Dennis Hopper Muffler Man Goes Up in Dodge City
After 3 years of holding the La Salsa Man in storage, Robert Jones decided in November, 2016 that enough was enough. The city seemed unsure the giant would withstand the high winds and were hesitant to set him up. Robert reenforced the structure and set the giant up at his coffee shop. La Salsa man is actually a copy made by Dennis Hopper of another Muffler Man that stands in Malibu, CA. Hopper made two Muffler Men and the other is supposedly on display in nearby Ulysses.
New Muffler Man in Battle Mountain, NV
Mark Cline has made yet another custom Muffler Man from his 14ft version mold. The new pyrotechnic is located in Battle Mountain, NV at Roller Coaster Fireworks. Two brothers own the buisness and have been wanting a Muffler Man of their own for a few years now. Despite the desire for a full size 20 ft version, they settled for now on one of Marks, and he looks great! If your driving by on i80 and are tiring of the scenery, stop and see a Muffler Man!
Bruce Kennedys Fireman
Bruce sent us a picture today of the latest member in his growing Muffler Man family. He just received a shipment from Enchanted Castle Studios and Mark Cline in Virginia, of his first 14ft Muffler Man. International Fiberglass made the 14 foot versions around 1963 just
before they started making the full size versions. Only 17 of these versions still stand today and not all of them are from the 60s. Mark Cline made a mold from one many years ago and makes a few new Soda Jerk or cowboy versions each year. This one however is a custom job and the first fireman that Mark has made. If you get a chance, stop by Bell plastics in Hayward, CA for a look!
El Monte Muffler Man Moves to TN
A few months back, I heard that the El Monte Muffler Man in CA, was seen on craigslist. By the time I heard about it, the add had been taken down, but I still listed the info on our for sale page. I had no idea that Shawn Fennel of Four Way Muffler in Gallatin, TN, was keeping close tabs on my posts. He had been wanting a Muffler Man for his shop, and finally found his opportunity. The giant was purchased and hauled to TN, where Shawn waisted no time in setting it up. He told me that the Tennessee Titans are going to paint him, and he also would like to add a Uniroyal Gal to his collection. His Muffler Man is one of the rare golfer versions made, there are 3 left that I know of. Back in March I was contacted by a visitor to this website, that remembers the giant when it stood in Monrovia, CA at Three Oaks Golf and Slide. It was purchased from International Fiberglass in the 60’s, and it is believed the giant stood at Three Oaks until it’s closing in 1975. At that time it was moved to El Monte. Shawn still has the giants hat, but threw away the golf club because it had deteriorated beyond repair. It is the first time the giant has not worn his hat, so you can get a glimpse of original hair color on the top of his head, almost making the giant look like he is wearing a bandana around the top of his head. This will all be fixed during painting.
Muffler Men From The Air
American Giants went out in early October for the first time with a drone. Up till now we have been using a go pro on a pole to get our unique shots. This last week we took it to a whole new level and started using a drone for the shots. The perspective from the air adds a whole new dimension to shooting Muffler Men. With the drone we can see angles of the Muffler Men not previously visible and also get a better look at where they are located. For example, we were able to fly up to a Viking in Bangor, MI that is not easily assessable to the general public. We still got permission of course! Prepare to start seeing more unique shots on American Giants.
Big John Grocery Bag Restoration
While filming the Glenn Goode Documentary early this year, Glen gave American Giants 8 giant grocery bags from his 2 Big John statues. These returned home with us and have sat in storage until this week. We have started restoring our first bag and this one will go to fulfill a Kickstarter reward that helped fund the trip and push us over our goal. Many of the bags still have their original groceries intact and these are being restored and repainted in addition to the rest of the bags. We hope to continue restoring each bag and hopefully they will find homes across the country so the public can enjoy them once again and hear the story about Glenn Goode and his giants in Gainesville, TX The Big Johns and the grocery bags currently being restored originated in Southern IL and Northern KY.
