How They Made One of the All-Time Great TV Spots for Avgeeks
Down here in the Great State of Texas we’ve had an advertising/public service campaign called ‘Don’t Mess With Texas’ for more than thirty years now. Movie stars, crooners, politicians, Olympic athletes, Dallas Cowboys, Houston Oilers (y’all remember them?), heck they even got Chuck ‘Lone Wolf’ Norris himself to do a spot. Now back before the Confederate Air Force (CAF) became the ‘Commemorative’ Air Force, those Colonels got behind a Don’t Mess With Texas (DMWT) spot that only they could pull off. Here it is- as uploaded to YouTube by majormadmax. Stick around after you watch it a couple of times (we’ll wait) because the making-of video’s just on down the page a piece- and it’s a hoot too. Enjoy!
The Right Tools for the Job
The CAF employed several aircraft during the shooting of the thirty second spot. Of course they used the B-17G in the final cut, but the CAF P-51D Mustang ‘Gunfighter’ and CAF FM-2 Wildcat ‘VF-41’ also participated in the shooting. The first aircraft to make a pass over the carefully chosen shooting site was a V-Tail Bonanza- flown by the pilots who would be barreling though in the B-17G ‘Sentimental Journey’ when shooting started in earnest. Here’s the making-of video uploaded to YouTube by Andrew. Oh- be sure to turn that volume up!
You Don’t See That Every Day…or EVER!
Have you ever seen a B-17 fly that low? Me neither! And it wasn’t just once- they must have flown more than 20 camera passes- some of them no more than 30 feet AGL. The footage for the spot was shot on 24 and 25 October 1990 on lonely stretch of State Highway 385 near the town of McCamey in West Texas. The P-51D and FM-2 just couldn’t stay close within safety margins due to all the turbulence that Flying Fort was kicking up so they didn’t make it into the spot, and that’s too bad.
One Clean Campaign
Now the DMWT campaign began in 1985 with some bumper stickers. The late great Stevie Ray Vaughan appeared in the first TV spot, which first aired during the Cotton Bowl in 1986. They’ve made more than 60 TV spots and near enough that many more for radio (Shamu the killer whale did a radio spot)- and every one of them was simply awesome. Just like life in Texas. But remember y’all- Don’t Mess With Texas- or the Texas Confederate/Commemorative Air Force!