The Carol Burnett Show's Lyle Waggoner reinvented a fundamental part of the film and TV industry
He lived up to his name creating “Waggons” for the stars.
Lyle Waggoner’s TV debut came in a 1966 episode of Gunsmoke called "Wishbone." A year later, he got the job of announcer and sketch actor on The Carol Burnett Show. His good looks soon won him millions of fans around the country.
After spoofing the handsome hero type opposite Carol Burnett, Waggoner embraced it as Steve Trevor on Wonder Woman. It was during his time on the late-Seventies superhero show that his entrepreneurial mind came up with an idea to make some extra money.
Each cast member got their own motorhome which the studio rented from individuals who owned them. It was a place to relax between setups, get into costume and hang out away from the hustle and bustle of the set.
Waggoner realized he could buy motorhomes and rent them back to the studio himself. He took out a loan and his business, Star Waggons, was born. It was an immediate success. As Waggoner told CNBC in 2016, "The payments were $400 a month and I was renting them for $400 or $500 a week."
He soon had enough capital to start building his own vehicles and moved away from motorhomes to focus on trailers. Star Waggons are now ubiquitous on TV and film sets all over the world and come in a variety of models designed to be luxury hangouts, hair and makeup spaces, and even screening rooms. Many cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to build!
You can see how swanky the trailer interiors are on the company's website.
The company Waggoner founded has stayed in the family with his sons, Jason and Beau, serving as presidents. Name any TV show or film from the past few decades and there's a good chance the actors in it had a trailer from Star Waggons. Now you know why there's that extra "G" in Waggons!
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All these years later, I still don't know if he was actually serious about this.