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H.O. McGee Mfg Co.
H.O. McGee Mfg Co., 1917-1930s; Indianapolis, Indiana
Associated Builders


Hoosier native Harry O. McGee (b.1885-d.19??) is credited with the construction of a variety of locomotive-themed automobiles for use by advertisers as mobile talking billboards. During the teens, twenties and early thirties McGee constructed four distinct types of vehicles which ranged from mildly-modified sedans and limousines to massive road-going faux locomotives that served as the tow vehicle for a railway-themed four-wheeled private club car.

Corporate users of McGee’s vehicles included the U.S. Government,U.S. Tire Company (UniRoyal), Kelly Springfield, Grigsby-Grunow Co. (Majestic Radios), LykGlas Auto Renual Systems, M.G.M. Studios, and Paramount-Publix Theaters. Four or five of McGee’s modified limousines are known to survive and are often the center of attention whenever they’re presented for sale or exhibition.

By definition a trackless train (or land train, parking lot tram, etc.) is a road-going articulated vehicle used for the transport of passengers, comprising a driving vehicle pulling one or more carriages connected by drawbar couplings, in the manner of a road going railway train. Note that the term ‘Road Train’ refers to the Australian heavy goods vehicle train towed by a heavy-duty road tractor and should not be applied to McKee’s vehicles.

Harry O. McGee was born in Maplewood, Boone County, Indiana, in September 1885 to Joshua Hardin and Elizabeth aka Betty (Reese) McGee. The 1900 US Census lists the McGee family as residents of Richland Township, Fountain County, Indiana. His father Joshua’s occupation, ‘manager of a sawmill’, Harry is listed ‘at school’.

On January 8, 1910 McGee married Frances Rickell (b.Indianapolis, Ind.), the daughter of John Reese and Lena (Miller) Rickell. At that time he is listed as a resident of Indianapolis. His first appearance in the automobile trades is in the January 18, 1912 issue of Motor World:

“H.O. McGee has opened salesrooms in Indianapolis, Ind., where he will display Everitt and Stoddard Dayton cars.”

His name received mention in the September 11, 1915 issue of the Michigan Manufacturer and Financial Record as follows:


“It would seem that proud owners of fast express trains should take warning and permit their trains to be inveigled into racing with a Cadillac Eight. The express is almost sure to be beaten in such a speed fray, for that is just what has happened in three different sections of the country in the last few weeks. The latest instance of a Cadillac Eight making faster time over a bad road than a crack train can make on smooth rails was recorded Sunday Aug. 29 on the stretch of the National Old Trails Highway between Indianapolis and Terre Haute Ind. The Cadillac, driven by Harry O. McGee of Terre Haute, covered the 72 miles in 77 minutes against the train's regular schedule of 91 minutes for the distance. The car's speed is reported to have reached a rate of 75 miles per hour at times.”

In 1917 McGee oversaw the construction of his first automobile-based faux locomotive. Built in Indianapolis for an unknown customer, the ‘trackless locomotive’ was reportedly used during the First World War as a recruitment tool. The cockpit of the vehicle resembled that of a locomotive and period pictures show the vehicle outfitted as the ‘Coast To Coast Special.’ Following the end of hostilities it was reportedly sold to a traveling carnival which used it to advertise that the circus was coming to town.

The debut of the McGee’s first faux locomotive coincided with his divorce from the former Frances Rickell. His bachelorhood was short-lived and on January 23, 1918 he married 21-yo Ruth Carrie Tenney (b. 1896 in Indianapolis, Ind.), the daughter of George Sherman and Ida May (Betts) Tenney. In 1922 the union was blessed with the birth of a son, who they named Harry in honor of his father.

Soon afterwards McGee was appointed sales manager of the Eastman & Gale Motor Co., the May 10, 1918 issue of the Automobile Journal reporting:

“H.O. McGee has joined the sales force of the Eastman & Gale Motor Co., Indianapolis, distributor for the Dort car in Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee. He will have the management of retail sales in the various states.”

