Thu January 23, 2014
Metro Goldwyn Trackless Train Visits Rogue Valley in 1925
The Metro Goldwyn Trackless Train visited the Rogue Valley the first week of November l925, ten years after it had been invented by the H.O. McGee Manufacturing Co. of Indianapolis, Ind.
The train ran on rubber wheels over highways instead of tracks. It consisted of a vehicle resembling a locomotive pulling one or more carriages connected by drawbar couplings. In 1915 McGee raced against a steam engine pulling cars and won at speeds reaching 75 mph. The rubber-tired train covered 72 miles of rough road in 77 minutes against the tracked train’s regular schedule of 91 minutes for the same distance. Metro-Goldwin-Mayer used a McGee train to promote its movies, outfitting a $150,000 bright red locomotive. The train carried a crew of camera, sound and makeup experts who gave demonstrations in 5,000 cities across the country before touring Europe. McGee’s trackless trains advertised everything from movies and government programs to auto painting and bathing beauty pageants featuring women from the United States and abroad. A so-called International Beauty Tour ended in Circleview, Ohio, when the promoter skipped town. The women were stranded, but the train was quickly refurbished for a radio tour.