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Fun With Media: E.T Phone Home

Here’s a good one. Mary Hart (and her million dollar gams) was – and I believe, still is – a big motorcycle fan and, as such, the show she hosts, “Entertainment Tonight,” has long been very good to HD. If there was a major HD event in southern California, and if it involved celebrities, E.T. would cover it. Millions of folks watch that show, so we also appreciated, and benefitted from, the coverage, especially at a time when nobody else paid any attention to us.

One year, E.T. sent a young female reporter out to Bike Week in Sturgis, South Dakota, to show the world what a half-million Harley people in the same place at the same time look like. Remarkably (my eyes are rolling… )the E.T. crew found some celebrities to interview (amazing how celebs, wanting to “get away from it all” and disappear in the Black Hills on their bikes, often saw fit to swing by our media office “just to say hello” and sniff around for cameras) and got a nice feel for the event. 

The second morning, the on-air gal (I’ll not name her) approached me and said, “We want to get some coverage of the not-so-clean parts of the rally, if you know what I mean.” Well of COURSE I know what you mean. So I tell her and her crew, “If you really want to have some fun and see some things you’ve never seen before, you have to go into the campgrounds at night.” So I picked the most obvious one, The Buffalo Chip, and told them to go there, but not until very late at night, when the bikes are parked for the day, bands are rocking and all inhibitions have been lost among the revelers. She asked, “Is there anything I need to worry about?” and I lied and told her, totally for my own amusement, “Just one thing – no colors.”  

On the off-chance you’ve had minimal exposure to the motorcycle culture, “No colors” means just one thing: Do not wear clothing wearing motorcycle club patches, lest you incite some turf-battle unpleasantness. All club people know you don’t wear colors to places that don’t want colors. These rules go back forever. Respect. 

Anyway, that evening, I’m out in front of the hotel in Rapid City getting ready to head out with some pals to find some trouble and we see the E.T. crew getting ready to jump into their van and go find their stories. I see the on-air gal and go instantly big-eyed because she is wearing a white cap, a white shirt, white pants, white belt, white socks and white sneakers. I say, “Uh, what’s up?” And she says, “I’m ready!  See? No colors.”  I didn’t have the heart to tell her. Plus, come on. That’s pretty funny.