McGee’s success in the sales field prompted the creation of a new enterprise, the new incorporations column of the October 8, 1921 Automobile Topics reporting:

“LykGlas Auto Renual System Inc., Indianapolis, Ind. $10,000. Incorporators: Harry O. McGee, Thornton L. Davis, G.M. Reynard.”

The firm’s corporate office was located at 512 1/2 North Capitol Avenue, Indianapolis, Indiana, and although the exact details of the LykGlas process remain elusive, numerous automobile dealers and repair shops signed on to the automobile repainting franchise. Period literature stating:

“The LykGlass System Shatters Old Methods It requires only one-sixth of the time and assures a better job ... It has been proven that LykGlas painting and varnishing far excels the best workmanship of the old slow method.”

The September 1922 issue of American Garage and Auto Dealer included the following Lyke-Glas testimonial:

“Ed Calhoun the man in charge of the painting department of the Columbus Buick Co., turned out 17 cars in 18 days, a remarkable feat he thought for that place, so an advertisement of the firm included this statement: ‘Seventeen Cars in Eighteen Days by Lykglas Auto Renual System’. This started the owners of old cars to thinking about having their machines made like new since it could be done so rapidly.”

During 1923 the firm established a paint and varnish factory in Chicago, Chemical and Metal Engineering magazine reported:

“Chicago, Ill. - The Lykglas Auto Paint Co. has leased a new 1-story building at 45 13-47 West Lake St., totaling about 10,000 sq.ft. of floor space, for the establishment of a new local plant for the manufacture of paint and varnish.”

McGee appears to have been directly involved with the firm’s operation and in 1923 he applied for a US Patent for a spray nozzle that was subsequently assigned to the LykGlas Company:

“Spray Nozzle - US Pat. 1658645 - Filed Apr 23, 1923 - Issued Feb 7, 1928 - ASSIGNOR TO LYKGLAS AUTO RENUAL SYSTEM, INC., OF INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA, A CORPORATION OF INDIANA.”

During its two to three years of prosperity the LykGlas system sold over 250 franchisees, the June 16, 1924 issue of The Indianapolis Star reporting:


“H.J. Parker, general sales manager of the LykGlas Auto Renewal System, Inc., reports that the company has opened a number of new paint shops in the United States and Canada, making a total of nearly 260 in operation at present. The company is entering new territory and is carrying on negotiations for the establishment of branches in several foreign countries, he said.

“Shops recently were opened In Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver, Canada, and in a number of cities of this country, including Detroit and Toledo, and points on the Pacific coast. A new station is situated In Los Angeles, with a large distributor of two well-known makes of automobiles as the agent, the paint shop occupies an entire city block, being one of the largest in the country.

“Mr. Parker has received reports from those in charge of the various branches, most of which indicate that business this spring is unusually active, despite the reported dullness of the automobile industry in general.  Many persons, it is said, are having their cars repainted and overhauled in preference to purchasing a new one for use during the summer.

“The system used by the LykGlas company is described by Mr. Parker in a recent article in the Automobile Trimmer and Painter. The article in part follows:

“Time Factors Cut.

"The LykGlas system is a result of a plan to cut down the time factors of repainting an automobile. It was realized that the long period of time required in which to do this work was a serious handicap to the automobile business as a whole, the automobile dealer in particular and also created a hardship on the automobile owner. With many dealers and car owners it was absolutely out of the question to lay their cars up for three to six weeks in order to have them repainted.

“Before LykGlas was marketed many years of experimental work were put in, and it was recognized that in certain finishes it was not practical to repaint a car in combinations of colors without removing certain parts of the cars, such as fenders and radiator shells, and this, of course, required a large amount of labor, and adds to the expense of the repaint job. It frequently is the cause of rattles in these parts after they again are put on the car. Consequently lacquers and enamels were discarded as being impractical for use in the average paint shop.

“LykGlas is a secret compound which is incorporated in each coat of our products, making each coat a close relative of the preceding coat.”

