The first Woodward Nightmare Cruise for ugly cars, a pre-Halloween event, was announced Thursday afternoon on Facebook – a day after an area writer started an odd cars discussion that zoomed to 96 comments in nine hours.
One commenter, Alan Madeleine of Ferndale (Alan Madlane is his Facebook name), created a poster and Facebook page for an 8 p.m.-midnight Nightmare Cruise on Saturday, Oct. 29, on Woodward Avenue in Ferndale, Huntington Woods, Berkley and Royal Oak.
"Let's see what happens," Madeleine says on the social media site. Cruisers in less-than-pristine vehicles – "hoopties and beaters" – would roll from 8 Mile to 13 Mile.
"We could use a business along the route that would be willing to let us use their lawn as the Official Headquarters during the four hours of the event, and maybe for a couple of hours [on] either side," the organizer posted.
At this point, it's an idea in search of a flash mob-style crowd – though the enthusiasm is high-octane.
An offhand suggestion by Susan Whitall, a Detroit News culture and entertainment writer posting on her own page, took off faster than a vintage muscle car.
"They should have a Nightmare Cruise the night before [Woodward Dream Cruise] with all these dreaded cars for charity or something," the journalist mused Wednesday afternoon amid comments about the Pacer, Gremlin, Matador, Dart, Duster and other best-forgotten vehicles.
Madeleine, an acquaintance since the 1970s, saw potential for a timelier stunt. "The idea for a Nightmare Cruise is actually brilliant -- if you promoted that right, say Halloween weekend, hmm," he responded. "It's a terrific idea. Trademark it immediately."
No one has gone that far, but word began spreading online within 24 hours of Whitall's brainstorm. "It's all Alan, not me," she confirms. Sponsorship is attributed to "No Guts, No Glory! Productions," not a business name registered with the state.
Madeleine, who hasn't yet responded to a request from more details, is a community theater actor appearing Nov. 4-27 in a West Bloomfield adaptation The Odd Couple.
Madeleine, 54, and Whitall met at Creem, a legendary national music magazine based in Birmingham where she was a writer and top editor from 1976-83 and he wrote freelance reviews from 1977-79 – and drove a 1972 Mercury Monterey Brougham that "handled around corners like a battleship." Whitall, a Birmingham native, is the , a critically praised biography of late Detroit singer Little Willie John that was published last June in London and New York.
Though she sees the Nightmare Cruise as "not that great an idea," its organizer has a grander vision: "Wouldn't it be funny if that's what you ended up being remembered for," he says online.