I promised to tell the story of my trip to California, which included filming a segment for the new Marie Osmond Show on the Hallmark Channel, and being at a filming of the Tonight Show and meeting Jay Leno. To do so, I have to take you back to how it began.
After a year on the air with a weekly one hour show on WBCX, 89.1 FM, called Garage Gab, I learned that the knowledge I was sharing would be helpful to many in the general public.
So, I worked with some terrific people to put together a pilot for a half hour TV show. After many months of filming, editing, designing and producing the packaging, I believe we had put together something that would get the attention needed to move forward with marketing.
After I was on Motorweek, I had made some contacts around the country. One of these gave the pilot package to Jay Leno. Jay called me one evening and we talked about the package, cars and his opinion of what we were offering. This was in April 2012, and he was very complimentary and encouraging about the project.
In May, I was contacted by Beth Cochran, a producer for Marie on Hallmark with a request that I come out to California and film a segment for the new show they were putting together.
That is how we began this part of the journey. After finding out what kind of material was expected, we put together a plan to drive out to California. I contacted Jay’s office and got us access to the Tonight Show and Jay to go along with the filming we were going to do for Marie.
We left on September 4 and drove 3 ½ days across the country in my MINI. The trip was a spectacular view of parts of the country I had never seen in the southwest.
I cannot put into words the beauty of the scenery we saw; you would have to just go there. Of special note was Texas Canyon in Arizona. All I can say is “breathtaking”!!
Once in California, things began to happen quickly. We had reserved seats for the Tonight Show on September 6th and went to the “green room” after to meet, talk, and have pictures taken with Jay Leno. The staff of that show was so very accommodating and pleasant. When we left, we went to Bob’s Big Boy in Burbank. Every Friday night, locals bring in all of their classic cars to put on display. There we saw ’64 Nova, ’72 Grand Torino, Super Bee, ’58 Mercedes Convertible, ’56 and ’57 Bel Airs, and many others that brought back memories. MINI was the only one of her breed in attendance.
That Saturday, we drove out to Malibu, which was a real disappointment to me. It is so built up along the shore that you cannot see the ocean. Funny though, we stopped for a cold drink at a fast food restaurant (remember we are in Malibu, California) and the only restroom they had was a porta-potty outside. Laughed so much it hurt. We came back the northern route and did find some places to get a view of the Pacific.
On Sunday, we were invited to the home of Vicki Mack, a photographer of some note, who is well connected in the entertainment industry. She lives in Palos Verdes and the scenery there was much more picturesque that the valley. Don Christy took us on a tour of the area and we got quite a history lesson on the area.
Monday, I had to burn off some gas in the MINI before I turned it over to the studio on Tuesday. So, I just meandered throughout the San Fernando Valley just taking in all of the unique topography. I had no destination in mind, and enjoyed just seeing the sights.
The schedule for Tuesday turned pretty hectic. I needed some clean clothes, there was still too much gas in the car, and the MINI needed to be detailed and dolled up to turn over to the studio by 3:30. Having accomplished all of that, we went to studio. The producers, Beth Cochran and Ned Truslow, were waiting for us and gave us the lay of the land.
There were a couple of things that took me by surprise while we were there.
The MINI had to be back through a relatively narrow door to get her on stage. I offered to do this, as I was unsure that anyone there had experience with a convertible and its blind spots. It was an easy task and one that I was VERY happy to do for them.
The other was the plan for the segment we were going to film. Since it is Marie’s show, I went out with the impression that she would be asking questions of me and I would be telling and showing responses. Ned advised me that I would be “driving the train” on the filming and Marie would follow my lead. Needless to say, I had to revise my thinking.
On Wednesday, we arrived at the studio at noon for hair, make up, and a run through. Once again, I had to get the MINI in place. Then, Ned (standing in for Marie) and I did a quick run through of the sequence of items we were going to cover. The director said we would have about half an hour before shooting, so I headed off stage. They changed their minds, and said we were going to shoot immediately. Marie, who is such a friendly and charming lady, came on stage for us to get started. After we became acquainted and let the audience in on what we were going to do, off we went!
I only had a few minutes and according to the producer, we nailed the timing!! Whew! No much time to think and certainly nothing in the plan that would allow us to retake it if I flubbed anything. Thankfully, I didn’t.
At this point, I need to say how overwhelmed I was. Upon returning to the hotel, I broke down in tears. Just thinking of all of the help and support I had in getting to where I had just been left me feeling so grateful and happy. So many people had expressed how proud they were of me, and I have never had that in my life. Thanks to EVERYONE!
A celebration was in order and we found a place on Venture Blvd called Brats Brothers. I indulged in a genuine German Bratwurst with an authentic German beer. Dessert was the most scrumptious strudel with almond whipped cream that I have ever put in my mouth.
The next morning, we packed up and headed on via I-40 (having gone out I-20) for another view of the southern tier of states. The only glitch we ran into was n Gallup, NM. Upon arrival in the evening, there were no hotel rooms in the entire town, and the next nearest accommodations were in Grants, NM, an hour away. So the second day of driving home ended up with us stopping later than we liked.
Got home around 8:30 Saturday night, September 15th and was happy to be here. I can tell you, though, drivers in Atlanta are much more aggressive than they are in LA. There may be more of them out there, but they do not try to kill each other on the roads.
Today, September 19th, I was back in my seat on WBCX and in the trenches after playing catch up for three days.
I do not know what will come of the contacts we made while we were in California, but it was an awesome trip.
The next chapter is waiting to be written and I cannot wait for the next adventure.