As we enter the era of high definition TV, the saturated Kodachrome Super 8 format has become even more visually appealing. Its glowing warmth and modest scale is a welcome change from xenon plasma powered boastful video images, now with HD hyper-sharpness.
July ’06

Cheyenne Liquor

1. I remember Road Dreams when it was first broadcast on Channel 4 – it was an unforgettable series. It was elegiac and bore comparison with Laurie Lee’s “As I walked out..” Elliot’s eye for detail makes the ordinary appear extraordinary, every shot deserving of a story on its own and accompanied by a stunning soundtrack. I look forward to the DVDs!
Sept ’07
From: Live Film Shows

2. First saw this years ago on Ch 4 and fell over in a faint. My country, through the eyes of a ’seeing’ man. Fantastic. Homesickness in big dollops. Couldn’t get enough of it. Spread the news, had others in tears. Thanks Elliott.
Sept ’07
From: Live Film Shows

Girls in pickup

3. I’ve been trying to think of a way to describe how these films effect me, and the closest I can come up with is that you have captured the scenes and atmosphere so well it almost seems that I’m watching memories I feel could have been my own, even though I know they aren’t. It’s almost like being transported by a great book to somewhere that doesn’t exist – but ought to.
November 08
From: email

4. I just sat, mesmerized, and watched Elliott Bristow’s Road Dreams. Words fail me. I found it incredibly moving (and I don’t mean that as a pun, given its subject matter). There’s so much in it that resonates with me. The shot of the Continental Trailways bus, for instance. I used to take one of those almost every Friday night, from New York to Philadelphia to spend the weekend with Lesley. I moved to the States in 1973, right when Bristow was in the middle of his marathon trip, and a great deal of what he filmed looks familiar. Back then, America was a magical place to me, full of promise and excitement. It was the best time to be there. And “Road Dreams” brought it all back.
Sept ’06

Acme Hotel

5. ……and there was at least one particularly beautiful woman who featured, although her name is lost to me despite a vision of her swimming and giving the camera a smile that would have brought Paris back to steal her again if her name had been Helen…
Jan ’06
From: email

6. As I started watching, I realised that you’d seen (and lived) exactly everything that appeared on the screen. It was a strange and beautiful thought.
March ’06
From: email

Lane & Danni

7. Your diaries rejuvenate the spirit and I don’t like being without access to them.
Sept ’04
From: email

8. Elliot, all your work must appear on television again and again, it’s wonderful. To think that when you were filming in ‘68, Here’s Lucy, The Doris Day Show, Rowan & Martins Laugh-In, Hawaii Five O, Magpie & Dads Army all premiered on tv. Mary Hopkin appeared on Opportunity Knocks, the Ford Capri was about to appear and the crew of Appollo 8 believed in Father Christmas..
From: Current status

old flashgun

9. ……but the charm of Road Dreams is that it is so uncomplicated.
Sept ’06
From: email

10. Hi Elliot..Like many, many others I’m delighted to see that the Road Dreams dream is not dead..For the last couple of years it seemed that failing VHS copies of the original were all that was about..fantastic that you are doing your thing..still..even now watching the snippetts etc. has a real emotional pull for me..and as for the Kerouac reading..brilliant.. ..I think it would be well worth providing a page where fans?such as myself could explain what the series meant to us..and why we are so grateful to you for bringing this “thing” back to life.
Sept ’07
From: Current Status

sun on graves

11. I’m sure you didn’t realise at the time that the films would become such an important mirror of those years, when the post-war world was changing for ever. Despite all the celluloid produced over there, nothing comes close to capturing those times as well as Road Dreams.
Sept ’07
From: email

tobacco road

12. Just enjoyed watching the Dinosaur Gas and Joshua Tree clips. Beautiful. The sound effects really add a new dimension, and the snippits of footage that I don’t recognise from the original Road Dreams programmes only serve to tease for what else is to come.
Aug ’07
From: Current Status

13. It was your footage that fired my enthusiasm for Super 8 film, and I just can’t give it up now…
Aug ’07
From: Current Status


14. Are you the Mark Bristow mentioned in an old Super 8 Filmaker?

Whatever happened to Mark Bristow

Aug ’07
From: Current Status

Yes I am. My full name is Mark Elliott Bristow. I started using Elliott around 1976. The motive grew out of my being on a lighting rig one day, and when someone called out ‘Mark’ the three of us on the rig looked up. It was also about the time that the film came to be called Road Dreams. Before that (early 4 screen days) it was known as Mark’s America – which didn’t exactly help the cold calling sales pitch when I was trying to sell the show by phone. But that’s a useful attribute to keeping a diary; it allows the diary keeper (and film) to change tack.

