Tunes on Tuesday

Pablo Cruise - Worlds Away.jpg

The American Treasure Tour blog continues its Tuesday weekly exploration of music displayed here in our collection with a band that many of us have heard of, but maybe don't know much about - Pablo Cruise. For example, the humble author of today's entry has always been aware of the band, but kinda sorta thought that Pablo was the name of the leader of the band. Turns out, that's not the case. Like Jethro Tull or Monty Python (they both released records!), Pablo Cruise was a collective name.  When asked which bandmate was Pablo, the four members would explain that he was "the one in the middle." They also said that Pablo stood for "an honest, real, down to earth individual," and Cruise was the fun-loving side of his character. The band, formed in 1973 by Cory Lerios, David Jenkins and Steve Price (formerly of Stoneground), and Bud Cockerel (from It's a Beautiful Day), are best known for soft-rock classics they recorded into the early-80's.

"Worlds Away" was their fourth album - and easily their most successful.  Released in 1978, it reached as high as #6 on the charts in the U.S., with its biggest hit being the second track on side a, "Love Will Find a Way." The platinum-selling album also had two smaller hits to it. Pablo Cruise recorded seven albums in its decade-long initial run. They have since had a few reunions and continues to tour, primarily in their home state of California. 

Museums on Monday

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There is so much to see and do in the world, and there are many different sources for information to find out the best of the best out there. Today, we would like to provide you with a great resource you can use to find the best, sometimes the weirdest, wherever you go in the world.  The resource is the Atlas Obscura website and, if you've never explored their site it's time to start. Atlas Obscura was founded in 2009 by an author - Joshua Foer - and a documentarian - Dylan Thuras.  The current CEO is David Plotz, who orchestrates the over one million user-created and professionally-produced articles related to memorable destinations both on and off the travel radar. 

If you like the idea of exploring the world using Atlas Obscura as your guide but don't want to deal with planning a trip yourself, you can join an Atlas Obscura-led journey to sites around the world as varied as Berlin, Germany, Mongolia and Bhutan.  

Film on Friday

Charro!.jpg

The film we would like to discuss today is Charro!  NOTE:  Please be aware that the exclamation point in the title of this film is intentional, and not something we placed there. Very important. This 1969 western starring Elvis Presley is a landmark in Elvis’ movie career, as it stands alone.  It is the only one in which Elvis didn’t sing any songs. It’s also the only one in which he wears a beard. The film is the story about gangs, thievery, violence and deception.

Originally, a young Clint Eastwood turned down the roll that Elvis gladly accepted in the hopes that it would launch his career as a serious (read: non-singing) actor. He loved the original script for all its raw violence and toughness. But he was disappointed when he arrived on set to find the script revised beyond recognition. It was a much milder interpretation of a story about a golden cannon that had been stolen from a town by members of Charro’s former gang.  The only way he could help the innocent townspeople was to fight his former gang members. Would Charro save the day, or would the gang continue to terrorize the townspeople?  You’ll have to see the film to find out.

Full-Throttle Thursday

1918 Nash Quad.jpg

The American Treasure Tour loves motorized vehicles.  And self-propelled vehicles.  And pretty much any kind of vehicles.  But, it being full-throttle Thursday and all, today we are going to call out one of our favorite trucks - an odd looking boxy affair that looks amazingly unpractical today but, when it was brand new over a century ago, was all about innovation and technological advancement.  It is called a Nash Quad (originally a Jeffery Quad, until a guy named Nash bought the company from a guy named Jeffery.  We can explain it in more detail later on if you like.).  The Nash Quad earned its "quad" moniker because it worked off of a four-speed transmission.  It also had four-wheel brakes, four-wheel drive, and four-wheel steering (which meant that the rear tires moved along with the front tires - an invaluable assist in keeping the back of the truck aligned with the front when driving on narrow roads or in deeply-grooved dirt tracks). 

