Classic Tuolumne Film: Henry Weinhard’s ad at Railtown

Last week we posted a Henry Weinhard’s ad that took place at Railtown, but could have been anywhere. This one you know is Railtown 1897 State Historic Park. Not only do we see the depot, but the Movie Train, Sierra #3, makes an appearance. Speaking of appearances, is that Richard Dysart (Leland McKenzie on L.A. Law) I see in a supporting role???

The Henry Weinhard’s ad itself is classic Hal Riney stuff, taking a scene from a hundred years prior and adding a whimsical, contemporary spin with the tagline “Westerners have always been slightly ahead of their times.” Lots of locals in the train car too!

Classic Tuolumne Film: Henry Weinhard’s ‘Gold Rush Bar’

Henry Weinhard's Private ReserveAge has given this video a bit of a soft focus, but it’s still quite fun. Henry Weinhard’s Private Reserve was a pretty popular beer around these parts in the late 80s, probably more for their clever advertisements than the quality of their brew.

Most of those ads were created and narrated by advertising industry legend Hal Riney (“Morning in America”). These ads focused on Western US history and culture, so it’s not surprising SF-based Riney did a couple of commercial spots at our own Railtown 1897 State Historic Park. This one doesn’t have trains in it and it really could have been made on a set back in the Bay Area. We’re suspecting they came up to shoot just one commercial with the train (which we’ll show next week), then the location — and perhaps the people — inspired this one.

The one-minute ad below is set in a Gold Rush-era bar and features two local characters just perfect for their roles: Black Irish Band member Steve McArthur and Railtown’s Chief Engineer George Sapp. George is the one at the bar and bowler; look for his devastating closeup about 40 seconds in.