Chinqoteague Uniroyal Gal Finally Found
In a Roadside America report on Uniroyal Gals from around 1999, it was mentioned that one may have stood at a mini golf course in Chinqoteague, VA. There was never another tip or report about her so it was assumed maybe she never existed at all. Turns out, the report was true and the golf course whet out of business in the mid 90s and she was thrown into a swamp. Around 1999 some farmers from Kingsville Maryland were trying to get the Viking in town but the owner didn’t want to sell him and told them about the Uniroyal girl in the swamp. They found the owner and purchased her and she has been at Huber’s Farms on their haunted hayride for over 15 years now. They have sold the farm and everything on the hayride and also wanted to sell the girl. They started listing her on craigslist and their Facebook page as far back as 2013 but no one was interested in her. Finally her owners found this website and left a comment about their interest in selling her. Within 1 day they had a message machine full of calls and she was sold the very next day. There are now 13 confirmed original Uniroyal girls left and they are very rare.
Free Time Hobbies Opens in Blue Ridge, GA
It’s been a long journey for the Chicago Mr Bendo Muffler Man but it is finally over. He stood at Ceds Muffler since the 1960s and lost his head and torso during a storm in June 2010. Just his legs stood on the rooftop for the next 4 years until he was purchased by Free Time Hobbies in October of 2014. His missing head and torso were located and the giant was hauled to southern GA for a complete restoration. This week Free Time Hobbies is opening the doors at their brand new store in Blue Ridge, GA and Mr Bendo is now Mr Hobbie, and stands outside holding a P-51 model airplane. If your in the area make sure you stop by and pay them a visit and snap a few pictures of the new Mr Hobbie.
Mt Vernon, IL Uniroyal Gal to join Bruce Kennedy collection
After 64 years of serving the Mt Vernon area, Stan the Tire Man closed it’s doors on the first of June 2015. Stan Koziara opened his tire shop in 1949 and became known as Stan the Tire Man. Sixteen years later he became aware of International Fiberglass and Muffler Men through a colleague at Lauterbach Tire in Springfield IL, who had purchased one of the Bunyan models. Stan ordered a lumberjack and also picked up a Uniroyal Gal, after she was no longer needed by the Uniroyal company. In 1993 Dale Lowery purchased the business and he and his wife took over operations. Both statues stood together for many years at one of the stores until the Bunyan was moved to another location and then sold in 2007. The Uniroyal Gal stood on at the main store until it was announced Stan’s was closing. That’s when Bruce Kennedy from Hayward, CA found out about the gal looking for a new home, and decided she would be a perfect addition to his growing collection of International Fiberglass giants. Within a few weeks she will begin her journey out west to the state where she came from.
Above picture was taken on 6-15-15, just before removal and shipping.
American Giants Season 1 DVD Release
After a lot of hard work here at American Giants we are finally in the final stage of releasing the entire Season 1 on DVD. Hard work went into creating the DVD Menus and including special features like outtakes and promos we have done for other projects. Season 1 will be a 2 disk set with disk 1 featuring all 10 episodes and disk 2 featuring all the special features. The first people to receive the DVDs will be those that helped fund our Mortons Gap Kickstarter and as soon as we have finished the DVD duplication process we will be sending out all rewards for that Kickstarter. Thanks again everyone for your help!
Glenn Goode Documentary Filmed
It has been a desire of mine for a few years now to get the Glenn Goode Story on film. After recently hearing that Glenn had erected his last giant and was going to hang up his hat making fiberglass giants, I decided now was the time. American Giants launched a quick Kickstarter to fund the trip and filming and thanks to many of you we were able to meet our goal! Within a few weeks we were able to meet up with Glenn and sit down with him for over an hour as he told us the entire story of his giants and how he got each one. We hope to release the documentary in the fall of 2016 and want to thank all of our supporters and fans!
Sadly just one month after our visit Glenn Goode passed away on March 24, 2015. In his will he specified that his giants remain where they stand for 5 years before being sold or moved to another location. Glenn’s family wants us to continue in our plans to edit and make the documentary we shot in January.
