Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A TV Star in the Making

I went to the basement looking for a needle in a haystack and found it.

In 1968 the education channel was Channel 2. The ABC affiliate was on Channel 8. Now known as NPT, the call letters in the sixties were WDCN (Davidson County Nashville). They had a weekly show called “Science Unlimited” hosted by Evelyn Burns.

Mrs. Burns was interested in racing and wanted to incorporate it in one of the shows. She decided to contrast two different types of internal combustion engines, two-cycle and four-cycle engines.

For the four-cycle engine she wanted to use a race car from the Fairgrounds. And she picked my kart engine for the two-cycle engine. The decision was made to film the show at the Fairgrounds and show both close ups of the engines and then how they performed on the track.

I always figured if I told this story no one would believe it. And surely no one remembers the show.

But back to that needle in the basement. Mrs. Burns was kind enough to write me a letter thanking me for my participation in the show, and I was lucky enough to find it after only about an hour searching.

I not only have the letter, but four photos we shot that day as well.

What a cool day for an eleven year-old kid. I got to spend the day at the Fairgrounds shooting a television show which was an excused absence from school! I got to ride my kart on the track at the Fairgrounds for the first time, and even got to sit in the car that had just won the track championship.

And here is the proof. You can click on each photo and the letter to enlarge them.

It doesn't get much different than this - BIG 4-cycle, small 2-cycle!

Darrell Waltrip better be glad my feet didn't reach the pedals or things might have been different

Even at 11 I could almost see over the wheel

That's one racy looking kart

Here's the letter. I'd pay serious money for a copy of that show today.