Harry O. McGee decided to create another trackless locomotive to advertise LykGlas and in 1924 constructed what he called ‘the world’s first trackless transcontinental highway train.’ It consisted of two units, a Waukesha powered faux locomotive and a luxurious club car complete with a rear-mounted observation platform - all fitted to an unknown truck chassis of at least 1 1/2 tons capacity. The club car could accommodate 15 passengers and included a bathroom, small kitchen, 5-passenger sleeping berth, and an integral baggage compartment. The vehicle included a radio receiver and public address system and became popularly known as a ‘sound train’ due to the incessant stream of advertising that spewed out of its loudspeakers.

The $52,000 vehicle was reported as being able to travel 35 to 40 miles an hour and was equipped with two 70-80 h.p. (150-h.p. total) Waukesha gasoline engines, synchronized transmissions (later articles state a single 90 hp Waukesha), heavy-duty air brakes and 34x7 United States tires (the trailing coach was equipped with smaller 32x6 tires). The faux locomotive produced its own faux steam through an ingenious system that periodically dropped oil into the vehicle’s exhaust manifold, creating a thick white smoke that was conveyed via a small pipe to the smokestack. Inside the stack was a large revolving blade, which caused the smoke to come out in puffs, instead of a steady stream.

Accompanied by McGees’ personal Dagmar limousine (which was initially unaltered), the LykGlas Auto Renewal System ‘highway train’ toured the midwest during the early part of 1924. Unfortunatley the rapid success of DuPont’s Duco automobile enamel soon put Lyk-Glas out of business, but not his trackless train, which spent that Fall touring the State of Indiana under the auspices of the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce, the September 21, 1924 Logansport Daily Press reporting:

“C.C. SPECIAL TO VISIT THIS CITY - Trackless Train to Come Here from Delphi

“The ‘Hoosier Limited’, a passenger train that shuns rails and hits the hard highways will be here Monday, September, 25, with a delegation from the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce, as a booster for the Indianapolis industrial exposition to be held October 4 to 11. The train is made up of an engine and coach 30 feet long, which is equipped with sleeping berths, dining car and observation car accommodations.

“The fourth, tour of five being made by the limited will take it to Frankfort, Lafayette, Delphi and Logansport, with a stopover night here, and Peru, Wabash, Tipton and Ellwood the second day. A talk radio broadcast from the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce will be picked up on the trains’ radio for the benefit of listeners.”

In 1925 McGee’s trackless train was leased by Metro-Goldwin Pictures who used it for the next three years on promotional tours throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, Great Britain, Australia, Mexico and Central and South America.

The first leg of its journey consisted of a year-long cross-country trip from New York City to Los Angeles which commenced in March of 1925. The following two articles - published in the April 1 & 2, 1925 Hamilton (Ohio)Evening Journal - are representative of the hundreds of articles that were published in association with the vehicle’s cross-country journey:


“America's first ‘Trackless Train” made a short stop in our city today enroute from New York on the first leg of a transcontinental tour. Many local residents were fortunate to view this latest automotive development which is destined to revolutionize commercial passenger traffic in the future.

“The ‘Trackless Train’ points the way toward intensive development of a great intercommunicating national highway system as advocated by Herbert Hoover, Secretary of Commerce. During the past several years the good roads movement has blazed the way for recognition of the potential value of a good road system. It is possible that in the near future man will usher in a widespread adoption of the ‘Trackless Train’ idea.

“The unit which visited out city consists of an engine and single Pullman coach. Both are built equipped in regulation railroad style. The coach has six berths, kitchenette, diner and observation platform accommodating five persons. It is lighted and heated by electricity.

“The ‘Trackless Train’ was met at the outskirts of town by Mayor Kelly, police official, and representatives of the press and civic organizations. While in Hamilton, the ‘Trackless Train’ made a brief stop at the Palace theater, the home of Metro-Goldwin Pictures.”

The following day’s Evening Journal provided more details of the visit:


“America’s first ‘Trackless Train’ paid a visit to Hamilton on Wednesday afternoon as one of its stops on a transcontinental tour from New York to Los Angeles.