Steppin Out Cowboy steps out again
A few years ago I wrote about the fallen cowboy in Wynnewood, OK that stood at Steppin Out Western Store. He blew over in a December 2011 storm and when I visited him he was on the ground in pieces. Last week we stopped by to see him again and found him looking much better back on his feet. He no longer stands on the giant shipping container but now has found a spot on the concrete slab where the former sign stood. He has a bunch of other fiberglass animals as company and once again greets passing motorists on I-35.
Metropolis Big John Loses an Arm
Around Aug 23, 2014 the right arm of the Big John statue in Metropolis fell off. Big Johns are not Muffler Men but come from the same era. The giant statues were made starting in 1967 for the Big John grocery store chain. About 15 of the giants were produced and 9 of them can still be found today. Southern IL has two giants that still stand at Big Johns grocery stores. Apparently the Metropolis Big John only had a 47 year shelf life and it appears his right arm simply fell off, taking two of the 4 giant grocery bags with it. A staff member in the deli department informed me that the arm and grocery bag were destroyed in the 17 foot fall. She did not know if there were any plans to restore the giant.
Special thanks to Jessica Wilkes for snapping this photo and sharing it with me. In June 2015 the statue was restored and reinstalled at Big Johns with a new arm configuration.
Mortons Gap KY Muffler Man Restoration
We are going to try again with the Mortons Gap Restoration Kickstarter. Although I was really excited to see the support we got in our initial kickstarter, sadly it wasn’t enough to meet our $4,500 goal. I had budgeted for a bunch of travel to film and transport the giant as well as some much needed fiberglass repair. With kickstarter try #2 we are going to shoot for a more reasonable goal but will have to cut back a bit with rewards and mostly the fiberglass repair. We will simply repaint the giant and attach the new arms and head and set him back up. We are going to set our new goal around $1,500 and I am going to try to do more advertising for the kickstarter. I want to thank everyone who was behind us on the first one and encourage you do help us on this second time around! Kickstarter will launch September 7, 2014.
Update from Panama!
I recently asked by friends at Digital Paradigm to look for the long lost Panama Muffler Man while they were filming in Panama City. Tonight they sent back the first pictures of the prostrate giant that we have seen in years. They found him in pieces and on the ground. They discovered he is going to be put back up in the near future and the Digital Paradigm film crew is going to take some time to go shoot and document the event for a future American Giants episode. Although we have yet to learn much of his history they did tell me that he was flown down to Panama in the 60’s or 70’s in a military tanker aircraft. Nice to know he is still around, interestingly he is one of the rare bow tie versions that International Fiberglass made.
American Giants Update
As you may have noticed the blog has got quite the last few weeks. We’ve got Episode #9 still in the post production process as well as a Kickstarter we are about to launch all waiting in the wings. In November 2013 I had the privilege of going over to Israel on a DVD project (not affiliated with Muffler Men) and I am currently on deadline to get this edited and produced. So I have cleared the table for the last few weeks of anything but this work project and hope to have it finished in another 2 weeks or so. At that time I will continue with Episode #9 and our trip to Dodge City last summer and the Dennis Hopper Muffler Men. Just want to thank everyone for their patience in waiting for Episode #9 especially Summer Bates, Eddie Estes and Jeff Thorpe who have been waiting for months for this episode! I’m looking forward to getting back into the Muffler Man world. Joel Baker
Flint, MI Half Wit on the move
For over 10 years the Flint, MI Half Wit has stood at at the Dort Mall. During his time there he even enjoying a bit of stardom during his brief appearance in the Will Ferrell film “Semi-Pro” in 2008. However in January 2014 the giant was sold to Bruce Kennedy of Hayward, CA and the Half Wit will soon join the 3 other Muffler Men of Bell Plastics. This will be Bruce’s forth Muffler Man and all he needs now is an indian to complete his collection and perhaps one of the rare waving giants. This half wit has had an interesting history and first appeared in International Fiberglass advertising standing in front of a business in Kansas City where he remained until was moved to Flint in the late 90’s. Next week American Giants will intercept the Half Wit and get some rare footage and the scoop of just how a Muffler Man is transported across the country. Keep your eye on the blog for developments. I also want to encourage everyone to keep following along on our social media outlets for lots of updates and pictures of our adventures.
