This is it, folks. This is where the rubber meets the road—the mother of all trucker movies: Sam Peckinpah’s Convoy. The recipe: take Kris Kristofferson (the Rubber Duck), a young Ali MacGraw (in a convertible) and a cranky, curmudgeon state trooper named “Dirty Lyle” (played by Ernest Borgnine) and place them in a hokey, genre-bending, tale based on the country song of same name by C.W. McCall. Believe me, it’s quite the stew. A kid in the early 80s, I remember Convoy being a staple on HBO and, now, thanks to the magic of technology, I recently re-watched it (for the first time in probably 20+ years) via Netflix streaming. Verdict: unintentionally, without trying, this may very well be the oddest of Peckinpah’s cinematic entries. And the song the tale was based on? Pure kitsch gold.
While digging around after this recent viewing I happened upon the following nugget in relation to “Convoy‘s” author. Interesting to say the least….
“…but C.W. McCall’s real name isn’t C.W. McCall it’s William Fries. And he really wasn’t a big rig driver who honked it up on his C.B.; he was an advertising executive who stumbled into a music career by accident. While working on a radio campaign for an Omaha, Nebraska bakery, Fries invented McCall as a promotional tool: a character who would haul loads of bread and call Omaha radio stations from roadside truck stops, spurting out hilarious ramblings sprinkled with C.B. radio jargon (such as his “handle,” Rubber Duck) to the delight of listeners. The campaign was a huge success, with everybody in the region talking about this funny C.W. McCall guy and his crazy trucker lingo. The fabricated character was such a hit that Fries decided to do what any red blooded American would do — cash in. He recorded an album of quasi-countrypolitan/urban cowboy songs that were all about trucking, truckers and life on the road. McCall soon had a chart-topping hit in “Convoy,” which inspired critically acclaimed filmmaker Sam Peckinpah to unleash an unintentionally campy film with the same name in 1978.” (via)
MP3: C.W. McCall :: Convoy