“The train is an advertising ‘stunt’ sponsored by the Metro-Goldwyn Moving Picture Co. A large delegation of Hamilton men met the train at the city limits and escorted it into the city where it halted before the Palace Theatre.

“Aboard the train were Eddie Bonsn, New York, director of publicity of the Metro-Goldwyn Co., Jimmy Carrier, assistant director and others.

“The famous ‘Trackless Train’ which is being sent from coast-to-coast as the ‘Metro-Goldwyn Special’ in the interest of better motion pictures and better roads, has proven to be a circus parade in itself, judging by the interest manifested during the tour of leading cities across the continent.

“From angle of interest the ‘Trackless Train’ offers a chance to spend a pleasant half-hour looking over the outstanding features of its equipment. For instance, the locomotive is fashioned along the basic lines of a modern railroad king of the tracks. An honest-to-goodness smoke-stack emits a cloud of white vapor at the press of a button. A shrill whistle announces the whereabouts of the ‘Trackless Train’, also serving as a warning when touring through dangerous sections of railway.

“The same mechanical principles of operation, including engineers cab and steering apparatus greet the eye. But instead of grimy engineer and fireman one sees their chauffeur counterparts, spick and span in natty uniforms. Powerful searchlight plays upon the road for long distance, though complying with all regulations as to intensity of brightness. The coal bunker serves as an admirable hold for extra supply of oil, gasoline and incidental supplies.

“Santa Claus himself would be proud to claim the magnificent coach as his own. From a short distance one cannot distinguish any difference from familiar Pullman, save the balloon tires instead of steel wheels that touch the ground. Berths for six are provided, which furnish comfort during long day journeys through extra upholstering. A combination diner adjacent to kitchenette solves the meal problem. Washroom and toilet are conveniently near.

“The observation platform, built on the same principles as Pullman standard, has room for six wicker chairs. Brass railing, shining resplendent, give appearance of careful attention and service by the attendant porter, who functions in assisting passengers on and off train. A carefully groomed conductor, also in regulation uniform, completes the picture.

“A 90 horsepower motor furnishes power. Both the engine and the car it draws are mounted on special chassis, and are of combination steel and wood construction. Maximum speed of sixty miles an hour can be made. Length overall of Pullman car is thirty-five feet, and a width especially adapted for highway travel.

“America’s first ‘Trackless Train’ is visiting the larger cities en route from coast-to-coast. Special propaganda work is being done assisting Herbert Hoover, Commissioner of Commerce and the ‘Safety First Movement’. The Metro-Goldwyn Picture Producing organization is sponsoring this transcontinental tour.”

The train left on the international leg of its world-wide tour in August of 1926, returning to the U.S. in April of 1928. During that time hundreds of thousands of spectators viewed the ‘International Beauty Train’ and numerous dignitaries, including Henry Ford, and the Lord Mayor of London, rode aboard it. A video of one of its British visits which shows the smoke stack in operation can be found in the British Pathe film archives:

The trackless train made a cross-country trip from New York City to Los Angeles from March 1925 through March 1926, in order to promote the development of a national highway system as advocated by Herbert Hoover. In Dayton the National Cash Register Company allowed its 6500 employees time off to view the train. The Sandusky Register, June 24, 1925, reported that the rubber tires on the novel vehicle had been driven for 5,850 miles without going flat.

At some point in time McGee modified his Dagmar limousine with the addition of a rear observation deck and front-mounted faux boiler, smokestack and cowcatcher. The face of the boiler was subsequently modified with the addition of faux boiler tube openings as evidenced by a circa 1929 MGM studio shot of blond actress Mary Carlisle.

It’s not known if McGee leased the massive trackless train and club car or sold them outright, however it is known that after MGM had finished using it vehicle was used by promoters of the ‘International Beauty Tour’ whose 28 ‘French Beauties’ toured the country from in early December 1928 after a trans-Atlantic trip on the steamer President Harding.

The November 11, 1928 Oakland Tribune provides the following details:

“Beauty Tour Inc. avows that the chief object is to give the French girls a priceless opportunity to get remunerative theatrical and movie engagements. They will be known aboard the President Harding as ‘beauty cargo’ and after making their bow in New York will go on board a special ‘Trackless Train’ for a tour of the principal American cities, ending presumably at Hollywood."