American Giants News for Jan/Feb 2014
December was a very busy work month for me and the website slowed down a bit but things are picking up again. On Jan 7 I was featured on the Ray Carr show for an interview covering Muffler Men and it went very well. On Jan 20 we will be posting the entire radio interview on our website and it will be put to video. So not only can you listen to the radio interview but you can see footage for everything Ray and I talked about. We also are making efforts to take advantage of social media and American Giants is now on Tumbler and Instagram as well as youtube, facebook and twitter. Be sure and follow us on these as well as this blog so you get updates every time we post. Sometimes I will post content on one but not the others so it’s a good idea to follow all of them. Our big event in Feb will be the release of American Giants Episode #9 on the 5th. This will be a big episode and I may have to split it into to parts. You won’t want to miss it as the crew travels to Dodge City to check out the Dennis Hopper Muffler Men.
Joel to be a guest on the Ray Carr Show
Joel has has been asked to do a live interview on the Ray Carr Show sometime in January. The Cleveland based radio show airs on WCSB 89.3, a public broadcast station that is affiliated with Cleveland State University. The show is a mix of comedy and education. The hosts love Americana, and listeners enjoy it as well. They are known for mixing retro and Americana music, entertainment and more. A myriad of Authors and experts have been on their program and you can hear many of these interviews on the archives page of their website. The interview will be on Tuesday January 7 at 7:30 AM EST. Joel will be talking about Muffler Men and his many discoveries.
Matt and Kim Post American Giants
Bo’s favorite band Matt and Kim posted about American Giants on Thursday afternoon 12-12-13 at their facebook page. The result was some record breaking traffic for the American Giants website and hopefully more awareness about Muffler Men. Kim encouraged those who enjoy road trips to check us out and over 2,000 people did just that. Hopefully in the long run this will result in more viewers for our youtube series as well as tips and history on the many Muffler Men still out there. Thanks to Kim for posting the link and to Bo for letting them know about American Giants. I am currently editing Episode #8 and it will be released later this week. It will conclude our Chicago trip and the episode will center on the Frankenstein Muffler Man. You can check out all American Giants episodes here.
American Giants to visit Arcadia, FL
We are planning a trip to Arcadia in search of an Indian muffler man that was spotted there as yearly as the 1970’s. He stood at Peace River Campgrounds with a missing right arm until August 2004 when Hurricane Charlie took the rest of him down. He has been off the charts for almost 10 years now but we hope to find him and learn more about his possible restoration. We will also be searching for the long lost Uniroyal Gal last seen in Ocoee, FL ten years ago as well as a few other long lost muffler men. I’ll post a blog update of our findings before the end of the year and hopefully we can all catch a glimpse of an indian that has been hiding for a long time.
This trip was a success and we were able to locate the long lost indian Full Story
Muffler Men reappear at Ortley Beach
For all muffler men inthusiests the big question after Hurricane Sandy devastated the east coast was “what happened to the muffler men”. Myself and others watched news footage hoping for a glimps of a toothy grin from a half wit or perhaps a prone Bunyan. Finally we are starting to see pictures and hear the stories of the muffler men in that area and I thought I would share one story here on the news page about the m man at Barnacle Bill’s . He is finally back up on a restored mini golf course after hard work and sacrifice by his owners. You’ll want to take a minute or two to watch this video. Also thanks to Debra Jane Seltzer and RoadsideArchitecture.com for the use of the picture she snapped pre hurricane.
Muffler Man Back on the Map!
After years in storage by the original owner a Bunyan has finally ventured out into daylight again after all these years. I have yet to learn the exact history on this Muffler Man but he may be the same one I had listed in my “For Sale” section a few months ago. He was purchased along with a giant Santa (also made by I.F.) by Bruce the owner of Bell Plastics and the Bunyan will join his two other muffler men located in Hayward, CA. Hayward now has one of the largest collections of muffler men in the state and represents a few different versions of muffler men. Bell Plastics also just started producing muffler men bobble heads that resemble their muffler men and those can be purchased on location or online. Check out Roadside America’s recent report on the new addition in Hayward.
