It’s been 50 years since the first episode of “Texas Country Reporter” aired on television.

The show’s creator and host, Dallas native Bob Phillips, marked the anniversary with the release of his new book, “A Good Long Drive: Fifty Years of Texas Country Reporter.”

Phillips, a former Junius Heights neighbor, takes readers on the journey of how the syndicated show came to be. He recounts his experiences as a young reporter, including his initial pitch for the show.

On his show, Phillips and his wife, Kelli, travel around the state, interviewing all sorts of interesting, ordinary Texans doing interesting things. Sometimes, their trips in the red, white and blue SUV take them to our neighborhood, to places like Jimmy’s Food Store, the Italian grocery store on Bryan Street operated by the DiCarlo family.

When Phillips lived in East Dallas, neighbors might have seen him feeding stray animals in his backyard, which provided them a foster home.

“I truly believe people are friendlier in East Dallas,” Phillips once told the Advocate. “There’s more openness. Everybody fits in. East Dallas has a personality all its own.”

“A Good Long Drive” is available for purchase here.