The Big View – Where Were You in ’62?

The BigView – Where were you in ’62?
By Chris Murphy

Cars, Dating, Cruising and Music.
This was living. For Modesto USA, this is one of the most fun parts of our history. No video games, limited TV, a single radio station and a desire to hang out and downtown Modesto was the place to be. For those of you reading ModestoView for the first time, this is a true sense of civic pride that we are the home of George Lucas and our classic car culture was the inspiration for the young filmmaker during his high school years. The simple and fun lifestyle that George experienced growing up, surrounded by friends, comic books and cars is still vital here today and we are glad you are here to celebrate with us as we enjoy Graffiti Summer.

American Graffiti is more than just a movie, it ushered in a new era of film and nostalgia. The impact of American Graffiti globally is uncalculateable as this legendary and fun to watch film lead to Happy Days, the Fonz, Laverne & Shirley, even arguably Mork and Mindy. The success of the film made it financially possible to make the movie George Lucas had always wanted to do; an epic space adventure, Star Wars. You know what happened after that. It all started here in Modesto USA.

We hope you enjoy this summer, get your poodle skirt, your white T-shirt, listen to Elvis and Buddy Holly and enjoy this classic feeling from our authentic yesteryears and make it a part of your summer and your future. The more you enjoy this, the more you will enjoy Modesto USA, A Classic American City. #graffitisummer #modestousa

Graffiti Cruise Parade 2018
Big news for 2018, the Friday Night American Graffiti Festival Cruise Parade on June 8 is getting so popular, that the course will extend out to McHenry Village. This evolution is kind of cool as the cruise is expanding out north, like it did in the late 50s and early 60s. There will be a big turnaround at McHenry Village that will be great car watching. Of course, the place to be will be around 5 points where the circuit converges. The Cruise Parade runs until approximately 8:30 but the registered cars will be allowed to return to park in downtown for a post parade Cruiseo-in Concert featuring a Buddy Holly Tribute from 9 -11 in 10th St Plaza. Bring your dancing sneakers.

Remembering Harley’s Records
By Chris Murphy
One of the key elements to American Graffiti was the soundtrack. Previously, movies had music written for each film or musical. Graffiti was the first film to have the soundtrack play a key role in the script from start to finish. George Lucas’ love of music was legendary and he spent many a day browsing records at Harley’s Records, located then at 1218 J Street, now the home of VMI School of Music. I was so pleased to get this message from Harley Cox’s daughter Marny about her memories of Harley’s.

“I am Marny Cox Greer, one of three daughters of James Harley Cox, who was the owner of Harley’s Records. Also, I am a 1962 graduate of TDHS and I now live in North Carolina. I have attached some old pictures of Harley’s Records. One includes a picture of Harley at the cash register. Harley’s was a very small, friendly store run by both my parents. My mother helped customers with their record selections and purchases. (She remembered spending time with George listening to music and talking about music.) My dad spent a lot of his time in the back part of the store repairing all types of small electrical equipment.”

The Future of American Graffiti
As we celebrate the class of 1962, what are we doing to celebrate the classes of 2018 and beyond? How do we translate the love of this time into the future? First, we have to build a theme for Modesto that we are truly the Home of American Graffiti and the Home of George Lucas for two important reasons. One: There are new car buffs and we need to capture that spirit for the cars of this generation and the customizers that are making them. The Cars and Coffee movement, 209 Hot Rods, The Modesto Impalas, and the Modesto Customs in Modesto are a key springboard to this next generation. The musical soundtracks may be different, but the sound of roaring engines are still the same. Two: With Modesto being all things George Lucas, we bring in the comic book fans, the Raiders of the Lost Ark fans and of course, the global Star Wars fan base. There is a lot to be said that the story of Star Wars is the same escape struggle that is found in American Graffiti and Raiders of the Lost Ark and Modesto USA is the home for all of this. It is up to us to connect all of the dots and celebrate.

Free Modesto Graffiti USA Coloring Book
Get your kids in on the action with this superfun coloring book featuring the cruising adventures of Chuck the Chevy and Tina the T-Bird. You can download this for free and get in on the fun.

Cars and Coffee
Who are the people that love the car culture in the future? Well friends, the future is here now and the car people of tomorrow participate in the monthly Coffee and Cars in downtown Modesto, open to new, import and exotic cars as well as the classics. These events are packed with young and old, multicultural and boys and girls, men and women. Modesto’s love affair with the car will continue thanks to these events. There are two groups, Cars and Coffee Modesto and the 209 Hot Rods and Event that present shows. The next 209 Hot Rods Riverbank event is on June 17 8-11 am. The next downtown Cars and Coffee Modesto event should be on June 24 8 am – 11 am

Historic Cruise Route
Do you want to know why Modesto USA is such a cool place to live and visit? We are the home of American Graffiti, Rockabilly, Classic Car Customizing, George Lucas and so much more. How did all start? Who where the car clubs? Who was the first Modesto rock and roll band? Who are Modesto’s hometown heroes? What were the rock and roll radio stations? What are the local fraternities and sororities? What was Playland and the Fable Room?

These questions and more are answered on the Historic Cruise Route Walking Tour in Downtown Modesto, located on 10th, 11, G and K Streets. This is one of the most informational walking tours you can take. Each of the 25 markers has a special QR code that pops up a special video featuring the Legends of the Cruise. So take the time, walk the Cruise Route and learn about our city.

Classic Mural Tour
I love it when people visit Modesto and we get to show off our city. Everyone is excited to learn about our American Graffiti history and walking in downtown Modesto is always fun, going from the movies, to dinner to hear a show or late night cocktails. On your downtown tour, check out the amazing Classic Community Murals and Murals In Motown. These are beautiful pieces of art celebrating classic cars, chrome, the movies, cruising, music, our agriculture history, hometown heroes and so much more. Make sure you check these out and you and your guests will be impressed.



Posted in: Graffiti, news

About the Author:

Chris Murphy is the President and CEO of Sierra Pacific Warehouse Group and Publisher and Founder of ModestoView Inc. Chris worked globally in the cycling industry returning to Modesto in 1996. He is also the founder of the Modesto Historic Graffiti Cruise Route, Legends of the Cruise Walk of Fame, Modesto Rockin’ Holiday, the Modesto Music History Organization and co-founder of the Modesto Area Music Association. Chris is married to his artist wife Rebecca since 1985 and has two daughters Madison and Abigail, both graduating from Modesto High and UC Berkeley. He is lead singer and guitarist for his band, Third Party that donates their performances to non-profits.