American Giants visits LA
This last weekend I had the privilege of meeting two very important people in the muffler man world. First off Debra Jane Seltzer who I have been in contact with for almost two years. Debra Jane runs RoadsideArchitecture.com and she has been snapping pictures of everything from signs to muffler men since about 2001. I found her site early on in my searches and ever since making contact we have done nothing but share information on our findings. She has also contributed greatly to this website helping me with the blog editing as well as provided photographs for some of the episodes. It was great to finally meet her in person. I also was able to meet Terry Nelson this weekend, former painter for International Fiberglass and he personally painted many of the muffler men and fiberglass animals that still are scattered across America. He worked for International Fiberglass from 1968 till they closed up shop around 1972. Meeting him and having a look at some of his personal pictures from those days shed light on questions I have had for years. Although I had heard rumor of it I found out that Waffle House definitely had muffler men on the roof of some of their businesses at one point in time. I also learned that Big Boys, the carpet giants and what we call today pioneer men were all made by International Fiberglass! In fact, International Fiberglass is responsible for most of the fiberglass animals I still see scattered across the country. In addition to all that they made giant fiberglass tires and a bunch of 10′ giants that Debra dubbed “the professionals”. Very few of these are left today and I only know of 3 of them, one in LA, NY and FL. It seems most of them pictured here with owner Steve Dashew were all sold together to one buyer and have not been seen since! As time goes on I will continue to share my findings from my talks with Terry and Debra as I continue to add to this website. Thank you to Terry Nelson for providing the picture of “the professionals” and Debra for the shot of Terry and I.
New Duds for a California M Man
There has been some concern in recent months as to what would happen to the Golfer Muffler Man that has stood alongside the freeway in Carson California since the 60’s. What used to be a golf course has now been transformed into a huge field of dirt as construction starts on a new Porche test track. The only thing not torn down was thankfully the muffler man and it seems the new owners of the property have an understanding of his value. Last week I was able to accompany Terry Nelson who used to work at International Fiberglass and painted the golfer, out to the lot to get some pictures of the M Man in his new clothes. Terry seemed surprised at how fast the transition was made to a new outfit and we quickly released why the change had literally been made overnight. The new clothes are not painted on but they are an actual suit that has been zipped up around this guy and made to fit. His golf club has been replaced with a racing flag and about the only thing they let him keep was his hat. Thanks to Debra Jane Seltzer for snapping this picture of us.
American Giants and Mark Cline to Rehead a Muffler Man
This is very early on in the planning process but I wanted to break the news that American Giants has a really cool project lined up for this fall. You may remember back in February I posted about my #26 sighting in rural Kentucky about a 15ft version muffler man that was without a head and arms. I try to stop in at least once a year to say hi to the owners and their donkeys who keep the muffler man company in his pasture. They always ask me if I have found a head for their giant and the answer is always the same sad “no”. Well all that changed when American Giants got together with Mark Cline and decided to surprise the owners with a new head and arms for their giant! Normally we would document and film the unfolding of the story and show you in an episode but we need your help! The A.G. team will be in North Carolina for much of the month of October and a quick side trip up to Enchanted Castle Studios is now in the plans. We will meet Mark Cline and film his work on the arms and head and then when they are complete we will transport them back to KY to surprise the owner of the headless Bunyan. Sadly last October she lost her husband and we are excited to be able to fill his wish of finding a head for his giant. I will be making a promo video to announce this special episode and fundraiser but we need your help. Although Mark has given us a discount because of the situation, his time and fiberglass parts don’t come for free and from this post on all donations American Giants receive will go %100 towards this special project. When it’s all over we will show the entire story in an episode that will start with the idea and end with the re-heading of the Mortons Gap muffler man. A video and Blog post should be out within a week. Gifts of any size are appreciated and you can visit our “get involved” page to learn more about donating. Joel Baker
Episode #5 Released!