One fan of the Nash Quad was a guy named George Pershing, who just happened to be the Army General in charge of the American troops during World War I.  He commissioned a few thousand trucks to be used by the military in Europe and were so well regarded after their performance overseas that they remained in production for fifteen years. Maybe people took them for granted, because there aren't very many left to visit - about thirty-five, the last we counted.  But don't worry, there is one here at the Treasure Tour.  Check it out!

Wacky Wednesday

Roadside attractions have charmed drivers since the 1920’s and the beginning of car culture as we know it today. Sure, it’s a rush to drive with the top down on a convertible during sunny Summer days, but there is a lot of fun to be had at sites on those roads – maybe museums or outdoor playgrounds or even restaurants with odd or notable mascots. South of the Border in northern South Carolina is one of the most famous of these sorts of destinations along Interstate 95 – an entire complex inspired (kind of meekly) by a Mexican motif and the opportunity to buy legal fireworks, maybe a tourist t-shirt, and Mexican food. Then there are oversized characters found outside automotive garages or junkyards holding mufflers, affectionately called Muffler Men.  

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Today’s blog is dedicated to these types of characters, notably one very special guy who can be found along our tram route in the American Treasure Tour’s Toy Box. He once stood in front of a restaurant in Kutztown, Pennsylvania called Dempsey’s Dutch Country Restaurant.  The original Dempsey’s was a diner in Pottstown, purchased – including the rights to the name – by a Cornell University-educated restauranteur named Philip Rowe.  Rowe got in the diner business in 1947, then took over Dempsey’s in 1968 and created something of a nostalgic look at the pre-World War II small diner chain called Dempsey’s Diner. By the eighties, the franchise fully embraced its roots in Pennsylvania Dutch territory.  Available on the menu were such “Dutch” staples as hog maw, fritters, chowchow, and shoo fly pie.  But out front, welcoming visitors was a chubby, fiberglass Dutch boy mascot, Dempsey’s own version of the Big Boy of Bob’s fame.  Dempsey’s is now only a memory, but the Dutch boy is right here, welcoming you in for another slice of that amazing shoo fly pie!  (Shoo fly pie not included.) 

Tunes on Tuesday

Foghat - Rock and Roll Outlaws.jpg

The ATT Museum blog loves to explore the records hanging on the wall and suspended on the rafters of our Music Room.  Today, we go into the world of Foghat.  Established in 1971 by three veterans of the popular British band Savoy Brown – Dave Peverett on guitars and vocals, Tony Stevens on bass, and Roger Earl on drums – and Rod Price departed from Black Cat Bones to play guitar and slide guitar for Foghat. The band’s name came from a childhood “nonsense” game Peverett played with his brother in their youth.

Foghat made an impact right from the start, having songs from their 1972 debut album (named, imaginatively, Foghat) received significant airplay. Rock and Roll Outlaws was their fourth album in three years, with the album cover depicting the band in the Mojave Desert posing with a Lear jet. Although their insignia is on the nose of the jet, it was not theirs. They borrowed it for the shoot. It only achieved number forty on the American Album Charts, but was still one of their more successful albums of the ‘70’s. An exhausting tour schedule and twelve studio albums in eleven years led to problems within the band.  They slowed down, but never really stopped.  In fact, Foghat still performs almost fifty years later, using their characteristic slide guitar sound to great affect.

Museums on Monday

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America is a rich nation, full of fascinating stories, amazing people, and memorable destinations. The American Treasure Tour Museum is beyond proud when our visitors use any of those describers for us - and we strive to inspire people with fun, anecdotal histories of many of the items displayed throughout our one hundred thousand square-foot facility. We also fully recognize that we are not the only place where you can go to see the unique and the mind-blowing, and we like to call out our brothers and sisters at heart whenever we can.  So, today's blog will be a call out to a site in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.  We love Gettysburg.  Not only is it the location of one of the most important battlefields to be preserved by the National Park System in the United States, but it is also a major destination for the sort of museums that cater to people looking for levity after so hallowed a ground.  And that's why we call out the Gettysburg Dime Museum.

