By Bazil LaRoche
Back on a warm morning in late May, LCOC members Jim Ayers, Bazil LaRoche, and Russell Harmon met up at an historic Rt. 66 landmark, the Wigwam Motel in San Bernardino, to assist KTLA News Los Angeles with classic cars for a special segment they were filming on summer destinations. Jim brought out his gorgeous 1964 convertible, and Bazil and Russell ended up bringing their 1955 Chevrolet. Set those VCRs; the spot is scheduled to air Thursday June 18 at 10 a.m. on KTLA Channel 5.
In case you missed it Thursday the segment will be broadcast again on Sunday June 21st at 7 p.m. and again on July 17th during a prime time special at 7:30 p.m.
Although Russell and Bazil own three Lincolns, KTLA requested their ’55, as Chevrolet was sponsoring the segment. Filming started at 9 AM sharp, with the camera crew arriving shortly before then to prep the cars and the people to be film-ready.
The segment started out with news reporter Wendy Burch highlighting the Wigwam Motel. Built in 1949, it is now only one of two Wigwam Motels still in operation today, the other being in New Mexico. After Wendy finished her interview with the Motels owners, the focus shifted to the cars. For the better part of an hour Wendy, Jim, Russell, and Bazil took multiple takes of walking up to the cars and starting them, operating the convertible top, and pulling away from the motel.
Wendy interviewed Jim about his favorite aspects of driving a classic car along Route 66 while the camera crew was busy getting exhaust clips of both cars.
After filming had concluded at the Wigwam, the caravan continued on to their next destination, the one and only McDonalds museum also located in San Bernardino. Waiting out front of the museum was a 1955 Plymouth police car along with a variety of McDonalds characters and signs. Upon entering the building, everyone was greeted with possibly the largest McDonald’s memorabilia collection in the world. Everything from menus, happy meal toys, and even freeze dried hamburgers line the walls and display cases.
Wasting no time, the camera crew and Wendy began interviewing the owner. After the interview concluded everyone headed back outside to the now 95 plus degree heat. Unfortunately for Jim, that meant the interior of the convertible was now terribly hot! Thankfully, however, once the caravan got moving again things cooled off.
The next destination was all the way out in Fontana at Bono’s Historic Orange. During the heyday of Route 66 there were many orange stands along the way that offered oranges and orange juice to travelers. This was one of the remaining stands; however, when the group arrived they found it to be closed. At this time the temperatures were so high and everyone was so tired that the group dispersed. Jim, Russell, and Bazil all made it back home safely without incident.
If you would like to see Jim, Russell, and Bazil on air, be sure and tune in this Thursday at 10 AM on KTLA 5, you won’t regret it!