After some long hours Episode #5 is finally edited and up on youtube. Before episodes are released on youtube I send them out to a handful of people to get feedback and make sure I got as many facts correct as possible. It’s a great opportunity to catch things I may have missed and get another opinion on the episode. Bo, Neto and myself always sit down and watch the episode before it’s released and chat for a good half hour about what we liked, didn’t like and what can be improved on. Episode #5 covers some very unique muffler men and we were able to trace some of their history thanks to websites like Roadside America and others. I also took some time to talk about Adventurland, the theme park that used to stand in the 60’s and 70’s in Addison, IL. We take a look at some old pictures of their muffler men and even find the ruins of the park and do some more searching.
American Giants Visits Cherokee
We had the chance to stop in Cherokee recently and get some shots of the Indian in Cherokee, NC. He stands at the Indian Ink Tattoo Studio and has been here since the 70’s. Before that he stood in Florida along with 5 other indian muffler men. We are still in the process of researching his history and trying to find out what happened to his friends. We will mention him in a future episode along with the other muffler men in the North Carolina area. His face mask of feathers is starting to fall apart and restoration of the giant is in this muffler mans future.
Entire Episode #4 Released
Episode #4 initially was not shown in it’s full entirety due to some complications at the time. However I have opened up the link for you to view the entire episode on youtube. The second part of the episode covers our trip to Wilmington, IL and what is known as the Gemini Giant, one of the few space men that International Fiberglas made. The episode can also be viewed in it’s entirety from our “Episodes” section on this website. Sorry for the delay and thanks for watching American Giants!
American Giants Episode #4 watch now
Web Site Updating for American Giants
Since I have started this site I have learned a thing or two about posting blogs and pictures. Sometimes I look back at my early posts and see a real need for updates, more pictures and a better lay out. I also started linking many things so you can click on something that interests you and go to that section on my website or another website on the internet. Many of my early posts don’t have this feature and I also have learned allot since the early days and many of my blogs need to simply be updated with new facts. So I am planning a gradual cleaning and updating of this site. It will include a better layout in each blog and more pictures. Time is always the problem in these ventures and I am still need to get the google map up and running as well. The good news is, Episode #4 comes out tomorrow!
Pigeon Forge Pioneer Man
American Giants got to stop by Pigeon Forge, TN recently and visit one of the remaining “Pioneer Men” that still stands there at a defunct mini golf course. While preparing for the recent post on Pioneer Man we visited a few in the North Carolina area and the one in Pigeon Forge was on the list. He has been standing here for many years now and his age is starting to show. At one time he looked like a pirate and held a cutlass in his raised right hand while his left hand reached for a knife in his belt. The handle of the cutlass is still visible today but the rest of it is long gone. He is the standing version of Pioneer Man and is about the only statue still visible at the closed mini golf course. The other items are buried and covered in years of weeds and plant growth that has overtaken the park.
New Muffler Man at Fox Cave
The muffler man at Fox Cave in Glencoe, NM is finally up and standing after his journey from Virginia. Not long ago I wrote about Mark Cline and Enchanted Castle studios and his link to muffler men. One of his latest cowboy creations has completed the journey across the states and now greets visitors at Fox Cave. Mark got his hands on the smaller 15 ft version of muffler men years ago and since then has produced soda jerks and cowboys from a mold he cast of the giant.
He’s turned out a few new ones this year in his studio and I want to thank Vince Kranz for sending in this picture of the new installation in Glencoe and Mark for the shots he has shared of the making and painting of the cowboy before it shipped out. So for all you muffler men fans out there, Fox Cave is now officially a muffler man location.
