The folks at Carter Media in Roanoke said they needed an old biker for a commercial for Brambleton Deli.

Dave Perry, a fellow member of the Roanoke Valley Harley Owners Group, works for the media company and showed my picture to owner Leonard Carter.

“Yep, he looks old,” Carter reportedly said. “He’ll do.”

So I set out for Roanoke on a wet, foggy Monday morning to meet up with Dave, Leonard, Ernie Zulia of the Hollins University theater department and two very nice ladies who would be central to the commercial’s storyline —  a short 15 second spot where a biker protects two elderly women walking across the street against the light as a van hurtles towards them.

One of ladies wanted a closer look at a tattoo on my arm and took out a lighted magnifying glass. Leonard liked that and changed the script to incorporate the bit into the storyline.

Ernie and chatted while waiting for the rain to break.

When he found out I was from Floyd, he asked: “Do you know Martha Boswell?”

“Yes,” I said. Martha was Martha Weeks, who graduated from Radford University when it was still Radford College and also represented Floyd County in the Miss Virginia Pageant while in college.

“I’m directing her in a play that opens next month,” Zulia said.

When the rain cleared, we set up on location at Church Street and Fifth, the corner where the old YMCA sits and the site of my first home in Roanoke when I moved there in 1965 to attend the University of Virginia’s Roanoke campus and work at The Roanoke Times.

When I mentioned that, Leonard looked up:  “1965? That was the year I was born.”  That’s when I really started to feel like an old biker.

We began shooting at 10:30 a.m. and wrapped the location shoot a little over an hour later — good time even for a 15-second TV spot.  After lunch, Dave needed some supplemental voice recording and then I was on my way.

The storyline:  Two elderly women start to cross a busy street against the light as a van approaches.  Old biker (me) waiting at intersection, sees the danger, shouts out, jumps off bike and stops the van and other traffic so the ladies can cross safely.  Cue announcer who says something like “eating at Brambleton Deli can turn anyone into a nice person” or something similar.  Cut to biker back on Harley while the ladies admire his bike and tattoo.

An interesting day and fun to do but I prefer working the other side of the camera. The spot will run on Roanoke area cable channels so don’t expect to see it in Floyd County.  I’ll post it on Muse when it is ready.

(Photos by Dave Perry of Carter Media)