During the heyday of the dime museum, admission was ten cents (that's a dime, folks), and you could see the unusual and astonishing.  It was a semi-permanent or permanent destination where human anomalies would be displayed - the equivalent of the circus sideshow or the freak show. The Gettysburg Dime Museum recreates the feeling of wonder of these places of old, and is definitely not to be missed!  https://gettysburgdimemuseum.com

Film on Friday

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Silent films had to innovate.  During the first three decades of movies, the inability to incorporate sound compelled filmmakers to be more innovative – to use sets and scenery, to convey emotion through facial expression and performances. One of the most popular actors of the age was the petite and demur Lillian Gish, whose name on the poster for The White Sister is actually bigger than the movie’s title on most of its advertisements!  

The White Sister is the story of a beautiful young woman, Angela Chiaromonte whose love for Captain Giovanni Severini (played by Ronald Coleman) is reciprocated, but never fulfilled. Chiarmomonte’s father arranged a marriage to another man, a prince, who just so happens to have the heart of Angela’s half-sister, the Marchesa di Mola.  After the prince’s death, and then Angela’s and the Marchesa’s father’s death, Angela is refused her inheritance and, well, we don’t want to tell you the whole story here. We will say that Angela may or may not become a nun and, well, maybe that’s too much. It is still out there – a fortunate survivor from the silent era and available to watch. Here's a snippet:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Hh3ZcAEHPY

Full-Throttle Thursday

Thursdays are the blog writers' excuse to talk about the wonderful cars displayed in our Toy Box here at the American Treasure Tour.  And we dedicate today to one of the more unusual vehicles on display in the guided section of the collection. The Rupp Centaur was introduced to the world in 1974 in the four most important colors ever - blue, yellow, white and our favorite, red.  They were produced for a limited time, only until the next year!  That was certainly not Rupp's plan, but forces beyond their control proved impossible to ignore.  Forces called the Volkswagen company.  

Rupp.jpg

Rupp was originally a producer of motor bikes and snowmobiles, both of which they made to high acclaim and significant popularity.  So when they decided to jump into the "roadworthy vehicle" business, they went with the three-wheeled Centaur.  They signed an agreement with Volkswagen to use the same engines they produced for their Super Beetle.  But then, with the energy crisis and people wanting more fuel-efficient cars, the popularity of the Super Beetle skyrocketed and, with demand for the bug came less availability of their engines.  VW jacked the price for engines to sell to Rupp, and Rupp could no longer afford them.  They went with the smaller Kohler Company's engines, which caused breakdowns and poor sales.  So now, Rupps exist in a few private collections but it's unlikely you will ever see them driving down a city street. Of course, three-wheeled motorcycles are still out there!

Wacky Wednesday

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It's time here at the American Treasure Tour Museum blog to honor one of the, shall we say, less conventional items we share with our visitors - one of the masks produced by the Collegeville Costume Company.  Halloween is one of America's favorite holidays - a chance to pretend you're someone else and go around asking friends and strangers for candy.  Of course, one of America's favorite industries is film and television - which is all about actors pretending they're someone else for the entertainment of friends and strangers.  So there can be no more perfect combination than creating Halloween costumes dedicated to the chance for kids to pretend they're someone else pretending to be someone else!  (Did you follow that?)

In 1994, Jim Carrey was a little known actor who had made some waves already in the popular sketch comedy series on the new Fox Network called In Living Color.  He broke out on the big screen in a big way this year with his amazingly silly movie, Ace Ventura, Pet Detective.  The movie was critically panned and regarded as ninety minutes of telling the same joke repeatedly, but that didn't matter.  Audiences loved it and repeated lines from the movie for years (some people still do!).  It spawned a cartoon and two sequels.  And an amazingly accurate mask from the Collegeville Costume Company, which was located within minutes of the American Treasure Tour!  Alrighty then.