A visit to Waxahachie, TX
I was able to get away for an afternoon on a recent business trip to Dallas and visit the “indian” muffler man in Waxahachie, TX. I have been very busy the last month with work and sadly the web site has reflected that fact. So it was nice to get out an do some muffler man hunting this week. I visited the site on June 7, 2011 and found the place under construction and the indian gone and this is the first chance I have had to return since he has been set back up. Extreme Autobody has done an amazing job in his restoration and he’s one of the nicest muffler men out there that I have seen. He stands in the end zone for the Waxahachie Indians and has been here since 1985. After looking at him closely have concluded that not only is he NOT an indian version but he possibly has standard arm config at one point in time. He has an indian headdress mask over his face to make him look like an indian but the view from behind shows him to have a standard muffler man head. Before coming here he stood at an auto part store in town and was originally either a cowboy or service man version. If you have any info or old pictures of this guy please write me.
American Giants In The News
American Giants was mentioned in Hutchinson’s Hutchnews.com in an article that came out Saturday July 27. Our crew met Greg Holmes and his muffler man head in Wichita on the tail end of our Dodge City trip earlier this month. After the shoot with us his local paper wrote an article on Greg, his muffler man head and also his visit with AG. Even though it’s only the top 44 inches of a muffler man, Greg not only owns a unique piece of roadside architecture but is also trying to piece the missing pieces of it’s history together. When he met up with our crew he was very interested in trying to find out if International Fiberglass possibly sold heads by themselves. Although they may have I believe Greg’s muffler man head once was attached to a body and after looking at it closely we think it may have come from a former Mr Bendo. One day Greg hopes to get the rest of the story. We had a great visit with him and enjoyed a few “firsts”, be sure to check out his behind the scenes video. I plan to post the story of our visit with Greg on the blog within the next month or so and the trip will also appear in American Giants episode #7 (check episode page for dates).
American Giants Visits an Air Show
I have always enjoyed airplanes so I took a bit of time off from muffler men last week to shoot and edit an air show promo in Marion, IL. The Commemorative Air Force flew up from Midland Texas and put on a great static and air display at the Williamson County Airport in Southern Illinois. On display was one of the only flying B-29 Superfortress as well as a B-25, B-24, AT-6 and a P-51. These birds are making their rounds across the country this year, hope you get to see them and come out and support these guys and what they do. Ok, back to muffler men…..
American Giants Episode #3
We are getting ready to release Episode #3 in the American Giants series. I’ve spent the last few days filming all new interviews with the crew that cover the rest of the giants on route 66 and in Chicago. The next 2 or 3 episodes will cover and wrap up our first muffler man trip made last summer up route 66 and the many muffler men that live in the Chicago area. After that we are excited to start editing our trip to Dodge City and the Dennis Hopper muffler men which should be episode #6. However first things first, the next episode will pick up the trail in Atlanta, IL and we will find out the history of the hotdog holding bunyan there as well as visit the Uniroyal Girl in Peoria and possibly even the Gemini Giant will make it into this episode. The episode will be released July 31 and Episode #4 is slated to be released August 29 and then Episode #5 on September 16.
Fort Dodge Road Trip
American Giants is excited to announce a road trip this coming weekend to Dodge City Kansas. We have been invited out for the the 3i convention where the Dennis Hopper muffler men will be on display. We will feature this road trip and the Dennis Hopper giants in an upcoming episode along with their story and interviews with their current owners. Along with the Dennis Hopper m men we will also visit muffler men in Witchita, KS and Aline, OK as well as a unique stop in Hutchinson. If you are going to be in the area this is a great opportunity to see the Dennis Hopper muffler men as well as visit with the American Giants crew, I’ll be more then happy to talk with all muffler men enthusiasts while at the convention. We hope to see some of our regular visitors to this site there at the 3i convention on Friday July 12, 1:00-5:00 pm
Missouri Muffler Man Trip
American Giants just returned from a 1 day shoot in Missouri. We covered 600 miles and 10 hours driving time and that left us about 6 to shoot . Our first stop was at my #25 sighting in Foristell, MO. We reshot the giant with a better camera and also got some interviews this time around. Then we headed over to Lake of the Ozarks to visit two muffler men that have been on my list for a long time now. They
are actually owned by two different business’s and were brought here in the 60’s, the indian being ordered shortly after the half wit. Recently the half wit has been taken down for restoration and replacement farther down the street. We were able to have a nice chat with the owner’s of Summer USA who own the giant and we were also able gather history not only on the half wit but the area where he stood. We will feature this trip in a future episode of American Giants. Our third stop of the day was to visit a muffler man that has never been reported on. He was spotted by a visitor to this blog who told me about it and we followed up with a trip out there to check him out. The muffler man was a custom job reportedly made originally for a water park in California. He has custom boots, hat and head and is one of a kind. He is on private property and sadly not for public display but the owner hopes to get him up one day and we’ll let you know when that happens. This muffler man has the same kind of head that can be found on the waving man that I.F. made. This head is what should be on Glen Good’s giants down in TX. It was a long day but well worth the effort and we came home with some great content and stories.
