BOBBY TROUP’S FAVORITE HIGHWAY
There have been many Hollywood actors who, through their movies, helped inspire people to travel. A list of those who have deepened our wanderlust over the years might include:
Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert in “It Happened One Night”
Ben Stiller in “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”
Gael Garcia Bernal as Che Guevara in “The Motorcycle Diaries”
Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn in “Roman Holiday”
And, of course, Burt Reynolds and Sally Fields in “Smokey and the Bandit”
But one actor did more than any of them to open our eyes to the romance of the road: Bobby Troup.
If you’ve never heard of Bobby Troup or can’t picture his face, you’re not alone. He was a character actor in the 1950s through the ‘80s whose career was made up of supporting roles and one-episode appearances in dozens of popular TV shows, from “77 Sunset Strip” to “Big Valley” to “The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries.”
He probably wasn’t all that memorable as a character; he played three different roles in three episodes of “Perry Marson” (including one named Bongo White in “The Case of the Missing Melody”) and played five different people in five episodes of “Dragnet 67.” His two greatest achievements as an actor, apparently, are appearing in 126 episodes of “Emergency!” as Dr. Joe Early; and second, marrying actress Julie London, his gorgeous co-star on “Emergency!”
Troup wasn’t in any movies that involved travel or wanderlust. With the exception of roles on “Fantasy Island” and in the movie “MASH,” the characters Troup played almost never left California. So how is it that this actor did more for the romance of travel than any other?
Troup was also a songwriter, and on a 10-day cross-country trip from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, to Hollywood, two things happened: his 1941 Buick went through 75 quarts of motor oil; and second, he wrote the song “Route 66.”
By the end of the trip, which included Highway 40 and a large portion of Highway 66, he was pretty much finished with the lyrics to the best-known road-trip anthem in American history.
In the book “Route 66: The Highway and Its People” by Susan Croce Kelly, Troup said he wanted to make the song about Highway 40, but his then wife Cynthia blurted out “Get your kicks, on Route 66.”
He put the final touches on the song after they arrived in Los Angeles, using a map to find the right names.
Years later, Troup said: QUOTE “I wasn’t aware of what a great lyric I had written. I do remember it was possibly the worst road I’d ever taken in my life.” ENDQUOTE
QUAFF LIKE AN EGYPTIAN
It’s safe to say that beer has become a big thing in travel and tourism, not so much while behind the wheel, but in the sense that nearly every reasonably sized city in the U.S. likes to claim it has a thriving craft-brew or microbrewery scene.
There is no shortage of independent brewers and brewpubs that offer tasting flights, growlers to go, and all manner of styles from English Oatmeal Stout to a Belgian Fruit Lambic. What they don’t have is a facility that was producing beer before Stonehenge existed.
In February 2021, archaeologists announced they uncovered a beer-making site in Abydos, Egypt, that was churning out suds more than 5,000 years ago, at least a century before the druids (or aliens) laid the first slab for Stonehenge, and roughly 3,100 years before the birth of Pliny the Elder, the famous Roman author and namesake of one of the more sought-after craft beers in modern times.
Experts estimate the brewery dates back to King Narmer, who founded the First Dynasty and is considered to have unified Egypt, according to the BBC. Details about Narmer are sketchy, in part because he might have had multiple names and multiple royal logos, but the recent discovery reveals a new side of the king — he liked his beer. And lots of it.
The brewery at Abydos includes 8 large sections that are 65-feet-long, each with about 40 pots for heating grain and water for beer, according to Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities. The brewery could put out about 5,900 U.S. gallons per batch.
Researchers believe the beer was used QUOTE “in royal burial rituals for Egypt’s earliest kings,” Reuters reported, although 5,900 gallons sounds less like a royal burial ritual and more like a really good Irish wake.
Abydos, one of the oldest and most important sites for ancient Egyptian ruins, is where many of the earliest kings were entombed, and is the location of the Temple of Seti the First, which is notable for having what archaeologists say is ancient Phoenician and Aramaic graffiti on the walls.
While most of it has been translated, we like to think some portion of the graffiti is actually a billboard that says “Abydos Light: The beer kings are dying for.”
Marketing campaigns for airlines tend to be hit or miss. Trying to convince fliers to hop on your brand of cramped metal tube in the sky requires a bit of finesse, some subtle nuance. Or you could do what Air New Zealand does and just have fun.
The airline has a reputation for being able to make fun of itself, of the country and of flying in general, often in their onboard safety videos, which have featured in-flight instructions from the national rugby team the All-Blacks, characters from “Lord of the Rings,” Sports Illustrated bikini models and, of course, comic actress Betty White, who was 91 years old at the time.
Even with that reputation, it was still a surprise in 2008 when Air New Zealand put out a call for people willing to be “brand ambassadors” for the airline. The only requirements: You had to actually like the airline and, well, you had to be bald.
The airline wanted people who were already bald or willing to shave their hair to get a tattoo on the back of their heads with the ad QUOTE “Need A Change? Head Down to New Zealand” and the airlines website. About 30 people came forward, men and women, to be “cranial billboards,” according to the New York Times, for which they received either a round-trip ticket to New Zealand or $777 in cash.
One participant, a San Francisco resident who was born in New Zealand, told the Times that he got about 40 questions a day from strangers about the tattoo. Many more people just looked at him funny.
To answer the big question: no, the tattoos were not permanent. The advertisement, written in henna, was expected to fade after a couple of weeks.
California participant Terry Gardner, whose brother called the cops because he thought she was having a mental breakdown when she shaved her head, told the Times that people frequently asked if the tattoo was permanent.
Her response: QUOTE “… ‘Are you kidding?’ I might be crazy, but I’m not nuts.” ENDQUOTE
Photos: Egyptian tomb art scanned from The Oxford encyclopedia of ancient Egypt;