Museums on Monday

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Mondays are very special at the American Treasure Tour - not only because we will be opening for General Admission on Mondays starting in May, but because the blog uses Mondays as our excuse to call out other museums around the country we might not otherwise have an  excuse to call out. Today's museum is not so far from us - Ambler, Pennsylvania's own Stoogeum.  Yes, a museum dedicated to the Three Stooges!  Larry, Moe and Curly - and Shemp.  And Joe.  And Curly Joe.

The Stoogeum is located in a modest business park not too far off the main road in Ambler, and it's not the sort of place you stumble into.  In fact, you have to search it out and, when you do, you have to make sure your timing is right, because it has limited hours.  Currently, it is only open to visit on Thursdays between 10am and 3pm.  We highly recommend making a day of it - come to the American Treasure Tour in the morning, then have lunch at one of our nearby eateries, then go on over to Ambler for more fun.  Want a relaxing experience?  You got it!  We have the tram here, so you can sit back and relax at the Treasure Tour.  Then, after lunch, you can find a seat in the theater at the Stoogeum where, you guessed it, you can enjoy some of the Three Stooges comedy shorts in their private theater!  This is one of those very rare instances where something that seems too good to be true is, actually, true!  http://stoogeum.com

Film on Friday

So many movies, so little time.  If you love movies, but simply don't have the time to watch them, we have an alternative for you:  come to the American Treasure Tour to enjoy our collection of vintage movie posters.  We know it's not the same thing, but it counts for something, and we have a wide array of variety in the posters we display; however, as with our music, much of it does ultimately come back to Elvis Presley.  Why?  Because he made so many top-selling records at the height of his popularity.  AND he was in so many movies!  

Elvis’ nineteenth film (out of thirty, give or take) was released in 1965 (one of three films he put out that year).  It tells the story of an American movie star, Johnny Tyrone, who travels to the Middle East to premiere his newest film. He is seduced by an exotic local, then kidnapped by a man who tries to get him to help assassinate the king. Johnny meets a slave girl named Shalimar, who also happens to be the royal daughter. Of course, Johnny frees her, saves the king, and is a hero to all.  Much of this film would likely seem familiar to fans of silent film, as it not only used the set upon which Cecil B. DeMille shot his famous 1927 silent The King of Kings, but is loosely based on the story made famous by Rudolph Valentino in 1921’s The Sheik.  A harmless film, it actually has the distinction of being a favorite among “so bad their good” movie fans.  It received a special call out by the founders of the Golden Raspberry Awards.  And if you don’t know what they are, here you go:  http://www.razzies.com/index.html

Full-Throttle Thursday

Marlon Brando - the Wild One.jpg

The thrill of riding the highway.  Revving your engine.  Seeing the world whiz by as you're breaking the speed limit.  Traveling against the wind, with lots of bugs hitting your face or windshield.  Motorcycles are either loved or hated by drivers on the road, but the bikes we have here at the Treasure Tour are all about love.  One bike we would love to have is the 1950 Triumph Thunderbird 6T, famously driven by Marlon Brando in his iconic rebellion film The Wild One.  When that movie hit the big screen in 1953, Brando's iconic Perfecto-style motorcycle jacket caused ripples of popular culture excitement, while his sideburns started a craze.  He inspired other famous performers of his day to grow the 'burns long - James Dean and Elvis Presley notably - and the rest of the nation took notice.  Dean even went so far as to buy his own Trump T-bird 6T, too.  If mimicry is a high form of compliment, then Dean was definitely praising Brando. And of course it made Brando a star.

So, the American Treasure Tour does not have Brando's bike. In fact, accusations that The Wild One glorified biker gang violence got it banned from theaters in the United Kingdom for a full fourteen years.  Then, to reduce the chance of anyone getting their hands on the original bike, it was actually destroyed.  Which is to say nobody has the actual bike from the film.  But we have an authentic reproduction poster showing Brando on the Triumph, right here at the American Treasure Tour.  Don't believe us?  Well, come on out and see it!

