The DuMont Telecruiser
Or by Snail Mail:
Credit Where Credit is Due...
This hasn't been a single handed project.
Paint & Body work was
done by Bill Fishburn and his crew at Fishburn Auto Body in White Oak,
Hand lettering was done by Darlene Rouse at Bella Mia, Longview, TX. 903-234-1448
Chrome by Eagle Plating, Jacksonville, TX. (903-589-0858
My Brother In Law, Charles, "Larry" Price, who first got it running.
Countless other people have contributed time, advice, parts, equipment and support. My thanks to all!
Originally I thought this project might take two or three years to complete. I should have known better. As of this writing, we are now nine years into it. A lot has been done, but there remains quite a bit more to do. There is, however, light at the end of the tunnel.
Elsewhere on these pages you will see some of the adventures we've had.
It is now back from Fishburn's Auto Body in White Oak, TX. Bill and his crew did an incredible job. The paint and Bodywork are better than new.
This was no easy feat. I'd originally taken it to another shop in Longview. After six months of very little progress they quietly went bankrupt. The Telecruiser was locked up inside their building, but I couldn't get it out. This turn of events had all the makings of a huge disaster. Luckily, their landlord turned out to be a nice guy and drove up from Houston one Saturday morning to allow me to drive the bus out of his building. Whew! I had it flat-bedded back to my garage and searched for a new body shop.
My friend, Bill Fishburn came to the rescue. Bill is an "Old Car Guy," so he understood the importance of the project. At first, he was a bit reluctant to take on the job, but he quickly became very enthusiastic about the project.
In mid March of 2012, we got the Telecruiser back in my shop. A great deal has been done since its return. All the lights are in place, it has been hand lettered, chrome has been installed, a new roof deck is now in place and we are currently working on the interior. Equipment racks are in place, and the Directors desk and Audio Engineer's desk are in the process of being installed.
I hope to post new pictures shortly.
1949 DuMont Telecruiser, Model B, Number 101
It is hard to see in this shot, but the is a picture on the viewfinder.
"Driving Miss Daisy...."
Driving the Telecruiser takes a lot of muscle power. There is no power anything.... Steering is the brute force "Armstrong Method," with a huge steering wheel that Ralph Kramden would have been familiar with. The four speed manual transmission has no synchronizers, so double clutching is a necessity. In fact, just figuring out what gear you are in is somewhat of a leap of faith. With more than 25 feet of linkage, between your hand and the transmission, you tend to revert to "The Biblical Method" of shifting. Seek, and ye shall find. If you don't find it, you get to listen to gears gnashing against each other. The bus has air brakes, which does make it stop fairly well. The down side of that plan is early air brakes stopped working if you lost air pressure. Break the belt that runs the air compressor, and you have no brakes. That isn't very convenient at highway speeds.... Not that this bus can really keep up on the highway. 50-55 mph is about it.
This TV Mobile unit was originally built for Channel 8 in Dallas, Texas by Allen B. DuMont Labs in Passaic, New Jersey. (Parent company of The DuMont Network).