Visiting Erick, home of the Purple People Eater

May 21, 2007

Erick2.JPGOnly a handful of shops are still open in the downtown in Erick, Oklahoma, including an antique store that brags the little town is “The Redneck Capital of the World — Yee Haw!”
Erick’s best-know son is probably Roger Miller, the songwriter best known for “King of the Road,” a tune the Route 66 Team sang as they approached the town. One of the few other open businesses on the town’s main street is a museum dedicated to Miller. 
But Erick was also the hometown of Sheb Wooley, a rodeo cowboy turned singer turned actor who appeared in the movie “High Noon” and the television show “Rawhide” and wrote and performed the hit novelty song “The Purple People Eater.” A street in Erick is named for him.

Worth the detour to Texline

May 21, 2007

The RoutDalhart1.jpge 66 Team decided to take another detour from the old highway’s route in Texas in order to experience something surprisingly elusive in that state these days: real cowboys.  

Wanted: Cowboys for steady work!

May 21, 2007

Cowboys are in short supply and high demand in this part of Texas.

Ive been in this business since 1970 and every year it has got harder to find good cowboys, said Leo Vermedahl, manager of the Carrizo Feeders. Hear an interview with Vermedahl.
This feedlot operation has space for up to 34,000 head of cattle on 320 acres and should have six cowboys and one head cowboy, but are two cowboys short, Vermedahl said.

Fresh boost from high gas prices in Elk City, Oklahoma

May 21, 2007

Elk-downtown.jpgWanda Queenan, right, the curator at the National Route 66 Musuem in Elk City, says that oil booms happen here about once every 10 years or so.

Is the cinema dead?

May 21, 2007

     Is the cinema dead? Director David Cronenberg (“A History of Violence“) thinks so. Atom Egoyan (“The Sweet Hereafter”) believes technology has changed moviegoing forever, and Roman Polanski (“The Pianist”) says he’s seen it all before.Chacun son cinema

Tucumcari by day shows off its grimmer side

May 21, 2007

While Tucumcari at night showed off a nice dash of neon color, Tucumcari by day was a differentucumcari.jpgt story.

I love your shirt

May 20, 2007

I am not entirely sure what it is that gives press conferences at the Cannes film festival their special, slightly awkward, feeling.

Money power

May 19, 2007

At the Cannes film festival, a lot of both was on display heading into the first weekend of parties Friday night. Along the beach on the Croisette, Relativity Media, which in recent years has been a major financier and producer of films, held a late afternoon bash at a flashy restaurant on the beach. You could spot the likes of Harvey Weinstein, who runs Weinstein Co., Jon Feltheimer, the chief executive of Lionsgate Entertainment, and Cassian Elwes and Rena Ronson, the powerful film agents from the William Morris Agency.

Old motels along Route 66

May 18, 2007

hotel.jpgWhen Route 66 was decommissioned, and cross-country traffic moved to the then-new Interstates 40 and 44, the motels along its old path didn’t have the option of moving.

‘Tucumcari tonight’ in the best light

May 18, 2007

Night5.jpgFor years, this city in eastern New Mexico has used the slogan “Tucumcari tonight” to entice travelers on the cross-country highways that have passed through here or near here to stop and spend the night.
Judging from the rundown look of the main drag, which was hard hit when Route 66 was decommissioned, fewer and fewer people are taking the town up on its suggestion. But Tucumcari still has a faded charm, probably best viewed after sundown, when the neon lights turn on.
Here’s what the city looked like on a recent night.
Photos Nick Carey/James Kelleher on May 17, 2007 in Tucumcari.