This is the 20th year of the “Vintage Vehicle Show,” a television show that I host and co-produce. Over this period of time, we have produced 420 episodes featuring car shows, automotive museums, private collections and celebrity car owners. The show is broadcast on 83 stations across the U.S. and in 27 foreign markets. Most of the people that we’ve had on the show or have met through the show have been very nice. Some, however, have been a bit peculiar.
Once while waiting for a flight, I was approached by a stranger who greeted me with the comment, “You are not as fat as you look on television.” That was his opening line — no hello, just the remark about my size. I thanked him and walked away. Quickly.
Another time, we were filming a car show and I approached a car builder and asked to interview him about a car that he had on display. He said no in a very strong manner. I saw him several times over the next few hours and, just for fun, each time asked him again for an interview. I thought I was being very clever and he thought I was being very annoying. He approached me at the end of the car show and quietly said, “You know, I could kick your ass if I wanted to.” My guess was that he was correct in his assessment and didn’t think I was very clever.
Occasionally people mistake me for a celebrity and ask for an autograph. I’ve signed photos, sun visors, fenders, hoods and engine compartments. At one show, a woman walked up and asked me to autograph her arm. I wondered what part of her anatomy she’d ask to be autographed if I was a big league celebrity.
A prison inmate serving his sentence in the Shelton Corrections Center wrote and demanded that I send him two pictures of cars every week: “I like muscle cars and especially GTOs so send mostly GTO pictures.” Somehow I lost his address.
Sometimes car owners do not want viewers to know where their collections are located. We taped a large classic car collection and, per the owner’s request, gave the location as Ducette, Wash. There is no such city, but I do have collector car friends with the last name of Ducette. After the show was broadcast, a viewer contacted me to find out where Ducette was located. “I’ve looked everywhere, but I can’t find a city by that name. I think you made it up!” My friends thought it was great that a make-believe city was named after them.
A viewer contacted me to express his concern about my poor English language usage on the show, complaining, “You are on television and have the responsibility to use the English language correctly.” I said that I’d do my best and I ain’t heard from him since.
Occasionally media maven Kristyn Burtt guest hosts an episode of the “Vintage Vehicle Show.” She is a tremendously talented interviewer — in fact, maybe too good. Twice we’ve been contacted about taping car shows and the callers said, “Don’t send us that guy. We want the blonde to do the show.” Maybe someday I will be the guest host on her show.
My favorite viewer comment came from a gentleman who took issue with the name of the show. He wrote us a letter complaining, “None of the cars are truly vintage vehicles.” Some of his comments were written in all caps, some in all caps and underlined, and some were all caps, underlined and followed by several exclamation marks.
I read the letter on the show while holding an old-fashioned brass and rubber bulb horn. I told the viewers that while reading the letter I’d honk the horn once if one of the comments was in caps, twice if in caps and underlined, and three times if in caps, underlined and followed by exclamation marks. It quickly sounded like a 1920s traffic jam in the studio. We could barely get through the letter because the crew and I were laughing so hard. I didn’t get a second letter from this critic.
All joking aside, I greatly appreciate hearing from and meeting the viewers of the show. Comments, complaints and kudos let me know that someone is actually watching. For this I am very grateful.
Lance Lambert’s TV program, “Vintage Vehicle Show,” can be seen Saturdays at 6 a.m. on local PBS affiliate KBTC, or any time on Comcast On Demand and YouTube.