I only recently discovered that the writer of the ‘What happened…’ article is Chris Cottrill, editor of Super8 Today. If you’re at all interested in Super 8, I can recommend this magazine.

Alysa in pool

15. Hi Elliot, I am a disciple of your beautiful films which I watch on repeat very often, and I swear it’s a different uplifting entrancing and more enlightening journey EVERY time. And that’s before the glass of wine. I look forward to the DVD’s. Thinking about it maybe I should set up multiple screens like your college show, each with an episode on looped playback? Heaven. Elliot you have done it, won our hearts and minds.
Sept ’07
From: Live Film Shows

16. It left an indelible impression on me when it was shown on TV. Beautiful, evocative, melancholic…..
June ’06
From: email

driving into sunset

17. Just thinking about Road Dreams makes me want to to throw everything into a bag, fill the tank and turn the car towards the open road and the sunset.
Oct ’06
From: email

18. …..I love its simplicity and originality; I think it works so well in the same way that O.Winston Link’s photography works. They are a personal record of a lost time.
March ’07
From: email

Vermillion blue car

19. I was sitting in a cafe in Santa Fe and just heard this music, saw the opening shots of Road Dreams in my mind, rushed to the counter and asked what it was – Leo Kottke’s ‘Machine #2’ – then went next door to a music store where I bought the CD immediately, and have been looking for the film ever since. It was great to find that so many people feel like me, and that it was memorable and groundbreaking. Thanks.
From: email

20. Road Dreams must be for many people a perfect way not only to remember their own experience in the States in the ’70’s, but also a better way to explain it to people than a failed “you had to be there.” More than that, it has to be one of the best memorials (probably not the best word) of this era.
Aug ’06
From” email

Water & leaves

21. Like many others I loved that series and have watched it countless times. In fact, I always think I know every part and every bit of music yet still notice something new.
April ’07
From: email

22. I’ve travelled across the US a couple of times on the Green Tortoise and there’s very little that can recreate such an experience for me back home in England. Road Dreams is one exception.
Feb ’06
From: email

23. ….while hiking the Appalachian Trail in 2000, my partner and I found a copy of On The Road and would take turns to read a chapter aloud as we went to bed. When I heard the words “We passed Las Cruces in the night and arrived in Arizona at dawn” I could see the Road Dreams images in my mind and hear the narration – so evocative, touching and fitting to the mood were they.
Sept ’06
From: email

Phillips 66

24. Fifteen of more years back I watched your first series of Road Dreams and was blown away by it. I still watch it at least once a year to remind myself what I love about the world, filmmaking, colour and light…….
April ’06
From: email

Ice storm

25. I spent ten years in North America in the seventies, and travelled many thousands of miles in both Canada and the USA. Every time I watch the part of Road Dreams which I have it brings back wonderful memories, of great cars and wonderful scenery. Myself and many friends think that Road Dreams is very special, a work of which you should be so very proud – evocative scenery and beautifully arranged, sympathetic music – one can feel the nip of the frost and snow, feel the heat of the sun and recall the smell of sixties American cars whilst watching it.
Feb ’07
From: email

26. As we head into 2007, Elliott’s record of ’70’s sights and sounds just becomes more valuable, I reckon.
Jan ’07
From: email

27. Wonderful stuff – for years I thought I would never see the utterly fascinating genius of “Road Dreams”. My late father once described RD’s as Alistair Cooke meets “The Waltons” on “The Old Grey Whistle Test” … in a world of increasing monoculture and mediocrity, I for one, look forward to wholeheartedly supporting this seemingly Don Quixot of an enterprize. Thank you for, yet again, sharing your dreams with ‘us’ Elliott…
Big Al
Nov ’08
From: Nov 5th (is not that far away)

WTC from dunes

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24 Responses to “Comments”

  1. Graham Luetchford says:

    Hi Elliot,

    Who knows why I decided this morning, to type road dreams into my browser, there must have been a train of thought I have forgotten, but I’m glad that I did it.
    A good friend and I watched the C4 series in the early 90s and have been trying to track it (you) down ever since.
    I can still remember the thrill at hearing machine gun 2 announce the beginning of that week’s journey and the slight feeling of regret, when Kerouac’s rich and warm “moving on” words signified the end of another episode.
    There must be something special and comforting about movement – or maybe it’s just the romance of moving on, but I feel happiest when I am on a journey, be it by bike, car, train or plane.
    Your films evoke that feeling from an armchair (preferably with the glass of wine mentioned by a previous writer). There was an inevitable feeling of nostalgia about Road Dreams, even then, and seeing the clips now intensifies the feeling.
    Will the TV series ever be available on DVD with the original soundtrack? I hope so as it had a kind of raw immediacy, dust and all, and the music was a perfect fit.
    Whatever, I have enjoyed browsing your website and very much look forward to the new DVD releases next year. All the best, Graham

  2. David Howe says:

    I’m almost speechless with delight and thrilled and overcome to know that Road Dreams is still very much alive and well.
    It is simply one of the most evocative and beautiful films, bar none, that I have ever seen.
    You capture that whole era so perfectly that it brings pangs of nostalgia and gratitude to the pit of my stomach – gratitude for having been so privileged and lucky to have been growing up at that time and experiencing that whole gamut of emotions and wonder.
    All of which you have captured and kept in the film so perfectly and honestly.
    What a gem – I can hardly wait to get a DVD copy of it as my old VHS tape is pretty much worn out and done.
    Thank you so much and keep up the great work.