The February 10, 1929 Charleston Gazette advertised a local appearance of the troupe where ht trackless train was mentioned:

“International Bathing Beauties Coming – Travel in Their Own Trackless Train – Will Make Their First Appearance Sunday Nite February 17th

“One of the most sensational and interesting stage attractions is to come to the Kearse next week. Europe’s prize-winning beauties. Which you have been reading so much about in the newspapers and other publications will be here in person for a special stage engagement of three days only, starting Sunday night February 17th.

“Ten of the world’s most celebrated bathing beauties are the feature of this extraordinary stage attraction, which is embellished with clever singers, dancers and entertainers.

“From the principal cities of Europe these beauties were selected and they are touring America in their own palatial trackless train, each beauty being designated by the name of the country or city in Europe she represents. Among the nations represented are ‘Miss Russia’, ‘Miss Poland’, ‘Miss France’, ‘Miss Spain’, ‘Miss England’, ‘Miss London’, ‘Miss Austria’, ‘Miss Germany’, ‘Miss Paris’, and ‘Miss U.S.A.’ They not only where the latest gowns, lingerie and bathing suit creations, but they speak to the audience in their own native tongue – bringing a message of ‘good will’ to the people of their homeland who are now residents of the United States.

“On Tuesday night, February 19th, a special dance will be held on the third floor of the Kearse in the Shawnee Clubrooms with these girls as guests of honor. There you can meet them in person.”

The International Beauty Tour ended in March of 1929 when the tour manager absconded with the money. The March 8, 1929 Circleville (Ohio) Herald reporting:

“International Problem Arises When Bathing Beauties Are Stranded Here

“Manager of Troupe Leaves With Funds and Passports Expire

“Even bathing beauties are apt to be left high and dry, bathing suits and all, and such a thing happened to the International Beauty winners that were in Circleville this week at the Cliftona Theater. The tide began to leave them down in Huntington, where their trackless train was put in hock. One of the water nymphs began to smell a water rat and is said to have left the company.

“From Huntington the troupe was to appear in Chillicothe which they did to the huge satisfaction of the audience. From there they came to Circleville and appeared in their act on two nights, after which seeing their far-seeing manager left with one of the troupe and all the funds, for parts unknown, and has continued to remain in those parts. This left the bathing beauties and their three chaperones in a bad way.

“Two of the girls, one from Spain, were the most concerned because their passports, on which they were traveling in America, were soon to expire, and Circleville is a long way from the outgoing steamers. With no money, no passports and no Americanization papers they were about to be an international problem. The others in the troupe are thought to be American girls and while French counsels were consulted in the case of the foreigners, they were of no assistance to the American talent.

“Telegrams were sent hither and yon. A sum of money arrived from out of the static over the telegraph wires, but apparently not from headquarters, because headquarters seemed to have vanished like the spring weather. Spain’s and France’s representatives planned to leave at once for their home lands.

“Thus beauty in all its glory, walked the streets of Circleville and unless their luck changes, will keep on walking, until the manager absconding with the funds returns or the foreigners turn native and take to some more trustworthy occupation.”

After McGee repossessed the vehicle from the International Beauties operator it was sidelined for the few months while the club car underwent an extensive remodeling into its next iteration, the Majestic Sound Train. Towards the end of the year McGee entered into a long-term lease with Chicago, Illinois’ Grigsby-Grunow Co., the manufacturers of the Majestic Radio set. Grigsby-Grunow outfitted the club car with a mobile broadcasting studio and re-christened it the ‘Majestic Sound Train’. It subsequently embarked upon yet another cross-country tour promoting Majestic’s ‘Theatre of the Air’ radio show (aka ‘The Majestic Hour’) that was broadcast over the Columbia Broadcasting system on Sunday nights.

