THE STORY BEHIND CONVOY:
In 1972, while working for the Omaha advertising firm of Bozell
Jacobs, Bill Fries along with Chip Davis created a television campaign for
the Old Home Bread brand of the Metz Baking Company. He created the character
C.W. McCall a trucker who was a frequent patriant of the Old Home Cafe. Other
characters like his wife Mavis, dog Sloan. When the tv commercials became
popular, in June 1974 MGM signed Bill & Chip Davis, they produced songs
based after the commercials like Old Home Fill-er Up An' Keep On A-Truckin'
Café which was released on the
Wolf Creek Pass
Album in 1975.
Bill began writing a 3:48 song based on his views of the truckers life in the 1970's including the 55 mph speed limit, gas crisis and of course once seeing a "CONVOY" of trucks. A full album "Black Bear Road" and feature single "CONVOY" were released on December 6, 1975 and hit #1 on U.S. Charts January 10, 1976 which sold ten million copies in two months. Bill began making appearences on such variety shows as The Mike Douglas Show and the Johnny Carson Show.
A book/screen play was written by B.W.L Norton which told the story of independent trucker Rubber Duck who became engaged in a vendetta with a local abusive Sheriff "Dirty" Lyle Wallace between Arizona and Texas. Duck was joined by a other trucks forming a mile long convoy while being chased Lyle and the state police. The convoy gain public support as well as alledged political support with the New Mexico Governor which is later discovered "used for political gain". The convoy and chase ends with a showdown between Duck, in his big black mack tanker, Lyle with military and state police which results in was has been called "one of the most explosive scenes ever filmed".
The origional script was apparently too what I read as disney like so its stated in books on director Sam Peckinpah that he re-wrote most of the script to be much more aggresive and anti-political. Recently(2002) it was discovered that Peckinpah filmed over 4 hrs of film and went well over budget. EMI films took over filming rights and editted the movie down to 106 min. According to books about Peckinpah the movie grossed $45 Million, while surrounded by movie block busters such as Grease, Superman, Close Encounters and Heaven Can Wait. The movie was seen in the early 1980's on HBO and released on VHS by Thorn EMI (later HBO Home Video) in 1986(Turner Broadcasting purchased the MGM/UA movie library), went out of print in 1990, but re-released by Warner Bros in 1996.