your ears on and I'm gonna tell you a story.
Remember CB radios? I think everybody had one in the mid-1970s . . . I know we did. Mama's handle was the Black Cat. I can't remember what mine was. I think I got on there once trying to pick up girls.
Come to think of it, now I can't think of a worse place to pick up girls. Stupidity, your name is 15-Year-Old Male.
BE THAT as it may, there was a moment in the mid-'70s, around 1975-76, where the whole CB/trucker craze met the entertainment industry. It started when the whole CB/trucker thing met the Metz Baking Co., purveyor of Old Home Bread.
It was a match made in advertising heaven. The matchmaker, in this case, was the Bozell & Jacobs advertising agency in Omaha. My late father-in-law was an account executive there, and a colleague there named Bill Fries came up with a campaign revolving around the fictitious Old Home Fill-er Up an' Keep on A-Truckin' Cafe.
Fries, Bozell's creative director, gave life to C.W. McCall, who drove the Old Home Bread truck. And then he gave him his voice.
The ads were astoundingly popular across the Midwest. The Des Moines Register even printed a schedule of when and on what channel they were to air.
And when the ads became a whole musical genre, Bill Fries, ad man, became C.W. McCall, superstar.
BREAKER, BREAKER one-nine, it looks like we got us a new fad, c'mon.
That's a big 10-4, good buddy! This thing might even end up in Tinseltown. Cement ponds . . . movie stars.
Roger that, Rubber Duck. You mean like Steve McQueen and Burt Reynolds, c'mon?
Negatory, good buddy! I mean like Kris Kristofferson and Ali McGraw. You copy?
I GOTCHA, there, good buddy . . . read that five by five. Kris Kristofferson and Ali McGraw, roger that. I think you might have somethin' there on that . . . back at 'ya.
That's a big 10-4, roger that. Catch 'ya on the flip side . . . I'm out.