  3. Pat Kieran says:

    I sent Elliot an email expressing my joy at the release of the DVD/CD, using what, for me, is qquite flowery language but when I read the reactions of others I realised I was not alone

  4. Dave Notman says:

    I was thrilled to see the postman walking up my drive clutching a DVD sized package. Yes it’s arrived at last! The only trouble is that my wife is giving it to me for Christmas, so I’ll have to be patient. But after a good helping of turkey, etc., we shall sit by a log fire and watch RRT and reminisce.
    Thanks for all your effort, Dave.

  5. Alan Monaghan says:

    just like an earlier comment i typed road dreams into google as i had done a few years back ,only this time i am amazed that the site is now up and running.i have thought about road dreams constantly since i first saw it on a lover of americana,music and imagery it was heaven to me.
    i,m adding this site to my faves and will be checking it all out over the xmas hols.
    i only manged to preserve one episode i,d recorded and transfered it to dvd a few years back,i,ll need to dig it out asap !
    best wishes to Elliot and fellow road dreamers !

  6. Ady Adams says:

    I taped 5 of the 6 episodes (the missing last one has been a source of angst over the years).I transferred them to dvd and made a tape and then cd of the music to listen to as I drive round the country.As I do this I can see in my mind the images from the films but also what`s going on through the windows,sort of like my own road dreams.I too was thrilled to see Elliot`s web site up and running after many years trying to get that lost episode.I bought the Retro Road Trips iphone version but then had to have the dvd and soundtrack.The iphone version was despatched immediately and I was even more thrilled to receive a signed thank you from Elliot.Can`t wait for Codachrome to come out!Thank you so much for so much pleasure over so many years.

  7. sarah sager says:

    This is in response to #2 Geronimo’s Castle, Bowie, Arizona. My family first moved to Bowie in 1984. The building in this picture was always known as the “Tee Pee Bar.” In it’s early years it was called Geronimo’s Castle and served as a gas station and tourist trap, selling souvenirs to those passing through town (before the I-10 bypass was developed in the mid 70’s). Small businesses began to fall by the wayside once traffic was diverted around town. Geronimo’s Castle started to cater to the town’s people instead of tourists and soon became a bar and burger joint, which is how I’ll always remember it. They made the most delicious burgers and fries in town! Today, Bowie is a small town with approximately 300 residents. My parents still live there and I visit often. The bar finally went under in the early 2000’s. The owner sold it to Buddhists who I believe use it as a yoga studio.

  8. John says:

    I’ve been dreaming about ‘Road Dreams’ for so many years now that I’ve begun to wonder if I dreamed those beautiful films. How wonderful to find you here making these diaries available to the ever changing world. Look forward to being able to see ‘Codachrome’ on it’s release. Love your films Elliot.
    Best regards,
    A Kerouac disciple.
    John x

  9. […] Comments John on CommentsIan on t shirtJessica Gilks (Jessie Haynes) on late April newsjohn on Catch-22 – the vagaries […]

  10. mike mitura says:

    I worked at SUNY Farmingdale in the 70’s. I believe you may be the person we booked several times with Mark’s America. If so…how are you…time flies…and things change so much. Those movies are like a time capsule of that era.

  11. Russ Haines says:

    Elliott, after watching the road dreams series on nz tv around 1982, you enspired this kiwi to leave NZ & shift to america in 1986 and live your dream for ten years.
    The music & songs from your clips still ring daily in my ears, “rest those weary eyes tonight”, who sang that??.please let me know, i had often been so weary but pressed on till i dropped!
    now, 24 years later & approaching 60 years of age but have close ties with people , mostly former work mates & employers all over the US. I travel back every two years and re live it all over again. Love America because of the vastness, but its always great to get back home to nz for the endless chirping of birds, unlike the usa where so much has deminished now i feel.
    Thanks again for the inspiration,
    Russ, New Zealand.