Wacky Wednesday

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Welcome to the wonderful world of whimsy! The Treasure Tour is the place to go if you want to connect with your childhood, regardless of whether you're five, fifteen or fifty, nine, nineteen or ninety. Some of the pieces on display are one-of-a-kind antiques that are sure to wow anyone with a sense of the refined and immaculate, while others seem somewhat silly and frivolous. But we do hope everyone who comes here has a sense of fun and a willingness to enjoy themselves, because we love your smiles. 

Speaking of smiles, today's blog is about the creation of a man named Hans Beck. This German cabinetmaker loved creating model airplanes and, hoping to make money off of his passion, approached Horst Brandstatter, the owner of a toy company.  Brandstatter wasn't interested in Beck's airplanes, but he saw Beck's talent, and encouraged him to produce small figures for children. Between 1971 and 1974, Beck perfected his toy.  Not too small, but not too big.  Flexible but not too flexible.  Designed to nurture imagination, the figures he made had big heads, sweet smiles, and no noses.  They would lay the foundation for what would be called Playmobil. Playmobil was introduced at the perfect time - during the Energy Crisis of the early-70's. They didn't require too much plastic, making them affordable for Brandstatter to produce. The first designs they created were knights, Native Americans, and construction workers.  Adults didn't immediately see their appeal, but kids did.  Once they were displayed in department stores, they sold and sold and sold. Their target audience - kids between the ages of four and twelve - continue to embrace these delightful sets to this day, but so do many adults who regard them as highly collectible, and the greatest threat to Lego's dominance in the toy industry.  So, come to the American Treasure Tour and see our giant Playmobil figures, smiling down from our giant Rubik's cubes.  Because, well, obviously. 

Tunes on Tuesday

Larry Gatlin - Oh Brother!.jpg

Here at the American Treasure Tour, we like to call out the artists whose records adorn our walls here in our Music Room.  Some of them have established them over the years as influential masters, whose work has inspired people across the land, while others are all but completely forgotten today, but whose legacy we honor here. Most fall somewhere in between.  Today, we call out Larry Gatlin, a country and Southern gospel singer and songwriter who has been recording music for most of his life. Larry Gatlin has sung solo and alongside his brothers Steve and Rudy, the Gatlin Brothers.

Born in 1948 to an oil field worker in Texas, the Gatlins started singing together in their local church. After high school, Larry avoided fighting in Vietnam by entering the University of Houston and playing on their football team. From there, music became his life. He joined a gospel music group called The Imperials in 1971, which led to his meeting country star Dottie West.  She liked his music and had him write songs for her, moving him to Nashville. There, he sang backup for Kris Kristofferson before going solo, and he gained some success, recording a number of albums before 1978’s Oh Brother, his last solo album, which featured two top-ten country songs: “I’ve Done Enough Dyin’ Today” and “Night Time Magic.” After that, he became part of a family band: Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers. Alone and with his family, Gatlin has made dozens of albums over the years, and now spends some of his time talking.  He occasionally serves as a commentator on the Fox News Channel and the Fox Business Network. 

Monday at the Museum

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And so begins our April chapter of the blog here at the American Treasure Tour. With April comes Spring (we hope), and with Spring comes more destinations open to visit. Or other places that have been open but that are now seeming a little more appealing to visit since it's not freezing outside anymore.  Of course, we hope you always consider the American Treasure Tour as your first destination forever and always, but we know it's a big world and that there are many worthwhile places to experience.  And all of them are not even within easy driving distance of Oaks, PA, the home and headquarters for ATT, your favorite place to go for unique and amazing.

