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PLACES, STUFF & THINGS
That are Pretty Darn Unique to L.A.
This Time: The Television and Motion Picture Car Club
Story by Dave Wolin
Car clubs must have been invented right here in L.A. … The “Sidewinders” of Glendale and the “Trompers” right next door in Eagle Rock, the “Iron Charros” downtown, the “Pharaohs”, the “Throttlers”, the “Road Kings” in the Valley(s).
Those classic clubs and a hundred others, all got started because of some affinity: be it the same neighborhood, maybe the same make of car, or racing, cruising or some other mutual interest in automobiles that was more than just a way to get from point A to point B (in this case the Beach) without wasting a lot of time in the city.
Which (since it says so in the title) bring us to a most unique Southern California car club, the Television Motion Picture Car Club … “TMPCC” to insiders. Founded by entertainment industry insider/car guy Ken Latka, the TMPCC is an organization where television and motion picture professionals, who share a common interest in cars, get together, participate in automotive events and have a good time. By the way Ken is not only a member in very good standing, he’s the President and chief mixmaster of the club as well.
TMPCC hosts private “members-only” events, which include tours of studios and automotive custom shops, private movie screenings and other exclusive functions.
TMPCC also hosts and participates in various public events, including their very popular Annual Car Show, held each year at CBS Studio Center in Studio City, California. This event is open to the public and allows visitors to roam around a real Hollywood studio that’s steeped in almost 100 years of motion picture history.
This annual shows attract some spectacular vehicles, ranging from rare vintage classics to incredible customs. Fans also get close up looks at real race cars, pristine daily drivers, and some seriously wicked weekend rides … all owned and operated (and not without considerable pride) by TMPCC members who work in the movie and TV biz. Surely one of the most popular corners of this annual show is the area where club members line up iconic cars from movies and TV.
PA system: “(squakkk)…Michael Knight, Michael Knight: your car is talking and winking at girls again … please tell it to stop.”
When it comes to their membership, TMPCC’s ranks include veritable who’s who of Hollywood. From top producers and studio presidents, to directors, actors, actresses, camera operators, editors, singers, songwriters, radio talk show hosts, agents, makeup artists, etc. Virtually every area of the entertainment industry is represented in this very exclusive club.
I asked Ken if he would name any of the celebrities in the club but he is very protective of the membership and said he doesn’t like dropping names. However, I learned through reliable sources that everyone’s car guy Jay Leno is a member, as is blues guitarist (and Mopar guy) Kenny Wayne Shepherd. Other members include actor and comedian Adam Ferrara, James Bond stunt driver and the former “Stig” from “Top Gear” Ben Collins, kid television and motion picture actor turned legendary drag racer “TV” Tommy Ivo and many others.
There’s also a growing cadre of well-known car designers who have become television personalities in their own right who have joined up. A few examples include: Chip Foose of Foose Design and the television show “Overhaulin”, Rick Dore of Rick Dore Kustoms and the television show “Rusted Development”, Troy Ladd from his aptly-named Hollywood Hot Rods, Steve Strope of Pure Vision Design and Bodie Stroud of BS Industries.
Since all of the above car world luminaries have appeared on television, or designed and built cars that have made their way onto the silver screen, they were all well-qualified to join up. I have never seen such a distinguished group of car guys assembled as members of one club.
I asked Ken what prompted him to start the TMPCC and he said “It all happened in 2009 in the parking lot at CBS Television City. I was walking into work and a well-known actress, who owns a beautiful custom Corvette, was parking her car. We started talking and I came to the realization that the entertainment industry never had a car club, so I decided it was time to start one. Three days later, the club was founded and it continues to grow as we begin our eighth year.”
So … if you work (or have worked) in the television, motion picture, music, radio, sports or motorsports industries and you’d like to join, check out their website at www.tmpcc.org. Oh yeah, you’ll need to know a member as well, because you’ll need one to sponsor you, for membership. (Reach me at LACar.com)
EDITOR’S COMMENTS: OK … So how in the heck does our own Dave Wolin qualify for membership in the TMPCC? Well… as it turns out, DW watches television, sees movies, likes cars and car clubs, and also just happens to be the Film Commissioner for Madera County. To add some (rather annoying) further personal cred … Wolin, who works days as the official greeter for the city of Oakhurst,* also claims to be the party responsible for blocking all that traffic while Oprah visits Yosemite.- DS
*Just kidding, but it sure seems that way.