The July 25, 1930 Sandusky Star Journal reported on the ‘Sound Train’s visit to their community:

“Trackless Train Visits Here

“A rolling radio broadcasting station, said to be one of the most unique and interesting exhibits of its kind ever constructed, will be on display in Sandusky for three hours Saturday afternoon, according to announcement Friday. The train will arrive at noon and will remain in the downtown section for three hours.

“The station is mounted on a trackless train, resembling a locomotive. It is an exact duplicate of a modern passenger locomotive, having pilot house, boilers, steam domes and accommodations for the engineer and his assistants. It is said to represent the ultimate in safety, having been put through a number of strenuous tests without a mishap.

“While the car is here, City Commissioner William R Horner will broadcast a safety talk over the station. John Pascoe will give a vocal solo and Walter Meggitt will entertain with the piano selections.

“This trackless train was first shown at the radio convention at Atlantic City, and is now on a tour through the United States and Canada. It has been selected to play a leading part in a great transportation pageant which will be a featured of the coming Chicago World’s Fair. The complete caravan was built at a cost of $50,000.

“The latest of radio and sound developments have been incorporated in making it possible to broadcast, receive and reproduce music with a volume equivalent to a 35-piece band. Public addresses and safety messages may be made direct from the car. Nothing has been overlooked in designing and furnishing the broadcasting chamber, which is soundproof. This especially designed room includes in its full equipment even a baby grand piano.

"Besides the broadcasting studio the parlor car consists of a baggage compartment, amplification electrical room, visitor’s reception room and a beautiful observation platform.”

Surviving pictures reveal that the 2-piece McGee trackless train was accompanied by a modified Cord L-29 Convertible equipped with a cow-catcher and front-mounted speaker. Christened the ‘Majestic Radio Special’ the McGee locomotive, club car and Cord toured the nation during 1929-30 to advertise the fact that the Majestic Radio “Theatre of the Air” was now available on the entire CBS broadcast network, commencing in early 1929.

A couple of articles reference an Auburn-based McGee creation, but the car in question was most likely the aforementioned Cord L-29 which some people mistook as the closely related Auburn.

Majestic used the massive 2-piece McGee trackless train into late 1931 when it vanished from the nation’s headlines once again. It re-emerged in mid-1932 as a part of a 2 for 1 travelling circus and wild west show, Bostock’s Wild Animal Circus and the Cody Ranch Wild West Show, which featured Universal pictures cowboy star ‘Bill Cody’.

The train was rechristened the ‘LINCO Safety Train’ the following December when it was leased by the Lincoln Oil Refining Co., of Robinson, Illinois. The December 8, 1932 Cambridge City (Indiana) Tribune reporting:


“If you see a train coming down the streets of Cambridge City, Tuesday next week, your eyes won't deceive you. The famous LINCO trackless train will arrive Tuesday morning about 9 o'clock. The trackless train, which is being brought here under the auspices of the local division of the Lincoln Oil Refining Company has been completely around the world and all over the United States. It consists of a locomotive mounted on a truck chassis and a Pullman car equipped with broadcasting facilities.

“The train will be escorted through Cambridge City by Marshal Frank Craig. While here the train will go to each school where a safety talk will be given. This is but one phase of that company's continuous program of educating children and adults on the value of safety. The safety train will also be at the Linco service station at Walnut and Main streets where a broadcast will be given. Souvenirs will be distributed.”

Linco offered the train to it various subsidiaries , which included the Ohio Oil Co., who used the vehicle through July of 1933, renaming it the ‘Ohio Special’. The July 26, 1933 Newark (Ohio) Advocate reports:


“The trackless engine and train sponsored by the Ohio Oil company came to Newark Tuesday and spent the night. The train left this morning for Zanesville. It consists of an engine design mounted on an automobile chassis and a combination sleeping and parlor car.

“Don Ubenhouser has had the train in every state in the Union. During the school term the train is driven to a place of assemblage and Ubenhouser lectures to the school children on safety first. Motorcycle Officer Harry McCann, under direction of Police Chief Curtis I. Berry, escorted the train through the downtown section.