One attraction that may make you think of the Treasure Tour - a little bit, anyway - is located at the Mississippi Delta, in exotic and beautiful New Orleans.  The Big Easy.  The home of the most famous non-Thanksgiving or football related parade in the nation. Mardi Gras. The majestic floats created to wow and awe onlookers during the parade are often saved - and we're glad they are. Especially because the facility in which they are preserved is open to tour,  It's called Mardi Gras World.  It's located outside of the downtown, which works because they require a massive amount of space to make and store these wonderful flights of fantasy.  Check out their website, then make a trip.  You'll be glad you did:  https://www.mardigrasworld.com

Film on Friday

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Movies, movies, movies.  So many wonderful movies have been made over the last 130 years (give or take a few), with many of those films represented here at the American Treasure Tour for your enjoyment. We have been inspired by our posters to check out a few we've never seen before, or to re-watch old favorites. One poster we have is for a movie we feel everyone should see - of course, the "problem" with it is that it's the second film in a trilogy.  So watching it's precursor will definitely help make sense of the universe it creates, and you may find yourself inclined to watch the third film as well for, you know, closure.  And then there are the prequel trilogy.  And the continuing sequel trilogy.  And the one-off stories that are coming out now.  We're talking about The Empire Strikes Back, one of the most celebrated science-fiction films ever made, which includes some of the best action sequences you can see in the genre, and some compelling writing that has become so iconic since its original release it's part of the American vocabulary today.  (No spoilers here for the three people who have never seen the film.)

We highly recommend watching or re-watching The Empire Strikes Back, then coming to the American Treasure Tour to check out our poster for the film. Or maybe do it the other way around. Either way, both experiences will be a nice way to break up your day. Honest. 

Full-Throttle Thursday

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We're taking the bull by the horns today and getting ourselves behind a real vehicle, a tough vehicle - the kind of truck you definitely want to make sure you give space as it's coming down the highway.  It's the Chevy 38 Apache, and this truck is all about business.  The business of power. The 38 Apache was part of General Motors' Chevrolet Task Force series, which was part of their Advanced Design series, which was in production from 1955 through 1959.  Smooth, rounded sheet metal replaced the old pontoon-style fenders, and large wrap-around windshields offered greater visibility for the driver.  It used the 8-cylinder Trademaster engine, which was one of the most powerful that Chevy offered, and boasted 160 horsepower.  

Chevy 38 Apache 1.jpg

The Apache was new to 1958, the year of the truck we have displayed here, and signified it was for light-duty use. It included a painted grille and front bumper, which could all be upgraded to chrome.  Driving the Apache meant you were in business, and were not to be messed with. Ours is a refrigerator truck used to transport meat in and around the community of Hereford, Pennsylvania.  If you are from the region, and remember A.G. Kriebel, Butcher, we would love to hear your stories!

Wacky Wednesday

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Times change and, with the times, so do styles.  There are fashions that people wear today that they could have never gotten away with fifty or sixty years ago.  Heck, there was a time when a woman who exposed her ankles in a dress might have gotten her arrested. Now, wearing a dress is unusual!  Well, one style that has definitely gone in the other direction is men wearing facial hair.  During the 1990's, the goatee was the big thing.  Today, it's full beards.  Back in the 1920's, it was Chaplin mustaches, as worn by Emanuel Rosenfeld in his larger-than-life presentation as one of the Pep Boys, the yellow-shirted car mechanics who to this day adorn many of their garages across the country and, notably for us, welcome tram riders in our car display in the Toy Box.

Emanuel, affectionately known as Manny (as in Manny, Moe and Jack) has a close cropped "toothbrush mustache," cropped on the edges and only extended about two or three inches over the upper lip. This conservative style was first introduced in the United States in the late-19th century, a symbol of the rigidity of industrialization and uniformity (no, we here at the blog didn't make this up, someone else may have, though). It swept the nation and Europe, and became hugely popular after Charlie Chaplin and Oliver Hardy wore them in their comedic movies. Alas, the toothbrush mustache lost its popularity during World War II, because of the close association it had with another proud wearer of it:  Adolf Hitler.  Now, we don't recommend wearing one anymore.  Unless you have silly Coke-bottle glasses and wear a yellow shirt with a big "P" on it.  Then, maybe....