Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Contrabando Movie Set

If you ever visit the Big Bend area of Texas you can't help but notice the landscape.  It looks desolate and deserted and like it's exactly the kind of place you'd see cowboys going about their cowboy type business.  You'd also expect to happen upon an authentic, abandoned Mexican village.

But you won't find one.  However, you will find a fake abandoned Mexican village.  Hollywood producers also noticed the picturesque scenery and built a few "Western type" buildings for the 1986 film Uphill All the Way (starring, amongst others, Roy Clark, Mel Tillis, Burl Ives and Glen Campbell).

Sadly the film doesn't seem to be on DVD so I can't get any screen captures to show you.  But a perfectly good movie set in a perfectly suited environment was too tempting for other producers because a slew of other westerns have been filmed there too.

Here's what it looks like:

And here's a similar shot from the 1995 mini-series, and Lonesome Dove sequel, Streets of Laredo:

And a shot from the 2006 mini-series, and Lonesome Dove prequel, Dead Man's Walk (which has the absolutely bizarre casting choice of David Arquette in the Robert Duvall role):

And here's a view from the other side from the 2001 film The Journeyman:

The main highlight of the little town is the church:

Which, of course, you can see in Dead Man's Walk:

It can also be seen (as well as most of the rest of the town) in the music video for the Brooks and Dunn song My Maria:

The building in the background is sometimes used as a saloon or cantina:

Like it was in the 1993 TV movie Rio Diablo (starring Kenny Rogers in a non-Gambler Western role):

But it has also been used as the offices of a mining company in The Journeyman:

So the next time you are watching a Western, and there's a scene that takes place in a small village, take a closer look to see if you might recognize it.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Elsie Tours Texas

Elsie the Cow is one of the most famous company mascots of all time.  She's spent the last several decades promoting Borden Milk and various dairy products.  She has traveled the country, been awarded degrees, supported troops in multiple conflicts and even tried acting by appearing the 1940 film "Little Men":

 While she's not a native Texan, she currently spends a lot of her time in the Lone Star State and her Facebook page lists Dallas as her current residence.  Her and her son Beauregard continue to make appearances across the country but they seem to love showing up to Texas events the most, like the annual Children's Parade in downtown Dallas:

Or the annual Candlelight at Old City Park event:

But one of her most popular visits happens every year at the State Fair of Texas.  A few years ago we shot some video of her appearance and her story:

You may have noticed that she has quite a set up and an entourage.  It takes a lot of effort to prepare for an Elsie appearance as you can see from this video we shot a few years ago at the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo:

So the next time you are at an even, if you're lucky, you just might get to meet Elsie yourself.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Texas Lottery Goes to the Movies

The most recent release from the Texas Lottery takes advantage of the new Star Trek movie with a series of Trek related tie-in tickets:

The release event brought about a rare Dallas Shatner sighting as an attempt was made to break the world record of the largest gathering of Star Trek costumed fans:

But this isn't the first time the Texas Lottery took a trip to the movies.  Last year they had a selection of Avengers Lottery Tickets:

And in 2008 they had several different Indian Jones tickets including, unfortunately, The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull:

Check the previews to see what's next.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

RIP "Motel Couple $19" Sign

If you've traveled south of Dallas on I-35E, past the Dallas Zoo, you probably noticed the "Motel Couple $19" sign.  The sign always fueled the imagination of passersby as they pondered what type of seediness transpired there and what types of ne're do wells where going about the business of trouble making within the establishment.

While there were probably no romantic tales of double-crossed private eyes or scheming femme fatales at the motel, there were, at the very least, interesting characters afoot drawn to this den of mischief by the sweet siren song of the "Motel Couple $19 Exit Here" sign.

Well, no more.  I got the sad news today that the sign is gone and replaced with a hardly noticeable stand-in:

What it lacks in character it makes up for in blandness.  In fact it's completely easy to drive right past it without any Raymond Chandler-esque thoughts of intrigue.

All we're are left with are the sign's fleeting brushes with celebrity.  It was featured in the fantastic, yet short lived Fox series "The Good Guys":

As well as the season one finale of TNT's Dallas:

Maybe the motel owners felt that "Motel Couple $19" was not the message they wanted to send anymore.  It's all about branding these days.  But when all is said and done, the highway scenery just got a little less interesting.