AS SEEN AT THE MOUNTAIN EMPIRE FIELD TRIP
A new documentary film that examines the popularity of red-dyed hot dogs in Southwest Virginia has just been released by East Tennessee State University. A Red Hot Dog Digest is the first in a series of films being produced by the ETSU Division of University Relations and the Center for Appalachian Studies and Services.
The new film includes archival footage of old television commercials that promoted Valleydale meats as well as interviews with proprietors of businesses along Lee Highway that depend on the red hot dog for their livelihood. The Corner Dog House in Bristol, the Dip Dog in Marion, Skeeter’s in Wytheville, and Dude’s in Christiansburg are the four Virginia establishments featured in the film.
The Corner Dog House is a walk-up business in a Bristol neighborhood that has been selling Valleydale hot dogs, once made at the company’s Bristol plant, since 1962. With a Marion address but a location the owners describe as “out in the middle of nowhere,” the Dip Dog sells some 500,000 batter-dipped, mustard-painted red wieners a year. The business opened over 50 years ago. Skeeter’s sells red hot dogs out of a building on Main Street in Wytheville where the future Mrs. Woodrow Wilson, the president’s second wife, was born. And in Christiansburg, Dude’s once tried to eliminate the red hot dog from the menu because of dietary concerns, but customers revolted, demanding that the dyed product be restored.
A year in the making, A Red Hot Dog Digest is available through the Center for Appalachian Studies and Services at ETSU. To purchase a DVD copy of the film, cotact the center at (423) 439-7865 or 439-7994. For information about film screenings, contact the Office of University Relations at (423) 439-4317.