“While the train was in this city last night, Dexter Whitmer, 10, son of Mr. and Mrs. Oliver Whitmer, 30 Wilson street, broadcast two vocal selections from the train at Fifth and Main streets. The youth also is to be heard soon over station WAIC at Columbus.”

That August McGee's trackless train began making appearances for the United States Tire Co., the manufacturer of its tires, the August 21, 1933 Sheboygan Press reporting:

“Trackless Train Will Visit City

“Something unusual in the way of vehicles, a trackless train comprised of a locomotive and passenger coach, is scheduled to visit in Sheboygan between the hours of 4:30 p. m. and 7:30 p m. Tuesday, August 22, it was announced by the W. G. Keil Oil Co., local United States tire dealers. The train, an exact replica of those used on railroads, is touring the country on its way to the World's Fair in Chicago. In addition to possessing the fascinating features of a giant monster of the rails, it is also equipped with broadcasting apparatus over which several broadcasts will be made.”

That fall, McGee’s trackless train was overhauled, painted red and returned to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Co., who used it as the centerpiece of their new ‘Hollywood Caravan’ travelling motion picture studio. The Zanesville (Ohio) Time-Recorder Reporting:

“Traveling Studio in City Wednesday

“Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer’s Travelling Motion Picture Studio will arrive in Zanesville at 4’o’clock Wednesday afternoon and after a short visit in front of the Liberty, Quimby and Weller Theatres, will be parked on the Court House esplanade until 7 o’clock.

“This famous outfit is being sent on the world tour and Zanesville is indeed fortunate in being one of the first cities to see it. It will be opened for inspection and may be viewed in front of one of the three theatres or when it is stationed on the esplanade.

“The traveling studio, which is now on a five-year educational tour of the world, was constructed by the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer company at a cost of $150,000. It combines facilities for both the filming and recording and sound pictures as well as the projection of these pictures upon the screen. The sound equipment alone is valued at $60,000.

“Eleven people in all are journeying around the world with the traveling studio. In this group is Eddie Carrier, the publicity man who toured with M-G-M’s famous ‘Trackless Train’ a few years ago and also visited Zanesville, a prominent director, soundman and camera man and an official Max Factor makeup artist from the film studio in California, and it is announced that they will be available to answer questions concerning the motion picture industry while the studio is visiting here.

“In addition to the studio itself, the Hollywood Caravan consists of a special built Studebaker camera car and pilot car. The Pilot car is a 1934 President Regal sedan. Luther Johnson, who piloted one of the race cars at the 1933 Indianapolis races, will also accompany the caravan with his Studebaker racer, which he drove in the Indianapolis event.

“As impossible as it may sound, 20 of Hollywood’s greatest stars will be seen in one picture! This pictures is the screen show which Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer is going to offer the crowds on the esplanade and will have Joan Crawford, Norma Shearer, Marion Davies, Wallace Beery, Marie Dressler, John Barrymore, Lionel Barrymore, Jean Harlow, Clark Gable, Robert Montgomery, Helen Hayes, Greta Garbo, Ramon Novarro, Lee Tracy, Jimmy Durante, Jack Pearl, Ed Wynn, Jackie Cooper, Laurel & Hardy, and Johnny Weismuller in the cast.

“This mammoth screen show is to be presented free of charge on the elaborate rear projection screen located aboard the traveling studio, the film fans of this city and vicinity are invited to witness the performance as the guests of the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer company and local exhibitors.”

The December 8, 1933 Chicago Herald provided additional details of M-G-M’s travelling caravan:

“Unusual Train To Visit Arlington Heights

“Something unusual in the way of vehicles, a trackless train comprised of a locomotive and passenger coach, is scheduled to visit here Friday, Dec. 15 about 2:15 p. m., it was announced today by E. R. Williams, local United States tire dealer.

“’The train, an exact replica of those used on rail roads, is touring the country, and has visited the World's Fair at Chicago,’ said Mr. Williams. ‘This unusual mode of transportation is well-worth inspecting. In addition to possessing the fascinating features of a giant monster of the rails, it is also equipped with broadcasting apparatus over which several broadcasts will be made.’

