Search for Spaceman: Memphis legend inspires Hollywood actor
MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A song recorded decades ago has a Hollywood actor searching the Mid-South for a man called Spaceman.
In 1988, Kym Clark had just started at WMC Action News 5. One of her first interviews was with Brian Winford, aka Spaceman.
Spaceman was a Memphian who was ahead of his time. He'd created a self-driving, voice-activated car. This was 1988 in Memphis; not 2020 in Silicon Valley.
Spaceman's story inspired musician Johnnie Frierson. He wrote a song called Miracles where he lauds Spaceman.
"I know a man, he had a plan
To manufacture custom-built cars.
He had no help, he was by himself.
He had no money, no money to get started.
But he made a miracle, a miracle.
He had faith, you might know him. He lives in Memphis.
He manufactured automobiles, miracles, miracles.
They call him Spaceman. They call him Spaceman.
Miracles, miracles. Things that seem impossible."
This obscure song started actor Erika Christensen on a journey to find Spaceman.
"We got it stuck in our heads. We thought it was funny," Christensen said. "We didn't know if it was anything, 'Who is this Spaceman from Memphis? We've got to look him up."'
Christensen did an online search for Spaceman and found Kym Clark's 1988 report on him. Now knowing that Spaceman was real, she decided she needed to meet the man.
"He says in the interview, 'People tell kids what not to do...I'm telling kids what to do,' and that was one of the first things--we were like, 'This guy is awesome!'" Christensen recalls.
Christensen's husband (who is a Memphis native) urged her to reach out to Kym Clark. The two connected and are now trying to track down Spaceman.
Meanwhile, Christensen is back in Hollywood working on her acting career. She played Julia Bakerman-Graham on Parenthood, which ended its run on NBC in 2015.
She's now working on a new project called 10 Days In The Valley. That show is expected to air in the fall. Plus, she has a movie coming to select theaters April 7 called The Case For Christ, which she describes as "an interesting microcosm of a story about not respecting the religious beliefs of others."
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