'33 World's Fair
Pres. & Displays
Johns ( uniform)
Roberts Cathedral Cruiser
|Dear Mr. Mayton:
Vic Garske sent me a copy of your May 12 (1999) letter to him with respect to the
Futurliner restoration project. I enjoyed your letter and am pleased that a Futurliner
will be restored for the Auburn Museum and will be original. Although, when traveling, the
jimmy-six was close to inadequate, so I can seen why one would opt to re-power. I was on the Parade from January 1954 to the summer of 1955. I was then transferred to
Previews of Progress and after 15 months, I moved into the central office in Detroit and
worked in Public Relations and Community Relations under John Daneke. I worked LA and San
Francisco Motoramas while with Previews. In Boston, in 1958, I met my wife, who was
assigned to me to prepare special invitations to Bostons Select for the opening
night free food, booze and the show. Things went fine except for the loss of a few
key names and that made my future at GM limited. Mr. Bill Hamilton of Public
Relations gave me the bad news.
I resigned in 1959 after marrying and, as my bride was from London, UK, we went over
there for me to meet her family and friends and also to spend a few weeks traveling in
Europe. While in Austria, my wife suffered morning sickness and a trip to a doctor back in
London confirmed that we were to be blessed. That blessing is now 39 and mother of 4.
(Another daughter arrived in 1963.)
I did a few undistinguished things before joining the National Safety Council in
Chicago and retiring in 1992 at age 65 after 31 years. We moved to Elgin to be near out
daughters and their families. We still fly the pond to visit my wifes homeland every
2 years. I really love England, its villages, old churches, scenic countryside and
Chicago is great too.
PARADE OF PROGRESS
For a while I was a "lecturer" on a Futurliner
exhibit called the "Story of Friction." I never drove a Futurliner and had no
hand in the maintenance of the exhibit or Liner. We had a crew of people for that. Some of
who were good vehicle mechanics. I was then shifted to "Old Scout," our circa
1903 curved-dash Olds, where I told its story to the crowd and started it. (Damned thing
often kicked, whacking my hand or wrist if I wasnt quick to get clear.) Then I made
it to the tent show a thousand seats with stage where we regaled the crowd about
the wonders of science with our underlying message the goodness and greatness of
mighty GM. We always had a full array of shiny new GM cars near the tent, along with some
"dream cars" as part of the presentation. We had the 1st Corvette too
and I got to take it out one afternoon. It would do 0-60 in 10 not bad, for the
time but nothing like todays Corvettes. Lots of stares! Had a 150 hp, 3-carb Chevy
six with powerglide.
We moved each week to a new city, usually one with a GAM plant. So we donned our work
uniforms, packed up, hit the road to the new town, paraded down its main drag and on to
the show grounds. We traveled in convoy, the director and assistant director leading in
big red Caddie convertibles, then the Futurliners, all 12 in a row, then the semis that
carried the tent, chairs, baggage, powerplant, etc., then the lesser vehicles. We always
attracted lots of attention. PR usually set up an official greeting by the mayor or other
local dignitaries, marching bands often lead us through the main part of town. I drove the
baggage semi. We each had a big steamer trunk.
We would set up the show, then hold an opening night event to include local big shots
and GM executives from the area plants. In major GM towns, execs from Detroit often would
fly in. I was not comfortable doing the tent show when the "Big Boys" were out
front. Fortunately, it didnt happen often because they usually assigned their best
lecturers. I usually only assisted, but was assigned to open 2 or 3 times. I had a Hoosier
farm-boy accent, but was tall and decent looking, which didnt hurt.
We had some disasters well, difficulties like the tent blowing down in
Waco, Texas and all the vehicles being stuck in the mud on the lot in Beaumont, Texas. The
crows in Newark, NJ, were unruly.
As we were all single and presentable (60 of us) we had little trouble meeting ladies.
Sometimes that led to problems, especially when a girl you met in the last town showed up
unexpectedly as you were pursuing one in this town. One guy always had "camp
followers" and had to enlist help from us to entertain the spare ladies -- he was
very engaging. One of my friends on POP married someone he met and theyre
Im getting far afield from your request for help. We could all tell stores about
our experiences we really had lots of fun and learned a lot about presenting
ourselves, working hard, begin responsible and also seeing many states and cities. I had
to give many presentations in my work with the National Safety Council and the public
speaking experience and what I learned on the Parade of Previews really helped when I had
to stand before a group or sit in a committee or make a formal speech.
Good luck with your project!