Visit to Aloha Oregon
I got to pay a quick visit to Aloha Oregon on June 20 and stopped by Harvey Marine to see one of the four remaining Texaco Big Friends. This was my second visit to a big friend so I am half way to seeing them all. They call him Harvey and his original head has been replaced with a rabbits head. Story goes Texaco brought him in to be repaired but never picked him back up because while he was at the shop the Big Friend program was shut down and all big friends were supposedly destroyed. After a few years they set him up at their store and during his early days he had his original head. Pictures of him during those days are very rare but I was able to get a copy of one of them during my visit and for the first time get a glimpse of how he used to look shortly after his departure from Texaco. To this day the location of that original head is a mystery and not even the owner remembers what he did with it.
Tentative East Coast Muffler Man Trip
As the first season of American Giants slowly emerges we are getting a better idea of how to shoot and edit these episodes. The first season was not really shot with episodes in mind to the extent that we have taken it. So we thought a new trip would be in order for upcoming season with more footage, more interviews and of coarse more muffler men. The 3 of us, myself, Bo and Neto would like once again to hit the road and this time cover over 25 muffler men up the east coast from Roanoke to Main. We would like to visit Mark Cline at Enchanted Castle Studio’s, see the pirate at Ocean City, look for that reported Uniroyal Gal in Chincoteague, VA and check up on the muffler men in Seaside Heights, NJ that recently weathered hurricane Sandy. A trip this size is a bit out of my personal budget like the last one so we have decided to turn to Kick Starter for some help. We are doing our best to keep this budget really low (under $4,000) in order to achieve our goal and bring you more episodes. I will update soon on dates and links to the kickstarted page when we get it going.
Episode #1 Released
Work on the first episode of American Giants is complete. Finally at long last we have completed and released the first episode of the series “American Giants” The episode covers the details of how muffler men got their name as myself and two of my friends head north in the state of IL near old route 66 in pursuit of muffler men. We discover the soda jerk in Macon and learn about it’s connection to the shorter muffler men that International Fiberglass built. This episode has been a long time in the making and I just want to thank everyone who was involved for your help. Big thanks to the guys at Roadside America for helping me get my facts right and for what they started so many years ago. Also to Debra Jane Seltzer for all her help and countless e-mails in helping me in my research and also for the use of many of her pictures she has taken on her travels. Both websites appear in the sidebar blogroll, be sure and check them out. The episode runs 15min and because it was the first one we needed a bit more time to lay some foundation. Future episodes will run closer to 8-10 minutes in length and now that the groundwork is done there should be a new one every 3 to 4 weeks.
Spring 2013 Muffler Man Trip
In other news the 2013 spring muffler man road trip was a big success with 15 muffler men visited and allot of interviews and history gathered across 5 states and Canada. We were able to visit the Wabeno muffler man during his restoration process and get a behind the scenes look at how these guys are restored when they are damaged. By now he should be back up and standing in the city park in Wabeno, WI. I was also able to visit some indians in Indiana and filled in some more details to their past lives both having roots in Northern Indiana. They are my #96 and #97 sightings so it will be a bit before they hit the blog. I have a heavy work load this coming week (May 20-24) which again pushes the editing back but progress was made this past week with stock music purchases and more editing completed.