Wednesday, June 8, 2016

June 4, 2016: A Perfect Day in the Life of Larry Franks - Hulk Hogan and the General Lee

This blog is dedicated to the hobby of collecting Dukes of Hazzard Memorabilia.  (That's official because it comes straight from my business card.)  Sometimes I also throw in some Hulk Hogan themed posts.  I love the Dukes of Hazzard, and I love Hulk Hogan.  I have had some amazing Dukes of Hazzard experiences, and spent some quality time with the Hulkster himself.   This past Saturday, June 4, I got to combine my love for the Dukes and the Hulk into one awesome day.

A sports memorabilia and autograph store in Pittsburgh, Total Sports Enterprises, in the Robinson Mall, celebrated their grand re-opening and brought in the greatest wrestler of all time to help celebrate.   Hulk Hogan was coming back to the Steel City, and I had to be there.

When I first heard about the appearance, I jumped on the TSE website to get the details and I stumbled across a familiar face, well actually the lack of a familiar face.  As an advertisement for their professional pictures with Hulk Hogan and Jimmy Hart, TSE used my picture from NYCC as their ad.

I'm a little more fond of the one that doesn't cut me out and replace my smiling good looks with the words "This Could Be You."  THIS IS ME!  I soon spoke with TSE and got that all figured out.  It was fun to be a part of the promotion.

Robinson Mall is not far from North Fayette, PA, where your pal and mine Neal Clayton lives.  I've been meaning to visit with Neal for some time and Saturday it all worked out.

The event was held outside the TSE store between two escalators outside the Sears in the mall. There were a lot of people there and several different lines.  Fans had options such as photo ops with Hulk, with Hulk and Jimmy, and autographs of both or either.  TSE had plenty of employees working the event and it was very well organized.  I've been to quite a few large celebrity appearances, and they can get hectic.  This one was very smooth and I'm sure everyone went away happy.  Good job Total Sports Enterprises.

I was looking forward to meeting some fellow Hulkamaniacs.  I wasn't disappointed.  I spoke with many fellow fans and had some good conversations while there.  I follow a Hulk Hogan super fan, Ox Sawyer, on Twitter and noticed he was making the trip up from Kentucky for the event.  I knew I had to talk to Ox.  Ox is a very dedicated fan.  Through my love for the Dukes, I can appreciate his devotion to Hulkamania.  It was a lot of fun talking to him, and I look forward to seeing him again in the future and talking on Twitter.  Check out his Twitter account @OxSawyer.

I got a pro photo taken with the Hulkster at the event.  The black background wasn't the best choice given Hogan's attire.  I figured he would be in black and dressed accordingly.  Now I have a pro photo with Hulk and Hollywood!

Lean-in photos rarely come out great.  I'm glad I went with the pro photo as well.

I got my pro photo from New York Comic Con autographed.  It was such a perfect photo.  I really like Hulk's inscription.  I'm glad I have both the WWE book, and this picture signed by the Hulkster. It was a great event, and I'm really glad I could be a part of it.  Hopefully the next time I see Hulk Hogan, he will be back in a WWE ring, where he belongs!

After I left the mall, I headed over to Neal's house.  He had the General Lee ready and waiting for me.  I'm not sure if you'll believe this, but throughout all my Dukes adventures, I've never driven a General Lee.  Once Neal heard this, he said we need to change that.  He was having an overheating issue with his car, and worked tirelessly on it while I was hanging with the Hulkster.  He just got finished when I arrived.

I told Neal that this smile won't leave my face for a long time.  I think it's still there.

Neal was even kind enough to film the historic moment (historic in my world.)  Driving the General Lee felt natural, though I've never driven a car with so much power. Neal's General has a 440 in it.

I had to take some pictures during my time with the Gen'ral.

Nothing like a classic photo shoot with the General Lee.  Many thanks to Neal for taking the pictures.

I always liked this picture of Cooter leaning on the Gen'ral and wanted to try to replicate it.  I think a few of the above pictures did a good job on that.

Neal's General Lee is amazing.  He modeled it after Lee 1 and it is perfect.  I can't thank Neal enough for letting me pilot his General.  It was a day I will never forget, that's for sure.

Neal recently took advantage of Pennsylvania's new Antique/Historic Vehicle vanity license plate program.  For a historic vehicle plate you can chose up to 4 letters.  Neal chose wisely.  

Neal also showed me his stunning Dukes of Hazzard Pedal Motorcycle.  I've heard some stories about this Dukes item, but this is the first time I've seen it.  Neal promised to write a blog post for DukesCollector all about it, so I won't spoil that.  I can't wait for him to share the story on this bad boy.  

Admittedly, my Civic is nowhere near as cool as Neal's Gen'ral, but at least my license plate is as cool as his.  

On, Saturday, June 6, 2016, I hung out with Hulk Hogan and drove the General Lee.  It was one of the greatest days ever.  Man, I am a lucky guy.  

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