“’Several years ago the first trackless train was built for the Metro-Goldwin-Mayer Motion Picture Company which sent it on a world tour. The tour was so successful and the train aroused so much attention that a second train was built recently by the same company.’

“’As a result of the satisfactory service which United States tires gave during the tour of the first trackless train, they are being used exclusively in the current tour by the second train. Fourteen U. S. Royal Shock Ply casings with Puncture Sealing Tubes are used (The locomotive requires size 34x7 and the coach 32x6).”

As pictures of the ‘second’ locomotive appear to be identical to the original McGee-built vehicle, it is anyone’s guess if an entirely new locomotive was recreated. However no simultaneous appearances of the ‘Trackless Train” are recorded, and I believe the original locomotive built in 1924 was simply refurbished and presented as new.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer’s travelling caravan continued into 1925 as evidenced by the March 1, 1925 issue of the Big Spring Texas Daily Herald:

“M-G-M Travelling Studio To Be In Big Spring Mar. 4

“Have you ever wondered as you sat in some theatre watching a talkie unreel before you, just what gave the screen its voice?

“Did you know, for example, that a small band of microscopic lines hardly more than an eighth of an inch wide, is what causes the hero to say 'I love you' just as his lips formulate those words. This band Is known as ‘the sound track’ and it is one of the many fascinating and interesting secrets of sound motion picture recording and projection which will be explained to film fans of this city next Monday, March 4, when the far-famed Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Traveling Motion Picture studio arrives here on its goodwill exhibition tour of the world.

“The traveling motion picture studio, a completely equipped Hollywood studio on wheels, comes to this city after crossing the continent from the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studios in Culver City, California. On its arrival here it is to be opened for public inspection and public demonstrations and exhibitions of the filming and projection of talking pictures will be presented.

“The public demonstrations are scheduled to take place from 3:30 until 7 o’clock in front of the Ritz theatre, the home here of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures.

“A complete crew of camera and soundmen and movie makeup experts from the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studios are accompanying the studio on its extensive jaunt around the globe, and during the time the studio is here these motion picture technicians will explain in detail the operation of the costly and intricate sound equipment carried aboard.

“Visitors to the studio will learn just how talking pictures are filmed. They will be permitted to inspect the motion-picture camera and the amazing sound recording amplifiers which are used in the studios to record the voices of the stars. They will see the elaborate sound projection apparatus used in the projection of the films to the screen, and a comprehensive lecture on this subject will be delivered by the expert sound technicians with the studio on wheels.

“Visitors to the studio will be permitted to interview Leonard Smith, expert Max Factor makeup artist from the studios in California, who will explain the art of screen make-up, and demonstrate the effective use of color harmony in street makeup as used by screen stars.

“The traveling studio, which was built by the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer company at a cost of $150,000, has been hailed by film fans as ‘the eighth wonder of the world.’ Everywhere it travels it is acclaimed by enthusiastic throngs, and since it began its tour it had visited more than 5,000 cities and towns and has been inspected by millions of people.

“The studio is hauled by a gigantic trackless locomotive, named ‘The Globe Trotter.’ This locomotive, painted a colorful red, is truly an amazing sight in itself. Powerful specially built Waukesha motors haul the studio and a huge generator installed aboard the motion picture outfit supplies the electricity used in its operation.

“In addition to the studio itself, the Hollywood caravan consists of an elaborate camera truck, and special pilot and advance cars. Following its tour of the United States, which is expected to consume at least two more years, the studio will be shipped to Europe and the Far East. It is the third international traveling unit launched by the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer company, and follows in the tracks of the world tour made by the famed ‘Trackless Train’.”

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Beverly Rae Kimes & Henry Austin Clark - Standard Catalog of American Cars: 1805-1942

Hayden R. Shelpley  - The Trackless Trains of Harry O McGee, September-October 1976 issue of Antique Automobile

Michael E. Keller - The Graham Legacy: Graham-Paige to 1932, pub. 1988

Carla Chlouber - The Oklahoma Cowboy Band, pub. 2008

Mike McCormick - Terre Haute: Queen City of the Wabash, pub. 2005

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