  12. John Nist says:

    I can’t believe after 22 years of searching I finally tracked this down. I lived in the UK in teh earlu 1990’s and happened to stumble across this on Channel 4 one night, ever since then I’ve been trying to find this (especially with the internet) but could not remember the name of the series (“Road Dreams”) or who made them, all I remember was that on Thursday night it was shown on TV and that Leo Kottke was in the soundtrack. Using this information, I found this website!
    It’s difficult to explain why or what this means to me but I was a young student back then in February 1990 and I now live in New York, I had always wanted to come here. However, watching this series evoked some kind of nostalgia, and more importantly, melancholy for the 1970’s which this series of films so innocently and beautifully captured, I was completely mesmerized!
    I’m glad I found this, I hope I can order a DVD or something that I can watch here in the US.
    Well done Elliott Bristow, your work left a big impact!

  13. Sonia says:

    Never tire of watching “Road Dreams”, and the chance to re-live through your video, our long years of touring holidays across America.

    Your original opening footage of the Dewey Bridge on SR128 near Moab is an especially poignant memory…. especially as it sadly burnt down in April 2008 –

  14. Steve Mainwaring says:

    Just read Sonia’s message – that’s terrible news regarding the Dewey Suspension Bridge. One of the key RD sites I’d yet to visit.
    On another note, I’ve wondered about trying to organise some kind of Road Dreams get-together for fans of the programme.
    Would be great if we could get Elliott, Rik Loveridge etc to do a talk or video show or something similar.
    Any takers??

  15. David Litchfield says:

    I’d be interested.

  16. Baz Covill says:

    Steve and David (above) I too would be interested if a get-together of some sort ever happens for RD fans. It has always given me that warm feeling of 70s nostalgia ever since the first episode in ’89, and now almost 25 yrs later it’s like a double whammy remembering what I was doing and who I was with in ’89!

  17. Steve Mainwaring says:

    Well, the next ‘Road Dreams’-themed trip is almost here.
    New York City followed by New England in the Fall.
    RD sites planned as follows;
    Ferry in Chester, CT and Gillette Castle (Prog 1),
    Covered Bridge, Conway, MA (Progs 1 & 4),
    Yellow barn “Clesson Valley Farms’, Ashfield, MA (Prog 4),
    Yaddo Gardens, Saratoga Springs, NY (Prog 1),
    North Broadway mansions, Saratoga Springs, NY (Prog 1),
    Saratoga Springs Racecourse, NY (Prog 1),
    Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY (Prog 1),
    West Dummerston Covered Bridge, VT (Prog 4),
    Chestnut St Baptist Church, Camden, ME (Prog 1),
    First Unitarian Church, Providence, RI (Prog 1),
    Planet St, Providence, RI (Prog 1),
    Bristol, RI (Prog 4).

  18. Steve Mainwaring says:

    More Road Dreams footage on BBC4 ‘Tales from the Tour Bus – Rock ‘n’ Roll on the Road’ this evening. Get the impression that all the ‘happening’ producers are well aware of Road Dreams!

  19. Roger Everitt says:

    I’m simply overwhelmed.
    I’m sitting in deep rural France, thinking over what has truly impacted on my life. Road Dreams means so much..I watched and recorded every episode so long ago. Kerouac and the space that the US offered. I have now found this and feel like I’ve come home.
    Thank you

  20. ashley jones says:

    I too am overwhelmed to find this…I remember the little girl waving good bye and the beautiful woman swimming, I’ve been looking for years for this…

    Had my own road trips before and after seeing this in the very late eighties, absolutely burned into my soul…thank you for this

  21. Paul Beatty says:

    Have just completed a similar Road trip of 20 years in Australia (thanks to watching the original Road Dreams as a young teen) , and now I’m back in the UK, contemplating and planning if I should now do 20 years in the UK (gosh its changed a lot) or 20 in the US (haven’t been there for 25years!) – but this time with my 20 year old son who so far has travelled this dream (without realising why!!).

  22. George Cowdery says:

    I wonder who inspired my inspirer? I got inspired by an English guy, Mark who toured college campuses in the mid 70’s with an AV roadshow called ‘Mark’s America’ he ‘Flogged’ (film log not video VLOG) his travels using super 8 footage projected on four screens with cool music (I remember John Fahey) in the background. After the show and Q&A he would party with whoever remained and then slip off the next morning to continue his FLOG. I am glad I booked him for his show. I want to thank him now -45 years later- for the bottle of Jack Daniels that we cracked open that night He was a pioneer! A true visionary artist!

  23. Gerry lindfield says:

    When I saw this on Channel 4 it blew my mind and I’ve never seen anything like it since. Amazing vision and beautifully put together.

  24. Jon Morgan says:

    I have often thought of you and wondered “whatever happened to Mark?” And though it has been decades, I will still make a pilgrimage to 245 High Street whenever I am in the States.
    Get in touch if you’d like. What a long, strange trip it’s been.

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